Weight Loss NHS
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What can I do to break through this plateau?

I'm so upset right now. It's like every time I step on the scales I see worse results, but I've been following the plan faithfully. I have been trying to lose weight since 15 Jan, and in the first 4 weeks I lost an average of 1 1/2 lbs per week, but over the last 4 weeks my weight suddenly stagnated and has gone down a couple hundred grams, then up a couple hundred grams. I'm still weighing all my food, so I know I'm not underestimating portions, I'm tracking every morsel, I'm not eating the same food every day, I'm getting plenty of fruit and veg, and 2 weeks ago I started adding in strength and cardio exercise. Not too much, just a yoga/pilates class 3 days a week and walking/jogging with the dog.

What else can I do?!

6 Replies

HI eechristmas,

Look - it's just not a precise science!

For many different reasons your body sometimes won't go into fat burning mode - it's not only about the mathematics of calories in and calories out.

And, if it's any consolation, my weight's been going up and down and although I've passed the big milestone of now only being overweight - since then I've only lost about 0.3 Kg. I could probably 'pee' a bigger weight loss than that!

But, my routine has been all over the place the last week or so, I've had quite a lot of stess/anxiety, been short of my normal amounts of sleep and dropped a few exercise sessions.

So, in fact, I'm not surprised.

Stress, loss of sleep - just to name two factors - can cause your body to produce hormones which inhibit weight loss. A bit like the way that if you drink acohol, your body deals with getting rid of the nutrition-less and actually toxic alcohol, and is therefore too busy to deal with burning fat. (So alcohol is a double-whammy, because it's also 7 kcal a g.)

I seem to remember that you have a liking for sweet things, so perhaps you need to explore if you are having sugar 'spikes' which also tend to put your body into fat storage mode. Perhaps you just need to manage your blood sugar levels a bit better by reducing the amount of sweet stuff you have at any one go - (or spreading it out over a few meals / snacks) - or mixing it in with more savoury / neutral food at any one sitting.

Anyhow, for me, that leaves me a couple of choices, either I 'tread water' until I can stabilise my routine a bit better, or I try to trim off a few more calories from the food input. (Realistically, I can't really fit in more exercise at the moment).

I've plotted my weight loss progress against a 'theroretical' loss of 1 Kg a week from my starting point (11/1/13) and currently I'm ahead of the game by a couple of weeks or so. Therefore - for the moment - I'm going to tread water and review the situation in another week or so.

Good luck.


Thanks for the reply.

I've been really good on the dessert front lately. The only cakes I've had were those tiny little tesco light choices lemon drizzles, and the box of 6 lasted me 2 weeks, which is unheard of.

And I've given up alcohol almost entirely and had 1 glass of champagne last night at our wedding menu tasting and 1/2 a glass of champagne at my friend's wedding last week. Other than that, I've been alcohol-less since the new year.

I also get enough sleep, I eat when I feel hungry and don't feel like I'm starving myself.

I'm glad you're ahead of the game for your plan. I theoretically had hoped to lose 1 lb a week, and from my starting point on 15 Jan I'm down 7.2lbs (in 7 weeks and 3 days), so I suppose I'm on target that way, but I'm most definitely not ahead of the game and I've got that horrible 'it's not fair!' complex going on. I see so many people able to lose the weight, I'm doing good things, I've made the changes necessary, I'm getting active, but just like all those other times I tried to lose weight after 6 weeks or so it just.. STOPS.

But I'll keep going. Maybe it will just restart on its own. Maybe this is just something my body does. But then there's that dark nagging feeling that my body adjusts its metabolism to only burn enough to keep me where I am here in overweight-ville and doesn't want to get to a healthy weight.



Everytime ive hit a plateau, ive tried a different approach on the exercise. Try a different exercise, will be possibly using different muscle groups and a different approach can also stop boredom hitting.

Try a spin class, great calorie burn and cardio workout i took up badminton again after many years and found running around the court was not only fun but left me sweaty and panting.

Good luck



Sounds like you need to up the intensity in your exercise.

Did you try the cardio workout on the nhs pages?


Hi eechristmas,

I've just been through exactly the same thing, after adding strength training to my usual cardio routine I suddenly hit a 1 month plateau, the scales would absolutely not budge - my weight loss had been fairly slow and steady (60 lbs since last August) until this point and I've been at my wits end trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. I log and weigh all food religiously and hadn't succumbed to calorie creep. I tried upping my exercise & cutting my calories drastically in an effort to shake things up a bit but still absolutely no change.

Finally on the advice of my dietician I upped my calories very slightly, had a day or two 'off' of fretting about it and 2 days later I'm 3 pounds lighter! You may just have to ride it out, like Doikosp said, it's not a precise science and all kinds of things can cause weight loss to stall even when we are doing our very best. I've no doubt that yours will restart just like mine did and next time this happens (and it probably will) we'll be safe in the knowledge that we got through it once so we can do it again.

Good luck!


Have you taken your measurements? Sometimes the scales aren't kind and don't show us what we deserve, but the loss of cms or inches is a good way to keep you motivated and show you a good result.

I always do mine in cm, I found it encouraged me more to see 2.5cm instead of 1inch.

Maybe some interval training will help? Don't let your body get used to your exercise routine, keep it on its toes ;)

Good luck x


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