Breaking the Weight Loss Plateau

Probably the most frustrating aspects of weight loss is getting to a weight loss plateau. Thankfully, breaking the weight loss plateau is a relatively simple task knowing what causes it. When we first undertake a weight loss goal we tend to reduce a lot of weight initially then the amount slowly declines over a period of weeks or even months until we reach the point where we stop losing weight altogether, and it’s not that we don’t need to lose excess fat either. This is referred to as a weight reduction plateau. You know you’re doing all of the right things but you’re just not losing the weight. In the first week of your program you tend to reduce the largest amount of weight. Much of the weight loss this first week is in fact excess fluid and can constitute just as much as 9 lb (4 kg) or more depending on your starting weight. Liquid loss can represent as much as 50% of total weight lost in the first week. There are several factors that will contribute to a weight loss plateau which includes (but not limited to);

Insufficient Calories Consumed
Muscle Loss
Weight reduction
Lack Of Discipline
Physical Adaptation
Exercise Ability
Over Exercise
Enhanced Fitness Levels
Lets deal with these one at a time.

Insufficient Calories Consumed The human body needs a MINIMUM of 1200 calories per day to operate. If you consume less than that (on a crash diet for example), the body will interpret that as being within a famine and will reduce your metabolism (the bodies ability to burn calories) in order to protect itself and be able to survive for longer. This will stop it from burning fat stores.
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Remedy: Maintain a reasonable calorie consumption. Use a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculator to determine how many calories your body requires daily to maintain itself. Once you have determined around how many calories your body requires to use, reduce you calorie consumption to 500-700 calories less than that without sinking 1200 calories. More than a 700 calorie deficit may lead to muscle loss that is the next cause of a weight loss level.

Muscle Loss All bodily tissue requires energy to maintain itself, including fat. Muscle requires FIVE TIMES the amount of energy to maintain itself compared to fat does. The higher the muscle tissue percentage in your body the greater your calorie needs. Unfortunately, diets sometimes result in muscle loss. The bodies major source of energy is carbohydrates, followed by protein then fat. Your muscles are made of proteins so if your body runs out of carbs it may turn to muscle as an power source if those muscles are no being maintained by exercise. Regrettably, muscle loss leads to a lower metabolic process. Solution: Eat a diet rich in protein and exercise in conjunction with your reduced calorie diet to maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle loss. If necessary, vitamin supplements may be utilized to ensure correct nutrition.

Weight reduction Huh? Isn’t losing weight the whole point? Yes it is! But as you lose fat the number of calories your body requires to maintain itself also reduces. As mentioned previously, even fat needs calories to keep itself. Solution: As you lose weight, look at your BMR regularly to see how many calories from fat your body requires per day and maintain the calorie consumption around 500 calories lower than that. But remember, don’t consume less than 1200 calories.

Lack Of Discipline Right after several weeks of a new weight loss program many people tend to lose focus. They start indulging their cravings for processed foods more than they should and they cut edges on exercise, skipping one day underneath the pretense of exercising twice as much the next day etc . This decreases the particular BMR and increases calorie intake which effectively stops weight loss. Solution: Remaining motivated during a weight loss program can be a challenge. One of the best ways to overcome this issue is to find a weight loss buddy. Having someone to exercise with and be answerable in order to can be an effective motivator. Another great motivational tool is a printable weight loss goal setting worksheet. Print it out, fill it out and place it on the fridge, where you will see it frequently and it will remind you of what you are trying to achieve

Physical Adaptation The body adapt themselves to our calorie consumption and physical activity levels. When we begin a workout regime, our body is required to make various changes to adjust to changing workloads. Our muscles have to rebuild themselves which requires many calories. But , with time the body finishes adapting and burns up less calories for the same activities. Solution: Don’t allow you body to adapt. Vary your exercise program by changing the intensity, duration, frequency plus type of exercise. If you always perform weights then go do some cardiovascular, grab a jump rope and miss for 15 minutes. You can also utilize interval training workouts where you swap and change between various kinds of exercise for set amounts of time.

Exercise Ability Whenever you do an exercise regularly you become better at it and your body requires less calories to execute it. A trained athlete burns much less calories playing their sport than someone who isn’t trained in that sport. Solution: Once again, don’t allow your body to adapt to a single exercise. Mix it up, if you’re always doing weights after that go for a run, switch from the treadmill to a rowing machine etc .

Over Workout If you exercise too much your body adapts and reaches a point where the extra energy consumed in exercise is counter by a DECREASE in the amount of energy used when not exercising. In other words, when you enhance exercise intensity, your body decreases the amount of calories consumed during the rest of your day. Solution: Allow yourself recovery period. Take a break for a few days with some low-impact exercise like swimming or tai chi. When you return to your normal exercise routine, pull back a little in support of increase intensity when needed to maintain weight loss.