Often when people want to lose weight or fat, the first thing they do is start eating less and do a lot of cardio exercises. However, it is not the ideal thing to do. Your body converts everything you eat into energy and uses it to help you perform daily activities. The amount of energy is measured in calories. When you eat more calories than your burn, your body stores the excess calories as fat. To avoid this, all you need to do is burn more calories than you consume. In simple words, you either need to eat fewer carbs, or you need to boost your workout routine (or both) to lose weight. You need to be in a caloric deficit and follow a well-structured training program.
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You have been working out, eating well, following the right practices, and working on your goals for a long time. Though you made progress initially, you are suddenly stuck in the same weight and your efforts aren’t yielding results like before. This is called a weight loss plateau.
There are Two Main Reasons
As you continue following specific practices for a period of time, your body adapts to stress and dietary practices. So, you will have to amp up your diet and workout sessions to see continuous results.
Weight loss is a process where the calories you consume have to be fewer in comparison to the calories you burn. It often happens that you lose a few kilograms quickly over a period of time when you are consistent with workouts and diet. However, along with fat, you also lose some muscle mass which results in a lower metabolism rate.
When you start losing weight, your body starts resisting after a point. This point is called a metabolic set point after which your body is focused on gaining the weight that has been lost. your body thinks that this is the ideal weight for you and there are many factors that affect the metabolic set point. This leads to a weight loss plateau and these are the typical signs.
Weight loss plateau is different for different individuals. Just as it hits at different stages for different individuals the length can vary depending on the body type and the underlying reason. Typically, it lasts between eight to twelve weeks. During this time, you need to be patient and stay positive.
During this time, it is essential to balance your diet and exercise regime. Since you may feel hungry, it is advisable to pay close attention to your portion size. If you don’t increase the number of calories that you are burning, you may not get out of the weight loss plateau. The healthy way to do it is to keep the food intake constant and increase the calories burnt.
Your workout should be based around the progressive overload concept. If you keep performing the same workout for days or weeks, there are high chances that your body gets adapted to it. To avoid this altogether, you should gradually increase your workout intensity—meaning more reps, more sets, more workout days, a variation of the movements, different workout stimuli, etc., to change or increase the intensity of your workouts.
Sometimes, when things are going right, you should take a look back and reassess. The same goes for nutrition as well. After losing a few kilos, it is vital that you look back and reassess your caloric intake. Perhaps, you have to reduce the total calories, or maybe a slight macro adjustment will do. To put it short, tracking your calories plays an essential role in weight loss.
Working out for 30-60 minutes per day and remaining sedentary for the rest of the day isn’t going to help you shed kilos. Non- exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT is one of the easiest ways to boost caloric expenditure. It could be as simple as taking a five-minute walk every once an hour or performing daily activities with as many movements as possible.
Consuming enough protein is one of the primary contributors to weight loss. Protein helps boost metabolism in your body and suppress the hormone responsible for hunger—Ghrelin. A fibre-rich diet will help you increase insulin sensitivity and also reduce blood pressure.
Good quality sleep is a significant factor that impacts weight loss, and when you don’t get enough sleep, two things happen:
Stress can directly impact weight loss. Stress in any form—either mental or physical—can make you overeat or undereat and result in increased stress hormone levels. When cortisol is released, glucose gets released into your bloodstream, subsequently slowing down your metabolism.
When people hit a weight loss plateau, their first instinct is to reduce calorie consumption or skip meals. While it helps sometimes, it will also affect their weight loss goals negatively. For instance, skipping meals causes your blood sugar level to rise, thereby decreasing your metabolism rate.
Your goal for fat loss shouldn’t necessarily be changing the way you look. Instead, you should see it as a way to make lifestyle changes to avoid/manage chronic conditions. While losing weight/fat makes one look good in the desired way, there are other benefits to it. For instance, it improves the quality of life, prevents diseases such as heart ailments, diabetes, high blood pressure, and helps maintain good cholesterol levels.
A weight loss plateau is one of the most frustrating things you can encounter during your weight loss journey. It is the period when your weight doesn’t go below a certain Kg, even if you’re doing everything to lose more weight. Luckily, you can get past this weight loss plateau by adding more activities to your daily routine, reducing the daily calorie intake, revising your workout plan, and reassessing your lifestyle habits.
Various symptoms point towards a weight loss plateau. It may happen that you have reduced your carbs intake and sleep 8 hours a day, yet you can experience loss of appetite, hair loss, irregular periods, cold, etc. You may also start having slight discomfort during eating. And in addition to all this, your weight refuses to go down, even when you’re sticking to a calorie-deficit diet. All these points indicate that you’ve hit a weight loss plateau.
Although there is no definite duration because it varies from one person to another, the general weight loss plateau cycle is expected to last between eight to twelve weeks. You can expect four weeks to be the minimum in some cases. To break this plateau, you will have to take necessary steps like experimenting with your calorie intake, revising the workout plan, adding more activities in day-to-day life, etc.
While hitting a weight loss plateau can often be demotivating, try to find things that will keep you motivated and help you get back on track instead. It could be as simple as switching things up in your workout regime or finding a workout partner to keep you company. You could also set small short-term goals to stay focused.
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