Understanding Weight Loss Plateaus - My Bariatric Life

My Bariatric Life Health Guide
  • If you are somewhat similar to me, you have a reasonable amount of discipline but do not necessarily enjoy being disciplined. Results are the great juice that keeps us pressing forward, but discipline is the engine that fuels the juice. I’d like direct results please, hold the engine. The sweet flavor minus the sweat.

    But that is not the case. Results follow labor, and labor requires discipline. Okay, fine, discipline it is then.

    But what happens when discipline is exercised religiously and the result of that effort lives somewhere between very little accomplished and nothing accomplished at all? Frustration is what happens.

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    When I energize to lose weight and move ahead as if my feet were in cement, I become frustrated. To add to the frustration, great discipline was required to stack this roadblock. All that effort to just stand still. It is called a plateau, and it can cause a person to grind her teeth.

    Causes of Weight Loss Plateaus

    Weight loss plateaus are varied lengths of time when weight loss stalls over the course of a diet. Weight loss plateaus occur as your body makes the adjustments to a new diet and regiment of exercise. There are a few different adjustments that can halt weight loss.

    Muscle mass can be lost when dieting. Muscle burns more calories than fat mass, causing your metabolism to slow. Muscle can be maintained by lifting weights.


    The weight you lost initially may have been mostly water weight. The glycogen you have stored releases the water that it holds, and there is a loss of weight. Once the amount of water you had been holding decreases, the weight loss you have been experiencing can slow.

    A breech or compromise of your program of exercise can result in a weight loss stall. Energy levels can drop when you are on a reduced-calorie diet, and you might exercise less. Research and choose exercises that expend more calories to compensate for this.

    Diet compromise is another factor for weight loss plateaus. Those favorite foods you have been missing get the better of your willpower, and you find yourself not eating as you should. Obviously, this needs to stop.

    Shorter term plateaus run from 2-4 weeks. There is no need to adjust your routine under these conditions whereas your body is simply adjusting to a new weight.

    Plateaus extending beyond four weeks will require some changes in your
    weight loss regiment.

    Breaking a Weight Loss Plateau

    You will have to make some changes if you are going to move beyond a stubborn plateau.

    Check the number of fat grams and calories you have been absorbing since you began your diet. If they have been the same, you can cut both by a bit.

    You can eat six small meals per day instead of three meals or you can increase the amount of water you are drinking.

    You can incorporate cross-training into your program of exercise. Walk one day, cycle another, and do aerobics on yet another.

    These are but a few of the possible options and are a good start. You might want to try a few of these at the same time. Give yourself about two weeks to start seeing results and, if nothing changes, adjust your methods again.

  • References:

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    A Guide to Breaking the Weight Loss Plateau http://www.gastricbypassfamily.com/BreakingTheWeightLossPlateau.html -
    accessed 6/13/12
    Live Strong.com http://www.livestrong.com/article/382993-what-causes-weight-loss-plateaus/ - accessed 6/13/12



    My Story...

    You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.

Published On: July 18, 2012