Kick that Weight Loss Plateau
Jul 22, 2015
You know I often talk about how that number on the scale isn't the only thing that determines our overall health and well being, right? It's true. However...if you have a lot of extra body fat, then the number on the scale can truly be indicative of some changes that need to take place that would allow for that number to come down.
The main problem with weight loss, in my opinion, is that newbies to weight loss tend to see results pretty easily and quickly once they make some tweaks in their day-to-day fitness and nutrition while those that have been sticking to a regimented schedule for sometimes months tend to see themselves not experiencing any change...no matter how clean their diets or how much they exercise.
What's the deal?!
First of all, let me day that the more fit you are and the less fat you have to lose, then the harder it will be to get to your final goal. It requires diligence and patience--but doesn't anything that's worth having require that?
With fat loss there exists such a phenomenon called a plateau. This happens once the body has become "used to" what you've been doing up until that point to take the extra body fat off--even if you still have substantial fat to lose (darn it!). You see, the body thrives on change. Sure you get results in the beginning when you start to eat differently and exercise more. But, in order to completely benefit for the long-term you have to continually make changes as you go along. Otherwise, you hit a plateau--a state that body simply wants to maintain.
There may be, however, things that are working against you and actually leading and contributing to your plateau.
Overcoming Your Weight Loss Plateau...
- You simply aren't active enough. You may find that you rely too much on eating cleanly without participating in regularly scheduled exercise, preferably strength and interval training. The key here is CONSISTENCY. If you're sedentary, your weight loss will only go so far with nutrition change alone.
- You are exercising too much at too high of an intensity. Believe it or not, you can exercise too much! Exercise is a stressor, so when done too much at too high of an intensity it can work against you by creating inflammation in the body that can actually cause weight gain instead of loss. You'd know if you're going too hard too often because you would never feel true recovery and would find yourself injured often. Generally speaking you should give yourself a couple days of shear rest days each week, allowing your body to relax and rejuvenate.
- You're gaining muscle. By volume, muscle weighs more than fat. So, if you're not seeing the number on the scale go down, check your pants size and see if you're noticing any changes around your waist and other measurements. You could be shedding inches while building muscle. This is a good thing!
- You're eating too much. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that you can overeat and gain weight. You may not even be eating too much--it may be coming from beverages that are loaded with sugar. Try tracking your food and drink intake for a week or two to see exactly what you're taking in. This can be an eye opener for a lot of folks that are wondering why they aren't getting results!
- You're eating too little. I know what you're thinking, "But I have to eat less to lose weight." There's some truth to that. If you eat 10,000 calories a day, then yes, to lose weight you should probably eat less! The problem long-term with decreasing your calories for weight loss is that the body will eventually adjust to the low calorie intake, thus slowing down your metabolic rate. Once you go "off of the diet" you'll more than likely regain all the weight you've lost and then some! Rule of thumb: If you're never satiated, tend to be "hangry", aren't seeming to build lean muscle or you suffer from energy swings while on a "diet," you may not get enough food!
- You're a mess with stress. Aren't we all at some point? While under constant stress, inflammation is present. Inflammation is the antithesis of fat loss. It doesn't matter how much weight you really need to lose for overall health, once you have even low-grade inflammation present, your weight loss needs slip (and stay) on the back burner. Spend some time with yoga, meditation, or even a hot bath to help lessen your stress levels and combat inflammation.
- You can't get a good nights' sleep. Sleep deprivation is so common today. Some of you plead for a good 4 hours a night, when we actually thrive with at least eight! Not getting good quality sleep doesn't allow your body to recover and repair from the stresses of the day, AND lack of sleep is linked to blood sugar irregularities that make losing weight a huge challenge. A few tips: Darken your room to pitch black, get the electronics out of there, and practice a night time ritual of a hot bath or short session of mediation. Prioritize sleep!
- You're dehydrated. Step outside for 2 minutes and you'll sweat yourself into dehydration pretty rapidly right now. All metabolic functions in the body happen in the presence of adequate hydration. Without a good, steady source of water (and electrolytes) all things slow down--including weight loss. A good baseline is half of your body weight in ounces each day.
- You have unrealistic expectations. Sure, if we each had 100 pounds to lose, we'd like to lose it in, let's say, a MONTH. But, that would be physically impossible and highly unrealistic. If you have weight to lose, you have to remind yourself you didn't gain it in that short of a time, that it will take a little longer than you'd like to lose it in a healthy way that is maintainable for the long-term. You can generally expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week if all things are dialed in (eating, exercise, sleep, stress, etc), but that doesn't mean it will continue to come off that steadily over time. Be patient and expect it to take some time.
- You haven't set any goals. If you don't have a destination in mind, then how do you expect to get there? You have to set short-term and long-term goals to help guide you to where you want to be.
- Your digestion is screwy. If you've been stuck on processed food for quite some time, with a diet that's void of vitamins and minerals, chances are your but is all out of whack. Optimizing your digestion can aid in weight loss. If you don't "do" regularly (1-3 times a day) or if what comes out looks the same as it did when it went in, your digestion has been compromised. Prioritize food quality, probiotics and digestive enzymes to fix your digestion.
- You're killing the carbs. Unless you are killing it in the gym athlete style, you don't need to overload on carbs. Yes, you need some in the form of vegetables and some fruit. But, if you over do it with carbs, it can lead to weight loss stalls or even weight gain. You truly only need enough to replenish stores after bouts of exercise. This amounts to only 1-2 pieces of fruit a day or 1-2 half-cup servings of starchy root vegetables a day.
Okay, this seems like a lot, I know. But, if you're having trouble getting over the hump of a weight loss plateau, the answer may be closer than you think. If you need the extra accountability or boost from our team, please let us know. We are here to help!