How To Break A Weight Loss Plateau (Step By Step Guide)

In this video you’ll discover a full step by step guide on how to break a weight loss plateau.

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First, let’s define a plateau.

Weight loss isn’t linear, your body weight changes will often be in spurts.

A plateau is defined as a period of about 4 – 6 weeks where you were stuck at a certain body-weight.

There’s only 3 possibilities for a weight loss plateau:

Type 1 – Not adhering to the program

Type 2 – New caloric maintenance

Type 3 – Water Retention Effect

It can be one or a combination of all 3 factors.

Type 1 Plateau – Not adhering to the program

We can look at 2 categories:

1. Conscious – You know you’re not following the program. The hard thing is essentially to admit to yourself that you are having a hard time following the diet.

2. Unconscious.

People often fail without even knowing.

Study of 224 subjects showed that people claimed 47% less caloric than they actually ate and overestimated activity by 51%.

A few high calorie meals here and there can easily erase a week’s worth of caloric deficit.

Both of these conscious and unconscious issues are usually solved by objective tracking using tools like MyFitnessPal.

Type 2 Plateau – Arrival At New Caloric Maintenance

This is normal and to be expected. This is why tracking is key.

Breaking through type 2 plateaus

Once you reach this plateau there’s 3 options to overcome it:

1) Eat less calories
2) Add more exercise
3) Combination of both

To pick which of those 3 you can use first you want to analyze and see what is the most realistic plan of action for you.

Type 3 Plateau – Water Retention The “Whoosh” Effect

This is where people panic after waking up every morning to see no progress on the scale.

Maybe you’re eating too much?

Maybe you’re not doing enough cardio, maybe there’s too many carbs?

This is especially true for people who combine large amounts of activity with large caloric deficit.

Most people lack patience to wait it out so they cut calories further and/or increase activity which just makes the problem worse.

Solution 1 (Best option): Patience

Simply be patient if you are adhering to your diet and exercising, there is no magic that is preventing fat from being lost.

It’s just being masked by water retention! You will dump the water eventually.

It’s not uncommon to be stalled for 2-3 weeks to wake up 4-6 pounds lighter seemingly overnight just by waiting it out.

Solution 2: High Carb Refeeds

Minnesota Starvation Experiment ( during World War 2.

The objective of this study was to establish guidelines for properly refeeding war prisoners.

The men were getting 1500-1800 kcal per day in a controlled setting lasting 6 months, with moderate amounts of daily activity.

At the start men were losing weight linearly, about 2 lbs per week.

However, after some time the weight loss occurred in “bursts” with long periods of plateaus.

Water retention was noticeable in most men and in some cases quite severe.

Half-way through the study they allowed men a relief dinner to celebrate the progress.

A big meal of 2300 kcal was served and that night everyone got up more often than usual to urinate.

The next day they discovered that they had each lost several pounds.

This was not a one-time occurrence.

When the experiment was over and the refeeding began, the men continued to drop weight until calories were increased substantially.

Solution 3 – Diet Break

Take a break from dieting by going to maintenance calories for 1-2 weeks and get used to the new weight.

Solution 4 – Relax

Do something fun and relaxing that will reduce your stress levels and you’ll experience a drop in weight. Often when people go on a holiday after a long diet this tends to happen.

Solution 5 – Sleep

One of the many reasons to get enough sleep is inadequate rest increases cortisol levels, which, as you know, increases water retention.

Hope you enjoyed!

Post any question you have in the comments below!

Talk soon, Mario

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Matthew Christian says:

Very amazing context man. I took a bit of a break a few weeks back and it helped a lot. But I still am in the same area. Did I just do the break wrong and should I just do another one. I think it could also be I work out to much so I am boring way more then I eat. Do you have any recommendations

saurabh says:

doesn’t having less water when doing workouts leads to gaining water weight & bloating ? isn’t having a lot of water will keep one from gaining water weight.. couldn’t agree more on the proper sleep effect…

Recovery Kid Seth says:

Thanks bro!

George Kanaan says:

Hey Mario! I went crazy after this weekend.
briefly, I was 76.5kg on December. Been dieting hard. I got stuck at 64kg and it feels like a plateau, but managed to go down to 62.5kg last week surprisingly (using 500cal/day).
Since, I have increased my calories day by day a little bit (from 1000 to 2500cal).
Last Friday, I was at 64.4kg. That day, I ate a bunch of carbs in the evening and drank one beer and a couple of wine glasses, danced all night afterwards. Saturday, I woke up at 64.7kg. Saturday, I did not eat anything at all but woke up at 65.2kg Sunday!!
That drove me crazy. Sunday, I had lunch only with the family, so I drank 3 glasses of wine and ate cheese, meat and 3 pieces of cake. I didn’t get the chance to count those calories, but today I woke up at 66.2kg.
So in one week I gained more than 3.5kg as you can see although I am dieting hard most of the time and I am going to the gym every single day, plus going to and back from work on a skateboard (30 mins every week day).
I think I will add some cardio again.
Today I ate about 1500 cal so far and have been drinking alot of water and coke zero. I am hoping this helps. I have been so many times to the toilet to piss of course.
Your video has given me some faith in water retention. I hope this is what has created all this impossible weight gains.
What do you think?

VIDA EM MUDANÇA - Wagner Biondo says:

What is the best TDEE calculator in your opinion?

vj21vj21 says:

Amazing video Mario, simply superb!!

jason sheedy says:

is it possible that if I eat very low calories my body will resist dropping weight (fight against it) or is that a mth?

Günter Vitting says:

i just noticed yesterday because i did several weighings that there is a huge flactuation on my scale , 2 kg or more in 2 minutes
i concluded the battery is empty, i replaced it . and see i did loose weight after all !!
also did i gain a noticable degree of muscle mass
( i am a beginner exerciser , ie. i made a brake of 3 years )

i really aprecheciate your motivational videos and your work in this regard !!
i am a hobby video filmer and i know how much work it is
thanks again Mario
regards Günter

John Stepp says:

I’m still losing body fat, but not the weight, so I must be gaining mass?
or retaining water from creating(?)

Jason Martinez says:

Awesome material Mario! You never cease to provide informative material. The bit where you discussed going on vacation or during the holiday and how you may lose weight is so damn accurate!!! I’m emphasizing this for individuals who take nutrition and fitness seriously. From a personal experience, I went on vacation a few weeks ago. I track my macro’s and fitness regiments as closely as possible but when I went on vacation I decided to completely relax and not count any of my nutrition intake but I didn’t necessarily lose control either. I enjoyed myself in moderation (with food) and I exercised 3 of the 5 days I was on vacation. I came back home 5 pounds lighter! I wasn’t necessarily trying to lose weight but it just happened. I think you’re spot on in your topics about holding on to water weight and managing stress and how it affects a person’s body weight. Keep up the amazing work!

Melissa Lewis says:

Ok I’ve been dieting for 9 months and I have lost weight 50lbs.Im still losing but very slowly trying to reach my goal.According to my scale I should consume 2240 daily but I think im not eating enough.I do exercise at least 4/5 days a week. Do I need to eat more closer to 2240 I believe my calories I’m eating are too low according to my app daily average is 941. How much of a deficit % should I subtract from 2240. To start getting closer to my goal? I do have a scale that tells me everything it’s saying I’m at29% bf.Yes ready for the flush.

makedeath says:

great video!!!

Ruby Crepemyrtle says:

I am a 46 yo woman who has always struggled with weight. My mother was the only heavy person in her family. I have 4 adult kids and twice I lost a lot only to gain it back., Years ago I was very active, broke my ankle and gained over 100 pounds in a year. I saw three doctors.. all my tests were perfect.. I was told I was just fat. I got off all wheat products 3 months ago.. I dropped between 15 to 20 quickly and have stalled over the last month. I still have over 140 to lose so it seems way to soon to stall. I swim an hour or two every day plus go on a 20 minute walk after dinner. My carbs only come from veggies , I stay in ketosis.. and the scale has fluctuated between 274 and 276 for a month. I expected a stall 40-50 pounds into weight loss.. not this soon. It is so frustrating.

Shadowgrimmm says:

Another day , another great vid for the start of my day. Keep it up, Mario. Great content as usual

dd4087 says:

Hey Mario! Really love the topics you handle on here. I am really confused in a lot of aspects abt my life right now ..mostly career and not having the confidence to feel i can handle future problems. Would appreciate any help you could about these

איתן הינדי says:

I think that was awesome! Wish you would teach that at koocam. I would definitely pay to learn that from you for more suitable tips.

Warnerine X says:

4 to 6 weeks? I haven’t lost weight for 7 days and I’m already so worried that’s what brought me to this video, I’m 6’0 tall 177 lbs right now and trying to get down to 170 or 169 range, my past 7 days have been annoying cause my scale is not moving. Ps I used to weight 192 March this year which is when I started my cut, I mean I’m happy with the results but damn I’m so upset about the past 7 days.

senaaad says:

reason i subbed after watching your vids.

crazy good and most importantly REAL / HONEST answers.

god shit mr. Tomic

fs.Seyam says:

Awesome, I like they way you break things into steps. Makes it look more experienced and less marketing. Thnx brah 😀
I had problems with the new maintenance calorie, so i stooped diet for weeks and went back, weight loss was back on track 😀

Ps: Could you edit you voice volume a little higher, ty 🙂

Günter Vitting says:

thank you ! very informative !
im am a male, 53 years old and 182 cm tall
i work standing in the offcice for 2 hours a day
than i walk 6 km a day
i take 1800 – 2000 kcal a day
but since 3 weeks my weight does not change
but because after my accident and recovery i am now able to train in my home gym for 40 min every day
i can see changes in the mirror because i think i am gaining some muscle
i just have to be more patient
and trust the process
greetings from Germany

capoman1 says:

How about a cheat day or refeed day? Say if you’ve been stuck at a weight for 2 weeks on low calories no cheating?

Explorer Nordhagen says:

Amazing insight man! Thanks

Dimitrije Cakic says:

hey Mario,after a lean bulk this winter, I now go for a bit of cutting. But I feel like I’m not eating enough a day,like I’m super low on calories (1300-1600 instead of 1900 or 2000 like I calculated). is that gonna drop my hormones down and slow my metabolism? and how friquently should I do diet breaks so I don’t ruin my cut?

Mr Manolis says:

I started dieting very strictly but I noticed that now that I eat less I get sick very easily. Can you make video on how to avoid that?

Recovery Kid Seth says:

love your videos man…so here is my situation. since january I have been cutting with some refeed days along the way to help break through plateaus. I was at about 18% body fat and now im around 8 %. I have not been lifting weights just some body weight exercises and lots of long hiking to burn calories. I am super lean but dont like my look because of the lack of muscle mass. I know since im a newbie I could make great gains if I start lifting in a mild surplus. but I dont want to gain any fat for the beach season. should I start lifting now and eat at maintanence so I dont lose any more muscle and wait till fall and bulk then cut again in the spring? or should I bulk now and make those big newbie gains and sacrifice a little bit of that fat gain in the process

Ďa Šoldier says:

mah man xD that was great … thank you !! 😀

Rob Earley says:

Mario your workout video’s are great and your info is spot on. If I were to make one criticism it would be that these video’s where you talk from beginning to end – Although the content is great, it’s not easy to digest sections of the video (especially if you need to scan through it to find the bits that apply to you personally) when it’s just you talking up close from beginning to end. I don’t have a short attention span and I want to listen to what you have to say (and I do) yet I find myself getting easily distracted when watching this type of video. Separate the sections with caption screens perhaps so that it’s easier to scrub/navigate the videos? Just a suggestion. Thanks for putting in the effort to spread very useful information! Cheers from the UK.

Arcan3frost says:

Great videos, appreciate them 🙂

Chris Whalen, CPA says:

first thanks for all your videos., If I reached a fat loss plateau would a 36-hour Fast possibly help me jump start my fat loss again?

nachoijp says:

My only criticism of your channel is that your thumbnails are misleading 😛

Recovery Kid Seth says:

How can I become a client of yours?

es4271 says:

another great video!

Mihir Nk says:

brilliant video. I can see that sleep is a big factor for my stress level. need to work on it.

Yathin Panday says:

Hi Mario as always thanks for all your nutrition and training advice. Definitely one of the best sources for bodybuilding information on youtube. i had gone from 81 kg to 66kg in 8 months using all your techniques described in your videos in order to get ripped but i have stopped trying to reduce weight further because i was losing mass great but the lower belly and love handles were not going down. i was afraid of losing muscle and strength due to too much weight drop without benefits of the belly fat loss. I am now going back to higher calories to try and get the hormonal balance back in check and hoping i can try again. Do you suggest any other method of losing fat other than losing more weight as i know one cannot spot reduce without overall weight loss but im afraid of going too low on the scale and lose all my gains. thanks in advance.

Erika Ramsey says:

I have a question, so I lost around 10lbs this summer. And I was eating less calories for a long time and eating wayyy more clean. After school started though, I began to eat a little more processed food and got less sleep. But I wasn’t crazy overeating and I was eat only about three hundred calories more, but I assumed that was normal because I was playing tennis bc I was on the tennis team. I feel that I’ve actually gained weight. So, recently I cut down my calories again for quite a while and I actually feel like it made me gain weight instead. I do not know what I’m doing wrong. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

Bob Zhang says:

Your video is always so informative and objective. This helps so much. Thanks MARIO, i hope u come to US or China , and I am really eager to meet with u.

Kat Bastet says:

I’m 36 years old, woman, home, intermediate. I train 2 hours a day. and eat clean. I became from 87 kg to 65 kg. but I drink a lot of water daily. maybe that’s why I’m in a weight plateau? I see it in my upper belly. what’s going on? lower belly is small, sides are smaller. but the upper is watery. should I stop drinking water?

Alex7 Alaman says:

I am aboyt1.83 height, my weight is about 76 kilos but even though that im following my programm on my diet, it seems tha i weight 2 more kilow than i used to be, cause 1 month ago i was about.74.3 kilos.
I Do a cheet day and the next day i eat less food, i excerice a lot. and i dont konw whats the reason tha i see 2 more kilos. i also want to inform you tha my clothes dont seem to be more tight than used to be when i was 74.3. my face is the same, an i also think that im more muscled, is there a possiblitty that i ve earned muscles and stayed the same or dropped fat? and how can i estimaye my body fat percentage in accuracy, can you help me with that, i see 4 abs when i flex especially in the morning, but owing to the fact that i was carrying extra weight years before i have loosen skin aroun the navel.
Thanks a lot

Christopher Wanha says:

You have superb content in your videos, and you’re very present in the comments. Many thanks for your hard work!

Caitlinfilmt says:

I just discovered your channel, binge watching already 😉

Francis GIRARD says:

Very informative! Didn’t know about this at all even though it seems to be a very well known and spread phenomena. I really learned. Thank you

Ivana F says:

thank you, very well explaind, this helps alot. I will be more patient 🙂

Para Montana says:

You deserve so many many many more subscribers

been binge watching all your videos like crazy,
learned more from your channel then i did over 3 years of youtubing fitness channels

Pedro Baptista says:

you are right i note that i lose bodyfat because my uper abs are visible but no weight loss omg , i will wait for 2 more weeks 🙁

Ryan M says:

A good solution for water retention is using a bioelectric scale (available at most gyms and every GoodLife). It will tell you your free fat mass and your total body water. It’s helpful in tracking changes and having a relative idea of what your body is doing 🙂

rafał mikula says:

what about LEPTIN levels in body .That’s when on cut it’s important we need to do a diet brake to get a LEPTIN levels go up .

The Wakayama Boy says:

Thanks for the video. Just going through a weight plateau right now. Just curious how much do you weigh and what is your height? My goals is to get to 62 kgs. Currently 71.5 kgs. I was 87 kg around April and dropped to 82.7 kg in May. From August 20 I went a bit serious and lost around 11 kg in 2 months. I rarely exercised as I have to rest my injured leg.

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