How To Break Through A Weight Loss Plateau
Have you ever lost so much weight and then found you’ve hit a plateau? You’ve lost a decent amount of weight and all of a sudden you stop losing weight and nothing you do seems to work. What can you do to get off the plateau and hit your goal?
Whatever your situation if you’ve hit a plateau take a moment to pat yourself on the back for all the progress you’ve made so far. Well done for losing the weight you’ve lost!
What you’re going through is very common, successful slimmers can find that their weight remains static for a few weeks.
If you don’t hit a plateau – then consider yourself lucky. Don’t worry though if you have hit a plateau – many people find that the weight suddenly starts to shift again.
What’s a plateau?
A weight loss or fat loss plateau can be described as no change in body weight for a period of 3 weeks.
The term ‘weight loss’ does not reflect the difference between changes in:
If you weigh yourself every day, or several times each day you may find your weight fluctuates by a few pounds throughout the day – and most of this fluctuation is due to changes in water retention.
If you have a lot of salt, carbs and drink a small amount of water – you’ll retain a lot of water which will increase your body weight. If you drink plenty of water, and have a lower carb, low salt diet your weight will drop. The more water you drink – the less you retain it. Your body will only retain water if it needs to – for example if you are dehydrated by not drinking enough water each day. You need to drink plenty of water each day – at least 2 litres.
It’s best to weigh yourself once a week rather than every day, this will save a lot of hassle. Weighing yourself several times a day does not reflect your true weight loss won’t do much for your confidence or motivation.
Why do plateaus happen?
During the first few weeks of losing weight, fast weight loss is normal. You’ve made changes to your diet and are reaping the benefits. When you reduce your calories your body gets the energy it needs from it’s own stores of glycogen – or carbs. As glycogen holds onto water, when your body uses stores of glycogen as energy it releases water at the same time which results in faster weight loss.
When your body uses up it’s glycogen stores, it starts to burn fat as energy instead. But fat doesn’t store much water and holds more energy at the same time – double the amount of energy – ie calories than a single gram of glycogen holds. The result is that weight loss slows down a lot.
Plateaus can also be your body’s way of playing catch up with your sudden change in size and weight. Hormones also play a part, which can cause your appetite to fluctuate.
A plateau can be your make or break point
Of course it’s disappointing when you don’t lose weight steadily, but this is an important time for you. Here’s why. This is the point where many people give up, and end up not reaching their goal, and often put weight back on. On the other hand, most people who get through a plateau not only get slim but stay slim.
How to break through your plateau
Stay focused, press on but also look at any changes or habits that may have been creeping back in.
How have you lost weight so far? diet and exercise or just diet? Press on but ask yourself if you need to make any other changes. For example a low calorie plan can help you.
Evaluate your goal – do you have a target weight in mind? if so ask yourself this:
Would I rather weigh precisely X weight?
– Would I rather be a X size?
Focusing on your size is a better indicator of your health as your BMI – Body Mass Index does not take into account the distribution of fat around your body – and belly fat is the most dangerous type of fat to carry. People often prefer to be a certain size, or size range than a precise weight – if this is you then you may find you reach your slimming goal even faster! this is because of the difference in weight and density of fat and muscle.
Remember too that as you lose weight, you will need fewer calories each day in order to continue losing weight at the same rate. This is because the less you weigh, the fewer calories your body needs each day for energy! your body’s metabolic processes will also need less energy to work. This is normal – your body’s metabolism decreases as your weight goes down.
And the slimmer you get, the harder it is to keep slimming as your body will naturally try to hold on to fat. You will have a natural healthy weight and size for your body.
Make sure you set yourself up for success with:
• the right plan
• get the right amount of sleep – trying to get slim when you are sleep deprived will be an uphill battle
• focus on building new habits rather fighting the old
• focus on your waistline more than your weight
• weigh yourself weekly rather than daily or multiple times daily
• make sure you have the right support around you