One of the most frustrating aspects of weight loss is reaching a weight loss plateau. Thankfully, breaking the weight loss plateau is a relatively simple task once you know what causes it. When we first undertake a weight loss goal we tend to lose a lot of weight initially then the amount slowly declines over a period of weeks or months until we reach the point where we stop losing weight altogether, and it’s not that we don’t need to lose more weight either. This is referred to as a weight loss plateau. You know you’re doing all the right things but you’re just not losing the weight. In the first week of your program you tend to lose the largest amount of weight. Much of the weight loss this first week is actually excess fluid and can constitute as much as 9 lb (4 kg) or more depending on your starting weight. Fluid loss can represent as much as 50% of total weight lost in the first week. There are several factors that contribute to a weight loss plateau including (but not limited to);
- Insufficient Calories Consumed
- Muscle Loss
- Weight Loss
- Lack Of Discipline
- Physical Adaptation
- Exercise Ability
- Over Exercise
- Enhanced Fitness Levels
Lets deal with these one at a time.
Insufficient Calories Consumed The human body requires a MINIMUM of 1200 calories per day to function. If you consume less than that (on a crash diet for example), your body will interpret that as being in a famine and will reduce your metabolism (the bodies ability to burn calories) in order to protect itself and be able to survive for longer. This will stop it from burning fat stores. Solution: Maintain a reasonable calorie consumption. Use a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculator to determine how many calories your body requires per day to maintain itself. Once you have determined approximately how many calories your body requires to operate, reduce you calorie consumption to 500-700 calories less than that without going under 1200 calories. More than a 700 calorie deficit may lead to muscle loss which is the next cause of a weight loss plateau.
Muscle Loss All bodily tissue requires energy to maintain itself, including fat. Muscle requires FIVE TIMES the amount of energy to maintain itself than fat does. The higher the muscle percentage in your body the greater your caloric needs. Unfortunately, diets sometimes lead to muscle loss. The bodies primary source of energy is carbohydrates, followed by protein then fat. Your muscles are made of protein so if your body runs out of carbs it may turn to muscle as an energy source if those muscles are no being maintained by exercise. Unfortunately, muscle loss leads to a lower metabolism. Solution: Eat a diet rich in protein and exercise in conjunction with your reduced calorie diet to maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle loss. If necessary, vitamin supplements may be utilized to ensure correct nutrition. Resurge Review
Weight Loss Huh? Isn’t losing weight the whole point? Yes it is! But as you lose weight the number of calories your body requires to maintain itself also reduces. As mentioned earlier, even fat needs calories to maintain itself. Solution: As you lose weight, check your BMR regularly to see how many calories your body requires per day and maintain a calorie consumption around 500 calories less than that. But remember, don’t consume less than 1200 calories.
Lack Of Discipline After several weeks of a new weight loss program many people tend to lose focus. They start indulging their cravings for unhealthy foods more than they should and they cut corners on exercise, skipping one day under the pretense of exercising twice as much the next day etc. This decreases the BMR and increases calorie intake which effectively stops weight loss. Solution: Staying motivated during a weight loss program can be a challenge. One of the best ways to overcome this issue is to find a weight loss buddy. Having someone to exercise with and be answerable to can be an effective motivator. Another great motivational tool is a printable weight loss goal setting worksheet. Print it out, fill it out and place it on the fridge, where you will see it regularly and it will remind you of what you are trying to achieve.