We’ve all been there – doing everything right with your diet and exercise regime, yet still struggling to lose those stubborn extra pounds. There are many potential reasons why the weight just won’t budge no matter how hard you try. Here are five of the most common causes of a weight loss plateau, and what you can do to get back on track.
1. You’re Not in a Calorie Deficit
If you want to shed a few pounds, you essentially need to be in a calorie deficit; in other words, you need to burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis. If you aren’t in a deficit, your body has no real reason or trigger to start dipping into its fat stores for energy. The best way to identify if this is the issue is to track your calories accurately for at least a week using an app like MyFitnessPal. If you are eating well and exercising regularly but still not losing any weight, it likely means you need to reduce your calorie intake a bit more to tip into a deficit.
2. You’re Eating Too Many Hidden Calories
It’s very easy to unintentionally consume more calories than you realise thanks to hidden sources like liquid calories, cooking oils, sauces and dressings. These types of foods can quickly add hundreds of unexpected calories without making you feel full or satisfied. To avoid this common pitfall, be more mindful of measuring oil when cooking, stick to water or other unsweetened drinks, and ask for any sauces or dressings on the side. Small changes like this really do add up over time.
3. Your Workouts Aren’t Intense Enough
If you’ve been doing the same exercise routine for a while and it’s started to feel too comfortable or easy, it’s probably a sign you need to up the intensity to maximise fat burning. Try adding an extra set or two, increasing weights gradually, or adding short bursts of high intensity intervals to really boost your metabolism. Building more muscle through strength training is also key, as muscle tissue naturally burns more calories at rest than fat. A good benchmark is if your workouts are leaving you feeling sweaty and a little breathless – that means it has been effective for your body.
4. You Have an Underactive Thyroid
One potential underlying cause of an unexplained weight loss plateau is an underactive thyroid gland, known as hypothyroidism. When the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones, it can dramatically slow down your metabolism. Some of the common symptoms are tiredness, feeling cold all the time, unexpected weight gain and constipation. If you think your thyroid may be the culprit, visit your doctor and ask for a simple blood test to check your thyroid hormone levels. Hypothyroidism can be easily treated with medication to help get your metabolism back up and running.
5. Your Gut Bacteria is Out of Balance
Emerging research shows that gut health plays a huge role in digestion, metabolism, immunity and even weight management. An imbalance of bacteria in your gut microbiome can contribute to a wide array of issues including bloat and fatigue, inflammation and stubborn weight gain. Focus on getting more good gut bacteria through probiotic foods like yogurt, kimchi, kefir and fermented foods. You also need to limit sugary foods that feed the harmful bacteria. Bloating and weight loss are not a good mix so addressing poor gut health can help significantly. Click the link if you want to know how to help with bloating and fatigue.
By making one or two simple changes from this list, you can often get yourself out of a weight loss plateau.