If you are trying to lose weight nothing is more frustrating than when you are trying your hardest, eating healthily and working out regularly but still not losing weight.
This is known as a weight loss plateau, and unfortunately it is a common occurrence among dieters.
When we initially decide to lose weight we usually see some great results, however in time these become less and less until no further weight will be lost.
Rather than simply giving up there are ways in which you can beat this weight loss plateau.
First you will need to look at a number of factors that may be contributing to the lack of weight lost:
Reason for weight loss plateau #1 – Not enough calories consumed
For your body to function properly it requires a minimum of 1200 calories daily. If you consume fewer than that then your body will react.
In order to protect itself from starving your metabolism will slow, so fewer calories will be burnt.
To combat this it is recommended that you work out how many calories you need to function daily using a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculator, and then subtract 500-700 calories from it.
Never go lower than 1200 daily calories or subtract more than 700 calories from your daily limit as this may result in muscle loss.
Reason for weight loss plateau #2 – Muscle loss
Your muscles require 5 times the amount of energy than fat to maintain itself, therefore if you are not consuming enough calories to maintain your muscles then your body will start to break it down.
To maintain your muscle mass it is advised that you eat a diet rich in protein while continuing to workout regularly.
Reason for weight loss plateau #3 – Weight loss
Although weight loss is your aim, as you lose the weight your calorie needs will also decrease.
You will need to continually monitor your BMR to see how many calories you should be consuming.
Reason for weight loss plateau #4 – Lack of discipline
After a little while of eating healthily and exercise you may start to become less disciplined, where you may start skipping workouts or having too many ‘cheat meals’.
Unfortunately this will have a negative impact on the weight that you can lose.
Staying motivated is difficult so if you can find someone to lose the weight with you then you will be more likely to succeed.
A friend or family member is ideal, but even online communities can offer you the support you need when times get tough.
Reason for weight loss plateau #5 – Physical adaption
After a while of healthy eating and working out your body will become accustomed to it so you will see less benefits.
To combat this it is essential that you do not allow your body time to adapt, you should mix up your workouts, their intensity and the exercise you perform to see the best results.
Reason for weight loss plateau #6 – Exercise ability
As you get better at performing different exercises you will need fewer calories to complete them.
Did you know that a trained athlete will burn fewer calories performing their chosen sport than someone untrained?
Keep your workout fresh and don’t let your body adapt.
Reason for weight loss plateau #7 – Over exercise
If you choose to overexercise you run the risk of injuring yourself, which will lead to you being unable to workout in future.
Give yourself time to rest and your body will thank you for it.
Reason for weight loss plateau #8 – Enhanced fitness levels
As your fitness improves your resting metabolic rate will decrease, meaning fewer calories will be burnt while resting.
Of course this is a good thing as it says that you are getting fitter, however it also means that you will need to push yourself that much harder during your workouts.
Your muscle mass percentage is also likely to increase if you are exercising regularly, which although helps to burn extra calories will cause your weight to stay the same or even increase (muscle weights more than fat).
Sometimes it is best not to focus purely on weight loss but rather fat loss as this will be a better indicator of your fitness and risks of health problems.
If you want to beat your weight loss plateau there are 4 main points you need to remember:
- Keep track of your BMR.
- Keep your calorie consumption between 500-700 calories less than your BMR, but never less than 1200 calories.
- Get regular exercise to prevent muscle loss.
- Keep your workouts fresh, mixing up your exercises and intensity from time to time.
Finally weight loss is not something that will happen overnight, it may take many months or even years to reach your goal. Just remember this is a lifestyle change, you don’t want the weight to creep back on do you?