5 Tips for Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus

5 Tips for Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus - The Lemon Bowl


Have you ever hit a weight loss plateau? You know the drill… you’re eating better and staying active but week after week the scale just. won’t. budge. I’ve been there and back many times before so today I’m sharing my top 5 tips for busting through that dreaded weight loss plateau:

Strength Training Circuit
Strength Training Workout Routine - The Lemon Bowl

Tweak your fitness routine:

Your body is wicked smart. So smart, in fact, that it adjusts and adapts to exercise regimes quite quickly. If you find yourself doing the same elliptical workout or kickboxing class week after week with no drop on the scale, it’s time to step back and make some changes. A few simple ideas:

  1. Add intervals to your cardio routine by boosting the incline or raising the speed/effort level for 2 minutes on, 2 minutes off. By bringing your heart rate up and then back down and up again, your body will have to work harder.
  2. Increase the amount of weight you are lifting. I always say it is better to do fewer reps of heavier weights than to finish 3 sets feeling like you could have kept going.
  3. Try a new form of exercise. If you normally love to run, try doing a 30-minute yoga DVD once a week or taking a local pilates class. Love group exercise classes? Switch up your routine and try my fun & effective strength training circuit.
Food Diary

Keep a food diary:

I’ve been a long-time fan of tracking calories because it works for me. When I have to record every bite, lick, or morsel that enters my mouth, I think twice about eating it. As a result, when I’m not keeping a food diary, I inevitably eat more because I don’t have to worry about tracking it. Keeping a food diary is also a good lesson in portion sizes. If you haven’t measured a tablespoon of peanut butter or 2 ounces of pasta lately, now is the time. And it just might be the thing that gets the scale to finally budge. (My favorite tracker is My Food Diary but there are many options out there.)

Asian Slaw with Chicken and Roasted Peanuts - The Lemon Bowl

Boost protein and non-starchy produce:

Instead of swearing off all carbs or villainizing an entire food group, focus on the foods you should be eating so that it doesn’t feel like you’re on a diet. Whenever I try to fill my plate with mostly protein, healthy fats and vegetables the scale begins to budge. This can be as simple as having scrambled eggs, avocado slices and berries for breakfast, an Asian cabbage slaw with chicken for lunch and grilled fish, roasted veggies and a salad for dinner.


Limit booze:

Sorry to be a Debbie Downer here but if you’re trying to break a plateau, alcohol likely isn’t going to help your cause. I love a glass of pinot or a cold beer on a hot day as much as the next gal but in my experience, limiting alcohol always seems to get the scale moving. Not only does alcohol slow down the hormones that burn fat but when you drink you are more likely to lower your inhibitions and share an order of fries or accidentally eat half a tray of cheese. I’m speaking from experience, friends…

Weight Chart

Embrace the plateau:

Plateaus are an unfortunate but inevitable part of any long term weight loss journey. Instead of becoming frustrated, embrace the plateau, and remember that it is a sign that your body is becoming healthier and stronger. Instead of dwelling on the negative, focus on the positive, and embrace the opportunity to change and grow. This simple change in thought process will not only get you back on track towards reaching your goals but it will help you avoid burning out and giving up.

What is your best trick for overcoming weight loss plateaus? I would love to hear from YOU!

Don’t give up…you’ve got this.


19 thoughts on “5 Tips for Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus”

  1. Increasing the frequency of workouts helps too. It did wonders for me! if you exercise 2 times a week, make it 3 and even increase the number of sets in your workouts.

  2. Thanks so much for this! I am currently experiencing a weight loss plateau in my 100 lb weight loss journey. I’m about 75 lbs down now and the weight is coming off so. slow. It has stalled out on me the past few weeks despite tracking every calorie going into my mouth and exercising 5x a week! It’s incredibly frustrating but changing my mindset just might be what I need! I have changed up my workout routine this week so let’s hope that gets the scale dropping again.

    Thanks again!

  3. Wow, I love that tip about embracing the plateau – I’ve never thought of it as your body becoming stronger and healthier!
    I definitely plan to add some intervals to my training soon. Recently I’ve just been running for fun, and rarely pushing it, but I think it’s time to hit the track again soon :)

  4. This is an excellent idea for a post! I have dealt with plateaus. Usually the plateau for me is more mental than anything. Waning motivation or second guessing myself too much. I had my longest plateau after losing 50 pounds because I was getting a lot more attention from men and I was already married.

    I was dead afraid losing weight was gonna ruin my marriage.

    I talked about it long and hard with my husband. Had a few really good heart to hearts and I realized our relationship withstood a lot already and his support is what got me here in the first place.

    So I felt comfortable moving on and my motivation was restored and I felt even closer and more in love with my husband!

  5. A tip for breaking/preventing plateaus that I have learned is that every 4 days or so, eat an extra serving of fast carbs (starchy carbs) at one meal. It works very well, when you aren’t stuck on having a wine & chocolate snack every afternoon (like my husband is, and I follow)… :-)

  6. I love these tips. Im in the midst of a plateau at the moment and its kind of depressing when it feels like no matter what I do, nothing changes. I used to be a 1-2 glass of wine a night kind of gal, but we’ve limited it to just the weekends now, even still, thats still about 1/4 of the month! I think I just need to go an entire month sans wine! boo to that! ;) Seriously though, I love these tips, tracking calories definitely helps me too :)

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