Overcoming a Weight Loss Plateau - here's how it works!

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Those of you who have already tried out a couple of diets will know this situation only too well: you have tormented yourself for weeks and restricting your diet has determined your daily routine, at first successfully, but now nothing seems to be happening. Is that it?

The weight loss plateau has been reached! For many, this is the moment when the diet fails or is given up.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this article, we will explain why such a plateau arises and how you can overcome it easily or prevent it altogether!

The Dreaded Weight Loss Plateau

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There is one thing which we can surely all agree on: changing your diet requires a lot of effort.

But you have finally done it and stuck to your nutrition plan for losing weight: congratulations! You have already made it further than many who have the desire to lose weight and change their diet.

But why do so many people find this so difficult? Is it the quantities of food, the mealtimes or the components of the diet?

Change your dietery habits, break behaviour patterns

A change of diet is usually synonymous with a fundamental change in behaviour.

Most diets are fixed plans that you have to somehow squeeze into a complex pattern of daily routines.

This quickly leads to rules being sidestepped either completely or in part to avoid life being turned upside down. Unfortunately, for most people, the result of this course of action is extremely frustrating because despite all their hard work, there is hardly any progress and the result is ultimately not worth the effort, which leads to the diet being abandoned.

There is no One-Size-Fits-All solution

Some people manage to follow the rules of a suitable diet with discipline and achieve success. They try to win others over to the same system, even though it usually doesn’t work for them at all. Their pictures seem to shout, “look what I’ve done, you can do the same.”

Common Reasons for Giving Up a Diet:

  • The inability to integrate a change of diet into an existing daily routine or, to put it bluntly, a lack of discipline and perseverance. Over time, old habits are resumed, completely or in part, which prevents any future success.
  • A kind of aversion of the body to weight loss, which manifests itself in a decreasing energy consumption (how this can happen is explained below), as well as strong feelings of hunger and appetite.

The consequence: the dreaded weight loss plateau occurs and the weight remains the same.

But how can you counteract this, or even better, how can you avoid this situation in the first place?

6 Tips to fight the Weight Loss Plateau

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We assume that you have successfully adhered to your nutrition plan and lost weight. However in most cases, success slows at one point and the weight remains the same. What happens next? Or rather: How do you sustain weight loss until you reach your desired weight and then how do you maintain it?

Tip 1: Keep Moving

One point on which all studies concerning weight loss agree is the activity factor. Most people start off with plenty of vigour. A few weeks later however, things usually look quite different. The motivation decreases, and with it, the physical activity.

This is where the problem regarding energy consumption lies.

Your body perceives losing weight as an adverse effect. It is as if we were slowly using up our savings.

Your body perceives losing weight as an adverse effect. It is as if we were slowly using up our savings. The body tries to prevent the savings from being used up and tries to increase them through the regulators “movement motivation” and “appetite”. Our body wants to put a few calories back in the bank (fat deposits).

A serious mistake! Exercise is indispensable in weight regulation, i.e. after an initial phase of weight loss.

Our recommendation: it is best to do a medium to high intensity workout every day, even if you feel worn out and lethargic. Even just 30 minutes of physical activity a day (or 3.5 hours spread over a week) keeps your metabolism going and has a positive effect on physiological parameters such as blood sugar, muscle mass, endurance and motivation to exercise.

Tip 2: Don't lose control

Another factor for decreasing motivation during a change of diet is a lack of self-control.

This refers to a decrease in the monitoring or control of various values, such as weight, diet and physical activity. Studies show that decreasing control of weight, activity and diet goes hand in hand with renewed weight gain.

It is a fallacy that once the change in diet and routine has been achieved, the body can keep this up all by itself.

It is advisable to check your weight loss progress once a week and note it down, for example in a weight loss diary.

What has been measured can be compared and checked more precisely. Only when you regularly check on your progress can you evaluate how small changes affect you and intervene in time if things go in the wrong direction.

Tip 3: Set Realistic Goals

Not achieving goals is frustrating. And what happens when you get frustrated? You give up.

The same goes for the weight loss plateau. It is therefore important that you achieve your weight loss goal during the course of your dietery change. For this reason, it makes sense to aim for smaller goals at realistic intervals, rather than aiming to go straight from couch potato to having your dream body.

This way, your goals remain measurable and you stay motivated and ambitious. You can set yourself a big goal that you want to achieve in an indefinite period of time and then set yourself small, time-limited sub-goals on the way there. In doing so, the big goal in the background can provide you with permanent motivation to achieve the small interim goals.

Tip 4: The Right Diet

In order to lose weight, a calorie deficit is necessary. This means that the number of calories you consume in a given day must be less than the number you burn.

It makes sense to eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates. After all, a protein-rich diet is also helpful for sustained weight loss, it protects your muscles during the weight loss process and it helps you to keep going for longer.

If you eat a diet rich in carbohydrates, adjuments in the metabolism take place that counteract the metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Both factors make weight loss extremely difficult.

Tip 5: Keep your Bases Covered

Further factors that affect successful weight loss are:

  • Support from your social environment
  • Coping strategies for dealing with stress
  • Independence and individual responsibility

If one or more of these factors pose a problem, it is important to deal with them first. How? There are various books and online-platforms as well as coaches and psychologists who have dealt specifically with these issues. Here at Upfit we are also happy to help you with these topics via a live chat. Take active steps against the weight loss plateau — don’t wait for it to resolve itself.

Tip 6: Don't Rely On Diet Aids

What about external aids? The promises of the countless diet products on the market certainly have a great appeal: whether appetite suppressants or fat burners – it is always claimed that the addition of the corresponding product alone has a major impact on weight loss.

But beware: many individual substances support individual processes involved in fat loss or weight reduction. Blood sugar is better regulated, thermogenesis and mitochondrial energy burning are stimulated, individual hormones are promoted or blocked, etc. etc. etc.

It is important to understand that none of these supplements will make a difference on their own.

No remedy can relieve you of your responsibility to eat heathily and get lots of exercise.

It is in your body’s nature not to allow itself to be tricked. Motivation, exercise and a healthy diet help more than any dietery supplement can.

Conclusion: Overcome the weight loss plateau with nutrition, exercise and motivation

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Tips for nutrition:

Of course a plateau in weight loss can occur when the body has adapted to the current situation, i.e. a constant lack of calories. In this case, you need to look at your diet and routine and consider a new way of achieving a calorie deficit in order to lose weight.

Eat with enough variety. Do you rotate vegetables and protein sources or do you always have chicken with courgette and pepper? There are countless different vegetables that have different effects on your body. The body benefits from a wide range of input.

Tips for sport:

You will probably find that your exercise programme – if you have kept it up regularly – will not challenge you as much as it did at the beginning. If so, it is time to turn up the intensity.

Tips for motivation:

Also check how disciplined you have been about bedtime, mealtimes and abstaining from alcohol and from snacks between meals. Has a spoonful of sugar slipped into your coffee lately? Has a latte been recently added to your daily schedule? If so, you should be stricter with yourself again.

Many studies have been able to achieve a constant weight loss over several months, as long as the subjects were willing to follow the rules consistently. Most important was that the diet was followed strictly, that the data was recorded accurately and that a high level of activity was achieved. Of course, this requires a little discipline, but then nobody has ever got rid of their extra pounds while eating pizza on the sofa. Move a lot, keep exercising, remain disciplined when eating and keep a record of your activity, diet and weight. If you have made it this far then you can also make it to your desired weight!


  • Stoppani, J. 2016. Krafttraining. Die Enzyklopädie. 1. Auflage. München: riva-Verlag
  • Wirth, K.; Schlumberger, A.; Zaweja, M.; Hartmann, H. 2013 Krafttraining im Leistungssport. 2. Auflage. Köln: Sportverlag Strauss

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