All is going as planned, then suddenly here comes the dreaded weight loss plateau that so many people experience and have no idea why it happens; or how to break through it.
This is one of the main reasons why people just stop trying and give up on their weight loss journey. It can feel horrible when you see no change on the scale despite eating right and working out like crazy.
People are motivated when they see positive results and changes. The moment the results stagnate and there is no change, they assume the worst and feel that their efforts are in vain. They think that the work they’re doing is not paying off and it’s their fate to be fat. This is not true of course.
Why Does a Weight Loss Plateau Occur?
The first point we must note is the difference between weight loss and fat loss. You can lose fat but not see a weight change. Most people don’t know this and it takes a while to wrap your mind around this fact. After all, how could you lose fat but not weight?
Simple. You must have gained lean muscle because of your exercises. So, the new muscle weight will offset the actual fat loss weight. You body’s lean muscle mass has increased and that’s a good thing.
That’s When a Weight Loss Plateau is Not a Plateau at All
Another point is that your body could be retaining water. Your body’s water weight fluctuates daily which is equal to one pound per pint (500ml.) so keep that into consideration.
The best way will be to track your progress with body composition tests over a period of time. You want to focus on fat loss. Weight loss is just secondary. Changing your body’s composition is what really matters.
Another very common problem is that people over-estimate their training and under-estimate their eating. It’s really tough to train hard but it is so easy to eat. So, in their mind, they assume that a hard 45 minute workout may have burned over a 1000 calories, but eating 2 slices of pizza in 15 minutes will add up to about 300 calories.
This of course is totally wrong!
A 45 minute workout may burn about 300 to 400 calories. 2 slices of pizza may contain above 600 calories. Now you see how easy it is to negate a workout with poor diet choices. So, when people slip up on their diets and then later on see no changes on the scale, they wonder why all the hard work is not paying off. It’s not a weight loss plateau but self-sabotage.
Adjust Your Numbers to Avoid a Weight Loss Plateau
Another common mistake is not changing the numbers. When you first start losing weight, you are heavier and your “required calorie consumption” for fat loss is very high. Weights are built onto your body in the form of fat.
However, as you lose weight and become smaller, your daily calorie requirement will drop. You will need to recalculate your daily calorie requirements based on your current weight. Eating the same amount as before will just not cut it unless you intensify your workout routines.
Another Weight Loss Plateau Reason: Adaptive Thermo-genesis
Basically what that means is your body’s metabolism drops due to caloric restrictions. This could be caused by a fasting or starvation diet and could be heredity as well.
Trying to cut too many calories too fast is the most common reason for this happening. Aim to cut no more than 500 calories from your daily caloric requirement and gradually back it down as needed. This will help you maintain your metabolic rate.
If you have been doing that and still experience a plateau, then it could be that your body type is that of an endomorph. A way to get around this is to take a 3 day break from the diet you’re on and eat what you want to within reason.
You may gain a pound of two, but your metabolism can see a boost from this. You’ll break through your weight loss plateau and then you can carry on with the caloric deficit, get back to burning fat and moving towards your goals.
Now you know what a weight loss plateau is and a few of the best ways to avoid it; and overcome it if it does occur. You can break through this plateau if you hit it but you can’t give up because giving up is the way to certain failure.