My inbox has had an influx of emails on weight loss plateaus or how some folks have experienced a plateau in their workout results. If you were able to shed some excess fat and weight with relative ease in the beginning, this can get you pretty excited–which would justify your frustration at seeing very little to no change.
What’s Going On?
First, if you are judging 2 weeks of diet and exercise and saying you’ve plateaued, you haven’t. A fat loss or weight plateau looks more like 3 weeks of NO CHANGE in body weight.Typically, the first two weeks could be because of water retention. But three weeks onwards could signify something else.
Some people don’t realise that the more weight you lose, your body responds by slowing down your metabolism (because it’s shifting to survival mode). Weight loss slows down the leaner you become.
What Should I Do?
- Mind your calorie intake. As you start to lose weight, your metabolism also starts to drop. This is a good time to reevaluate how much calories you take in and make sure it’s what your body needs to fuel you–not more, not less. Also, if you’re a parent, those little bites off the kids’ plates count. Remember that even a bite or two of their snacks is still calories you’re taking in. Make your calories count.
- Keep track of your numbers. Make sure to track your weight and what you eat so you are able to monitor whether or not you really aren’t seeing any progress, or if you’re just rushing achieve results. Fitness and health take time and you’ll want to be deliberate about doing it right. If all else has been checked in terms of exercise and nutrition and you still see no changes, it’s best to consult a doctor to rule out any medical or health conditions you might be unaware of (like hyper or hypothyroidism).
- Mind your workout routine. Some people will suggest that maybe you need to “confuse” your muscles by changing it up. I won’t go as far as supporting that,because what you want is to progress your body, and not confuse it. However, I have talked about changing things up every now and then to avoid boredom and stagnancy. If doing two hours on the bike or treadmill isn’t doing it for you, then maybe come HIIT or circuit sets will work. It’s good to explore and try and find out what your body will respond to.
- Quality always matters. I know life can get busy and often you’ll grab something easy and instant. But processed food really can’t be good for the body. Make sure to stock up on quality ingredients you can make your meal plan with so that your body receives the best kind of fuel to keep you running at an optimal level.
- Rest, rest, rest. Rest is just as important as nutrition is when it comes to fitness. If you workout 4 times a day (like I used to) and you only get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, then you could be doing your body more harm than good.
- Hydrate! This is the most basic rule of human survival–drink lots of water! Sometimes we think we’re hungry when we’re really just thirsty. Keep your body’s hydration levels in check.
- Eat more lean protein and build more muscle. Protein burns more calories during digestion than the other things we eat. It’s essential to muscle-building because it contains leucine (an amino acid that is a potent fat-burning catalyst). The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, the more body fat you get rid of.
Any questions? Do you want to share your fitness journey with us? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.