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The Plateau Buster Diet

author image Michelle Powell-Smith
With a master's degree in art history from the University of Missouri-Columbia, Michelle Powell-Smith has been writing professionally for more than a decade. An avid knitter and mother of four, she has written extensively on a wide variety of subjects, including education, test preparation, parenting, crafts and fashion.
The Plateau Buster Diet
A woman is writing out a diet plan. Photo Credit: Pixsooz/iStock/Getty Images

Diet plateaus are frustrating and may destroy your diet morale, tempting you to cheat. There are various ways to get your weight loss back on track, including a plateau-busting diet. Opting for a calorie-shifting diet may kick your weight loss into gear without cutting calories.

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While changing your exercise routine, tracking your food intake or lowering your daily calorie count can help to break a weight-loss plateau, according to Woman's Day, you may find that switching to a calorie-shifting, or zigzag, diet plan can help to encourage weight loss, without taking drastic measures. Calorie-shifting diets add up to the same number of calories over the course of a week, but vary calorie totals from day to day.


Calorie-shifting, or cycling, diets may work by preventing the body from adapting to a reduced calorie intake, according to Over time, your body may become used to a low-calorie diet and you may find that you're not losing weight. Shifting or cycling your calorie intake may break a weight-loss plateau and help you to begin losing at an appropriate pace.


Plan one high-calorie day, three moderate-calorie days and three low-calorie days on a calorie cycling plan. If you determine that you need 1,500 calories per day to lose weight, plan three 1,200-calorie days, three 1,500-calorie days and one 2,100-calorie day. Adjust these totals appropriately for your calorie needs, factoring in your age, weight and activity level.


You can include any foods you like in a plateau busting diet, but you will need to count calories each day. Plan lighter foods for low-calorie days and enjoy splurges or desserts on your high-calorie day. You may find it helpful to plan moderate- to high-calorie days for times of increased activity such as a hard hike or intense workout. Plan to track your diet and calories on paper or using computer software, and stick to your daily calorie totals.


Calorie-shifting or cycling diets are not a remarkable new innovation. Many people naturally cycle calories, eating more one day and less another day. While calorie shifting can break a diet plateau and may keep you motivated, it does require willpower. Low-calorie days on the diet are often quite low, and you may find that you are hungrier or have less energy on these days.

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