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Nutrition

Smashing Weight Loss Plateaus

Smashing Weight Loss Plateaus

When it comes to losing weight or even more accurately losing FAT the first thing that you need to remind yourself is it’s not a quick easy process…that is if you want to lose the fat permanently and stop all this yoyo dieting.

So first of long term goal setting is essential if you want to succeed. SET YOURSELF A LONG TERM GOAL. (In 12 month’s time I want to be 2 stone lighter and be able to run 5k)

Secondly break it down into monthly goals, this makes the long term goal seem less daunting and more manageable. (Every month I will lose between 4-6kg and make fitness improvements)

The problem with weighing ourselves is unfortunately the scales don’t actually tell you anything about what you have achieved. It can’t tell you that you have lost fat, water or muscle – so if you do lose 6lbs in a week I wouldn’t get too excited because that doesn’t directly mean all of that is fat. (which is the overall goal)
People who weigh themselves on a daily basis may notice that your weight can fluctuate throughout the day, again this doesn’t mean that you have gained lbs. of body fat within 24 hours just water retention caused from food and liquids containing sodium and carbohydrates and drinking little water. Or if you moderate your carb intake and keep sodium low, drinks loads of water and sweat you head off in the gym you’ll see your weight decrease. So drinking water will help you stop retaining it.

So to help keep your motivation up I would advise choosing a set day each week, preferably first thing in the morning before you start drinking and eating to weigh in. Avoid weighing yourself daily as it doesn’t reflect a true representation of weight loss…. personally I would try aim for every 2 weeks to make it more realistic.
If you don’t see a drop on the scales for around 3 weeks despite all your best efforts to be consistent with your diet and fitness then you safely say you haven’t lost any body fat, which means whatever you’re doing isn’t working. So how do we get over this without choosing another diet??

Some points to bear in mind when trying to lose weight

Weight loss plateaus are extremely common, if you don’t experience several plateaus when trying to lose weight then you’re a rarity. The body is very clever at adapting to new diets and plans and will quickly resort to slowing down the metabolism to stop body fat from being lost.

The leaner you get the harder it becomes to lose body fat, so expect a reduction in the amount of weight you lose as the weeks go by.

What to do when you plateau.

Reevaluate calorie intake, as you lose weight you will need to eat fewer calories to feed your lighter frame. If we keep consuming the same high calories you were consuming when you lost your first ½ stone, then expect to maintain the weight you have plateaus at.

Calorie creeping – are you eating more calories than you think you are? Consider every source monitor it. Dressings, sauces, snacks, drinks and alcohol etc. all add up so don’t forget about those. Use a food diary.
Are you pushing yourself hard enough?

If you’re maintain the same intensity that you were when you first started, then your body is unable to adapt and change. Changing up your workouts every 4-6 weeks is important if you want to ‘shock’ your body and improve. Keeping a log of all workouts and aiming to improve in each session is also a great way of seeing progress and maintain motivation.

Other potential dangers…

Are you taking your body into starvation mode? Missing the odd meal here and there isn’t going to have any dramatic effects on your weight loss, whereas consistent calorie restriction can have damaging effects on lowering your metabolism. Calorie restriction for over 3 weeks can reduce your metabolism up to 50% as well as not providing your body with enough vital nutrients. First suggestion would be to immediately up your calories.
2) Calorie Cycling – If you are in starvation mode, or have just been dieting for more than a month, or two, your metabolism can and will likely slow down above and beyond the range if you were eating more calories. There is no scientific evidence supporting calorie cycling as a superior way to lose fat, but I must mention it given the large number of respected experts who support it. Furthermore, science is not exactly ahead of the curve. Alternating low calorie with high calorie days MAY prevent this starvation response from occurring (i.e. 3 days’ low, 1 day high).

3) Hormones – There is a large contingent of nutrition experts who describe a stall in fat loss not as a calorie in/out issue, but as a “defect in fat metabolism”. Think about an overfat woman in a developing country who barely eats any food. How can this be? There are several theories, but they most likely have to do with a hormonal imbalance that affects fat loss metabolism along with calorie burn. Hormonal issues related to weight loss are more common with women than men. What’s the solution? Unfortunately, a simple answer is not possible, other than to seek medical assistance and test your hormone levels such as adrenal, testosterone etc.

As you continue on your journey to reach your ideal weight, keep in mind that changing your body is a marathon, not a sprint.

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