You've done everything right, but you’ve hit a plateau.
You stick to your schedule, eating at the correct times, and exercising properly. You have modified your diet to meet your caloric needs while still eating tasty foods. You may even have figured out how to get a few cheat snacks here and there.
Everything has been going smoothly, and you have seen a gradual change in your weight. Pants fit better, and shirts don't feel as tight…even some shoes may fit again. Everything is great.
Until it isn't.
You notice that your downward trend of losing weight has slowed and maybe even stopped. You're still doing everything that has worked to that point – so what gives? Why aren't you losing weight anymore?
You've hit a weight loss plateau.
So, what can you do about it?
First and foremost, stay calm. Nearly everyone will hit a weight loss plateau at one point or another during their fitness journey. It's a natural part of weight loss.
Without going into too much detail, your body changes as you lose weight. Your caloric needs may decrease, your body has used up the energy stores that were already there…there are several reasons, and each individual will have to figure out their own needs.
The important thing is not to panic and completely give up on whatever you have been doing. You may have to modify things a bit. Take a close look at some of the steps you can take, be patient, and try them to see how effective they are.
One of the first things you should consider is whether or not your plateau is actually your endpoint. How much have you lost, how quickly did you lose it, and how easy was it to lose? Any or all of these can be indicators that can help you assess your progress.
It is possible that your original goal was unrealistic. Simply put, not everyone can work their way back into their favorite pair of jeans from high school. Other health issues can get in the way of what you may have thought would be attainable – but actually isn't.
As I have often mentioned, any weight loss plan should begin with a doctor's consultation. If you did that, then hopefully, your goal was realistic. And if that is the case, there may be other steps to consider so you can break the weight loss plateau.
Are you still following your original plan to the letter, or have you let things slip a bit? Have your cheat snacks turned into cheat meals? Are you exercising the same, or has your schedule changed, causing your exercise habits to be altered?
Many people don't realize how much of an impact even those little habits can have on your weight loss and how easy it is for those changes to cause a plateau.
While just cutting out certain foods may have been enough to cause initial weight gain, that isn't always the case as time goes on.
Once your body has used up its stores of fat, it needs to get energy from somewhere. If you're not feeding it properly, it can find the energy in the wrong places, which can cause the weight loss plateau.
Consider adding foods that are high in protein which can boost your metabolism. Cut the carbs even more than you may have done already. Add foods that are high in water content.
For more information, Check out my Video
I mention this one reluctantly because reducing caloric intake can result in your body not getting enough nutrients to keep it healthy. As a general rule, 1200 is the minimum number of calories a day to maintain health. If you are already near this level, you should absolutely consult with your doctor before reducing calories any further.
Changing up your exercise routine can help you get past a weight loss plateau. For example, increased resistance training increases the retention of muscle mass.
If you're relatively new to exercise (i.e., this is the first time you've had an exercise routine to follow), it might be that the exercises you are doing are not targeting the right places. Consultation with your doctor can help you determine what types of activity will be most effective for breaking through a weight loss plateau.
The critical thing to remember is not just to increase the frequency of what you were previously doing. If it isn't effective anymore, there's no reason actually to think that more of it will help, right?
This is another significant contributor to weight loss plateaus. Stress can mess up your sleeping habits, cause you to eat more (or less), contribute to unhealthy food choices… let's face it: stress is just bad.
Evaluate whether or not you have increased stress in your life that could be contributing to your weight loss plateau. If you see stressors, take whatever steps possible to decrease them.
The key to getting past your weight loss plateau is to calmly evaluate the possible reasons and then take action to fix anything that could be responsible. Speak with your doctor and see what they say about changing your diet or exercise plan.
You can take steps to relieve stress on your own, which could help a lot. But whatever you do, don't give up. Be realistic and honest with yourself, and you can get past the weight loss plateau to continue down your chosen path.
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