On your journey to reach your ideal form, there may come a time when the scale just does not seem to be moving. These are plateaus, and they feel like you’re driving across Interstate 10 in Texas. You’ve been driving for 8 hours, and you’re still not out of the state. It can be tempting to just throw in the towel when it seems like you’re spinning your wheels and going nowhere fast, but if you can hang in there, I promise it will be worth it.
We’re going to define a plateau as being at the same weight for three or more weeks. One or two weeks might just be a fluke. Three, and we’re definitely in a plateau.
Here are four reasons to be patient when dealing with a plateau:
- A big woosh could be right around the corner at the next weigh in. Weight loss is rarely linear, and often times when the scale seems stuck, when it does start moving again, it does so in a big way.
- If it’s only been a week or two, there are a number of things that could be messing with the numbers on the scale: your monthly cycle, a very intense workout session, or eating big meal up to a day before you step on the scale can all increase water retention. Water is heavy, and can easily throw your weight off, so try to weigh yourself first thing in the morning, before any workouts or meals.
- Keep in mind that a plateau is being at the same weight for a number of weeks. Often times, when someone starts a new program, there’s a large drop in weight due to water weight loss. But that’s not sustainable. If you’re losing a half to one pound per week, you’re doing great!
- It’s a slow process, don’t make it slower by giving up now. Learn to enjoy the process rather than fixating on results and you’ll actually get better results.
If you’ve been at a plateau for more than six weeks, then it’s time to re-evaluate your process. If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, you may need to recalculate your TDEE.