Spread the love I have encountered the term “ chrono diet ” many times during my “how to lose weight” browsing hours, but I never gave it much attention, after all, none of the other diets ever worked for me. But then, one day, I meet a friend I…
Guide to Overcoming Weight Loss Plateau
We have all been there. Sooner or later we all hit a weight loss plateau. No matter how hard you diet or train the scale is stuck. Those pounds of fat that were once falling off effortlessly are now clinging to your body for dear life. Despite your hard work, for no reason whatsoever, the scale has stopped budging, despite your healthy low-calorie diet and regular exercise. Why can’t you lose any more weight? When this happens, you have hit what diet and exercise experts call a weight loss plateau. And it happens because our bodies are smart and extremely adaptable. What are some solutions to break through your stubborn weight loss plateau?
First, make sure that you are on a healthy diet: Eating Healthy – Explained Simply & Benefits of Healthy Diet?
If you are on a low-carb diet, read this article for better understanding: Atkins Diet (Low-Carb): Benefits, Side Effects and Foods to Eat/Avoid
The latest trend in diets is the chrono nutrition diet: Chrono Diet Review – What Is It & Does It Work?
What is Weight Loss Plateau?
After every workout, the body not only becomes stronger but also a more efficient calorie-burner. And after you start to lose weight, your body adjusts yet again, requiring fewer calories than it did before. It is a constant game of Jenga to find the right balance.
A weight loss plateau is a period of time during which your body weight remains at the same level. Being stuck at a weight-loss plateau for days or possibly weeks eventually happens to everyone who tries to lose weight. Even so, most people are surprised when it happens to them because they are still eating carefully and exercising regularly.
Many people find that after a week of so at the same weight, they simply start losing again with no further effort required. They do not know why the stall happened, but as long as they continue to lose weight, it is ok. On the other hand, some people hit a weight that just will not budge. After a month or so of this, it is time to officially call it a plateau.
Causes of Weight Loss Plateau
Calorie balance matters, but in real life, 3500 calories cut from your diet do not equal 1 pound of fat off your hips, because the body fights back against weight loss by lowering the metabolic rate, decreasing unconscious activity (like fidgeting) and otherwise dropping expenditure to a bare minimum.
Read and learn more about metabolism and metabolic rate here: Metabolism – Definition & Tips on How to Boost It
Your slower metabolism will slow your weight loss, even if you eat the same number of calories that helped you lose weight. When the calories you burn equal the calories you eat, you reach a plateau.
Unconscious Cheating On Your Diet
This is what happens when you go on a diet you cannot stand. You white-knuckle it for a few months but, then you start cheating more and more because it is not sustainable. Remember, I do not want to say that you gave up but, you started with “going easy on yourself” and treating yourself more and more because you are losing weight, you are sick of eating veggies and you deserve a treat. But, treating yourself more and more often you end up consuming more calories than you are burning and you eating stop losing weight completely or start gaining some.
Now, this is not a reaction of your body. This is you, cheating on yourself. People fail to notice it and it occurs as a cause of weight loss plateau.
Weight Loss Plateau Facts to Keep In Mind
Weight Loss Plateaus Are Common
Being stuck at a weight-loss plateau for days or possibly weeks eventually happens to everyone who tries to lose weight. If you do not experience a weight loss plateau, then you should consider yourself very lucky. Everyone starting their weight loss journey should expect to get stuck with weight loss plateau. We are very adaptive creatures. Your body may start to adapt to your training routine—when you do not vary your workouts, they can become less challenging and less effective over time. And even if you are strength training regularly, it is normal to lose a little muscle along with fat.
Lean muscle is better at burning calories when the body is at rest, so the slight dip may cause your metabolism to slow down. Losing weight in general lowers your body’s energy needs, decreasing your metabolic rate even further. If you do not adjust your caloric intake as you lose weight you will end up eating the same number of calories as you are burning.
The More You Lose Weight, the More It Slows Down
If a guy who weighs 250 pounds losses 1% of his weight every week, he will lose around 2.5 pounds per week (healthy pace to lose weight and not gain it back). As a result, in about 20 weeks he will be 200 pounds. When he gets to 200 pounds, losing 1% of his weight is now 2 pounds. Furthermore, when he gets to 180 pounds, the magic number is 1.8 pounds per week. As you lose weight more and more, less weight will be lost as a percentage of your total bodyweight. The leaner you become, the more your weight loss slows down.
Weight Loss Gets Harder the Closer You Get To You Ideal Weight
The closer you get to zero percent body fat, the harder it is to lose it. As you lose weight your body attempts to “conserve energy” by slowing down your metabolism and adapting to the changes (be they a new exercise routine or diet). Not only does the pace of weight loss slow down, but your body will work harder to hold on to your fat stores the leaner you become. This can be offset somewhat, but generally “that last 10 pounds” is always going to be the hardest to lose from a biological standpoint.
How to Break Through Your Weight Loss Plateau
Reassess Your Habits
Look back at your food and activity records. Make sure you have not loosened the rules, letting yourself get by with larger portions or less exercise. As I said above, you are cheating yourself, you are not cheating me. Keep a food journal and write down everything you consume throughout the day, good and bad. When you are 100% sure you have hit weight loss plateau or your weight loss is slowing down, the first thing you should do is sit down and read through your journal. If you notice that more treats occur throughout the week, try to eliminate them and continue with the same diet. If it is not that, then you continue to look for the culprit.
Reassess Your Caloric Intake
In order to overcome a weight loss plateau, you will likely need to adjust your calorie intake. As you lose weight, your body requires fewer calories for maintenance. If you are taking in as many calories on day 60 of your diet as you did on day 1, you will not be able to lose weight. The calorie intake that you initially had when you began your weight-loss journey will need to be adjusted to match your body’s current needs for weight loss. Further cut your daily calories by 200 — provided this does not put you below 1,200 calories. Remember to reassess your caloric intake every 10-15 pounds.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Research has shown that for every gram of fiber we eat, we eliminate about seven calories. That means if you eat 30 grams a day you will essentially cancel out 210 calories, a savings that could result in a 20 pound weight loss in one year’s time. Another study, in Brazilian dieters found that over a six-month period, each addition gram of fiber resulted in an extra quarter pound of weight loss. You just need to make sure that you are consuming the right types of fibers. Studies (1, 2) confirm that increased intake of dietary fiber can cause weight loss by automatically reducing calorie intake.
Change Your Caffeine Source
One study found that subjects, who combined 5 cups of green tea with 3 hours of exercise per week, lost 2 more pounds than their non-tea-drinking counterparts. What makes green tea so waist friendly? It contains fat-blasting compounds called catechins, that chisel away at belly fat by revving the metabolism then speeding up the liver’s fat burning capacity. Making the switch from coffee to green tea may be just what your body needs to get back on track toward weight loss success—why not give it a go? You’ve got nothing to lose, but weight!
Change Your Routine
Slugging away on the treadmill for the past four months? It’s time to change up your workouts. The muscles become familiar with the same old workout, making your regular routine less effective. To see a change in body fat, you have to get outside of your fitness comfort zone. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been shown to burn body fat effectively. If you usually do weight training, try cardio. Also, if you usually do cardio, try weight training. On the other hand, you can go for a completely new sport like, squash, soccer, basketball, tennis etc.
Here is something for better understanding of HIIT: What is HIIT, Benefits & Great HIIT Workouts?
Eat More Protein
You have heard it a million times before: You need to eat protein if you want to lose weight. When you consider the nutrient’s stellar skill set, it makes sense. Protein can boost metabolism and even help the body retain its muscle while scorching fat. On the other hand, Protein has the highest thermic effect of food, meaning eating protein burns more calories during digestion. Also, protein-rich foods also suppress ghrelin which is a hormone the stomach secrets, that stimulates appetite. Furthermore, studies ( 1, 2, 3) show that eating protein at 25-30% of calories can boost metabolism by 80-100 calories per day and make you automatically eat several hundred fewer calories per day.
Have a Full-Blown Cheat Week
This is contradictory to everything I said above. If nothing mentioned above works for you – this is for you. I have experienced this personally and seems to work for number of people.
I go into plateaus more often and easier than a lot of other people. For me this is the solution. I train hard for about 2 months. After that I have a full-blown cheat week. I eat everything that comes to hand, healthy and unhealthy. At the end of the week I usually gain 2 pounds (1kg). After that one week, I start my diet again, for two weeks. Additionally, I make the diet even healthier and stricter. On the training part, I continue to train with 30% more effort and intensity. Two weeks after the cheat week are the hardest for me. It happened couple of times, in those two weeks; I would lose a total of 10-12 pounds. Try this if nothing else works for you.
Possibly the biggest problem with weight-loss plateau is psychological – they are very discouraging. Your body has a reason for everything it does, even if you do not like its logic. Do not even worry about a plateau until it’s been at least week or two. Even long-term plateau (1 month or more) is not the end of the world; it is just your body telling you to adjust something about your weight-loss efforts. As you continue on your journey to reach your ideal weight, keep in mind that changing your body is a marathon, not a sprint. The sooner you can appreciate this, the better off you will be in the short and long term.
Because you have already improved your diet and increased your exercise, you have already improved your health. If you are overweight or obese, even modest weight loss improves chronic health conditions related to being overweight. Whatever you do, do not give up and revert to your old eating and exercise habits.
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