What to do When You Have Hit a Weight Loss Plateau
Losing weight is hard work and it is important to realize weight loss is not a linear process. You can be eating clean, working out daily, doing everything right and you still might not always see the results you want on the scale. There are some medical issues that could be a cause of why you can’t continue to lose weight but normally a non-medical weight loss plateau occurs when the calories taken in match the body’s daily expenditure. Here are some strategies to avoid and break weight loss plateaus:
Reassess your Habits
It is important to start by reassessing your habits including the food you are eating and the exercise you are doing. If you aren’t already, start tracking your eating and your water intake to get an accurate reading of your daily caloric intake. For weight loss to continue you need to put your body back into an caloric deficit, meaning you need to expend more calories than you are taken in. This can be achieved by decreasing caloric intake and/or increasing regular exercise.
Adjust Daily Caloric Intake
As you continue to lose weight/body fat, daily caloric intake is decreased. A more petite person needs fewer calories daily than an overweight or obese person. Decreasing your daily caloric intake can help you break a plateau. Make sure you don’t go below a 1200 calorie daily intake and only adjust your calorie deficit to below 1200 calories if supervised by a doctor. Adjusting portion sizes and journaling your food intake can be useful to getting a caloric deficit.
Change up Your Workouts
To break a weight loss plateau you might have to go one of two options. You might have to increase the effort and challenge yourself a little more or you might need to dial it down because you might be overtraining. If you are working out every day you need to incorporate some rest for your body to recuperate and for weight loss to continue. If you aren’t moving already then move more. Do not just move during exercise sessions but all day long. Try to walk whenever possible and do something that requires a new skill which could challenge your neuromuscular system as well.
Try to De-Stress
I know it is easier said than done but it might be helpful to try to de-stress if you want to try to break a weight loss plateau. If you live a highly stressful life, that can be a factor in your weight loss plateau. Stress does many different things physically to different people and can effect weight loss. Try incorporating mindfulness and meditation techniques into your day to
reduce the level of cortisol, the hormone that is related to both stress and weight gain.
Incorporate More Strength Training
If you want to break a weight loss plateau the answer is NOT more cardio. Yes cardio burns calories but strength training maintains and increases muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate, and the more calories you burn even when resting. Incorporating more strength training will make you leaner, more toned, and healthier. Try to incorporate at least 2-3 strength training workouts in your week.
Half of the battle when attempting to overcome a weight loss plateau is identifying a underlying cause of it. Although it is true that weight loss plateaus can occur for many different reasons, they are all a result of calories in equaling calories burned. Try different strategies to break your weight loss plateau and see what works for you. Keep it up and never stop!