She has worked hard on a healthy low calorie diet and improving her exercise habits, and her benefit has been losing weight and feeling better. But today, without your knowledge, the scale has stopped moving. You have reached a weight loss plateau.
Don’t be discouraged. It is normal for weight loss to slow down and even stop. By understanding the causes of a weight loss plateau, you can decide how to react and avoid going back to your new healthy habits.
What is a weight loss plateau?
Anyone trying to lose weight ends up on a plateau. Still, most people are surprised when this happens to them because they continue to eat carefully and train regularly. The frustrating reality is that even well-planned weight loss efforts can be stopped.
What are the causes of a weight loss plateau?
During the first few weeks of weight loss, a rapid drop is normal. Part of the reason is that when calories are reduced, the body gets the energy it needs by releasing its stores of glycogen, a type of carbohydrate found in muscles and liver.
Glycogen is partially made up of water, so when glycogen is burned for energy, it releases water, resulting in weight loss that is primarily made up of water. However, this effect is temporary.
When you lose weight, you lose muscle and fat. Muscle helps maintain the rate at which calories are burned. So as you lose weight, your metabolism slows down, making you burn fewer calories than your heavier weight. Your slower metabolism will slow down weight loss, even if you eat the same amount of calories you used to lose weight. When the calories you burn are equal to the calories you eat, you hit a plateau. To lose more weight, you need to increase your physical activity or decrease the amount of calories you eat. By using the same approach that initially worked, it is possible to maintain weight loss, but it will not lead to further weight loss.
How can you overcome a weight loss plateau?
By the time you hit a plateau, you may have already lost all the weight you wanted through your current diet and exercise program. Ask yourself if you are satisfied with your current weight or if you want to lose more, in which case you will need to tailor your weight loss program.
If you are determined to lose more weight, try these tips to get over the plateau:
– Reevaluate your habits
Review your eating habits and activities. Make sure you have not loosened the rules by enjoying larger portions or less exercise. Research suggests that timely relaxation of the rulers contributes to the plateau.
– Reduce the amount of calories
Reduce your daily calorie intake further, provided you get no less than 1,200 calories. Fewer than 1,200 calories per day may not be enough to keep you from constantly hungry, increasing the risk of overeating.
– Increase your training
Most people should exercise 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. But people trying to lose weight must train more frequently or increase exercise intensity to burn more calories. Adding exercises like lifting weights to build muscle will help you burn more calories.
– Plan multiple activities throughout the day
Think outside the gym. Increase your general physical activity during the day by walking more and using your car less. Or try more gardening or vigorous spring cleaning. Any physical activity will help you burn more calories.
Don’t let a weight loss plateau take you back
If your efforts to overcome a weight loss plateau don’t work, talk to a dietitian about other tactics. If you can’t cut calories further or increase physical activity, you can review your goal. Appreciate the weight you have lost. The number you point to may not be realistic for you. Since your diet has already improved and your physical activity has increased, your health has already improved. If you are overweight or obese, even moderate weight loss improves health problems.
Whatever you do, don’t give up and go back to your old eating and exercise habits. This could allow you to regain the lost weight. Celebrate your success and continue your efforts to maintain your weight loss.