Sports couple drinking water after workout

Why is my weight loss plateauing?

You’ve been training hard at the gym, eating all the salads, but you’ve stopped seeing the results you were so happy to see when you first started your weight loss journey.

Weight loss plateaus can be particularly frustrating

Especially when you feel like you’re doing everything right!

So what are the causes of a weight loss plateau and how can you get the ball rolling again?

Not eating enough

It’s so common to see people put on super low, calorie-restricted diets in an effort to lose weight.

The thing to remember though is whilst it may work initially (or if done sporadically, as for fasting), if you are eating less food than your body requires to function consistently, our metabolism takes note, and starts to slow down in an effort to ‘conserve’ energy, aka starvation mode.

I like to think of it like putting wood on a fire; plenty of wood on a fire helps it burn fast and hot, whilst not putting enough on results in a less intense burn. Our metabolism is a little the same. When we aren’t eating enough to fuel that fire, our metabolism starts to slow down, making it harder to lose weight.

This is often particularly the case for individuals who are highly physically active; sometimes it can be harder to lose when highly active, due to the amount of energy that is required to fuel that activity but also results in a deficit for weight loss to occur.

How to manage this? Make sure you are eating enough overall, and enough of the nutrients your body requires each day to get the results you want.

You got fitter, it’s time to change up your training

If you continue to do exactly the same training, as your fitness level increases, this will start to become less effective. Change your routine up; try interval running if you usually do a steady pace or vice versa. Lift heavier weights at the gym, try a different class.

Not getting enough rest

Giving your body a chance to rest and recover.

Getting enough sleep each night is essential for sustainable weight loss. When we’re tired, our hormones can make us more hungry, can influence cortisol production and result in bigger waist circumference. Put your phone away well before bed. Get up at the same time each day to help set your body clock. Avoid caffeine 10 hours before bed.

Need to find patience

The least ‘sexy’ answer, but the most important.

Weight loss is rarely linear. Most individuals usually find stops and starts, as their body’s find new ‘set points’; the weight at which your body is physiologically most comfortable, so tries to stay at. Consistency with eating well, exercising regularly and getting enough rest is truly key for sustainable, continued weight loss.

Chloe McLeod is an Accredited Sports Dietitian, Accredited Practicing Dietitian and co-owner of Health & Performance Collective. Chloe specialises in food intolerance, sports nutrition and nutrition for arthritis and autoimmune conditions with over 10 years experience in the industry.  Follow her on instagram @chloe_mcleod_dietitian