Getting Over A Weight Loss Plateau Is Actually Pretty Simple
Have you worked so hard but found that you can’t lose any more weight? There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing the scale stubbornly staying at the same weight. Getting over a weight loss plateau is not as tough as you think however.
There are a couple things that can be adjusted to keep the progress train going. There are two main factors that can cause plateaus. When corrected, your weight loss should continue without a problem. The two factors to change are exercise and calories consumed. There are other important factors like sleep and hydration, but those are more obvious.
When The Daily Food Intake Is To Blame
You have to consume less calories than you burn daily to lose weight. There are two common errors that cause diet based weight loss plateaus. Getting over a weight loss plateau would involve paying attention to these. They are:
- Not eating enough calories.
- Not adjusting calories based on current weight.
Not eating enough?
The first issue may seem counter intuitive, but I’ll tell you why it isn’t. All too often people try to “starve” themselves to lose weight. This will actually slow your metabolism. Muscle burns fat and when you don’t eat enough, you burn muscle.
I remember a time back in high school. I was trying to get ripped and thought eating an apple for lunch and nothing for breakfast would do it. To my surprise, I didn’t lose fat. I gained it! I was so confused. I researched all throughout the internet for what could cause this. Turns out my body was in something called “starvation mode.”
Starvation mode is when your body doesn’t get the energy it needs from foods. This causes your body to store fat. After increasing my calories and eating 6 small meals a day(You can do 3, it works just as well), I began losing bodyfat! And boy, I lost it fast too. Within about a month I dropped about 10 pounds and felt stronger as well! Don’t starve yourself.
To remedy this, just eat more. It’s as simple as that. If you are eating the right foods(see my article on nutrition to get an idea) then you don’t need to worry much about eating too much. If you are willing to calorie count, go for at least 2000 calories as a man. If you are a woman, start at 1500 calories per day.
If you dread the idea of calorie counting, just make sure to have proper meals. That means have a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fat. To go simpler than that, focus on having some meat, veggies, and complex carbs(non sugary). Complex carbs would include brown rice, oatmeal, bran cereal, etc.
You may be eating JUST right, but for your previous bodyweight
Now, about adjusting calories. You can have the perfect diet and still plateau. What gives? This doesn’t mean your diet is bad. However, you may need to lower your calories to account for your new bodyweight.
Say, you’ve lost 15 pounds. You went from 180 to 160(hypothetical of course). You now burn less calories per day. What that means is that your body has adjusted to the amount of food you eat. It has no reason to burn any more fat. It’s getting the same amount of calories it burns per day. This is what’s keeping your bodyweight the same.
What I’d recommend is lowering the amount you eat by just a little bit. You don’t have to count calories, but just lower the portion size slightly. Make sure that you were eating enough to begin with. If you were eating a good diet and losing weight fine for a while, then trying lowering calories just a small amount. See if it helps.
Good Exercise Can Kick-Start Your Metabolism
Your body adapts to what activities you do. If you’re active, your body will adjust to being active. This means losing weight, toning up, and feeling more energetic. It’s important to exercise regularly and this will help you all around when losing weight. It can:
- Increase energy.
- Ease depression.
- Increase metabolism.
- Improve mental sharpness.
- Improve circulation.
The list of benefits from exercise are endless. If you aren’t exercising and hit a weight loss plateau, do it. It may just immediately get you past it.
Maybe you already exercise and still can’t figure out how to get over a weight loss plateau. Assuming your diet is right, you may just need to change things up a bit.
Change things up a bit
Just as your body can adapt to your eating plan, it can also adapt to your exercise plan. Try increasing the intensity of your exercise. If you walk regularly, try walking faster. For jogging try to pick a route that you can increase your times. If you ran 2 miles in 20 minutes try upping the speed. Run 2 miles in 17 minutes and continue.
I’ve found one of the most effective supplements to weight loss is weight training. Lifting weights help preserve and build muscle. Muscle burns fat so you can see why that’d be beneficial. Adding something simple like bench presses, squats, and deadlifts can really amplify your progress. Shoot for 3 sets of 8 on each exercise. Work your way up.
Tying It All Together
Getting over a weight loss plateau isn’t the hardest thing. Even so, there are some less obvious reasons why you’ve plateaued. To recap:
- Not eating enough. If you are eating less than 1300 calories a day you are probably starving yourself. Eat more and your metabolism will increase.
- Not lowering calories as your weight lowers. When you lose weight, you burn less calories. Therefore, you need less calories to burn more.
- Don’t neglect exercise. There are so many reasons why one should exercise. You won’t live as long or lose as much weight if you don’t.
- Try changing things up a bit if you already exercise. Your body has probably gotten used to your routine. Set harder goals. Run faster, walk faster, etc.
- Start weight training if you want to maximize your results. Muscle burns fat and the more muscle you have, the more fat you burn.
I hope this article has helped in showing you how to get over a weight loss plateau. Just keep doing what you’re doing with a few adjustments. You should then be well on your way to getting in shape and feeling great.
Good luck and feel free to bookmark and give input! If you have any ideas on future articles I’d be glad to hear them. Let me know what you think of this article. If you have any questions or thoughts you can comment as well.