Why Is Your Weight Loss Slow or Slowing Down?

It's always exciting to go on a weight loss journey. During the first two weeks, you're so invested – buying gym wear and equipment, switching up your diet, making detox drinks, and more! You might also be a bit obsessed with losing so much weight in so little time. So, you spend hours and hours on YouTube streaming get-toned-quick routines and googling crash diets to lose 10 pounds in one week, which may damage your health in the long run.

If you think deeply, you'll realize that your search for get-toned-quick routines is never-ending. You might not even find out you've been sucked into a vicious dieting cycle #yo-yodieting and keep falling back to your starting weight. 

The bitter truth is slow, steady weight loss is a far healthier and more beneficial alternative to rapid weight loss.

In this article, we'll be answering the question on everyone's mind: "Why is slow weight loss better than rapid weight loss?" 

But first, let's discuss possible reasons for your slow weight loss.

Reasons for Slow Weight Loss

Whether you are losing weight by depriving your body of nutrients or burning more energy than you used to, your body – completely oblivious of your intent – will try to act a hero by fighting back. But not immediately. 

At first, you could lose a ton of weight with little to no effort. But, after a while, your weight loss may start to slow down or stop altogether, leading to a weight loss plateau.

Here's a list of possible reasons behind your slow weight loss or weight loss plateau:

1. Poor protein diet

High protein intake aids or supports weight loss by preventing weight regain, reducing cravings, and improving metabolic speed. On the other hand, a low protein diet promotes unhealthy weight regain, stimulates cravings, and slows down metabolism.

2. High-calorie intake

If you start out by eating a low-calorie diet, you are bound to lose weight quickly, but if you increase your daily calorie intake too drastically, it might cause the lost weight to come back on, delay metabolism, and slow weight loss.

3. Not practicing resistance training

High protein intake aids or supports weight loss by preventing weight regain, reducing cravings, and improving metabolic speed. On the other hand, a low protein diet promotes unhealthy weight regain, stimulates cravings, and slows down metabolism.

4. Binge eating

Sometimes, it's not about eating healthy foods. Eating the right amount is just as important.

When you binge eat healthy food, you stuff your body with excess calories that may slow your weight loss. Even worse if you're binge eating unhealthy, processed foods.

5. Reduced physical activity

Engaging in physical exercises, like cardio, increases your heart rate and effectively burns the harmful fat that builds up around your vital organs. When you don't engage in physical activities, this excess fat keeps building up and can lead to slower weight loss, chronic fatigue, joint pains, and poor metabolic rate.

6. Consuming sugary beverages

Sugary beverages are laden with tons of calories and are a stumbling block to your weight loss journey. They are oh-so-sweet to your taste buds and yet oh-so-harmful to your heart and overall health and can keep you on a weight loss plateau or even increase your weight!

If you can, totally avoid them and look for other healthier alternatives, like smoothies, carbonated water, iced tea, white milk and chocolate drinks, and herbal teas.

7. Poor sleep quality

While you sleep, your body is actively burning calories and maintaining your mental and physical health. Studies show that poor sleep is a high-risk factor for chronic fatigue and obesity. Doctors recommend you sleep for about 7–9 hours to maintain your health and melt away weight more rapidly.

8. High-carb diet

A high-carb diet leads to unhealthy weight gain and slow metabolism. Recent studies show that a low-carb diet is an effective way to speed up your weight loss.

9. Dehydration

Water is life. It offers numerous health benefits, including weight loss and high metabolism.

Doctors recommended 8 glasses (64 ounces) of water each day to improve metabolism and bodily functions. In one 12-week weight loss study conducted by Elizabeth A. Dennis et al., people who drank half a liter (17 ounces) of water before their meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn't.

10. Excess alcohol intake

Generally, alcoholic beverages are high in calories. If you're looking to lose weight, a mix of spirits and zero-calorie drinks is a better alternative to improve your weight loss and metabolic activities.

Slow Weight Loss vs. Fast Weight Loss

Slow and steady wins the race. Always.

Slow weight loss is more beneficial to meeting your long-term fitness goals than rapid weight loss. At the initial stage of a weight loss program, the rapid weight loss might get you thinking it's fat loss when it's actually water or muscle weight loss.

Slow weight loss also allows your body to adapt to changes better, unlike rapid weight loss. Taking your fitness journey one step at a time gives your body more time to heal from and unlearn poor lifestyle choices and grow into and learn better lifestyle choices.

Also, with rapid weight loss comes rapid weight gain. Why? Because your body barely has any time to adapt to losing weight so quickly, it falls back to a more familiar state – weight gain – almost immediately.

So, take it slow – aim at losing about 1–2lb per week. This way, you'll get to learn more about what your body likes and absolutely hates.

Weight-Loss Plateau, and What to Do About It

A weight-loss plateau is the most frustrating stage of a person's fitness journey. According to research, weight loss plateaus occur after around 6 months of following a low-calorie diet.

But what are weight loss plateaus?

When you're at a weight loss plateau, you stop losing weight and remain stuck at your current weight. No matter what you do, you can't tell if your weight-loss strategies work anymore because your body isn't giving feedback, i.e., neither losing nor gaining weight.

Doctors propose that weight loss plateaus occur because:

  • of rapid weight loss, which leads to a slow metabolic rate
  • after a few months, people give up on their diet plans (yo-yo dieting)
  • the body has adapted to the weight loss and is fighting back to prevent further weight loss

So what can you do about weight loss plateaus? Here's how you can break through them:

Frequent high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Exercise is an excellent weight loss strategy that can help you tone up your muscles and improve your metabolic rate. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises or 75–150 minutes of high-intensity exercises for adults every week.

To continue to see results, you may need to keep adjusting the intensity of your workout throughout your weight loss journey. The first step to breaking through your weight loss plateau is to step out of your comfort zone.

Reduce stress

Studies have shown that stress levels and weight loss are directly proportional. So, reducing your stress levels will help you lose weight.

Quality sleep

Getting quality sleep can help you break your weight loss plateau. According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, sleeping for the same and an adequate number of hours (7 to 9) can improve your weight loss outcome.

What if Weight Loss Isn't for You?

Suppose your clothes don't fit like they used to, and for whatever reason, you've gained some weight in your underarms, belly, or thighs.

Now, you're searching for intermittent fasting programs, diet and workout plans, and maybe even pills to help you shed off your extra weight. But do you really need to lose weight?

Generally, if your body mass index (BMI) is:

  • 18.5 or less, you're underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9, you have an ideal weight
  • 25 to 29.9, you're overweight
  • 30 or higher, you're obese

BMI is an excellent tool to determine obesity and excess weight, but doctors claim it has limitations. So it's not enough to gauge your wellness by your BMI values alone.

To know if you need to lose weight, here are 7 questions experts recommend you answer:

  • How's your lifestyle?
  • How are you feeling?
  • What's your family history?
  • What's your weight history?
  • How's your body weight distributed?
  • What's your waist size?
  • What's your health profile?
  • At the end of the day, it's your health – not the numbers on the scale – that matters. If you have a healthy BMI, focus on taking the right amount of nutritional value of your food, avoid emotional eating and starvation, and maintain your healthy BMI.

    Your ultimate goal should be to maintain good health and fitness. Always reach out to experts like doctors, dietitians, and fitness trainers to discuss your weight loss and fitness journey.


    1. What is a healthy pace to lose weight?

    Most professionals agree that losing 1–2lb per week is optimal. 

    2. How can I lose weight slowly and permanently?

    To lose weight slowly, consistently, and permanently, pair regular and intense exercise with a healthy, balanced diet.

    3. How can I speed up weight loss?

    You shouldn’t strive for very fast weight loss. Slow weight loss guarantees gradual, more permanent results, while a rapid fat loss puts you at risk of gaining everything you lost (and more) back.

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