What To Do When Your Weight Loss Journey Has Plateaued
How to break the weight loss plateau
It can be discouraging when you’re working hard to lose weight and you suddenly stop seeing results. This is called a weight loss plateau. It is when you temporarily stop losing weight even though you’re still following your diet and exercise plan, and normal routine.
It happens to most people who are trying to lose weight. However, a large percentage of those people give up fast, without considering all the effort they put when they started.
If you’re stuck, don’t give up. You can easily overcome weight loss plateau and lose more weight again. You want to know how?
In this article, I’ll guide you on how you can do that. With these 7 tips you will be on your journey once again to your dream body.
Why does weight loss plateau occur?
Weight loss largely depends on hormones. These hormones ensure that your body does not starve and there is enough for energy production. Simple science is, when you eat food, the glucose produced is broken down to produce energy, some is used, and excess is stored at fat.
Common diet routines are where, you go on calorie deficit so that the stored fat is used again as energy and an exercise routine to help you burn more calories. However, as the hormones (those regulating sugar and hunger) sense a calorie deficit, the basal metabolic rate will be lowered (your body’s rate of burning fat) and so will your metabolism.
This is called the starvation mode. You will not lose more because, the body is holding on to the fat to avoid starving.
This and a few more reasons are why your weight loss may have stalled. Here are 7 tips to overcome the weight loss plateau.
What to do when weight loss has plateaued
1. Change your weight loss program.
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit, which means you need fewer calories and burn more. That is what most weight loss programs instruct you to do. This often causes the weight loss plateau. So, what should you do?
You need to follow a scheduled and time restricted weight loss plan. This is why intermittent fasting works for most. For example, the 16:8 diet. A study done by department of kinesiology and nutrition at the university of Illinois, shows intermittent diet produces mild caloric restriction and weight loss without counting calories. (1)
Trick your body into believing that nothing has changed and eat at a fixed short window of time. Don’t eat too little because if you’re not eating enough, your body may start to hold on to fat.
This will not only help you lose weight but also help manage hunger and food cravings.
2. Change your exercise plan
Exercise, like diet, is also important in your weight loss. From the university of Colorado study, exercise does more in maintaining weight after losing and keeping it off better than diet does (2). If you’re not challenging your body enough, you may not be burning as many calories as you could be.
Try adding some intensity to your workouts or more workout days per week. About a fifteen minutes cardio with rests in between works well. Also adding strength training two to three days a week could push your journey a little further.
You may also be due to a change in your routine. If you’ve been doing the same workout for a while, your body may have adapted, and you are no longer burning many calories. Mix up your routine with some new exercises to challenge your body.
3. Cut out processed foods
Maybe you’re not eating as healthily as you thought you were. A little fast food or two scoops of ice cream every single hour?
Processed foods are one of the main culprits behind weight gain and plateau. They’re loaded with unhealthy ingredients like sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Cutting them out of your diet is a great way to start losing weight.
There are diets where you can eat anything as long as it is in calorie deficit. This process always results to a plateau. You will not achieve much of your goals.
Try to avoid processed foods as much as you can. You can substitute with healthy snacks to help you fight of sugar craving. Limit cheat days on processed foods because, it will lead to a habit.
4. Drink more water
Water helps a lot in losing weight. It helps in hydration, and it has about zero calories. Research done by the university of Birmingham shows that drink a glass of water after and before meals contributes to effective weight loss. (3)
Drinking water after every few hours a day will helps to fill you up, so you eat less. Water gives the impression that you don’t feel hungry and over stuff. You should aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
5. Eat more protein and fiber
Protein is an essential nutrient for weight loss. It helps you feel fuller for longer, and it also helps to build and preserve muscle mass. As you break down more fat, your body need to build up and repair itself. Aim to eat at least 20 grams of protein at every meal.
Fiber is also helpful in weight loss. It helps to reduce the absorption of calories from other foods. Aim to eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Most vegetables can be found in this category and most of them are loaded with few calories.
5. Avoid sugary drinks
Beverages are usually hard to avoid because they are easily available. Every minute you walk to the vending machine during a work break, you have something to sip. Try to alternate these with healthier options, for example, homemade fruit juice, black tea or water.
Research published by the University of California published in the European journal of Nutrition, discusses that black tea, like green tea also helps in weight loss. (4) This is because of the impact these teas have on the gut microbiome. Take your tea or coffee, black. Always limit sugar and cream because they contain more calories.
7. Underlying medical condition.
It’s also possible that your weight-loss plateau is due to a medical condition such as hypothyroidism, poly cystic ovarian syndrome, or another underlying condition. If you think this may be the case, talk to your doctor.
Before you start any weight loss program, you should see a doctor to make sure your body can sustain well without any side effects to your body system.
8. Lifestyle factors
Finally, there are some lifestyle factors that can impact your weight-loss plateau. If you’ve been skimping on sleep or have been under a lot of stress, you can impact your weight loss.
Ensure that you get at least eight hours to sleep. Managing stress can be challenging but engaging in a hobby can help a lot. You can also start a meditation practice to keep your mind clear. This will also keep you motivated in your journey and lead to best results.
Most people easily realize they are on a weight loss plateau and barely do anything but give up. When you find that you are no longer losing weight like before, don’t throw away your efforts. You only need to check what is wrong with your weight loss routine or lifestyle in general. Follow these tips and your weight loss will become smooth again.