Weight Loss Plateau, How To Break Through
What Could Be Causing My Weight Loss Plateau?
Let's get one thing straight right off the bat, everyone is different and what worked for one person...might not work for another person. So, it shouldn't be surprising that there are probably a dozen or morereasons for a dreaded plateau!
Plateaus are "the purgatory of dieting".
- Drs. Eades
Nevertheless, you to learn to expectplateaus and how to deal with them! There is virtually no one who has successfully lost weight and not experienced a plateau. Before we go any further, the most important rule of dealing with a stall is this: don't panic and don't give up!
Here are 10 of the top reasons that plateaus occur:
1.You're Losing Fat But Building Muscle
This is a positive change that won't show up on the scale, though it will during your body composition analysis. If you have taken on an exercise program, you will be putting on muscle while also losing fat! At first you'll notice small changes - smaller waist measurement, change in body shape - even though the scale isn't really moving. Don't worry, the scale will eventually come around.
2.You're Experiencing A Period Of Adjustment
Your body needs time to adjust and catch up with the lifestyle changes your making, mainly the different types and amounts of macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs). Being stuck at a certain weight might just be your body's way of reprogramming itself, stick with it, the scale will start moving again!
3.You're Not Eating Enough Protein
Not eating enough protein can start a nasty cycle. Here it is; when you don't eat enough protein, you're more likely to break down your body's own protein for fuel! This means muscle loss, which results in your metabolic rate slowing down. Eat at minimum 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
4.You're Trying To Do A Low Fat Version Of Low Carb
Conventional wisdom has taught us to fear fat...all fat...even the good stuff! Don't. Healthy fat is more than necessary, it's necessary for proper hormonal function, keeps you full and adds flavor to food. Also, it's important to note that saturated fat behaves differently on a low-carb diet than it does on a high carb diet. Now don't go searching for it, but having a little fat on a steak is ok!
5.Water Retention Masks Fat Loss
It is very common for your body to hold onto water while losing fat. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water when eating low carb, a basic rule would be to shoot for half your bodyweight in ounces. Lacking with your water intake is a top reason for plateaus and stalls.
Yes, taking in fewer calories than you burn will result in losing weight, but dropping your calories too low will stall progress! Your body responds to this by becoming more efficient at extracting every single ounce of energy from its limited food supply. Too few calories will slow your metabolic rate and cause your body to hold onto pounds.
7.Your Carb Level Is Too High
Your carb intake may simply be too high for what you require to lose weight. Many foods and drinks carry "hidden carbs" and you can easily be taken in too many. Your best bet is to stick with unprocessed, organic foods with minimal ingredients.
8.Your Carb Level Is Too Low
I know...what the heck!? Its true though, many individuals progress stalls when eating very low carbs (20g/day). Simply adding 30-50 grams after a workout can bring life back to your weight loss plan! A theory behind this is that a very low carb intake can increase cortisol and adrenaline, which works against weight loss.
9.Medications Are Preventing Optimum Weight Loss
For most this isn't a surprise, many medications can work against weight loss. Steroid medications, prednisone for example falls at the top of the list! Check with your doctor for a full list of side effects.
10. You're Over-Eating
Almost all individuals experience some weight loss when switching to a low-carb plan. However, at some point you will have to pay attention to your calorie count. Check with a certified personal training (preferable with a nutritional background) to see if you're eating too much!
How Do I Break A Weight Loss Plateau?
Just as there are a lot of reasons for why plateaus occur, there's many ways to break through them. A few options off the cuff would be; up or lower your carbs slightly, cut out treats/cheat meals, consume only unprocessed meats and dark green veggies for a few days, cut out "low-carb" bars or up your water intake. Along with the ones just listed, you can give the follows techniques a try:
Try A Vegetable & Fruit Fast
For about 3 days eat nothing but vegetables and little bit of fruit. This method is very alkalizing, low in calories and high in nutrients. With various dishes, add in healthy fats such as olive oil, whole butter and flaxseed oil.
If your body is having trouble breaking down and absorbing nutrients then losing weight will not be a priority. Sometimes a month or 2 of fixing/cleaning your GI tract can get you back on track. At The Gym of Avon, we've taken numerous seminars on both gut health and detoxification!
Reduce Your Calories By 250/Day
Try reducing your calories by 250 per day and re-assessing in 2 weeks. If you feel that you might be eating too much, this is a simple fix to the problem! Certified personal trainers can make this happen while balancing your macronutrients; carbohydrates, fats and protein. Lastly, you can reverse this and add 250 calories per day if you feel you're starving yourself!
Increase Your Activity Level
This is a nice option because it's more fun than fiddling around with calories and macros! Simply add in another strength training session, high intense interval training or a hike with the dog. The main goal is to increase the amount of calories you're buying per day! Once again, track your progress about 2 weeks in from starting your new habit.
Lets face it, as we get older things tend to go "haywire"! One of these things being our hormonal profile. If your hormones look like a line graph of the stock market...then losing weight might be difficult to impossible. The best way to see where you're at is to complete a saliva test. This will kick back all of the active hormones in your body and their levels.
Stop Weighing Yourself
Stress can haunt progress in its tracks! Weighing yourself religious everyday will only build stress and anxiety...resulting in your body holding onto calories. At The Gym of Avon we suggest that you set a date to weight yourself - every 2 weeks or monthly - and stick to it! You'll soon forget about it here and there, allowing your body to relax and kick some pounds.
If you're stuck and in need of help, please schedule a consultation and trial session (free of charge) with The Gym of Avon!