It’s common in fitness and weight loss to be witnessing your pounds drop with every healthy and active week you have, but sometimes the scale suddenly doesn’t budge, despite your efforts to exercise and eat consciously. When this happens, most get discouraged and give up on their efforts, instead of establishing what the problem is and how it can be solved.
The weight loss plateau is something that happens to everyone at least once during their efforts to reduce their body weight by exercising and making healthy food choices every day. If your weight remains the same for a few weeks in a row, it does absolutely not mean you are not getting results, because when you are monitoring your weight, you cannot differentiate between the times when you lose fat, water, or muscle.
Why Does It Happen?
When you first start losing weight you will experience a relatively rapid drop, because the body will be deprived of calories and fabricate energy by utilizing glycogen stores, a carbohydrate found in the liver and muscles. Glycogen bonds with water, and so when you lose weight by burning glycogen deposits in your muscles, you are essentially losing a lot of water. As you lose muscle your metabolism slows down, and this is when the plateau occurs, because even if you do the same physical activities, they are not enough to burn as many calories as you did when you were heavier.
Having a different metabolism will affect the way you will need to change your weight loss strategy, because at this new equilibrium you will have to keep in mind that the amount of calories eaten equals the amount of calories burned. In this situation you will have to follow the expected guidelines that say you need to increase your physical strain or reduce the calories you get from your food correspondingly to how many pounds you want to lose.
A common known rule in the fitness world is that the more you lose weight, the slower the process becomes. In other words, this is consistent with the weight loss plateau in the sense that at the beginning of your weight loss efforts you will find it easier to shed the pounds, but this ease will gradually slow down with time. In addition, as you get closer to your ideal weight your metabolism slows down to prevent massive weight loss. It is well known that if you are very lean, your body will store fat more rapidly than when you are at a normal weight, in order to have emergency deposits for “grim times,” a mechanism that was passed down from prehistoric times, when there were long periods of time were there was very little food.
What To Do To Overcome It?
The first step is to re-evaluate your diet. In order to make improvements it is important to become aware of your eating habits and whether you have been neglecting your diet in favor of more exercise.
Secondly, you can reduce your calorie intake further. As your metabolism decreases, reducing the amount of calories you get from the food you eat is essential to further weight loss, otherwise you will remain on the plateau for an indefinite time. If your current calorie intake isn’t lower than 1300 calories, you may reduce it with up to 2-300 calories daily, in order to overcome the plateau you are experiencing. It is very important to ascertain the number of calories you take in correctly – otherwise all your efforts will be in vain.
Thirdly and most importantly, exercise more. Whether you simply become more active in your lifestyle or add an extra half hour to your workout, getting more physical activity will help always you overcome the plateau you’re on. It is also good to vary your workouts, maybe add dancing or other things that bring you satisfaction, because it is a common fact that when muscles become accustomed to a particular type of physical activity, your body expends less energy in order to do that activity.
The key to overcoming a plateau is not to get frustrated, and be patient, because everyone goes through this at some point in their weight loss journey.