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Breaking Through A Weight Loss Plateau

While you tend to lose weight fairly fast at the beginning, at some point, it seems as though your weight won’t budge. This inability to lose weight is known as a weight-loss plateau, and it can be pretty discouraging.

Often when people want to lose weight or fat, the first thing they do is start eating less and do a lot of cardio exercises. However, it is not the ideal thing to do.

Your body converts everything you eat into energy and uses it to help you perform daily activities. The amount of energy is measured in calories. When you eat more calories than your burn, your body stores the excess calories as fat. To avoid this, all you need to do is burn more calories than you consume.

In simple words, you either need to eat less, or you need to boost your workout routine (you could also do both) to lose weight. You need to be in a caloric deficit and follow a well-structured training program. 

The Weight Loss Plateau

You have been working out, eating well, following the right practices, and working on your goals for a long time. Though you made progress initially, you are suddenly stuck in the same weight and your efforts aren’t yielding results like before. This is called a weight loss plateau.

What Causes A Weight Loss Plateau?

There are two reason for this.  

  1. As you continue following specific practices for a period of time, your body adapts to stress and dietary practices. So, you will have to amp up your diet and workout sessions to see continuous results.
  2. Weight loss is a process where the calories you consume have to be fewer in comparison to the calories you burn. It often happens that you lose a few kilograms quickly over a period of time when you are consistent with workouts and diet. However, along with fat, you also lose some muscle mass during this time, which results in a lower metabolism rate.

How To Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau?

1. Increase The Total Intensity And Frequency Of Your Workout

Your workout should be based around the progressive overload concept. If you keep performing the same workout for days or weeks, there are high chances that your body gets adapted to it. To avoid this altogether, you should gradually increase your workout’s intensity—meaning more reps, more sets, more workout days, a variation of the movements, different workout stimuli, etc., to change or increase the intensity of your workouts.

2. Recheck Your Caloric Requirements And Track Them

Sometimes, when things are going right, you should take a look back and reassess. The same goes for nutrition as well. After losing a few kilos, it is vital that you look back and reassess your caloric intake. Perhaps, you have to reduce the total calories, or maybe a slight macro adjustment will do. To put it short, tracking your calories plays an essential role in weight loss.

3. Be Active Throughout The Day

Working out for 30-60 minutes per day and remaining sedentary for the rest of the day isn’t going to help you shed kilos.  Non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT is one of the easiest ways to boost caloric expenditure. It could be as simple as taking a five-minute walk every once an hour or performing daily activities with as many movements as possible.

4. Consume High Amounts Of Protein And Fibre

Consuming enough protein is one of the primary contributors to weight loss. Protein helps boost metabolism in your body and suppress the hormone responsible for hunger—Ghrelin. A fibre-rich diet will help you increase sensitivity to insulin and also reduce blood pressure.

5. Get Enough Sleep

Good quality sleep is a significant factor that impacts weight loss. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, two things happen:

  1. The cortisol level (stress hormone) rises in your body, resulting in increased stress, which induces high levels of cortisol that lead to an increase in appetite.
  2. When your body doesn’t get enough rest, it could cause fatigue. It also lowers the recovery and protein synthesis. Growth hormones are released in your body while you sleep. A poor night of sleep will also increase the level of stress hormone instead.

6. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress can directly impact weight loss. Stress in any form—either mental or physical—can make you over-eat or under-eat and result in increased stress hormone levels. When cortisol is released, glucose gets released into your bloodstream, subsequently slowing down your metabolism.

7. Never Skip Meals

When people hit a weight loss plateau, their first instinct is to reduce calorie consumption or skip meals. While it helps sometimes, it will also affect their weight loss goals negatively. For instance, skipping meals causes your blood sugar level to rise, thereby decreasing your metabolism rate.

Approach Weight Loss The Right Way 

Your goal for fat loss shouldn’t necessarily be changing the way you look. Instead, you should see it as a way to make lifestyle changes to avoid/manage chronic conditions. While losing weight/fat makes one look good in the desired way, there are other benefits to it. For instance, it improves the quality of life, prevents diseases such as heart ailments, diabetes, high blood pressure, and helps maintain good cholesterol levels.

While hitting a weight loss plateau can often be demotivating, try to find things that will keep you motivated and help you get back on track instead. It could be as simple as switching things up in your workout regime or finding a workout partner to keep you company. You could also set small short-term goals to stay focused.

This Content has originally written by Spoorthi CultFit team and published on March 16, 2021. No Copyright/IPR breach is intended.

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Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

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