Struggling With A Weight Plateau? Read This!
Being on a weight-loss journey is challenging. You tweak your diet and get into a regular routine of physical activity, whether it’s gyming, cycling, swimming, or a 30-minute brisk walk. Initially, you feel rewarded when you start losing weight. But at some point, the scale stops and makes you wonder. You’re on the same healthy diet and following the same exercise routine diligently – and yet you don’t drop any more kilos. At this stage, you’ve hit a weight plateau.
However, don’t feel discouraged! A weight plateau is totally normal and happens to almost everyone on a weight loss journey. All you have to do is follow some simple techniques to boost your weight loss again.
Reasons For A Weight Plateau
You know that feeling when you follow a fitness goal with zeal, only to grow demotivated when your weighing scale doesn’t budge? You will indeed lose weight at a greater pace during the first few weeks just to notice that the joy of shedding extra pounds is short-lived. This is when you would have reached the weight plateau. There are several reasons for this.
- When you are on a low-calorie diet, the energy required will be derived from glycogen stores. The initial weight loss is due to water released when glycogen is burnt for energy production. This however is temporary.
There will be a considerable amount of muscle loss along with fat when you lose weight further. With a slow metabolic rate, the rate of calorie burning also reduces. This is one of the reasons why weight loss slows down after a few weeks of dietary change. To make up for this, you will have to scale up your physical activity.
- The healthy diet chosen may not be sustainable and you may stop following the diet after a few months.
Tips To Overcome A Weight Plateau
For your weight loss to be consistent, follow the simple weight plateau tips given below.
#1. Reduce Carbohydrates
When you feel your weight loss journey is not heading in the right direction and you have reached a weight plateau, reduce carbs in your diet. Restricting carb intake helps in losing weight. Low-carb diets are shown to be more effective than other diets for weight loss. Consumption of fewer carbohydrates induces a satiated feeling that lowers hunger pangs and restricts the intake of calories. Also, it promotes ketone production which curbs appetite.
#2. Record Your Calorie Intake
Consistency maintained with the calorie intake is the mantra to lose weight continuously. How do you do that? You may feel that you are diligently following the prescribed or planned diet chart but yet not getting the desired results.
Start recording everything you eat and maintain the calorie intake and you will not be disappointed. If you feel that your calorie intake is wavering, then tweak the diet to suit the recommended calorie intake and the result will follow.
#3. Change Your Exercise Routine
As you start losing weight the metabolic rate slows down. Eventually, you will reach a stage when the weight loss almost stops. This is because both muscle loss and fat loss happen when you start losing weight. Muscle helps in maintaining the calorie-burning rate and on losing muscle the metabolic rate also comes down. Reaching a weight plateau is a signal for you to implement ways to improve your metabolism.
You can counteract this effect either by increasing the frequency of exercising or by modifying your exercise routine. Plan a split training session that involves high-intensity training with resistance training. The workout split depends on your individual fitness goals. Resistance training, however, helps in retaining muscle and by combining it with high intensity-training you can easily head towards your goal.
#4. Increase Protein Intake
Enhancing protein intake is one of the most effective weight plateau tips. A protein-rich diet keeps you satiated for longer and reduces your calorie intake. Protein metabolism increases calorie burning by 20 to 30% when compared to carbs and fats.
Studies have shown that the metabolic rate of individuals who derived 15 to 30% calories from protein increased considerably. Also, protein helps in the release of PYY hormones that keeps you full for longer. A high-protein diet will reduce muscle loss and will help maintain the metabolic rate. This will enable continued weight loss and will help counteract weight plateau.
#5. Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has gained popularity due to its positive effect on weight loss. Intermittent fasting involves going without food for long periods which may range from 16 to 48 hours. This promotes weight loss while providing an array of other health benefits.
The other type of fasting is alternate fasting wherein you have a low-calorie diet on one day and eat as much as you want on the following day. This enables preserving muscle mass while helping with weight loss. Following this method of calorie intake is more encouraging as you notice continuous weight loss.
#6. Avoid Alcohol
The consumption of alcohol can cripple your efforts to lose weight continuously. You will be adding empty calories with alcohol which is not good when you are on a weight loss journey. You may also lose your determination to control calories and overeat when you are under the influence of alcohol.
If you have compulsive eating habits, alcohol can make it worse. Studies have shown that people who controlled their alcohol intake could lose more weight when compared to those who continued with excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol inhibits fat burning and results in the accumulation of fat, especially belly fat.
#7. Include More Fibre In Your Diet
Including more fibre in your diet can counteract the weight loss plateau. The movement of food through your digestive tract will become sluggish if you include liquid or water-soluble fibre in your diet. This will keep you full for longer and reduce your food intake. Also, water-soluble fibre will prevent the absorption of calories from other foods.
Weight plateau is an integral part of a weight loss journey. Nearly everyone who is on this journey will experience a weight plateau at some point or other. The good news is that there are several strategies set out which can counteract the effect. Follow the weight plateau tips given in this article and make your weight loss journey more fruitful.
Why does the weight plateau happen?
After losing weight for some time, the metabolic rate slows down and the calorie burning becomes sluggish. This is when your weighing scale stops moving.
How to overcome the weight loss plateau?
You can counteract the effect by reducing carbs and increasing protein and fibre in your diet that will keep you satiated for longer and reduce calorie intake. Combine diet and exercise and more importantly resistance training to make the weight loss consistent.
How long does the weight plateau continue?
Weight plateau may continue for about 8 to 12 weeks. You can avoid this by tweaking your diet or including resistance training in your workout routine.
Does the weight plateau stop by itself?
No. You can overcome the effect only by altering your diet and exercise routine.
How does alternate fasting help weight plateau?
In alternate fasting, you control your calories one day and eat as much as you want the following day. This will help burn calories while preserving muscle mass. This enables maintaining a uniform metabolic rate and makes weight loss consistent.