Fat Loss

7 Secrets For Breaking A Weight Loss Plateau

In this post I’m going to give you my 7 secrets for breaking a weight loss plateau so you can get back to dropping fat fast.

Even if I give my clients and Napa boot camp members a great fat burning workout and a diet plan there are still some small parts of the fat loss system that they’re not doing that’ll give them big results.

The whole weight loss thing can be a pain in the butt at first because there are so many small things that you should be doing or else the wheel of success won’t be complete.

Now these 7 tips are not going to cover everything under the sun but it’s fair to say that 80%-90% of the reason why you’re not losing weight is because of them.  Forgetting to do these will probably cause you to fail with weight loss sooner or later so it’ll be a super wise idea to take a couple minutes and read this thoroughly so you can implement them immediately.

Secret #1 Not Eating Breakfast

Everybody’s busy in the morning and most people either don’t have the time or they don’t have the motivation to prepare a breakfast.  Not only is your body in a fasted state in the morning but your fat burning metabolism is shut down.

The best thing you can do is eat within 30 minutes of waking up and eat a full meal with lots of protein in it.  Stay away from white carbohydrates like donuts, dairy and also grains such as oatmeal.  These have all proven to cause an insulin response in the body, which will immediately screw with your blood sugar levels and put your body in fat storing mode.

Even if you’re on the run I suggest to my clients to hard boil a couple eggs the night before and eat them the next morning.  If you can’t do eggs then get a bunch of protein-loaded foods in your mouth such as turkey bacon, a protein shake with at least 20g of protein in it, organic bacon, organic sausages and even cottage cheese if you’re desperate (I know, I know it’s dairy but getting that early morning protein is critical). Yes eggs are healthy for you.

Not only eating a big breakfast will jump start your metabolism but it’ll also stave off your appetite later in the day.

Secret #2 Not Getting Enough Protein

This is another one that seems to be way hard for my clients because most people don’t have a clue of what has protein in it.  But for every meal you should ideally be getting at least 20g of protein, and in the morning you should be trying to double that.

Also a lot of people also are not getting enough calories overall into their diets, which is causing them to go into a weight loss plateau.  I wouldn’t recommend restricting calories and portions to the point where you’re starving all the time.  I recommend to my clients to eat until they are 80%-90% full and then wait 15 minutes before eating more if they’re still hungry.

Secret #3 Not Drinking Enough Water

Even if my clients are sticking to the diet plan and workouts to a T, they’ll still hold onto weight if they’re not drinking enough water.  I’ve noticed this more commonly amongst women who for some reason just don’t like to drink water.

A good rule of thumb to stay hydrated is to drink at LEAST half your bodyweight in fluid ounces daily.  And that’s the absolute minimum, if you’re working out, eating too much sodium, drinking caffeine and/or drinking alcohol you should drink more.

Especially try to drink more water on your cheat days, because most people will load up on carbs they’ll naturally lose water because it’ll be drawn into the digestive system.

Secret #4 Boost Your Calorie Intake & Exercise Output

A little trick that I picked up along the way for breaking a weight loss plateau is to increase you calorie intake by 25% while also at the same time increasing how many calories you burn by 25%.

By doing this you’re pretty much telling your body that you’re not calorie broke and you still have food coming in.  When this happens you’re body is going to quickly go right back into fat burning mode and it’ll be the ideal time to start working out to burn some more fat.

Obviously I’m not big on counting your calories and such but this will work.  All you really have to do is add another small meal in somewhere in your diet or eat a little more with each meal than normal.  Then get in the gym and start shredding some fat again.

Secret #5  Working Out Too Much

I’ve seen people and even some of my clients working out in the gym or going for super long runs 10-12+ hours a week.  This is quickly going to lead to overtraining and overeating as you try to make up for all the calories your burning in the gym.

Overtraining will shut down your metabolism and actually cause you to lose muscle.  For the majority of people I wouldn’t recommend more than 3-5 hours tops of intense exercise per week, unless you know what you’re doing and you’ve built up to it.  Otherwise you’re just going to end back up in a weight loss plateau.

Secret #6  Weighing Yourself Too Often & Before Menstruation

This one might sound a little strange but it’s the truth.  Up to 10 days before a woman’s period she’ll retain a lot more water than normal and it’ll completely skew their weighings.

I’ve seen women beat themselves over not losing weight even though they’re sticking to diet and workouts and it’s all because they’re just holding more water.

Next time try waiting until the day after your period before you weigh yourself.

Secret #7 Stop Eating So Much Sweeteners

It’s no secret that I’m completely against consuming too many sweeteners and if you’re trying to lose weight you shouldn’t be eating them at all.  Eating natural or artificial sweeteners will both cause an increase in your insulin and put your body in fat storing mode.

The worse is high fructose corn syrup which is almost everything at the grocery store, even ketchup (get the organic brand instead).  This also includes Splenda, aspartame and even lately they’ve found that some “natural” sweeteners such as agave nectar is bad too.

Also a lot of food companies are getting tricky by claiming their product is “sugar-free” but they’ll load it up with fruit juices which is basically another form of sugar.  I’d recommend using spices such as cinnamon and vanilla instead.  If you absolutely have to have some sugar really try to regulate it or else you’ll just keeping on plateauing.

I’d also recommend checking out the Final Phase Fat Loss system if you’re interested on how to lose the last 10 pounds.

That’s pretty much it for my 7 Secrets of Breaking A Weight Loss Plateau.  Hopefully this’ll help you out if you’ve hit a snag in your weight loss program.

Until next time…

Josh

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16 Comments


  1. Evan

    January 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I have enjoyed the info you have shared so far very much the only confusion I have, is about oatmeal. A lot successful training diets swear by oatmeal. I find that oatmeal light my metabolic furnace. A small cup of oatmeal and couple of eggs has helped me out a great deal in terms of leaning out. Is your recommendation for no oatmeal to help break the plateau or is it no oatmeal in general.
    Thank you Josh,

    Evan

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      January 31, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      @Evan Thanks for you comment Evan, I don’t recommend eating oatmeal because it will cause an insulin response in your body. Check out my latest post Is Gluten Bad For You? to see more. But if I were you I would experiment without it for a week and track your measurements along with how good you’re feeling. Substitute cooked black beans to replace the carbohydrates and see the results for yourself. Keep me updated!

      Reply

  2. Karen

    January 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Josh,

    I LOVE all of your advice! Thank you SO much for the time you put into your website and youtube.

    I am currently at this weight loss plateau. I am 5’2, 120lbs and am trying to lose the last 10 pounds. Could you put an example of a “daily food plan” that I could follow? Any other dieting/exercise tips would also be great.

    Thanks again, you are truly an inspiration!

    Karen

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      January 31, 2011 at 3:42 pm

      @Karen thanks for the comment Karen! I would suggest eating a lot of protein, green vegetables and drinking lots of water. Cut out sugars, grains, dairy, carbs as well. Make sure that you eat every 4 hours and get lots of sleep. Crank up the intensity in your workouts as well.

      Reply

  3. Christina

    January 23, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Great tips, as usual!

    I’m trying to break through a plateau currently and am having a bit of a hard time trying to balancing how much exercise I get in. The problem is, I’m doing intensive cardio workouts nearly every single day, adding in a couple days of strength training, and on top of that, I’m training to run in a 10K so I try add in a couple miles a day. If I take one day off to recuperate, I just feel guilty or unproductive. It’s really unhealthy overtraining but I’m sort of addicted to working-out!

    Also, just wondering -- should we be eating egg yolks? I’ve noticed that recent trends nowadays revolve around egg whites (egg white sandwiches, egg white omelets..etc) and I’m a little bit confused about whether or not egg yolks are good or beneficial for you?

    Thanks Josh! Love your site.

    Reply

  4. Erin

    January 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    What should a cheat meal be like exactly and how often should they happen when trying to lose the last few pounds of stubborn body fat?

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      January 31, 2011 at 3:46 pm

      @Erin On the cheat day you there aren’t any rules. You can eat whatever you want all day as long as you keep it on that day only. You can eat pizza, bacon cheeseburgers and milkshakes until you want to puke. Just limit it to one day per week and it’s only allowed if you stick to the diet for the rest of the week.

      Reply

  5. Zahra Brown

    February 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Too much exercise definitely caused my recent plateau. Things were going well until I jumped from burning on average 400 calories a workout to 700. My body said, “No” and hasn’t gone down since.

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      February 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

      @Zahra

      Way to figure out what was going on Zahra. I’m constantly surprised to see people overtraining and they’ll have no idea what they’re doing to their bodies.

      Reply

  6. Damon H

    March 3, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Yeah just hit a plateau.. But, the thing is my body has taken a complete opposite turn. I am at the same amount of calories that I’ve been consuming for a month that i lost the first ten pounds from and I’ve actually increased the amount i burn through exercise by 1,000 calories a week and my body has gained 3lbs and my waist has gained a half inch back. But, i did switch positions at work within the last two weeks and the new job is quite intense could that be the cause of my body doing this.

    Reply

  7. Dan

    September 1, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Late to the party, but hopefully you will still get this.

    At 231# and 30+ body fat I was fortunate to be given Insanity. I might have started with something less intense, but being broke and fat, I decided to just do my best. On Monday my wife and I will be on our last week and I have consistently lost 2 pounds per week until recently. I hit 214 but have not been able to break it AND I am gaining weight again!

    Your post has been helpful as I try to figure out what to do. I realize that the only thing I am doing differently is: I am working out more in the second phase of the program but am not feeling the need to eat those calories. When I was burning 400-600 per workout I was losing weight consistently and feeling great. Now that I am burning 650-1000 a day, I am actually gaining a little weight back and getting frustrated.

    While I don’t try to starve myself, I assumed the extra calories burned would lead to equal or greater weight loss. That’s not happening. I clearly don’t know what I am doing or how this all works.

    Should I be exercising less? Should I be eating more? Could the problem be that I am burning more but not eating those calories? (I am on a calorie deficit for two-pounds a week already, so I had been eating the calories burned and losing weight previously) I need to figure this out before I gain my weight back. I still have at least 20 pounds to go! Thanks for any thoughts. Sorry to ramble. This stuff can be mentally debilitating.

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      September 16, 2011 at 7:22 pm

      Hi Dan,

      Is not always the amount of calories that your eating because you put on fat or not lose it but actually the kinds of calories you’re consuming. As long as you’re eating healthy you don’t have to restrict your caloric intake because doing so will actually cause you to stop losing fat eventually.

      Reply

  8. Dan

    September 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Going back and reading Damon H’s comment, that is exactly what has happened to me essentially. : (

    Reply

  9. goshi

    August 22, 2012 at 8:24 am

    my name is goshi and i m 25 years old and two kids.my weight is 220 pounds.i feel so bad i dont go out and enjoy my life i feel crying almost all the time.some time i want to hide and want to for but caz of the kids i dont my little one is only 4 month .i m from pakistan.i wana vist pakistan but i cant go like that plz help me .i got lot of information from here . u r realy nice .plz help me.u r helping so many people.plz help me .what i can do for weight lose what is the best workout for me and what i can eat and is there any tablet for losing weight ? plz rely me

    Reply

  10. Amy

    July 6, 2013 at 8:08 am

    Thanks for the tips!

    Strange that oatmeal would cause a stall. I have eaten it the for the whole duration of my “lifestyle change” and have successfully lost 97 pounds!

    I guess it depends on the person, underlying medical conditions, MBR and activity levels? Protein in the morning-I agree, is important!

    Thanks for the great post-especially about women’s menstration-I put on 5 pounds of water weight during that pain in the butt week!!

    Best,

    Reply

    • Josh Schlottman

      July 27, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Hi Amy, oatmeal is going to cause everybody to stall but I recommend my clients who are struggling to lose weight to kick it out of their diet for a few weeks to see if they notice anything different. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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About Josh

josh-and-dog

Hi, I’m Josh and my life mission is to help 100,000 people achieve their goals in health and fitness.  I’m a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with a degree in Nutrition, and over 10 years experience personal training. I’m looking forward to giving all I can to help you reach your goals.