You might have discovered that in spite of following a rigorous diet and fitness regimen, your weight loss has stalled all of a sudden and you are at a loss to understand why this is happening with you. First and foremost, do not revert to your old bad habits just because you have hit a certain point in your weight loss program known as weight loss plateau.
Like millions of people before you, you must have worked exceptionally hard to modify your eating habits and exercise regime and have seen positive results as the number on the scale continues to decelerate. But then one fine day, for no reason whatsoever, the scale refuses to budge — in spite of the fact that you are continuing on your low calorie diet and exercising without a break. You have just discovered what it feels like to have hit a weight loss plateau!
Do not get alarmed nor become discouraged with this latest development in your life, as it is a normal phenomenon for weight loss to slow down and stall in any stage of your weight loss program. By knowing what exactly is causing the weight loss plateau, you can determine how to react to this physical process and prevent a relapse.
Why does a weight loss plateau occur? There is a typical pattern that is involved in the progression from the time you commenced your weight loss program to where you are currently standing. In the first few weeks of your weight loss program, you would have discovered a drastic drop in your weight, which is considered normal. This takes place, because, when the calories from food are cut down substantially, the body starts releasing energy from its repositories of glycogen that is found in the liver and muscles. Glycogen, is a type of carbohydrate that holds onto water in the body. When the body releases glycogen, it gets burnt up for energy, while at the same time releasing water thus causing significant weight loss which is mainly water.
Coming back to the weight loss plateau — this occurs because the mechanism of your body starts to slow down as you lose muscle. In spite of doing the same activities, you discover that you are burning fewer calories than you did at the initial stage. The slower metabolism now is resulting in a new equilibrium despite your weight loss program.
In this new equilibrium, you will discover that the amount of calories expended is equal to the amount of calories eaten. From now on, in order to lose more weight you will need to increase the amount of activity in your exercise regimen or cut down on the number of calories that you are currently consuming. If you continue to use the same approach that you began with during your initial stages of weight loss, you might maintain the same weight but it will not need to additional loss of weight.
So then, how does one overcome a weight loss plateau? Use the following steps to help you restart your zeal in losing weight with your current weight loss plan.
Do not lose your will power: all you need to do is to adjust your weight loss program, if you are at a weight loss plateau. On the positive side, you might have discovered that all the weight you were planning to lose must have been lost by now; given the strict diet that you are adhering to and the amount of time you are spending in exercise. If you are satisfied with your current weight, you might need to maintain the same fitness regimen that you have started out on, but if you are looking to lose more, all you need to do is to modify and tweak your weight loss program for additional results.
Go back to the drawing board: look at your activity and food records and check whether you might have intentionally or unintentionally loosened the rules a bit. In many cases, individuals tend to get lax with the number of portions that they are consuming or the amount of exercise they should be getting. If you find out that you have slipped a bit, it’s not too late to pull up your socks and get back to the grind.
Slash your calories: cut down your calorie intake by approximately 150 to 250 calories on a daily basis, as long as you are not going below the recommended calorie consumption. Be careful of hunger pangs as cutting down more calories may actually do you more harm than good, especially if you are susceptible to overeating. Keep realistic goals of reducing your calorie levels, that is maintain it for a week or a certain number of days. Since a reduced calorie program is not sustainable in the long run, doing it for a shorter period of time may help you realise that cutting calories was actually required in the first place.
Modify your workout: Discover a new form of exercise or try enhancing the intensity of your current physical activity, just to bring a refreshing change in your daily fitness regimen. By increasing the amount of time by an additional 15 to 30 min, you might discover that you are actually starting to burn more calories. By adding additional muscle building or resistance exercises will also help in increasing your muscle mass and cutting down calories.