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How to Break a Weight Loss Plateau and Push Through Rough Times

By: Stuart Carter, Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1,

C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

how to break a weight loss plateau
The basic principle of weight loss is relatively simple — consume fewer calories than your body needs. But a moving target can be difficult to hit, especially if you run into a wall. Read on to discover how to break a weight loss plateau and get back on track to accomplishing your fitness goals.

How a Weight Loss Plateau Happens

As you start to lose weight, you will inevitably lose body fat and muscle.
In fact, research suggests that those who simply reduce their food intake are more likely to burn muscle cells.

head bangingYour body burns fat in the digestive system to provide energy.

Once this energy is gone, the body will use the glycogen reserves stored in your liver.

When those reserves are depleted, your body will start to burn the proteins in your muscles.

In effect, your food reduction has made your body question where the next meal is coming from, effectively placing it into starvation mode.

Your body will try to hang onto fat as a long term energy source and use the protein in your muscle cells as energy now.

This is why it’s so important to choose the right foods to eat.

Check out this free 1-day meal plan for inspiration in creating your meal plan.

If you have hit a weight loss plateau, there's a good chance your maintenance calories have changed.

calories per dayTo lose more weight, you’ll need to reduce your caloric intake even more.

But, there is an issue with this. Reducing your calories will burn more fat, but you'll also burn through muscle too.

Instead, take a look at these tips for how to break a weight loss plateau.

With a little effort, you can lose more weight and improve your health.

How to Break a Weight Loss Plateau

Enough talk! Let’s get you past your weight loss plateau and moving forward to become the man you want to be.

Check Your Maintenance Calories

The average man needs 2500 calories per day. You can check out your exact maintenance calories needs here.

how to lose 10 pounds in 2 weeksYou’ve probably already worked out what your calorie intake was and reduced it. That’s probably how you started to lose weight in the first place.

Do you realize that your body is incredibly adaptable?

After 30-60 days of eating fewer calories, your body will have adjusted and capable of surviving on fewer calories.

That means you need to review your maintenance calories every month and adjust your consumption accordingly.

Don’t forget, if you cut your calories too much, you’ll actually slow your metabolism and prevent your body from losing weight.

Fiber Up

Fiber is nutritious and filling. It will help you to feel full and avoid the temptation that can derail any weight loss attempt.

fiberIn fact, research shows that increasing your fiber consumption can help you move past a weight loss plateau.

Try oatmeal, apples, berries, seeds, and beans.

As a bonus, increasing your fiber content can lower blood pressure and increase your insulin sensitivity.

All you have to do is swap your daily cookie for a few berries.

Drink Green Tea & Coffee

If you love coffee or even need it to get you going in the morning, then it’s time to consider switching to green tea.

green tea healthy lifestyle habitsSome studies have shown there is a link between more than 5 cups of coffee a day and an increase in fat storage, particularly around your belly.

In contrast, drinking green tea daily and exercising for at least 3 times a week shows an improvement in weight loss, compared to non-tea-drinking people.

Green tea is thermogenic, which increases your core body temperature, forcing your body to burn calories and cooling it back down.

It is also full of catechins which are effective at boosting your metabolism and improving your liver’s fat-burning ability.

It’s worth a try!

Eat Healthier Snacks

Boosting nutrient intake is a great way to break through a weight loss plateau.

almondsSnacking is a great way to sneak in additional nutrients and protein.

Consuming protein before your workout will help to ensure your muscles have enough energy without burning the protein in their own cells.

One of the more enjoyable ways to supplement is to eat a handful of almonds.

Almonds are rich in amino acid L-arginine, which has been shown to boost fat and carb-burning during workouts. Almonds are also packed with fiber, minerals, and vitamins.

There are tons of delicious and nutritious snacks to try. Just remember to keep your portions under control.

Stay Properly Hydrated

You know experts recommend drinking 2 liters of water a day.

ice water high protein low fat foodsBut did you know that when you feel hungry, you may simply be thirsty?

Try sipping some water and see if you’re still hungry in 30 minutes.

You should also drink 1-2 cups of water before eating a meal. This will reduce the amount of food that you eat and help with your weight loss.

In addition, water flushes toxins out of your body and is essential for the proper function of all the cells in your body.

That makes it a pretty important part of your daily routine!

Consume More Protein

Protein is an essential part of the weight loss process.

whey protein It speeds up your metabolism and suppresses your appetite hormone, ghrelin.

Try Greek yogurt or whey protein to make sure you're getting at least 20 grams of protein with every meal.

Our new Superfuel is a hassle-free approach to protein supplementation.

Our powder contains only the highest quality ingredients, all chosen specifically for their performance-enhancing capabilities.

You’ll be surprised at how delicious and helpful it can be to use a protein shake as a way to break through plateaus.

Implement Weight Training for Muscle Growth

Weight training or resistance training is something that many people associate with bodybuilding.

man workout posture body building exercises weight training dumbbell lungesYou may want better tone across your body, but you’re probably not after the body of a professional weightlifter.

However, what you may not realize is that your body begins to produce less testosterone from the age of 30 onward. Low levels of testosterone can deplete your muscle mass over time causing all sorts of trouble.

But weight training can also help you overcome these obstacles.

You’ll need to focus on repeating each weight training exercise 10-12 times for 3 sets. Choose a weight that allows you to complete all of the sets, but heavy enough so that you've worked to exhaustion.

This will encourage muscle growth and muscle cells to burn more calories than fat when resting.

In short, you’ll be increasing the calorie needs of your body without increasing your calorie intake.

The result is a widening of the gap between maintenance calories and intake, resulting in weight loss, hurtling you past the plateau and onto the home run!

Try Intermittent Fasting

Calories are the key, eat less than your maintenance amount and you’re going to lose weight.

intermittent fasting for menAll the tips in this guide focus on increasing your calorific burn or decreasing your intake.

This one is no different.

Intermittent fasting simply means two days a week when your calorie intake is 500 or less.

In short, you don’t eat or eat very little for those two days.

This won’t just help you to understand how to break a weight loss plateau.

People who practice intermittent fasting generally experience an improvement in mental clarity and memory. That has to be a good thing!

Add in Variety

Sometimes a weight loss plateau is simply the result of your body adapting and boredom.

men hiking in the wildernessIf you do the same run every day for 6 months, your body is going to know exactly what is coming and be prepared for it. It will incorporate this activity into your normal activities without needing to tap into your fat stores.

In short, you won’t lose any weight.

If you’re not sure which aspects to change, try this free 24-minute workout if you're looking for something challenging.

By mixing it up and doing plenty of activities, your body will never know what is going to happen next.

This will prevent your body from learning your routines and adapting. You’ll break the weight loss plateau and have some fun in the process!

If you haven’t already tried interval training, then now is definitely the time to do so. This high intensity, short exercise can be fitted in at any time but is surprisingly effective.

It will also increase your calorie burn!

Enlist a Friend

Be inspired to keep exercising and try different activities enlisting the help of a friend.

man with friends how to break a weight loss plateauStarting a weight loss journey together can be useful, but you’ll often find that it’s when you reach your weight loss plateau, that you really need some extra help.

A fit friend will push you to work out harder, and you’ll feel and see the benefits.

Plus, research suggests that people who are friends with health-conscious people are more likely to keep the weight off.

Dedicate More Time for Sleep

With a busy lifestyle, it can be easy to neglect your sleep.

ghrelin leptinHowever, research suggests you should get between 6-8 hours of quality sleep a night. This will help to keep age-related diseases at bay!

But sleep is also when your body balances hormones. During sleep, the amount of leptin is increased, and the amount of ghrelin decreases.

Having a good balance of hormones helps you feel full and avoid temptation the following day.

Sleep is also beneficial for muscle repair, stress reduction, and healthy brain function. There really is no excuse to skip on sleep.

Get Some Rest

man sleeping at work how to break a weight loss plateauResting isn’t the same as sleeping. You must remember that your muscles take time to recover from being worked.

You should always allow 24-48 hours of recovery time between exercising the same muscle groups.

If you don’t, you’re more likely to experience muscle damage, preventing you from exercising and losing weight.

A day or two of rest may help to put you back on track mentally, allowing you to feel ready to tackle anything, including getting past the weight loss plateau.

Be Inspired to Be the Man You Can Be!

It can be frustrating when the scales have stopped moving, but this doesn’t need to be the end of your weight loss journey. Revisiting your daily meal plan can help.

man lifting weights how to break a weight loss plateauThe real secret to how to break a weight loss plateau is variety.

By adjusting your schedule, your body will help you to lose more weight, and you’ll see the scales heading in the right direction.

Weight loss doesn’t necessarily equate to improved health all by itself. You need to build muscle mass to increase your core strength and boost stability as you age.

Building muscle with a proper exercise plan can mean that your weight loss stagnates, but your measurements continue to change.

For this reason, it’s important to measure your waist, thighs, chest, and stomach. You may see these reducing without the scales changing.

Would you like to know the secret to how to break a weight loss plateau? Get the right mindset.

If you believe that you can move past the plateau, you can implement some or all of these methods and experience the success you want and deserve.

Your new friend & health coach,

Stuart Carter Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1

C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

Stuart gained his Diploma in Personal Training & Sports Medicine through Premier Global, back in 2001. In 2018, he completed his Level 1 Precision Nutrition qualification.

Throughout his career in Fitness, Stuart has trained hundreds of clients, worked in almost every position in the industry, and ran his own successful training studio.

After a hiatus away from the Fitness industry, working in Corporate Management and Finance, Stuart returned to what he loves… Fitness! This return led to a chance meeting with Dr. Balduzzi, and a place in the Fit Father Project team.

Brotherhood Nickname: The Fit Brit
Bragging Rights: 18 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on how to break a weight loss plateau.


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