Breaking Weight Loss Plateaus
Everyone who has tried to lose weight knows that there comes a time when the scale just seems to stop moving. The pound or two weight loss a week turns into a pound a month, if at all. If you ever wondered why, read on.
The main reason for weight loss plateaus may be behavioural. You started out diligent and meticulous and now you may have relaxed a bit on counting calories and may be missing a workout here or there.
Believe it or not, calorie restricted diets can negatively effect your weight loss. Eating less slows down your energy expenditure as your body adjusts to the decreased food intake. Also if you are severely restricting your intake, your body will actually start to rely on its own muscle for energy. A loss of muscle results in a reduction of weight loss because it’s the muscle that burns calories (fat). Fat just sits around in your body and doesn’t really do much.
You may not be expending as many calories as you once did on while on the treadmill (or other equipment) simply because there is less of you to move which does not require as much caloric expenditure.
Adaptation to exercise will slow down your weight loss. When you first begin exercising, the energy expended during the exercise is more because the body is inefficient or unfamiliar with the work performed. It must work harder to regulate body temperature, increase blood flow to the muscles, regulate hormonal changes, changes in energy metabolism, etc. As the body becomes more trained, it performs the work efficiently and does not require as much energy to perform the same amount of work as before.
So now that you have a better understanding of why, here are some of the ways you can break your weight loss plateau:
- Drink more water. It could just possibly be fluid retention. To eliminate excess fluid, restrict your salt intake, drink more water, exercise, and eat more fruit.
- Change your pattern of eating. If nothing seems to work, change the balance of your diet around for a couple of days. A few days with a little fewer carbohydrates and a little more protein can help you get off a plateau--and help you stay motivated.
- Have your body fat assessed. At Active Image we do regular body composition assessments with our clients. You could actually be building more muscle and still burning fat which may not be reflected on the scale.
- Ask yourself the following questions
- Are you eating too much or too little?
- Are some old habits creeping back into your lifestyle?
- Are you still tracking food as you used to?
- Are you exercising as much as you used to?
- Are you still planning your week in advance?
- Are you still as motivated as you were when you started?
- Change the workload or mode of exercise, intensity, and duration of your workout. Change the exercise regime. Cross train to burn calories and fat. Add weight training to your routine to preserve the loss of lean muscle tissue. Call us at Active Image to modify your routine every 6-8 weeks.