Overcome your weight-loss plateau

Have you been watching what you eat and exercising regularly, but for some reason, the scale just won’t budge? You might be at a “plateau” in your weight-loss journey. Fortunately, with continued effort and persistence, you’re more likely to achieve your weight-loss goals. If you want to shed those last few pounds, try these ideas on for size:

  • Go back to square one. That is, make sure you’re as careful about what you choose to eat now as when you first started on your weight-loss journey. Sometimes people lapse into old habits over time and start “allowing” unhealthy choices to creep back into their diet patterns. Keeping a food diary will help you track what you’re really eating. Record your intake with a food-tracker app that helps you see where your calories are coming from. And don’t forget to watch your portion sizes!
  • Stick to your healthy eating plan. Include nutrient-rich, lean sources of protein such as fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and low-fat dairy products. Protein helps preserve lean body mass (muscle) during weight loss, promote fat loss, and contribute to a feeling of fullness. Use HPRC’s “Protein Requirements” infosheet to calculate your individual protein needs. And make sure to include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Also rethink your drinks! Alcohol and sugary beverages such as soda, sweet tea, juice, energy drinks, and sports drinks can add too many calories and prevent you from losing weight. Stick to water and low-fat milk (or soy milk) during meals and in-between to stay hydrated. Three servings of milk per day is the limit though! Remember it’s okay to indulge a little, but too many “cheat days” can ruin all your hard work.
  • Plan ahead. Many people find it hard to make healthy choices, especially on the weekend—tailgate parties, family celebrations, and road trips all offer opportunities to “slip.” But eating healthy is a full-time job, so it’s important to plan ahead: Bring your own low-fat dish to a party, and choose restaurants that offer healthy options.
  • Shake things up. Varying the type, intensity, duration, and frequency of your exercise is a great way to challenge yourself and prevent boredom—and can make a big difference toward achieving your goals. Standing, rather than sitting, also can burn as many as 200–300 extra calories a day. Find as many opportunities in your day to stand, walk, and move as much as you can. Learn more about the risks of sitting too much.

Whatever you do, don’t give up. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is better for your health, career, and performance. Last but not least, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to make sure the goals you’ve set for yourself are realistic, healthy, and sustainable. After that, it’s time to get to work!

Visit HPRC’s Fighting Weight Strategies section for more weight-loss tips.