Weight loss plateaus are the worst.
There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like you’re still doing all the right things but what used to work just…isn’t, anymore!
You immediately start to wonder if you need to switch something up, if maybe it’s your hormones, the dreaded “starvation mode,” or if there’s just something with with you.
(pssst…I can guarantee it’s not “starvation mode”)
On today’s episode of the Live Diet-Free Podcast, I’m joined by EA Coaching’s resident dietitian, Lauren Moss, to help you get to the bottom of your weight loss plateaus and figure out what to do next.
You can listen to the episode here…
Or keep reading the post below:
What Are Weight Loss Plateaus
Weight loss plateaus are simply states of little change followed by a period of activity or progress.
So what does that mean?
Consider this – you start out on your weight loss journey and you’re losing weight at a healthy pace of 1-2lbs per week and then the number on the scale just stops moving.
This stall in weight loss can be a plateau and these weight loss plateaus can last anywhere from eight to 12 weeks depending on the individual.
It’s important during this time to take an honest look at how consistent you are being to determine if you’re experiencing a true plateau or if you’re just being impatient with your progress.
Weight loss plateaus are an inevitable part of any weight loss journey – no loss will ever be linear and everyone will experience ups, downs, and stalls throughout the process.
Being in a plateau is not a bad thing. It can be an opportunity to show yourself that you have the skills to stay the course even without seeing the number on the scale move.
Let’s start with this: Starvation mode is a myth. The truth is a caloric deficit will always work. There are no exceptions to this.
Now what do most people believe about starvation mode?
Starvation mode is claimed to be the state a person is in when an excessive approach to weight loss has slowed down their metabolic rate enough to completely prevent further weight loss from happening, or possibly even cause someone to gain weight, even though a caloric deficit remains present.
The claim that a huge drop in metabolic rate, meaning eating too little supposedly causes your metabolism to slow down to a point where it completely prevents weight loss from happening is false. However, one part of this is partially true.
The true part is that being in a prolonged deficit does cause your metabolic rate to slow down after any amount of weight loss. This happens simply because as you lose weight, you’ll gradually burn fewer calories – smaller bodies require less calories to properly function, both during activity and while at rest.
So, while your body may stall if you are maintaining a deficit for a long period of time, it’s because it has adapted to fewer calories, and not because it is in “starvation mode.”
What To Do If You're Experiencing a Plateau
If you’ve been patient, you’ve been checking all of the same boxes as you were when you were seeing weight loss, and you’ve experienced 8-12 weeks of no weight loss progress, then you might be experiencing a plateau.
In this case, you may need to adjust your caloric deficit if you’ve lost enough weight that your body is requiring fewer calories.
If this isn’t the case, then it might be time to consider a reverse diet.
A reverse diet is a strategic eating plan that involves gradually increasing your calorie intake over a few weeks or months to allow you to eat more food after a diet while also increasing your your metabolic rate.
After you go through this period of reverse dieting, your basal metabolic rate is set a bit higher so you can then comfortably dip it back down into a caloric deficit.
If you’ve found yourself struggling with weight loss plateaus, or maybe you’re not sure if that’s what you’re actually experiencing, working with a knowledgeable coach can help you.
Our team of coaches at EA Coaching will walk with you through the process of determining if you’re in a plateau, the best way to break it, and how to continue on a path towards sustainable weight loss.
If you’re interested in learning more about our proved Gone for Good framework, check out estheravant.com/coaching for more information.