Avoiding—and Conquering—that Weight Loss Plateau

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You’ve been humming along, the pounds have been dropping, then bam! Several weeks in a row…NOTHING! Yet, you did the same thing as the previous weeks and you had lost, so what’s up? You’ve hit the dreaded weight loss plateau! Many feel like throwing in the towel at this point because “it’s not working”.

Don’t do it!

Reaching a plateau in your weight loss journey is very common. Pretty much everyone runs headfirst into that weight loss wall at one time or another if you didn’t plan ahead, so you are not alone! I can teach you how to safely get off that plateau and avoid it in the future. For good!

We’ve incorporated three plateau prevention tools into our carb cycling plan which focuses on alternating high-carb and low-carb days to optimize fat burn and weight loss. In order to successfully avoid a plateau, you do need to utilize all three tools.

Tool #1: Reward Days or Reward Meals

Reward yourself! It may sound counter-productive to eat more, to lose, but it works!  Reward Days and Reward Meals are just what the name implies—you get to eat any of those foods you’ve been craving for either a meal or a whole day! And I do mean any—nothing is excluded. Depending on which carb cycle you’re following, you’ll either eat one Reward Meal every high-carb day (Easy Cycle), or have one Reward Day every week (ClassicTurbo, Fit, and Extreme Cycles).

How can you still lose weight and get off that plateau by eating those types of foods? Here’s how: Over time (usually in 4-12 weeks), your body adapts to your eating routine and your metabolism slows down, and that’s when your weight loss can come to a dead stop. By making a dramatic change in calories and foods, you fake out your body and snap it out of that routine! Sneaky, huh? Also, rewarding yourself with those foods you crave, you also quench those cravings (instead of binging on them later!). By eating those extra calories you boost your metabolism so your body burns even more calories. We’ve proven this over and over again with our peeps on the show.

Do you have to eat sugary or trigger foods on your reward day? No. Your goal whether you eat healthy, or want to binge a little bit, it to consume about 1,000 extra calories on a Reward Day and about 300 extra calories at a Reward Meal if you are doing the Easy Cycle.

Tool #2: The Slingshot Week

The Slingshot Week is the last week of the four-week cycle in  the Easy, Classic, Turbo, and Fit Cycles in carb cycling. At the end of an Extreme Cycle 21-day cycle, you can either repeat another cycle if you’re happy with your rate of weight loss, change to the Turbo Cycle if you’d like to turbocharge your weight loss, or do a Slingshot Week. During your Slingshot Week, which is seven days of high-carb days, you’ll still get your Reward Day or Reward Meals, just as during the other three weeks. You might be hesitant to mix up your routine this much, but I promise—it works! Doing something different for a whole week is just what your body needs to get it out of its routine and to continue to force those unwanted pounds to find a new home. If your body is very stubborn and still wants to plateau even after a Slingshot Week, here are some ideas that might help:

  • Double-check your portion sizes to make sure you’re not eating more than you think you are.
  • Throw a Slingshot Week into your carb cycle at random times. Hopefully this will be enough to keep your body guessing as to what’s going on.
  • If your body still insists on plateauing, change to a faster cycle: Easy to Classic, or Classic to Turbo, or Turbo to Extreme.

And remember, everybody responds differently to the Slingshot Week. Some might gain weight, some might stay the same, and others might even lose some pounds. But no matter what your body does, remind yourself that you’re on the right course to avoiding that weight loss plateau.

Tool #3: Vary your exercise routine

When your weight loss plateaus, you’ll be tempted to eat less and exercise more. From tools #1 & #2 you already know that decreasing your calorie intake is not the answer, and exercising a lot more is not the answer either. Instead, change up your exercise routine:

  • If you do the same workout six times in a row, do something totally different for the seventh.
  • Increase your intensity or add intervals to your scheduled routine from time to time to force your body out of its exercise rut.
  • If you’ve been training hard, take a rest day…and rest! Your body won’t know what to think about that one!

You don’t have to suffer through a weight loss plateau! Add these three tools to your transformation toolbox and keep shedding those pounds.


125 Comments

  1. Cindy - May 30, 2017

    Hi heidi! I’m Cindy from France.
    I lost 10kg quickly (in 6 weeks) but now i’m on a plateau.. my weight doesn’t move anymore but i still continue To make sport 5 time per week during 2 hours and i don’t eat very much..
    I’m very frustrated and demotivate because i do so many effort for nothing…
    What can i do To continue To loose weight?
    I have 20 kgs To loose..

    Thank you.

    Cindy

    • Team Powell - May 31, 2017

      Hi Cindy: You might not be eating enough. When we don’t eat enough, our bodies will go into a sort of starvation mode and refuse to lose weight. We recommend women eat no less than 1200 calories a day, and in the Extreme Cycle (http://heidipowell.net/10503) women eat around 1500 calories a day. You might also be interested in checking out Chris and Heidi’s new app, Transform with Chris + Heidi, and it will put together a customized nutrition and exercise program for you. Your first week is free, and you can learn more about the app here: http://thetransformapp.com. You can do this!

  2. Penelope - February 20, 2017

    When you take a break from low and high carb cycle for a week. Do you still exercise or not. I’ve been at a plateau for 2 months now and I really need to shock my body.. I’ve been on the low high carb cycle for 29 weeks.

    • Penelope - February 20, 2017

      Also how should I eat Not 5 time obviously… right I’m serious… I want to continue on this journey

    • Team Powell - February 20, 2017

      Hi Penelope: During your Slingshot Week you’ll still eat your 5 meals a day like you’ve been doing. You’ll just do a week of high carb days. 🙂

    • Team Powell - February 20, 2017

      Hi Penelope: Yes, you should continue to workout 5-6 days a week during your Slingshot Week. 🙂

  3. Leslie Fox - February 6, 2017

    On slingshot week I know we are suppose to have high carb meals everyday but do we eliminate the fats that are in the recipes for breakfast. Generally we have some fats for that meal but I am confused as to whether to include them. I have been on a plateau for so long that I am getting very frustrated as to what I am doing wrong. I do the Turbo Cycle by the way. Gained 10 pounds after breaking my hip in October and had a total hip replacement so exercise has not been easy since I can’t do much cardio except walk and ride my incumbent bike but slowly adding more each week. Thank you for any help you can offer.

    • Team Powell - February 7, 2017

      Hi Leslie: If you’re following the Turbo Cycle (http://heidipowell.net/2724), you don’t eat any fats for breakfast. On this cycle, you only eat a portion of fat with every low carb meal. A portion of fat is included in all breakfasts for the Extreme Cycle, and if you’re interested in that cycle, you can learn more about it here: http://heidipowell.net/10503. Hope that helps, and I hope you recover quickly!

  4. Shelley - January 24, 2017

    I started the diet bet one week late but only needed to lose 6 lbs. I started using a healthy meal plan and have been doing some sort of exercise each day. I lost 3 lbs pretty quickly and was so excited – only 3 to go. Now, with only one week to go before the deadline, I have plateaued, and you’re right, my first instinct was to give up and then I saw this e-mail today, right after I had gotten off the scale, feeling defeated. With only one week to go and three pounds to lose, does it still make sense to do the reward day? Every day since I started, I have met my water intake goal, exercise goal and have eaten less calories than I have burned. Your response is greatly appreciated! I am committed to winning this bet and feeling better in so doing! Thanks.

    • Team Powell - January 24, 2017

      Hi Shelley: We usually don’t recommend skipping the reward day, but since this is the last weekend for the DietBet, it’s okay to skip it just this once. You can totally do this! 🙂

  5. Kelli - December 5, 2016

    Hello! Which of the 5 cycles would
    Be best for trying to lose 20lbs and 60lbs relatively fast or the quickest possible? My husband and I are wanting to begin carb cycling but would like to do the same one to keep meal planning as simple as possible. Also, would you suggest for us to do more exercise, strength/hiit, on top of what you suggest in the books? Or just do what’s listed in the books for best results? Lastly, are all the cycles 21 days? And which one typically yields the quickest results?

  6. Weightlosst - November 2, 2016

    Hello,

    I follow the extreme carb cycle and the exercise plan on the extreme transformation book. So far been losing a lot of weight. My question is if i continue following the extreme carb cycle minus the exercise, can i still lose weight this way? I’m finding it hard most days to fit it in with my busy schedule and injuries.

    Thank you!

    • Team Powell - November 2, 2016

      You can lose weight without exercise, but not only can exercise help with weight loss, but it has many other benefits also. Even if you can only get in 5 minutes, that’s better than nothing. If you’re injured, you’ll definitely want to chat with your healthcare team and then follow their recommendations. And congratulations!!!

  7. Bianca Sanchez - October 22, 2016

    Hi Chris and Heidi,

    I have been on the classic cycle from the choose to lose book for 6 weeks and I am having trouble loseing weight. I did the slingshot week the 4th week and I gained weight. The 5th week I lost that weight and now on the 6th week I’ve gained weight again. Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong?

    • Team Powell - October 22, 2016

      Hi Bianca: How many pounds do you want to lose? Are you doing up to an hour of cardio (Shredders) Monday-Friday in addition to the Shapers (strength training) as outlined in the book? Are you drinking 1/2 your weight on ounces of water every day? And are you following the meal plan exactly aiming for 1200 calories on low carb days and 1500 calories on high carb days?

    • Bianca - March 4, 2017

      Yes I have been doing all of the above. Additionally I started the turbo cycle and I have been losing and gaining the same weight over and over again. Should I decrease my calorie intake? I am currently on slingshot week and hoping my body will get out of plateau. I even added a weighted vest this week (25 lbs) to try and make my cardio more intense. I have already built upto 60 minutes of cardio. Also do veggies count as in my macros? Can not counting veggies in my macros be the problem?

    • Team Powell - March 6, 2017

      Hi Bianca: No, you don’t want to decrease your calorie intake, and veggies, while they’re “free,” it’s best to count everything you put into your mouth. It keeps us accountable! When your Slingshot Week is over, I’d try the Extreme Cycle and see if this will work for you: http://heidipowell.net/10503. There are a few differences in the Extreme Cycle, and these are outlined in the post. And here’s a post that can help with meal planning on the Extreme Cycle: http://heidipowell.net/10617. I hope this helps!

    • Bianca - March 5, 2017

      Oh and I want to lose about 40 lbs and the weight I have been stuck on is 186-190. I lose 4 pounds and gain them back and lose and gain. Every week this is what happens. I’m watching my sodium too:(

  8. Raquel Alysia Giorgio - August 21, 2016

    I only have about 15 lbs to lose. I am starting with the Classic cycle. Given the lower number of pounds to lose, do I still take a whole cheat day once a week?

    • Team Powell - August 21, 2016

      Hi Raquel: Yes, you’ll still want to do the weekly cheat day. Welcome to carb cycling!

    • Jennifer - September 18, 2016

      I want to make sure I understand slingshot week…do I just follow the high carb days (1500 cal) just as they are set in the extreme cycle and just not incorporate the 2 low carb days. Or do I eat more than the 1500 calories per day. Also, in the extreme cycle the last meal does not contain carbs even on high carb days so do I follow this too during slingshot week?

    • Team Powell - September 18, 2016

      Hi Jennifer: For the slingshot week on the Extreme Cycle, you’ll have a whole week of high carb days just as a high carb day is outlined except you’ll double the carb portion for each meal. And yes, you’ll still do the dinners the same as on a regular high carb day. Hope this helps!

  9. Ashley - July 14, 2016

    I would love to know why you use a singe extra high reward day once a week. Most other carb cycling or calorie cycling plans I’ve seen use several high days, several low days a week but with a more even calorie count on all the high days.

    Also, why is the high day a rest day? I would think that doing HIIT on a reward day would help increase metabolism more.

    I’ve just finished a Turbo week and had a rough time with the second low carb days even though I’ve been low/moderate carb in general for years now. Would you suggest doing a different cycle, or perhaps increasing the carbs slightly on the LC days?

    Thank you for your help. I am especially encouraged by Heidi’s story as I’ve struggled with similar eating issues. Counting calories is helping me regain a concept of what normal eating is. I’ve practiced carb cycling between meals for a while, but I’m new to doing it for a daily or weekly plan.

    • Team Powell - July 15, 2016

      Hi Ashley: Chris and Heidi have put their carb cycles together the way they have after many years of working with their contestants on the show, and their program works! For the Reward Day on a rest day, one of the reasons the Reward Day works so well is that all those extra calories force your body out of its routine. If the Reward Day was on a workout day, your calories consumed vs calories burned difference wouldn’t be as much, so is wouldn’t work as well. And it’s very common for the low carb days to be a bit rough as you begin carb cycling, but it should get better as your body adjusts to this new way of doing things. I would keep following your chosen cycle as it’s outlined, and you should be good to go!

  10. Julie - June 16, 2016

    Thank you so much! These cycles are a blessing ! God Bless you guys!

  11. Julie - June 15, 2016

    Hi Heidi! Thank you so much for the carb cycling methods I did the fit cycle and extreme cycle and went from a size 5 to a size 3! Im so happy, I am currently at 22% body fat and I really really want to go lower,12% ! Can I still do that with these cycles or should I do a low calorie deficit ?

    • Team Powell - June 15, 2016

      Hi Julie: Congratulations! This is awesome! You never want to go below 1200 calories a day, so I’d keep following whichever cycle you choose, and you should be good to go! And don’t to do both cardio and strength training – both are super important!

  12. Leslie - April 12, 2016

    Isn’t the chart you referenced just for the extreme cycle? The classic, turbo and slingshot week aren’t supposed to have any fat in breakfasts are they?

    • Team Powell - April 12, 2016

      Correct. Those cycles do not have a fat for breakfast.

  13. Leslie - April 11, 2016

    One more question. If my total calories end up being in the 1300 range choosing measurements/weights from the 100 calorie list, should I increase my portions to hit 1500 since high carb days are supposed to be 1500? In the original cycles it says 1200 for low days and 1500 for high. When I did the Extreme cycle and used recipes from the book, it usually put me in the 1500 range. I’ve don’t turbo for the past 3 weeks and am now doing slingshot since the scale isn’t moving lately.

    • Team Powell - April 12, 2016

      Hi Leslie: Yes, you’ll want to adjust your food choices to hit 1500 calories a day. There’s a chart in this post that shows you how many calories of each macro to include in each meal: http://heidipowell.net/10617. Hope that helps!

  14. Leslie - April 11, 2016

    I have a question regarding the slingshot week and actually high carb days in general. You’ve posted before that high carb day macro ratios end up to be about 40/40/20 and you’re not supposed to add any fats. I use MFP and have found that typically if I don’t add any fat my fat % is pretty low for the day. Often only 7-10%. When that’s the case, I add just 1 or 2 servings of a fat (usually whole egg vs whites for breakfast) and it bumps it up to 20%. Should I continue to do this?

    • Team Powell - April 11, 2016

      Hi Leslie: You don’t want to add any fats to your high-carb days, and you should be good to go!

  15. Crystal - February 29, 2016

    I left a comment – and it seems its been deleted.

    My question is in regards to the slingshot week. Do you eat carbs for all 5 meals? Or do you stay LC at dinner? The book (Extreme) doesn’t clarify. Or do you stay away from fat for the week? Thanks,

    • Team Powell - March 1, 2016

      Hi Crystal: All comments have to be approved before they post, so that’s why you’re not seeing your comment. For the slingshot week, you have an entire week of high-carb days, as outlined on page 176 in the book, with no fats at all throughout the week. Hope that helps! 🙂

  16. Jennifer - January 29, 2016

    Hello

    Do you eat carbs at dinner time on the slingshot week?

    • Team Powell - January 30, 2016

      Hi Jennifer: Your Slingshot Week is a whole week of high-carb days, and you will eat carbs (no fats) for dinner during this week. Hope this helps!

  17. stephanie - January 29, 2016

    Hi team Powell!
    I’m almost at the end of this month’s diet bet and I’ve lost quite a few pounds. I’ve been on the turbo cycle since January 4th. Would it be wise for me to shake it up by doing a slingshot week? And if so, does that mean 7 high carb days (1500 calories)? I’d like to start the extreme cycle after that. Does that sound like a good plan?

    Thanks in advance!
    Greetz from the Netherlands

    • Team Powell - January 29, 2016

      Hi Stephanie: Congratulations on all those pounds you’ve lost! It’s best to do a Slingshot Week every 4th week, so go for it! And yes, it means a whole week of high-carb days (1500 calories a day). And you can change cycles at any time too, so if you’d like to change to the Extreme Cycle, that should be fine. ?

  18. Kara Jones - January 24, 2016

    Hey Team Powell,

    I am scheduled to start my slingshot week this Monday after doing the Classic Cycle for 3 weeks. I have had success with a loss of 11.2#s and don’t want to mess that up. I was wondering if I could substitute a Turbo Cycle Week in place of a Slingshot Week. Would that be enough to “mix it up” for my body?

    Thanks,

    Kara

    • Team Powell - January 24, 2016

      Hi Kara: The Slingshot Week is one of the keys to success in carb cycling, so give it a try. I know it can be a bit scary, but it works! And congratulations on losing 11.2 lbs – that’s awesome!

    • Kara Jones - January 24, 2016

      Thank you so much for your help! (And you extremely FAST response!)

      Kara

  19. Julie - January 23, 2016

    I started carb cycling in early January. I lost 2 pound the first week and another 2 the second. Nothing the third week. I am supposed to start my slingshot week this week….should I skip it and keep carb cycling to try to loose again or stay on track with the slingshot?

    • Team Powell - January 23, 2016

      Hi Julie: Do the Slingshot Week, it is a key part of the program and helps to keep your body from getting into any sort of routine. Double check all your portion sizes, track calories if you want to just to make sure, change up your workout routine, and you should be good to go!

  20. michele - January 10, 2016

    Hello. So I am having a serious problem breaking my plateau. I am 23 y/o and weigh 150lb. I have been doing this for about 2 months now and I haven’t lost a pound. I work at a gym as a trainer so I have a very active lifestyle. You would think that I would know what i am doing since I am a trainer, but I seem to be at a stand still. I weight train 4-5x a week, never working the same muscle group back to back days and I do cardio 6x a week. Sometimes I even do 2-a-days depending on my schedule. I will workout once in the morning and once in the afternoon (typically cardio in the morning and weights later). As I said my job is in the gym so I spend my whole day standing and walking around so its a very active job. According to my BMR it is around 1500, but with my job and my workouts I can sometimes burn up to 2500-3000 a day. I eat around 1200-1300 on LC days and around 1400-1500 on HC days. I feel like I am not eating enough but I am also finding it hard to always eat the 1200 on LC and 1500 on HC because of my job. I can’t exactly eat when I am working with clients and sometimes I can have 4-6 clients in a row which means 4-6 hours without food. I have gotten better the 2nd month at eating every 3 hours, sometimes I will eat at 7, 10, 1, 5 then 7. So its not always 3 hours but its pretty close. I follow the turbo cycle and I will do cardio and lighter weights on LC days and hit my heavy weights with cardio on my HC days. Is this the right cycle for me? I have been between 148lb-150lb for about 4 months. I have a cheat day every sunday and I did the slingshot week on the 4th week the first month (next week is my slingshot week for my second month). I have strictly followed this plan and have not seen any changes so the only thing that I could think of is maybe trying to add a few more calories? I have seen a doctor and got my thyroid tested and anything else tested that would cause my weight to stall so that is ruled out. Just need some help please!!

    • Team Powell - January 10, 2016

      Hi Michele: You’re doing awesome! You might want to try the new Extreme Cycle (http://heidipowell.net/10503) and see if that will help. The plan does have a complete meal plan, but you can totally put together your own meals like you’ve been doing. There are a couple of minor differences in this new cycle, and those are outlined in the post. Try it for a couple of weeks, keep working out like you’ve been doing, and hopefully that scale will move! If not, try adding in more healthy calories and see if that will do the trick. If you have any more questions, please post another comment. You got this!

  21. Elisa - November 16, 2015

    Hi I have started my first slingshot week today, but have barely lost any weight during the first 3 weeks, like barely 2 pounds, while I would want to loose between 11 and 20 pounds:/
    I’m 25 and workout regularly 4/5 times a week, 2/3 of resistance training and 3 times LISS training. 3 years ago I screwed up my metabolism by eating 600kcal/day for 2 months, then I followed with very little carbs for a long long time, but its been more than a year now that I have gotten back on track eating 5 meals a days and carbs and all and am trying to gain the muscle I had lost/never had due tue the fact that my body was burning it instead of the carb I was not giving it but have never gotten results. I have always been very healthy and attent to what I eat but never got good results in loosing the kg I have had on since young…I have lost 4 kg over the past year, but nothing really worked for good ( mening I would follow a certain dietm but I wouldnt loose because of it, the weight just came off for no real reason in the past months.) so I was hoping to find an anwser in Carb cycling but so far I havnt seen much results.
    What should I dom keep on trying? Maybe its early to see changes ( even if in Chirs’s choose to lose he was talking about 13lb in 3 months and I don’t see me getting there) or should I change to another cycle or try some of the solutions in the book already?
    Tanks a lot, sorry for the super long message!!!

  22. Melissa - July 29, 2015

    Hi Team Powell,
    I read Choose More, Lose More for Life cover to cover in just a few days – great book and also a religious viewer of EWL since Season One. I believe in your plan, but I am struggling lately. I began Classic Cycle 3 weeks ago (approaching my 3rd weigh in this coming Saturday). I also returned to the gym for group exercise classes after a year off. MWF spin class, T/Th is a muscle class. My first week showed a 3.8lb loss and I was thrilled, the second week the scale was UP 4.5lbs. UP!! I regained what I lost and then some. Terribly disappointing and made me feel like 2wks worth of work was now futile. A possible biological factor here, I was experiencing my menstrual cycle and do see that I am up during that time, but within a few days the scale goes immediately back down… well here we are 5 days later and the scale remains up. I did do my measurements and have lost 4 inches from my hips and 3 inches from my waist but I really wish I’d see results on the scale as well. Have you see this before? Do you have any guidance for when the scale will be kind? Just for background I am 5”2” and I have 30-35lbs to lose.

    • Team Powell - July 29, 2015

      That scale can be so unkind! But you said you’d lost inches, and that’s a great sign that all your hard work is paying off. Keep following your cycle exactly, and you will reach your goals. There is much more to showing success than that number on the scale!

  23. Me - June 30, 2015

    Hi! I’m on week 4, my slingshot week eating all HC meals. I do the turbo cycle. I’ve noticed this week I’ve been bloated and alittle naseus throughout the day. I’m also pretty tired compared to regular weeks of the cycle. Should I be concerned about these symptoms? I thought HC meals were supposed to boost my energy level and I haven’t felt sick like this till this week. Thanks! And other than that, I’ve loved carb cycling so far. Got some family members to start 🙂

    • Team Powell - June 30, 2015

      You can feel a bit differently during your slingshot week, just make sure you’re getting in all your protein portions. Bloating can be normal since carbs (even the healthiest ones) can cause water retention. Is it possible you might be coming down with something (I hope not!). You might also try subbing fruits and veggies (the non-root/non-starchy type) for the whole grain carbs, and that might help too.

  24. Rebecca - June 30, 2015

    Hi. Both my husband and I have read Choose to Lose and have used your exercise videos. We have had success with the program – carb cycling and exercise plans and in making a lifestyle change. I have a question though. In following the calorie intake and HC/LC/Free days I’m unsure if we’re achieving the right amount of protein vs carbs vs fat. We use the portions noted for each meal but also track everything with apps. I am wondering if we’re getting too many or not enough of each based on grams or percentage calculations. Any suggestions? Should we not be concerned about the grams or percentages of each and just follow the portion sizes?

    Thanks we really have enjoyed working out together and establishing better habits!

    • Team Powell - June 30, 2015

      Chris and Heidi made carb cycling as easy as possible to follow by using only portion sizes (some people also count calories), so if you’re following the portions sizes, you should be good to go! Happy carb cycling!

  25. Mary - June 14, 2015

    I would like to hear back from you regarding those of us who have plateaued for several months yet are following your turbo cycle, mixing up our cardio and following the missions. I noticed that these comments were not replied to.
    I am 55 and have tried all you suggest but have not experienced much weight loss. I do enjoy the fitness aspect of your program and have toned up but still would like to see that weight drop. There was an interesting comment on sleep which I wonder is a problem in my case as I do not sleep well. A good night would be four to six hours. Could you perhaps address these concerns? Does our age affect the program? Have you done any research on this?
    Thank you.

    • Team Powell - June 14, 2015

      Hi Mary: We really try to answer as many comments as we can, and I’m so sorry you didn’t receive an answer. Yes, the lack of sleep can affect your weight loss plan, and here’s a post about this: http://heidipowell.net/6003/sleep-is-overrated-not/. Chris and Heidi have worked with people of all ages, and age can affect your rate of weight loss, but you can still achieve your transformation goals. If you’ve been following your cycle exactly, as well as the suggestions in this post on weight loss plateaus, you might want to check with your healthcare team to make sure there’s not an underlying issue, and then follow any modifications to the carb cycling program they suggest.

  26. Beth - February 27, 2015

    Hi Powell pack!
    I have been carb cycling since Aug 2014. I’m down 20 lbs. I’ve been through some plateaus and have plowed through. I moved to the turbo cycle in January. My biggest frustration is that every slingshot week I end up gaining 2 lbs. then it takes me the first week of my next cycle to get back down to where I was prior to sling shot week. I stay around 1500 cal a day during slingshot week. Is this pretty normal?

    Thanks for the help!

    • Team Powell - February 27, 2015

      That weight gain could very well be from water retention from all those high carb days, and that can be very normal. Carbs – even the healthiest ones – can cause you to retain water. Keep doing a week of all high carb days, exercise normally, and you should be good to go! And congrats on those 20 pounds gone – that’s awesome!

  27. Cat - January 31, 2015

    I just finished week 2 of the turbo cycle. The first week went well – I lost just under 3 pounds. I’m 43, just over 5′ and started at 117 with a good amount of muscle, so I was quite pleased. This past week was frustrating – I actually went back up. I’m trying to figure out what went awry or if I just need to sit tight and stay the course. A few changes to the past week 1) While I did follow the plan, I got stuck away from home in the afternoon and had to piece together meals from stores/hospital cafeteria for one meal per day. They technically fit the plan but probably more sodium, more processed than I would have cooked at home. 2) I returned to my weight training program which is a leg/glutes, push and pull split and I train with heavy weights. I continued with my running/HIIT as I did in week 1.

    A little over a year ago, I was 100 – 105 pounds – very lean with a lot of muscle mass. I was running the same mile time as when I competed in college -while pushing a double stroller. Then my mother passed away, followed by my husband returning from a year in Afghanistan and suffering a massive stroke, and then my father passing away as well. I continued exercising (though shorter and usually choosing running over weights) and my eating habits didn’t change drastically either. The weight gain was pretty gradual and I had spent most of the past year between 109-112, even when training for a half marathon. My primary care doctor, whose specialty is sports med, ran tests and my cortisol levels were higher than normal but everything else was fine. Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

    • Team Powell - January 31, 2015

      So sorry to hear about the loss of your mom and dad, as well as your husband’s stroke. You have had a tough year, and we can’t imagine how difficult all of this has been for you. Here are a few things that might help: 1. Sometimes it takes your body a bit of time to adjust to a new way of doing things, so keep following your chosen carb cycle exactly, and you should get the results you’re looking for. 2. Yes, sodium can cause a temporary gain due to water retention, as can carbs (even the healthiest ones). 3. As you build lean mass, it will replace any body fat. This will not necessarily result in a loss, but you’ll probably notice your clothes fit better, etc. That number on the scale is not the only sign that you’re succeeding. 4. The fewer pounds you need to lose, the slower they’ll be lost. Again, just stick to your plan (including any reward days/meals and the slingshot week every 4th week), and you should be good to go!

  28. Jake Thomas - January 28, 2015

    So im getting to that High Carb slingshot week. Do I eat as minimal fat as possible too? or just like a regular week of eating whatever(in healthy portions)?

    • Team Powell - January 28, 2015

      During your slingshot week, you’ll treat every day as a high carb day – all 5 meals every day will be high carb meals.

  29. Nicole - January 21, 2015

    Thank you so much for this post! I am 5’6” and weight now 142.0 lbs I am currently in the dietbet game right now and I have to drop 2.4 lbs more in 11 days how can I do this?

    • Team Powell - January 21, 2015

      Pay special attention to your nutrition (there’s a link to the nutrition basics of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program in this post if you’re interested), workout regularly to burn calories, drink your water, and you can do this! Here’s another post that might help: http://heidipowell.net/5366/all-about-calories/. 🙂 Only 11 more days!!!

  30. Brian S - January 2, 2015

    Nice one Heidi, I may also add that enough sleep is also a factor to consider. Sleep deprivation is a can lead to stalled weight loss or even weight gain. Thanks.

  31. Hannah - September 28, 2014

    Question: I recently lost 50 pounds and a wanting to lose the last 5 pounds. I physically cannot lower my calorie intake anymore without going into starvation mode. I do interval sprints on the treadmill 6 times a week for 6 miles each time. Will I lose weight by carb cycling if my body isn’t used to eating this many calories? My fear is that I will gain weight because I already eat healthy and exercise daily.

    • Team Powell - September 29, 2014

      It would definitely be worth a try! The program is formulated to help you lose any amount of weight, eat healthy, and exercise. I’d try the Fit Cycle: http://heidipowell.net/2719/carb-cycling-the-fit-cycle/. And it is so important that you’re getting enough calories for your body to function properly and be able to do all the activities you do during the day. And be patient – sometimes it takes your body a bit of time to adjust to a new way of doing things. 🙂

  32. Chris - September 28, 2014

    Hello! I’ve read both of the carb cycling books and understand what to do.
    My problem is that I cannot loose weight on 1500 calories or even 1200 calories even with exercise. I was so frustrated that I went to a weight loss doctor to do a metabolism test where an instrument measures oxygen and carbon dioxide while resting. It says that to loose weight that I have to eat less than 1100 calories. How can I restructure the carb cycling within those parameters? I assume that I would have to cycle 800 and 1100? Help!

    • Team Powell - September 28, 2014

      It’s always best to follow your doctor’s recommendations, and since Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program is based on 1200 and 1500 calories/day, it’s really hard to say how to restructure the program. You might discuss this with your doctor and see if he/she has any ideas on how you can modify it. We hope you can find the answers you’re seeking so you can reach your goals!

  33. Teresa - September 28, 2014

    Heidi do you have a workout and eating plan for someone that has just had major back surgery. I love working out and eating healthy, but need to change so that I can jump start my weight loss again.

    • Team Powell - September 28, 2014

      Yes! Discuss Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” with your healthcare team to see what modifications need to be made for you while you’re healing. The book contains their complete nutrition and exercise program, and it’s the same one they use on the show. It will teach you everything you need to know and do to achieve your own transformation! Learn about the nutrition basics here: http://heidipowell.net/2713/carb-cycling-101/. You can do this!

  34. Star - September 28, 2014

    Is carb cycling good for type 2 diabetics? my dr wants me on restricted carb diet.

  35. Claire - September 26, 2014

    Yup… Needed this… I’ve plateaued on and off since Christmas 2012… Having lost 56 lb.. I changed plan from slimming world to juice plus which boosted things for a couple of months… I have arthritis in my joints from waist down so hadn’t been able to exercise but now I’m swimming and aqua fit three or four days.? Generally cutting dairy and gluten have massively improved my health but I eat 1200_1300 cal a day and am stuck! Still have about 24lb to go… Going to try carb cycling… Still low gluten and dairy… Will that work.
    Having read this I think I need to eat more!!

    • Team Powell - September 27, 2014

      Yes, carb cycling should work for you. You’ll find everything you need to know and do in the book. Happy carb cycling!

  36. Tracy - September 26, 2014

    I have a question, I recently had my body fat composition done and I have 150 pounds of muscle mass. 62 pounds of fat. It said in order to just exisist every day I need to eat 1968 calories. And if I exercise that day I should add at least 300 more calories. So how is it that on a low Carb day I only eat 1200 calories. I’m trying to gain muscle and lose body fat. I am running and doing cross fit. How is it eating so little amount of calories going to help me when I’m suppose to be eating 1968 calories?

    Thanks,
    Sincerely
    Tracy Anderson

  37. Pammy J - September 26, 2014

    Hi Team Powell! First, I love you guys and I love your story! Second, I have plateaued since May eating very clean- no grains or sugar, with a focus on protein, fruits, veggies and nuts.

    I have heart disease and blood sugar issues (adrenal fatigue and Type 2 controlled by diet and exercise). I have 25-30 pounds to lose for my cardiologist to be happy with me. As for exercise, I am limited to walking and light weights to take the stress off my faulty aortic valve, but I walk an average of 12000 steps/5 miles every day without fail. Would carb cycling work for me, considering my medical issues? Any advice you can provide is appreciated.

    (Oh, When I asked my GP for help, she told me “just eat better”. Wait, what??)

    • Team Powell - September 26, 2014

      Yes, carb cycling can work for you! With your health issues, I’d suggest discussing the program with your healthcare team in case any modifications need to be made for you. Happy carb cycling!

  38. Lindsey - September 26, 2014

    I noticed that the first week I started the program the weight fell off. I actually lost 10.1 pounds. The second week I lost nothing. I can tell my cloths are fitting better but not loosing the pounds is a little unsettling. Is this normal?

  39. Michele - July 26, 2014

    I have been trying everything to get off this plateau. I have been stuck since January. Weigh all my foods, per the weight loss group I belong to. Then we tried to kick me out of ketosis. More exercises less exercises. Now I am trying to not think about it. But as you can see I am thinking about it. I do not eat bread, pasta, pizza, cereal. Help!!

    • Team Powell - July 28, 2014

      Help is on the way! Check out Chris and Heidi’s complete carb cycling program that’s talked about in this post in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” It will teach you all about nutrition and it has a great exercise program. 🙂

  40. Chris Simons - July 26, 2014

    I started carb cycling last week using the turbo cycle and lost 7lbs. This week I was on track did all my 9 minute missions, did weights four nights and an hour of cardio each of those nights, and gained 2lbs. I would love your insight as to why that might of happened. I’m feeling a little discouraged.

    • Team Powell - July 28, 2014

      It sometimes takes a bit of time for your body to adjust to a new way of eating/exercising, so follow your carb cycle exactly, and be patient! And congrats on the 7 pounds lost – that’s awesome! 🙂

    • Maplesbranch - September 28, 2014

      You are probably gaining muscle, which in turn will burn more calories.

  41. Stepahnie - July 26, 2014

    I am a diabetic and manage it by medication . Can I still do the carb cycling or should I follow something different?

  42. pam - July 26, 2014

    My issue is I had gastric bypass in 2006 and have gone from 645 lbs to 145 lbs but want to loose another 25 lbs but I’m stuck in this plateau for last 3yrs. I’ve struggle with eating disorders where I get down to 110 but then I eat healthy and gain it ALL back, I also don’t get hungry so I only eat one meal a day which I know is bad, I just don’t know how to do this healthy, the Dr did the surgery and never has seen me since and I have many stomach issues now, he made my stomach the size of a lemon so much smaller than most gastric bypasses was told he screwed it up and I’m suffering from ibs, ulcers, extreme pain when eating, vitamin defects and more, I NEED help and my husband is 52 and I’m 35 but he’s 300ml at 5’11 and has health problems afraid he will die if something doesn’t get done. NEED YOUR HELP

  43. Alyssa Campbell - July 26, 2014

    Hey Heidi,

    Just a quick question with the slingshot week, does it mean you have no fat for the 7 high carb days? Have read most of the literature and am A little stuck on that one point.

    Cheers,
    Alyssa

  44. Katie L - July 26, 2014

    Great advice! I am at the beginning of a weight loss journey, I don’t know that I can do it, but you and Chris motivate me. I’m sure I am not heavy enough to get your help. I started with 85 lbs to lose…but when you are 5’2 85 lbs seems like an impossible task. I just know my kids need me to make this change so I can be there for them

    • Team Powell - July 28, 2014

      You can do this! Get Chris and Heidi’s book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life,” choose a cycle, and get going! Everything you’ll need to know and do is in the book. And pay special attention to the part about Promises – these are a huge key to achieving any goal! Learn about promises here: http://chrispowell.com/choose-a-promise/. 🙂

  45. pam - July 26, 2014

    I would die to be able to have your book and autographed by you and Heidi but I’m disabled and don’t work I have to support 5 off 900 a month but everyone in home sure could be if it from it. One day I guess, I’ll keep watching your shows and pick up tips from there. We don’t have much how do you make healthy meals when you don’t have the money to buy groceries so your stuck with canned goods and boxed stuff, and little meat, whatever we can find. When it comes to exercise I can’t afford gym equipment or a gym membership as much as I would LOVE to so we have walking and other little things. I do the best I can with the little food, cooking equipment and exercise stuff I have. How do you lose weight this way my husband is over 300 lbs at 5’11” and I feel I’m failing my family he would do ANYTHING to be on your show. I could use to loose a little weight as well but I’m partially paralyzed due to a stroke so it’s hard for me but I really worried about husband but we have NO help and it’s affecting our health. PLEASE PLEASE HELP

    • Candy - July 26, 2014

      Request the books from your local library..That’s what I did. It’s not autographed but it’s free & can help get you & your family on the right path to healthy.

    • Danita - July 26, 2014

      Pam – You can check the books out at the library for free. Chris and Heidi’s websites also lay out the various carb cycles for you and I think they even have a sample meal plan and/or shopping list on there, too. I’m a stay at home mom raising two small children on a tight budget. By God’s grace, I lost 80 lbs over the last year. I haven’t had a gym membership in over 7 years. I walked, eventually started running, and worked out in my living room. YouTube has TONS of FREE full length workout videos and healthy, budget-friendly cooking videos. The library has workout videos, as well. You CAN do this on your own. Just believe in yourselves. Good luck to you and your family!

  46. marcia - July 26, 2014

    just got the go ahead from doctor to exercise. want to lose 10 pounds in 30 days. got an exercise program so let the games begin.

  47. Karen - July 26, 2014

    Thanks for the great tips, been at a plateau since April but have also really ramped up my exercise working out 5 days per week. My trainer has suggested carb cycling which is what I have started doing and she has been switching up my routines…although it has been a long time and I am very frustrated, more for not losing inches, the scale I’m not so concerned about; the other benefits are making up for it…getting stronger, feeling fitter, and ability to do longer harder cardio sessions.

  48. Abbey - July 26, 2014

    Which book is the best book if I am just planning to get started with carb cycling?

    • Team Powell - July 26, 2014

      “Choose More, Lose More for Life.” Happy carb cycling! 🙂

  49. Tanya Pelletier - July 24, 2014

    I have approx. 130lbs to lose and hoping to do so before my wedding in may 2015. I am not sure which is the best to start with and when should we change … Could you help me?

  50. manon boutin - July 9, 2014

    It’s not easy for me to traduct all that but….I understand what you say to me. The plateau is difficult but I’ll to be a winner in a long long time. Yesterday on morning I make 200.8 pounds, after my 13km of walk and jogging, it’s 199 lbs but this morning 202.4lbs again. But I’ll follow your conseils. Thank you very much!
    Manon Boutin
    Charny, Québec, Canada

  51. Katie K - March 8, 2014

    Hey Heidi! I bought Chris’ book and have been carb cycling ever since. It has worked great so far, but I do have one question. When the recipes say “eat a half of an english muffin” is eating the whole thing to much? I have stayed right around 1500 calories for my high carb days but I question what I am doing when the recipes say only to have half. Thanks!

  52. Leslie Fox - March 5, 2014

    Heidi looks like i am not alone on the plateau road. I have been on my journey to better health for the last 4 years losing 83 lbs. but I have been struggling for the last year with my plateau. I started Carb Cycling 9 weeks ago on the Turbo Cycle and lost a few pounds but the scale just won’t budge. I am 62 so I’m sure my metabolism has really slowed down because I do exercise 6 days a week changing it up and my body has probably adapted. That’s why I thought the carb cycling would help but I do get frustrated. I still have 25 lbs. to reach my goal and I am bound and determined to get there so I can watch my grandkids grow up. Thank you for all that you do.

    • Teresa - July 26, 2014

      Leslie, I enjoyed reading your comment because I am having the same issues. I have lost about 60 pounds and can’t get rid of the last 25 lbs. I have increased my exercise and have just started the carb cycling. I have only lost two pounds in two weeks. I do get very frustrated it’s nice to know that I am not alone. I wish you great success in losing your last 25.

  53. Tameka Bond - March 1, 2014

    This is an awesome blog. I have lost 75lbs in a 5 month timeframe,but have plateaued the past 2 months. Must give this a try.

    • Tanya - July 24, 2014

      What cycle have you chosen to kickstart your weight loss … I have approx. 130lbs to lose and hoping to do so before my wedding in may 2015. I am not sure which is the best to start with and when should we change … Could you help me?

    • Team Powell - July 24, 2014

      I’d suggest beginning with the Turbo Cycle, and you can change cycles at any time. Congrats on the upcoming wedding!

  54. Nadine - March 1, 2014

    This is great…I hate plateaus. I’ve had them a lot in my year long journey. I’ve lost almost 60 lbs changing my caloric intake from 1600 down to 1200 and back up to 1400 when I got to a six week plateau. I work out every day…but this week (I am doing couch to 5K every other day, as well as dailyburn workouts everyday) I have had to rest more because of hip pain. I’m worried that I’ve done something running with still too much weight. Or, maybe I’m working out too much? (Is that even possible?) 🙁 I’m so afraid if I stop I will gain everything back. I’m not even 1/2 way yet.

    • Riley - July 26, 2014

      It is possible to over train and damage your body. If you’re having pains you need to switch up your routine to something less aggressive in the area that’s hurting you. Some physical activity everyday is great but you HAVE to change it up frequently.

  55. Debbie Haynes - March 1, 2014

    Great information …thank you!!

  56. Cheryl Mendenhall - March 1, 2014

    Thanks! I get frustrated and this might help me! 🙂

  57. Kristen Quinn - February 28, 2014

    Oh..Thanks!

  58. Kristen Quinn - February 28, 2014

    My only fear is on high carb days, eating junk stuff. I broke my addiction to simple, refined processed stuff and do not want to put it in my mouth. Are there healthy options to eat on high carb days w/o blowing the addiction control I have obtained? I lost 60 pounds between Aug 12th 2013 and New Year’s day. Since then, I have lost 12 more, but been at a plateau with the weight loss slowing down. I am still toning and clothing getting looser, but still, at a plateau. I also need to lose about 30 more pounds to hit my ideal weight range for my height and build. I have been trying carb cycling, for about a month now, but refuse to eat the ‘bad’ stuff. I know if I don’t put it in my mouth, I will be okay! If someone could share back with me, please email me some tips! Love to all and keep on keeping on!

    • Riley - July 26, 2014

      You don’t eat junk food on high carb days. You just eat more fruits and sweet potatoes or brown rice. That sort of thing. Then on low carb days skip those in favor of extra veges with healthy fats. You don’t ever have to eat junk food at all while carb cycling. Just most people like to.

  59. april lee - February 28, 2014

    Hello, I have lost 75 lbs but not I have runners knee and have gained 12 lbs bak that I just get off no matter what I do it’s hard to get it off. 🙁

  60. Wendy Shaffer - February 28, 2014

    I hit a plateau two years ago ! I am still there. Changed diet changed workout. So here I am same old challenge. Day after day.

    • Melissa - July 26, 2014

      ME TOO! I just can’t seem to break it…it’s so frustrating! But I refuse to give up.

  61. Cindy W - February 28, 2014

    Thank you Heidi!! Lost 22 pounds since 1/1/14. Gained 2 pounds and can’t shake it.
    I know I’m not eating enough. Cheat days/ meals scare me . I vary my 6 day a week workouts. I allow myself snacks. I just try and stay within 1200 calories a day. Maybe I will have a burger tonight.

    • admin - March 1, 2014

      If you are carb cycling, you should be switching between 1200 on a low carb day and 1500 on a high carb day. If you eat 1200 calories every single day, your body adapts. Time to mix up the calories!

    • Riley - July 26, 2014

      You might consider upping your calorie intake to 1400 a day. Sometimes the problem is that we’re not getting enough nutrients. The extra calories that come with cheat meals/days help trick you’re body. You can still eat healthfully, just increase your calories on that day. I hope this helps you.

  62. Katie Jo - February 28, 2014

    Needed this. I about gave up last week and still thought about it this week I think after loosing 40lbs my body just doesn’t want to give up anymore! 🙁 Not Fun!

  63. Christy Peevy - February 28, 2014

    I am on week one as well and have lost 7lbs. I was already drinking half my weight in water so I know it’s not all water weight. On my cheat day today and so far I have rewarded myself in small smart ways and not blown the entire day like I would be totes to do before starting the cycle.

  64. Kristen T. - February 28, 2014

    I’ve been doing Weight Watchers for years and have been at a plateau for well over a year. Everyone keeps telling me that my body must be happy – yet I’m 25 pounds above my goal. I typically splurge on the weekends & then try to stick close to my target during the week. I also exercise 4-5 days per week (Zumba, Treadmill, starting to incorporate weights). It’s the most frustrating thing!

  65. Mark - February 28, 2014

    I have been doing my journey for almost 4 years. I lost 115 pounds initial over 2 years then I changed up the program and stopped losing. I have 50 pounds to go to reach my goal but I am just stuck! I am just waiting to run again but the ground is so icy and it is SO cold that I cant get outside. I cant run on a treadmill as I have terrible balance. I know that once I start running I will drop pounds but until then, I am at a stand still. I know I will get there but I am so impatient! Thanks for all you great tips! Your husband also rocks!

  66. tammy maye - February 28, 2014

    I am struggling. With excersices for i have had 3 back surgueys and hardwear i n back. I need some one to talk

  67. Stephanie - February 28, 2014

    I’ve lost 55.6 pounds (as of today!) and have had MANY plateaus on my weight loss journey. They are the most frustrating and make me want to quit. But this article is sooo wonderful, don’t give up it! It will start coming off again. Thanks for the very informative article.

  68. Patti Jo - February 28, 2014

    I’m on week one and am loving it. Just finished Choose More, Lose More for Life and am so motivated. Inches are melting and getting lighter on my feet. I use the Boot camp” video with you and Chris for my 9 minute missions and shredders. Weigh in day is tomorrow. Whatever it says will not upset me cause I am worth it, and worth more than a number on a scale. I’ve tried and “fallen” for three years to lose 40 pounds and. keep it off. This will be my year. Thanks for the book and video. Thanks for positive thinking tools. You and Chris are truly helping me transform on the inside and it’s showing on the outside. My smile is not a frown anymore 🙂

  69. Keith Christensen - February 28, 2014

    Awesome advise as always Heidi

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