As you lose weight, your metabolism declines. Meaning- you burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight. … When the calories you burn equal the calories you eat, you reach a plateau. To lose more weight, you need to increase your physical activity or decrease the calories you eat.
You’ve been working hard to follow a healthy diet and improve your exercise habits. Your reward has been watching your weight go down and feeling better. Now, for no reason you can identify, the scale has stopped budging. You’ve hit a weight-loss plateau. Don’t get discouraged. It’s normal for weight loss to slow and even stall.
What is a weight-loss plateau?
Being stuck at a weight-loss plateau happens to everyone who tries to lose weight. Even so when most people are still eating well and exercising daily. The frustrating reality is that even well-planned weight-loss efforts can stall.
What causes a weight-loss plateau?
If you’ve spent any time and effort losing weight, you may have noticed how hard it is. It seems like, when you finally start to see progress, your body stops responding to what you’re doing.
If you’ve experienced that, you’re not alone. As hard as you work at losing weight, the human body works even harder to keep energy intake and output in balance.
When the calories you burn equal the calories you eat, you reach a plateau.
To lose more weight, you need to increase your physical activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked to start, may maintain your weight loss, but it won’t lead to more weight loss.
How can you overcome a weight-loss plateau?
When you reach a plateau, you may have lost all the weight you can lose on your current diet and exercise plan. Ask yourself if you’re satisfied with your current weight or if you want to lose more. From there, you’ll need to adjust your weight loss program.
If you’re committed to losing more weight, try these tips for getting past the plateau:
Reassess your habits. Look back at your food and activity records. Make sure you haven’t slacked off on the rules. Letting yourself get by with larger portions or less exercise.
Cutting calorie intake. It takes calories to burn calories. When you decrease your food intake, your body will lower its metabolic rate in response. This still allows the body to function, but, you need to make sure there is enough. If you don’t have enough calories your body may move into starvation mode. Holding onto extra fat as fuel.
– Solution: Keep your calories below your maintenance calories. But, high enough so that your energy and metabolism remain high. A deficit greater than 500-700 calories makes it hard to maintain your lean body mass.
– Rev up your workout. Most people should exercise 30 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week. To lose weight you should exercise 4-5 times a week. Increasing the intensity of exercise will also burn more calories. Adding weightlifting to increase your muscle mass will help you burn more calories.
– Solution: Muscle burns fat and losing muscle means burning fewer calories. Lean body mass uses five times the calories as fat mass. So if you lose it, your metabolism drops and your weight loss stops.
– The Adaptation phase. When you start a new exercise program, your body responds. This is because it needs to make changes to adjust to different workloads. So, your muscles are rebuilding themselves and this consumes all kinds of calories. At some point, your body will have adapted to the new workload. As a result, you burn fewer calories for the same activities.
– Solution: Don’t let your body get used to the exercise. Maintain your body’s adaptation period by changing the intensity, duration, or frequency. Even include interval training if necessary.
Pack more activity into your day. Think outside the gym. Increase your general physical activity throughout the day by walking more. Try doing more yard work or vigorous spring cleaning. Any physical activity will help you burn more calories.