Alas! 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 it’s their fate to be fat. That’s not true. Let’s see why weight loss plateaus 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 could have gained lean muscle because of your training. So, the new muscle weight will offset the actual fat loss. You body’s lean muscle mass has increased. That is a good thing. Another point is that your body could be retaining water. Your body’s water weight fluctuates daily.
The best way will be to track your progress with body composition tests over a period of time. You are concerned with 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 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 plateau but self-sabotage.
Another common mistake is not changing the numbers. When you first start losing weight, you are heavier and the required calorie consumption for fat loss is high. However, as you lose weight and become smaller, your daily calorie requirement will drop. You will need to recalculate your new daily calorie requirement based on your current weight. Eating the same amount as before will just not cut it. You will have to eat even lesser.
There is another reason for a fat loss plateau. It’s called adaptive thermogenesis. Ooh! That’s a big word. So what does it mean?
Basically, what that means is that your body’s metabolism drops due to the caloric restrictions. This could be caused by a starvation diet or maybe heredity. Attempting to cut too much calories too fast is the most common reason for this happening. Aim to cut no more than 500 calories from your daily caloric requirement. This will 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 around this is to take a 3 day break from the diet and eat what you want. You may gain a pound or two, but your metabolism will see a boost. You’ll break through the plateau and then you can carry on with the caloric deficit and you will burn fatter and keep going on towards your desired goal.
Now you know what a plateau is and how you should avoid it. In the event that you still experience one, just keep going and stick to the plan. In time to come you will break through the plateau.
Never give up and stop. That’s the surest way to failure.