You finally dragged yourself to the gym, cleaned up your eating habit and you gradually see those excess fats melting away. You are ecstatic. Who knew weight loss could be this easy. Then everything comes to a screeching halt. You are still working out; eating right yet the scale refuses to move. Day to day, week to week and now months, but your weight is still the same. You know you are doing the best you could but nothing is happening.
Welcome to the nightmare of most weight losers- weight loss plateau.
Weight loss plateau is a pause in weight loss that can’t really be explained or traced to any slip on your part.
Sometimes what you may think is a weight loss plateau might not be a plateau. Weight loss is not only measured by the numbers on your scale. It can also be seen. Is your waist slimmer? What of your thighs, arms, hips and arms? Are your clothes a little looser? If the answer is yes then you are not in a plateau. Weight loss is also measured in inches. Wrap a tape around your waist, is your measurement still the same or did it reduce?
Also keep in mind that if you are dieting, you will be in calorie deficit because you are taking in fewer calories. Your body does not understand this and might think you are starving. Your body metabolism will in turn slow down to conserve as much calorie as possible. This might lead to a stall in weight loss.
To make sure that it is really a plateau answer the questions below
- Have you examined your eating habit and can honestly say that you’ve been eating right. You have not succumbed to any food temptation, what I call ‘’one bite won’t make me fat syndrome’’?
- Are you still working out consistently?
- You have not been losing inches from anywhere in your body?
- Did you start taking any new medication?
- Is there a healthy food that you have started overeating?
- Were you taking weight loss drugs supplement and did you stop?
- Did you go on a fad diet and did you stop?
If you have answered the questions and you are sure that you are really in a plateau then take the following steps to break out of it
- Get a food diary. There is no way you can honestly track what you are eating without a food diary. It can help you check if there was some food you gave up that you have gone back to. It will also help you track how much you are eating and when you are eating. You may find that there are certain things that may have triggered emotional eating on your part.
- Cut more calories. You may resort to this drastic measure to get your body burning fat again. This is only a short term measure to trigger weight loss. You will need to go back to a sustainable eating plan because this measure is not sustainable over a long period of time
- Cook your own food. That will help you to track what is going into your food.
- Take your own food to work
- Have healthy snacks in your bag. This will keep you from making unhealthy food choices.
- Get an activity log book so you can also track your physical activity. Your routine in the office or at home may have changed.
- Change your exercise and the intensity. The human body can adapt to exercise easily. The first time you used the elliptical machine or ran a mile, it was really tough. After some time your body gets used to it and it will no longer have the same fat burning power. Change your workout routine regularly and keep your body guessing and working hard.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Eat protein in between meals. Carbohydrate will make you hungrier. Protein suppresses the hormone ghrelin released by the stomach to stimulate appetite. Try eggs, avocado and yogurt with mixed nuts in between meals.
- Circuit training and weight training should be a major part of your workout. They will help to rev up your metabolism.
- Do not eat when you are not hungry
- If you want to drink with your friends, cut the calorie somewhere else. You can cut the calorie from either your lunch or dinner. Just reduce the quantity of food you would have eaten.
- If you have started a new medication, talk to your Doctor about your plateau and how you feel about it. Find out if there is another alternative
- Practice relaxation techniques. It will help to reduce the release of the stress hormone cortisol by your body. Cortisol is a major culprit in weight gain and unwanted abdominal fat.
Most times, a weight loss plateau will pass on its own. Be patient with your body. Think of how you feel now, healthier stronger and more confident. Do not be discouraged. Just follow the steps above and you will start losing weight again. Your body has not betrayed you so do not use the plateau as an excuse to go back to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Weight loss is also faster the first one month and then it may slow to 1kg or 2kg fat loss a week. Expert now agree that losing 1kg every week is healthy and ideal. This is good if you can sustain it. Rapid weight loss of more than 4kg every week is not healthy.
You cannot track what you are eating and doing without a food diary and activity log book. Get them and keep yourself on track.
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