If you’ve spent any time at all trying to lose weight, you’ll probably look at “plateau” as a dreaded word. Plateaus represent an obstacle in the battle to lose weight. But what is a weight loss plateau?
Information is scarce.
I realized I’ve never actually asked, “what is a weight loss plateau”, so I googled “definition weight loss plateau” and found… nothing. Okay, so obviously google returned hundreds of search results. But they were all focused on breaking through a plateau and resuming weight loss. Call me crazy, but I think looking for a solution to a problem before actually defining the problem is putting the cart before the horse.
Definition of a plateau.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’ve lost 50 pounds over the past year and a half. I’ve spent the past six months working with an amazing weight coach, Dr. Katrina Ubell, and she offered the first actual definition of a plateau I’ve ever heard. As Katrina defines it, a plateau is:
- No weight loss for 2-3 weeks,
- while following your plan 100% of the time.
Plateaus are long!
I think so many of us fail to lose weight for a week, or even a few days, and huff in frustration, “Stupid plateau.” But when we ask, what is a weight loss plateau, it’s pretty evident that plateaus are longer than the normal variation in weight loss. It’s super common for weight loss to go in fits and spurts. If you don’t believe me, look at the graph of my weight over a seven month period. Even when I’m losing weight steadily, I’ll stay at the same weight for many days. This is a normal part of the process!
If you aren’t following your plan, you’re not in a plateau.
If you think about it, a plateau is something external. It’s your body no longer losing weight, despite changes in your eating habits. Really it’s your body adjusting to a new weight set-point. So if you’re sneaking bites of dessert, or eating more than your plan allows, a plateau is not the reason you aren’t losing weight. You aren’t losing weight, my friend, because you aren’t following your plan.
I love this definition because it negates the vast majority of the time we think we’re in a plateau. Often we’re not giving our bodies enough time to adjust, or we’re not really following our plan.
So what do you do if you truly are in a plateau? I’ll touch on that in a future post, but for now I’m going to direct you to Katrina’s fabulous podcast on the topic of plateaus. Thank you for joining me today! If you like what you’ve read, enter your email on the right side of the homepage to subscribe to future blog posts!
Dr. Greer is a Plastic Surgeon in Cleveland, OH. Her passion is helping moms regain their self-confidence by getting rid of sogginess, wrinkles, and stubborn fat. You can read more about her at www.greerplastics.com.
Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.