My Weight Loss Stopped! Is this a Plateau?
By Heidi Diller, RD
So you’re eating healthy and hit the gym regularly and suddenly your weight loss stopped. In fact, you’re up two pounds! The truth is, it’s totally normal for your weight to sometimes fluctuate by up to five pounds every day. Does that mean you gained that much fat in one day? No, it’s almost physiologically impossible to gain that much fat in one day.
So here’s the deal… your body weight can fluctuate every day based on your hydration level, exercise habits, and what you’re eating.
Weight loss stopped? Check your water and hydration
Hydration and body water fluctuations can change your scale body weight, big time! Water makes up roughly 60% of your total body weight. For example, weigh yourself and then drink a 16-ounce glass of water and you’ll be a pound heavier! And it works the other way also, just being slightly dehydrated might cause your body to hold on to water too.
Your sodium intake can play a big role in water balance. Have you ever noticed after a sodium-rich Chinese food meal your body will hang on to more water? Excess sodium in the diet may temporarily increase your body weight within a day or two of eating it.
Hormones can play a role too. If you’re a woman, you may notice several pounds of water retention during that dreaded “time of the month”. This can be minimized by drinking plenty of water, exercising and limiting high-sodium foods.
Weight loss stopped? Check your carbohydrate Intake
You’re trying to eat healthier now so you start eating fewer processed foods and most likely less carbohydrates. When you eat less, you begin to use up your glycogen stores. Glycogen is your body’s quick energy source and is stored in your muscle and liver. You can store anywhere from 3-4 grams of water along with every gram of glycogen. When you start eating less calories and less carbs, your body uses up your glycogen stores first (before using the fat) and you lose water along with it. And that feels good, right? The scale drops five pounds in two days. But this type of weight loss isn’t body fat, it’s glycogen stores and water…and unfortunately, once you start eating more calories or carbohydrates again, it will come right back!
Weight loss stopped? Check your exercise routine
Along with dieting, hopefully you’ve been exercising more. So this means you could be building muscle. Muscle gained may show up as a weight on the scale too. Even if the scale goes up or doesn’t budge, your body is going through some awesome changes when you exercise and eat right. Since fat takes up more space per pound than muscle, fat loss often shows up in inches lost instead of a number on the scale.
Remember, the scale doesn’t just weigh your fat. It weighs your entire body, including muscle, bone, water, and fat. So when you step on the scale it’s far from telling the full story.
If you’re making changes that make you feel healthy and more like yourself, you’re on the right track. And try spending less time on the scale and more time appreciating the way your clothes fit or the way your body feels and how you have more energy.
You’ve put in a lot of hard work to help feel your best! For more on how to break a plateau, click here.
Making the decision to lose weight isn’t easy. Our ReShape Balloon Specialists are here to help! To learn more about the full ReShape program please call 844-355-5974.Or if you need to find a ReShape trained practice in your area, go to https://reshapeready.com/get-started/, plug in your information and hit submit.