You recently decided to make a change. You’re exercising, eating right and feeling great. The first 6-8 week went great. The lbs are coming off. Your clothes are fitting better. You might have gone down a size or two. Things are going as planned.
Then the dreaded plateau comes to visit. Even though you’re doing everything right, your weight loss has stalled. You may have even gained some weight back.
As discouraging as this might be, please realize this is your body adjusting to your new routine. What’s happening? Why? How do you break through the plateau? Read below and I’ll try to clarify what’s going on.
-First off, we need to understand the reason you suddenly stopped losing weight. It’s important to understand how our bodies are wired. In the grand scheme of things, humans have had unlimited access to food for a small amount of time. Think back to your ancestors. Did they have a stocked panty? Did they have at least 6 different options for what to have at each meal? Most likely not. There’s a good chance that they ate what was available to them through hunting and gathering. Believe it or not, this directly correlates with a weight loss plateau.
Our bodies are amazing. We can adjust to extreme circumstances including famine. When your body regularly burns more calories than consumed (like we do when we lose weight), it may interpret that as a lack of food (famine) and slow down your metabolism. Your body thinks your new lifestyle is “the new normal” and adjusts accordingly. It wants to keep fat reserves in case you don’t have regular access to food. Now what you did to lose weight is no longer effective. You’re unwittingly fighting your biology.
So how do we break through this frustrating phase?
-Above all things, don’t give up. Realize that this is part of weight loss. In fact, if you don’t plateau at some point, you’re probably losing weight too fast. Almost 100% chance you’ll gain it back…and maybe even add more. Here’s a couple things to keep in mind:
- If you’ve lost a considerable amount of weight, your caloric needs have decreased. A 200 lb person needs more calories to live than a 175 lb person. In this regard you’re a victim of your own success! Re-adjust your caloric deficit and you’ll start moving in the right direction again.
- As I preach daily in my classes and nutritional sessions, the scale is not the only indicator of success. If you’ve started a weight training program, there’s a good chance you’re building muscle which is much more dense than fat. This is why we measure body fat percentage instead of only using the scale. If you’ve lowered your body fat percentage and stayed the same weight, consider it a huge win. In this case your clothes probably fit better and you may look more lean (On a side note, did you know that many extremely fit and muscular people can be considered obese according to the BMI/Body Mass Index Table? BMI calculators should only be a small tool in measuring fitness success)
- In some cases, you may need to eat more! Do you have the right balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats? Yes, in some cases you can lose weight by eating more of the right foods. Especially if you’re in an extreme unsustainable caloric deficit and your body in in starvation mode.
So if you’ve hit a plateau, congratulations! The means you’ve already lost a substantial amount of weight. Be patient and tweak your fitness and eating to help you get to the next level. As always, if you need assistance I’m here to help! You can contact me at [email protected] or visit our website at www.fitgirlfit.com
As always ladies, let’s focus on being a Fit, Fierce & Fabulous Fit Girl!