I consider a weight loss plateau, if you’ve been good and sticking to your exercise and nutrition plan as you’re supposed to be, for 3 weeks or more and not seeing any fat loss results.
It is not sticking to the plan Mon-Fri then binging at the weekend. It is not “sort of sticking to the plan”. If you sort of follow a weight loss plan, you’ll sort of get results. It is not eating well but drinking lots of alcohol. It is not exercising lots and eating poorly. It is not eating well but doing no exercise – leisurely walking is not exercise, it’s the most basic of human functions.
Working hard and not seeing any results on the scales can be very disheartening. You work hard exercising, sticking to your plan and eating well but at the end of the week, when you step up on the scales you don’t see any significant change.
However, you must realise that the scales doesn’t always tell the truth. Assuming you’ve removed as many variables like time of day, different clothing, whether you’ve been to the toilet or not, whether you’ve eaten etc… If you’re exercising, you may gain 2lbs of muscle and/or water in a week. So all of this combined might explain why the scales didn’t change much, even if you did drop some bodyfat. However in my experience this rarely happens 2 weeks in a row.
If you truly have been sticking to the food and exercise plan for 3 weeks or more and not seeing results then the next step is to consider:
- Check back to your food diary from when you first started, is it honestly as good now? Lots of little slip-ups can add up.
- Have you gotten too generous with your portion sizes?
- Alternatively, are you consuming too few calories & your metabolism is shutting down?
- Try cutting out alcohol for 2 weeks
- Is your cheat meal becoming a cheat day, or becoming such a vast binge that there is no recovery?
- If you’ve already lost a significant amount of weight, your BMR may be lower so you might need to alter your food plan or portion sizes.
- Are you doing weight training to increase your metabolism?
- Can you add an extra days workout to rev up your metabolism, or try a more challenging form of exercise?
- Has your motivation dropped, why is that? Time to reassess and remember why you started and how well you’ve done already. Remember how good it felt to fit into that lower clothes size…
If you’ve truly gone through all of the above, then it might be worth seeing your Doctor to test for PCOS, Thyroid conditions, adrenalin and testosterone levels, food allergies or other conditions that may be responsible. However, even with these conditions it should still be possible to lose weight, it just makes it more difficult.
I always tell clients that any weight loss should be a side effect of becoming fit and healthy. There should be no race to get in shape, focus on the long-term and if you never give up, you’ll eventually win….