How to recognize and get through a plateau

02.09.11 |

What is a true weight loss plateau?

We generally define “plateau” as no weight loss for 2 or more weeks.

Some individuals who lose a large amount of weight loss in a very short period of time (i.e. 9 pounds in the first week) will find that some of that initial weight loss was water (in addition to fat) and that in subsequent weeks, it may be that the body is reestablishing the optimal cell hydration status (i.e. they may hold on to water slightly differently compared to the first week when much was flushed from their system). For these individuals, their bodies are still continuing to lose weight (from fat), but on the scale it may appear otherwise (as the scale does not differentiate where the weight is coming from and may not reflect as a “loss” on the scale.

What can “cause” a weight loss plateau?

There are many factors that affect a person’s weight loss efforts including fluid status, age, gender, exercise habits, genetics, menstrual cycle for women, medical conditions, medications and compliance with the plan. Some weeks are better than others. Sometimes after a period of rapid weight loss your body needs to adjust to the change and you might not lose for a period of time after that, or it might slow down.

What can you do if you hit a true weight loss plateau?

  1. Monitor your intake. Check out your compliance with the plan. Remember that grains, fruit and dairy are eliminated during the weight loss phase of the 5&1. Are you measuring or weighing your Lean and Green meal? This is a great way to ensure proper potion sizes. Journaling or recording your intake helps keep you accountable for your intake. A great resource is  This allows you to input your exact intake. It will tell you how many calories, carbohydrates, fat, sodium etc you have eaten in a day.
  2.  Are you exercising? During the first 2-3 weeks, if you haven’t started exercising, we recommend to wait. This allows your body to adjust to the lower calorie level and the fat burning state. If you are not exercising and your have been on plan for at least 2-3 weeks, you may start to incorporate exercise. Sometimes changing exercise up can help to jump start your metabolism. Remember, you can exercise up to 45 minutes per day.
  3. You may consider up to 3 of our Essential One Calorie Burn product line. With 100 milligrams of caffeine (about the amount found in one 8-ounce cup of coffee) and 90 milligrams of EGCG (a potent green tea antioxidant), these products have been specifically designed to help increase thermogenesis, boost metabolism, and control appetite. You may drink up to three (total) CalorieBurn by Medifast products daily. (Consult with your doctor before use. Essential 1 Calorie Burn products may not be appropriate if you are sensitive to caffeine, advised by your doctor to limit caffeine, under the age of 18, pregnant or nursing.)
  4. If you hit a weight loss plateau, take a look at your medication list. Some medications, including thyroid medications, may need to be adjusted and can hinder weight loss. Consult with your personal physician regarding the need to medication adjustment.
  5. In addition, remember to stay hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water. Eating every 2-3 hours will help deter hunger and keep your metabolism going.
  6. Also, please make sure to measure progress not only in pounds. Inches lost, how your clothes fit, your energy levels, etc are all measures of success that many people overlook.

Keep in mind also, that has you get closer to your ideal body weight the weight may come off a bit slower. Of course your ideal body weight depends on height and frame size.