what is weight loss plateau

Weight Loss Plateau – What Is It And Why Does It Happen

Weight loss plateau, also known as diet plateau, has been called by many names. It has been referred to as “the dieter’s greatest nemesis”, “the dreaded weight loss stage”, “a demon in disguise that springs to torture the dieter”, “a major obstacle to losing weight”, and so on. In this article you’ll find out what is weight loss plateau and why does it happen to you and the majority of dieters.

All dieters dread the weight loss plateau. It is almost always inevitable that it will rear it’s ugly head at one point of your dieting journey. Suddenly, all your hard work is resulting in nothing. It is frustrating and disheartening. But you need to learn to deal with it because it will happen again.

What Is Weight Loss Plateau

In reality diet plateau is nothing more than a natural stage of weight loss progression. It is nothing to be concerned about as it consistently happens to most of the dieters and it is easy to overcome.

The primary reason for it’s occurrence in a healthy person is the metabolism. When you are on a program to lose weight, you typically take in less calories. You also likely start to exercise or engage in some physical activity. Over time, your metabolism becomes accustomed to these changes. As a result your metabolism slows down. The resulting sluggishness of your metabolism leads to a halt of your weight loss progress, hence the weight loss plateau.

The metabolic rate decreases for two main reasons. The first of these is hormonal and the second physiological/physical.


1. The reduction of calorie intake impacts on the activity of the thyroid hormone. It causes it’s reduction. Thyroid hormone regulates the metabolic activity. Reduction in hormonal activity leads to the reduction of the metabolic rate. Slow metabolic rate leads to the inability to lose weight.

2. The second reason for reduction of metabolism has to do with Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). A simplified definition of BMR is: the number of calories a body burns at rest to maintain normal body functions. It is the amount of calories per day your body burns. It changes with age, weight, height, gender, diet and exercise habits.

The energy required to help keep vital body functions is directly proportional to one’s body mass. In other words, the greater the body mass, as in being overweight, the greater is the BMR.

When there is less body mass, as in weight loss, BMR decreases. It decreases because your body needs to burn less calories during your daily activities. Because you reduced your size, you also waste less calories as heat. This, once again, results in a reduction of your metabolism. The reduction of metabolism leads to a weight loss plateau.

You have essentially reached a state of equilibrium. In essence, your daily calorie input roughly equals to your daily calorie output.

Once you recognize and accept the weight loss plateau for what it is you can follow one of two directions:

  1. When you arrive at the diet plateau you might have reached your healthy body weight. This may be determined by your genetics, body frame and your age. It is the weight at which your body functions optimally. If you are happy with that just continue to maintain this weight and the shape of your body by adhering to the lifestyle you currently lead.
  2. You may want to break the weight loss plateau if, on the other hand, you may feel that your “normal” biological weight does not equal your perceived “normal” weight. In other words, you are still not happy with your weight and you would like to continue to lose weight. Overcoming it is not difficult to do.

In the next article I share with you tips on how to break a weight loss plateau. The tips are easy to follow, so go for it and read the article.


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