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WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS: Why they Happen—How to Get Past Them

Your weight loss journey has been going SO great—until the dreaded PLATEAU, when it seems that none of your healthy habits are working any more. SO frustrating! Well, here’s the first bit of good news: if you’ve read this far, you’ve already lost some weight. And the second bit? Your plateau may not even be your fault! Sometimes your body just needs a little while to adjust to its new lower weight, and that’s a good, natural thing.

But it’s also easy to let a little bit of success go to our heads. We might get less careful about reading food labels, or more lax about measuring portions—and every little bit can add up to a stall-out on the scale. Here are four easy adjustments you can make to get off your plateau… and back on your losing streak.

1. Be a portion control freak. If your weight loss has slowed or stopped, start by taking inventory of your daily food intake. Some people are better at “eyeballing” portions than others, so try measuring or weighing your portions for a few days. Get familiar with how your portions look on your plates and in your bowls. Our Visual Cues sheet can be a great tool. When you’re eating foods with subjective measurements like “small”, keep these guidelines in mind. If one serving of fruit has 60 calories…

1 small apple (2.5" diameter) is 53 calories

1 medium apple (3" diameter) is 93 calories

1 large apple (3.25" diameter) is 120 calories

That means the large apple would count as two fruit servings! And that’s very good information to have.

2. Be a Weekend Warrior. Saturdays and Sundays can be more challenging—the increase in free time and temptation of social events can throw almost anyone off-track. If you’re using a 5/2 approach, try splitting up your “on your own” days to one weekend day, and one weekday. You can also try limiting your own meal to one per weekend day—for example, enjoy your own breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday, and stick with Jenny’s Cuisine® the rest of the time.

3. Close the Kitchen After Dinner. If late-night snacking or a glass of evening wine is a temptation for you, limit your snacking and eliminate alcohol for a few weeks. Find healthier ways to keep yourself occupied—relax with a cup of herbal tea.

3. Beware of Hidden Calories. Always read your food labels! Many foods that we perceive as healthy—energy bars, sports drinks, dried fruit and trail mix, to name just a few—can be loaded with calories, sugar and fat. And although some of these foods are 100% natural and many contain vital nutrients, they can still sabotage your weight loss by putting you over your daily limit.

4. Use your eTools! Have you taken a break from our eTools? Our planner and tracker can be especially useful when you’re trying to break a plateau. Save time by marking the foods you eat most often as your favorites—just click “Add to My Favorites”. Plan your menu in advance for easy online ordering, log EVERYTHING you eat (even Free Foods) and enter all your physical activities.

Remember, you have to lose weight to even GET to a plateau. So instead of beating yourself up, just keep these helpful strategies in mind. Buttoning your eating habits up just a bit tighter should get you right back on track.