When you’re on a weight-loss journey, at some point or another, you’re bound to hit a plateau. This is when your weight stops changing and tends to be at a standstill. So, what gives? “As your body changes, your nutritional and exercise needs change,” explains Noam Tamir, C.S.C.S., certified personal trainer and owner of TS Fitness in NYC. “If you don’t adjust those accordingly, you won’t be able to continually see results.”
Need some help jump-starting the numbers on the scale decreasing again? Here are some tips from experts on how to push past a weight-loss plateau.
Ways to Get Past a Weight-Loss Plateau
- 1. Reduce your calorie intake
We’re not talking astronomically, but when you lose weight, you create an energy gap, explains explains Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, author of the American Dietetic Association Guide to Better Digestion, nutrition consultant to the Kansas City Chiefs, and founder of Active Eating Advice. “Our lighter body needs fewer calories to maintain itself than our heavier body,” she says.
- 2. Switch up your exercise routine
The more fit and lean you get, the harder it is to continually make progress. “You may need to increase the frequency of your exercise, switch up the intensity of your workouts, or add more weights to your program,” says Tamir.
- 3. Think volume without the caloric load
Foods that take up more room in your gut help you feel fuller, explains Bonci. She recommends things like stir fry with added veggies, a pasta dish with half pasta, half zucchini noodles, or a stew or soup with added liquid. “Chili and big salads with lots of veggies are good options, too,” says Bonci.
- 4. Trade a day of cardio for a day in the weight room
If you usually flock toward the treadmill, try swapping out a day or two with strength training instead. “Cardio is good for calorie output, but in the long term, weight training will help you build more muscle mass, which will increase your resting metabolic rate,” explains Tamir.
- 5. Add more protein and fiber to your diet
Don’t go replacing all your macros with protein, but upping your protein and fiber count can help you stay fuller longer. “Protein makes us feel more satisfied longer between meals, and the body has to work harder to break down protein, so there are a few more calories expended,” explains Bonci. Fiber helps the body regulate glucose, which helps to keep hunger pangs and blood sugar in check.