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Diet Plateau

(1 of 2 pages)

What is a diet 'plateau'?


You may hit a weight loss plateau when you have been on a reduced-calorie diet for a few weeks, and it may reoccur from time to time thereafter.

During such a plateau, weight reduction stops completely or slows down to almost nothing. If you are monitoring what you eat AND exercising regularly but still can't seem to lose any weight, you have most probably 'plateaued'. The most important thing to remember is that this is a completely normal experience for many dieters. The key to success is not allowing yourself to become discouraged! Take a long-term view. Giving up now means slipping back to where you started - which is such a shame given all the hard work you've done to get this far. There are solutions and steps you can take to kick start your weight loss again and ensure you reach your goal.

Why do I hit a plateau?

A plateau may occur because

  • Your body simply wants a 'rest' to cope with your calorie-reduction
  • Your calorie-intake equals your calorie expenditure - in other words you are not creating a sufficient calorie deficit to lose weight
  • You have reduced your calorie-intake too low. If you are not eating enough calories, your body thinks that it is going into 'starvation' and slows down your metabolism (how fast you burn calories) in order to conserve calories.

Most people lose weight quickly in the beginning of their diet, and then weight loss tends to stabilize at around 1 - 2 lbs per week. Unfortunately weight loss doesn't always follow a smooth downwards curve, but is rather a series of stops and starts. Expect this to be the case. The closer you get to your goal weight, the slower the weight tends to come off. This is partly due to the fact that your body has less fat to lose - it now has more lean tissue. Also, as you exercise more, you are increasing the proportion of muscle mass in your body, and muscle weighs more than fat. Then, there are weeks when you simply retain fluids and weigh a pound or two more than you did the week before.


You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...