Overcoming the Dreaded PLATEAU

help scale


My last post was about getting rid of the Diet Mentality and focusing on changing habits long-term and eating for health and not the scale.

Whether you are changing habits for health reasons or for vanity (weight loss), when most of us are giving up something we love (junk food) we want to be able to see something back in return.

And most of us want to see that return NOW.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way and so we end up in the Limbo zone of the double negative: we’ve given up our beloved foods but we’re not healthy or thin YET. We just feel deprived and fat and low energy and we don’t have anything to show for our monumental changes so far.

This can be discouraging. In fact, so much so that it derails the majority of people’s attempts at changing to healthier eating habits because they can’t weather this phase to “get to the miracle” and see it actually work.


Granted, there are some results that are pretty immediate: weight loss from water retention often posts huge losses on the scale initially, and some health changes can happen pretty quickly, too. Diabetics can see changes in their blood sugars coming down so quickly that if they do not work closely with their doctor to bring down the insulin dosage or stop it altogether, they could have their blood sugars go too low and this is not good.

Blood cholesterol and blood pressure numbers come down quickly too.

What takes more time? Serious health challenges can take awhile to clear up and of course, weight loss, depending on how much weight you need to lose can take awhile as well. Even with big weight loss results, if you have a substantial amount to lose, even if you’ve lost several pounds, it may not even LOOK like it until you’ve gotten down even lower.

It even takes time for our skin to look healthy and beautiful again after having had acne or a lackluster complexion, our nails to grow and become stronger, and our hair quality to change. The body needs time and proper nutrients to replace these inferior tissues with newer, higher-quality ones.

Then there’s the issue of when you are eating right, exercising faithfully, and healing and weight loss seems to come to a screeching halt. It may even be confirmed on a scale that even with no cheating, the scale could show no weight loss or worse, even a temporary GAIN.


Why is this and what can be done about it?

Some possible reasons are:

1) If you are a woman: hormonal swings. During certain times of the month, even if you are not eating any salt, you retain water due to hormonal fluctuations. These gains, of course, are only water and COMPLETELY TEMPORARY. If you weather the hormonal ‘storm’, this water weight will release and you will post even greater gains.

2) For both sexes, this second reason will happen periodically. Let me describe what is happening in the body during healing and weight loss. Damaged and toxic tissues are being broken down and eliminated at an accelerated pace. Think of a demolition crew with a wreaking ball on a sky rise building. This takes an enormous amount of energy to do this reconstruction job.

As with a regular demolition job, the wreaking crew needs to take regular breaks from this strenuous work. So it is with your body. This process of weight loss and healing takes a lot of energy from the body and periodically it needs to regroup its energy to tackle the next stage.

Construction worker sitting on ledge, leaning head back, eyes closed, taking break

So what does one do about this? Well, various advice is given on how to break this type of plateau, such as increasing the intensity of the work-out, or decreasing calories.  These things can aggravate the very reason that the plateau occurred in the first place. Very seldom is advice given that addresses the underlying problem: lack of energy to finish the task.

What is the simple and obvious solution to this? Easy. REST through sleep and sensory rest and let the body catch up with its energy expenditures so it can do the rest of its job.

woman sleeping

We actually should be paying attention to this facet through out our healing and weight loss; indeed, through out our entire lives this aspect is critical as all life activities depend on enough life force to carry out their tasks.

We over work, over emote, over stress, over exercise and we expect our bodies to be able to keep up and do all these things with only a few hours worth of sleep.

In fact, LACK of sleep can actually lead to temporary weight gain even in someone who is healthy and at their goal weight.


Simply because the body then is running on an energy deficit and can’t finish all of the tasks of housecleaning and repair it needs to do and thus falls behind and we have a back log of toxins in our tissues.

All weight gain is the body storing these toxic substances because it does not have the energy for removal.

We all know of people who think they can exercise off a fatty meal only to have them gain weight anyways because exercise, while it stimulates the lymphatic system which is our cellular garbage removal system, can only remove as much as it has the energy to remove. And exercise expends energy.

I know this sounds counter-intuitive since resting is the least calorie expending activity we can do, but we need to divert that energy to healing and waste removal so the body can do its job.

Thus you now understand why a plateau is and what you can do to overcome it.

Whatever you do, do NOT give up eating healthfully and eat junk food out of discouragement. This will only make the situation worse.

We need to be PATIENT and visualize our goal and make it REAL to us and attainable. Do not give up and you will get there.

bruce lee plateaus

when you feel like quitting

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