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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What are ways to break a weight loss plateau?

    I have been working out for a couple weeks now and have been losing a decent amount of weight. However, lately I have reached a point where I can no longer lose weight although I am still exercising regularly. I have plateaued - what can I do to continue losing weight as I have yet to achieve the body I desire.
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Luke Delvecchio

    Diabetes Educator, Exercise Physiologist, Nutritionist

    Specializing in the assessment and treatment of metabolism related weight disorders. View Profile

    Remember there are two fundamental ways to lose weight, either consume less energy than you burn, or burn more energy than you consume!  The human body likes to complicate this equation by throwing a few different “spanners in the works” which I am about to discuss.
    As you exercise more and increase your fitness level you also increase or improve your exercising metabolisms efficiency (your muscles actually become 15% more efficient at burning less energy per exercise session), so in essence you are burning fewer, and fewer calories each exercise session (this is well documented in the scientific literature :Goldsmith et al.  Journal of American Physiology. 2010).  Therefore, what was once a great enough calorie deficit to lose weight (i.e prior to plateau) is now, NO longer enough and you now must increase the amount of energy you're burning each workout by going longer, or going harder to increase the total calorie output.

    Another problem is that your resting metabolism decreases as you lose weight, so what this means is that you are also burning fewer calories at rest - this impacts your calorie intake, if you don't increase the calories your burning through exercise, you will then need to compensate by decreasing your current daily dietary calorie intake to continue to provide a deficit or you may find your calorie intake is too high for your reduced metabolic rate and your weight loss will continue to plateau.

  • Simone Sparkes

    HealthShare Member

    Wow I also thank you for that answer, I had always thought it was because of gain of muscle. I have tried to lose weight many times over the years and when I stop exercising due to pregnancy or I start losing faith in myself I gain most or some of the weight back. So now I understand why when I was given an exercise program I had to increase the amount of reps per set. Thanks

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    In terms of dietary stategies to help you to continue losing weight. It works similar to exercise. As you keep exercising, using the same routine, you're body gets used to the load and plateaus out. Same can be said for your diet. If you consume the same amount of kilojoules everyday and don't vary it, you will also reach a plateau.

    To mix it up, if you stay strict during the week, let yourself go a little on the weekends and have some foods that you enjoy. It will help your body to break the cycle :)

    For more information and expert advice consult an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). You can find one close to you by going to

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