December 7, 2023

What to do when you hit a weight loss plateau

When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be very frustrating when your efforts don’t seem to be working. You might find yourself stuck at a point in your weight loss journey where things aren’t progressing as quickly as they once were. There are many reasons why this might happen, but one of the most common reasons is that you hit a plateau – or just simply stopped losing weight altogether!

what to do when you hit a weight loss plateau
what to do when you hit a weight loss plateau

Definition of a weight loss plateau and why it happens

A weight loss plateau occurs when a person stops losing weight despite continuing their weight loss efforts. This can be frustrating and demotivating, especially if the person has been consistently losing weight for a period of time.

There are several reasons why a weight loss plateau may occur:

  1. Metabolic Adaptation: When a person loses weight, their metabolic rate may decrease, which means that they burn fewer calories at rest. This can lead to a decrease in weight loss progress over time.
  2. Loss of Muscle Mass: When a person loses weight, they may also lose muscle mass. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, which means that it burns more calories at rest than fat. As a result, a loss of muscle mass can lead to a decrease in metabolic rate and a slower rate of weight loss.
  3. Decrease in Physical Activity: As a person loses weight, their physical activity needs may decrease as well. This can lead to a decrease in calorie burn and a slower rate of weight loss.
  4. Caloric Intake: A weight loss plateau may also occur if a person is consuming too many calories, even if they are healthy calories. As a person loses weight, their caloric needs decrease, so it’s important to adjust their caloric intake accordingly.
  5. Hormonal Factors: Hormonal imbalances, such as thyroid disorders or insulin resistance, can also contribute to a weight loss plateau.

To overcome a weight loss plateau, it’s important to make adjustments to your diet and exercise routine. This may include increasing your physical activity, adjusting your caloric intake, incorporating strength training to preserve muscle mass, and considering hormone testing if hormonal imbalances are suspected. It’s also important to stay motivated and patient, as weight loss is a gradual process that may take time and effort.

Importance of overcoming a weight loss plateau to achieve weight loss goals

Weight loss plateaus are common, but they’re not a sign of failure. They’re not a sign of laziness or lack of dedication. In fact, you can find some very good reasons for why you might have hit one:

  • Your body is just getting used to the new lifestyle changes that have been made over time (e.g., eating fewer calories)
  • Your metabolism has slowed down as it adapts to your new habits (e.g., exercise)
  • You’ve reached your maximum calorie intake and need to start adding more calories into your diet

Reassessing Caloric Intake

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When you eat more calories than your body needs, it will store the excess as fat. That’s why calorie intake is so important—it affects your weight and health in many ways.

  • Caloric intake is defined as the total amount of calories you consume per day.
  • The number on the scale doesn’t tell you everything about how much weight gain has occurred; rather, it tells us how much fat has accumulated on our bodies over time (and how many pounds we’ve gained).

Changing Exercise Routine

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  • Change up your exercise routine. If you’re doing the same workout every day and it works for you, keep doing it! But if your body is telling you that something is wrong, then change things up a bit. Try adding in more reps or changing the order of exercises in your routine—anything that will take different muscle groups on different days will help keep things fresh and challenging without getting bored with what’s happening right now.
  • Change up your workout intensity. If the only problem with plateauing is lack of motivation (and let’s face it—that happens to everyone), then maybe adding an extra challenge can help kick-start some excitement again? Try doing more intense workouts than usual—or fewer but longer ones instead! You could even try adding speed intervals into some of your runs/walks/hikes…just make sure they’re safe and doable before starting anything new!
  • Change up duration between workouts if needed too; this gives our bodies time between each session rather than constant repetition which may lead us into overtraining mode where we don’t recover properly between sessions as well as become less likely to progress overall due simply because there isn’t enough variety within each session itself.”

Adjusting Macronutrient Ratios

It’s important to understand the macronutrient ratios that are recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA), as well as other organizations. The AHA recommends an ideal ratio of:

  • Protein: 0.8-1 gram per pound of body weight
  • Fat: 20-35% of calories consumed, depending on your goals and activity level
  • Carbohydrates: 60-70% of calories consumed, depending on your goals and activity level

Incorporating Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, or IF for short, is a way to eat fewer calories while still maintaining your health and weight. It’s a great strategy for those who want to lose some pounds but aren’t ready to go full keto (or are just not ready yet).

Fat loss isn’t the only benefit of intermittent fasting: The practice has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation in the body. Plus, there are other benefits like improved mental health and reduced risk of certain diseases such as diabetes or heart disease.

Managing Stress Levels

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Stress is a big part of the weight loss plateau. When you’re stressed, your body has to work harder to keep up with the demands of your everyday life and it doesn’t have enough energy for exercise or healthy eating habits. This can mean that even though you’ve been working out consistently, your weight isn’t going down as much as it should be.

When you’re stressed out, there are many ways in which this could affect your body:

  • Your blood pressure may increase which can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease;
  • Your immune system may weaken;
  • You’ll likely eat more comfort foods like ice cream or cookies because they taste good when they’re inside us—but those same foods aren’t so good for us if consumed constantly over time! Those extra calories add up quickly when we don’t realize how much damage they’re doing our bodies over time…

Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is important for weight loss, both in the short term and long term. In a study published in the Journal of Obesity, participants who slept less than six hours per night were found to have an average body mass index (BMI) that was 0.4 pounds higher than those who slept more than seven hours each night.

In addition to helping you lose weight, sleep helps you maintain your current weight—and even gain back some if needed! Studies show that people who get enough sleep tend to eat less food overall, which can help reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and increase feelings of fullness from healthier choices like fruits and vegetables instead of fatty ones like french fries or doughnuts.

Also: remember that when we’re tired our bodies produce stress hormones like cortisol which makes us hungrier later on throughout the day; this effect is known as “sundowning.” But if we go without enough rest last thing at night before going into work/school etc… chances are our bodies won’t be able to function normally so they’ll start craving extra food earlier into their day due how tired they feel right now.”

It’s important to remember that weight loss plateaus are not permanent; they are just an obstacle that you can overcome. If you are struggling to lose weight, keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The best thing you can do for your body is listen to its needs and work with it through different phases of your journey towards optimal health.

Sarah is a certified personal trainer and weight loss coach with over 10 years of experience. She specializes in developing personalized fitness and nutrition plans to help clients reach their weight loss goals.

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