How to Break Through a Weight Loss Plateau
Like any other journey, your health and fitness journey will be full of many ups and downs. One of those downs may be experiencing a weight loss plateau. There’s nothing more frustrating than feeling like you are doing everything right, but still not seeing the results that you were hoping for.
Below, we explore some of the factors that may be causing your weight loss plateau and what you can do to combat it.
What is a weight loss plateau?
Many people within the fitness industry refer to a period of time during which your body weight remains the same as a weight loss plateau. If you have been seeing major progress with your weight loss goals, but now you are experiencing slowed or stalled weight loss progress and the scale won’t budge, you may be in the midst of your own weight loss plateau.
Why do weight loss plateaus occur?
Weight loss plateaus occur when our calories burned is equal to our calories consumed. This is how we maintain weight. When we first begin on our weight loss journeys, the initial weight loss may seem to come easily. We make simple changes, like making better food choices and exercising more, and the weight seems to fly off. Some of this is due to excess water loss, but lots is also due to fat and muscle loss. However, as we continue to follow our routine, our bodies begin to adapt. In order to continue to see changes, we must continue to challenge our bodies.
How to overcome a weight loss plateau
To break through a weight loss plateau, the basic rules of weight loss apply. You must burn more calories than you are consuming. Here are some steps you can take to ensure this is happening:
- Identify Your Goals
The first step is to identify what exactly your weight loss goals are. We aren’t able to make a plan without knowing what our end goal is. Ask yourself if you are happy with the weight that you have lost thus far or if you would like to continue to lose more.
- Re-Evaluate Your Diet
If you answered yes to the above question and you would like to lose more weight, its time to re-evaluate your diet. As you lose weight your body requires fewer calories for maintenance. You can adjust your calorie intake by figuring out what your resting metabolic rate (RMR) is. Your RMR is the energy (calories) that your body requires just to stay alive. Click here for an RMR calculator.
Once you have your RMR, and you know how many calories your body needs to survive, you will also need to factor in your activity level to determine how many calories you should be consuming each day. Remember, in order to lose weight, you must be consuming fewer calories than you are burning.
Additionally, its important to focus not only on how many calories you are consuming, but also on the types and quality of food that you are eating. In order to encourage weight loss, bulk up on your veggies, eat more protein and less salt and sugar. Remember to control your portions; even though some foods are considered healthy, it is still possible to over eat.
- Rethink Your Training Program
Once you have your diet in check, the next step is to rethink your training program. As mentioned above, in order to continue to see improvements, you need to continue to challenge your body. One way to ensure you continue to challenge your body in new ways is to switch up your training program every 4-6 weeks. This means the daily workouts that you are completing will need to change every 4-6 weeks. If you’re looking for a new training program to complete, click here.
If you aren’t already weight training, we encourage you to start. Lifting weights will help you build muscle, which may be lost due to dieting. And as we’ve all heard, muscle burns more calories. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn at rest.
- Make Lifestyle Changes
Now that you’ve got your diet and your training program readjusted, there are a few other things that you can do to re-ignite your weight loss. Ensure you are getting enough sleep each and every night. Drink more water, especially before eating meals in order to help you feel fuller. And finally, move more throughout the day. Some simple ways to do this are to park your car farther away from entrances and to set a timer when at work to remind yourself to get up and walk around every hour.
- Keep Going
Losing weight and reaching your health and fitness goals takes time. Its important to be patient and continue putting in the work every day. Your hard work will speak for itself.
If you’re feeling discouraged about the weight on the scale not moving, try to evaluate your progress in another way. Instead, focus on how you look in the mirror and how you feel every day.
Appreciate the weight that you have already lost and know that by changing your diet and exercising more, you have already made major improvements for your overall health.