Breaking the Weight Loss Plateau

Probably the most frustrating aspects of weight loss is getting to a weight loss plateau. Thankfully, breaking the weight loss plateau is a relatively simple task once you know what causes it. When we first undertake the weight loss goal we tend to lose a lot of weight initially then the quantity slowly declines over a period of weeks or months until we reach the point where we stop losing weight altogether, and it’s really not that we don’t need to lose excess fat either. This is referred to as a weight loss plateau. You know you’re doing all of the right things but you’re just not losing the weight. In the first 7 days of your program you tend to reduce the largest amount of weight. Much of the loss this first week is actually excess fluid and can constitute just as much as 9 lb (4 kg) or even more depending on your starting weight. Liquid loss can represent as much as fifty percent of total weight lost within the first week. There are several factors that will contribute to a weight loss plateau including (but not limited to);

Insufficient Calories Consumed
Muscle Loss
Weight reduction
Lack Of Discipline
Physical Adaptation
Physical exercise Ability
Over Exercise
Enhanced Fitness Levels
Lets deal with these one at a time.

Insufficient Calories Consumed The human body needs a MINIMUM of 1200 calories per day to function. If you consume less than that (on a crash diet for example), your body will interpret that as being inside a famine and will reduce your metabolism (the bodies ability to burn calories) in order to protect itself and be able to survive for longer. This will stop it from burning fat stores. Alternative: Maintain a reasonable calorie consumption. Use a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) calculator to determine how many calories your body requires each day to maintain itself. Once you have determined around how many calories your body requires to work, reduce you calorie consumption to 500-700 calories less than that without going under 1200 calories. More than a 700 caloric deficit may lead to muscle loss which is the next cause of a weight loss plateau.

Muscle Loss All bodily tissue requires energy to maintain itself, which includes fat. Muscle requires FIVE TIMES the amount of energy to maintain itself compared to fat does. The higher the muscles percentage in your body the greater your caloric needs. Unfortunately, diets sometimes result in muscle loss. The bodies primary source of energy is carbohydrates, followed by proteins then fat. Your muscles are made of protein so if your body runs out of carbs it may turn to muscle as an energy source if those muscles are no being maintained by exercise. Regrettably, muscle loss leads to a lower metabolism. Solution: Eat a diet rich in proteins and exercise in conjunction with your reduced calorie diet to maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle loss. If necessary, vitamin supplements might be utilized to ensure correct nutrition.

Weight reduction Huh? Isn’t losing weight the whole stage?
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Yes it is! But as you lose weight the number of calories your body requires to keep itself also reduces. As mentioned earlier, even fat needs calories to maintain itself. Solution: As you lose weight, look at your BMR regularly to see how many calories from fat your body requires per day and maintain a calorie consumption around 500 calories less than that. But remember, don’t consume lower than 1200 calories.

Lack Of Discipline Right after several weeks of a new weight loss program lots of people tend to lose focus. They start indulging their cravings for unhealthy foods more than they should and they cut edges on exercise, skipping one day under the pretense of exercising twice as much the next day etc . This decreases the particular BMR and increases calorie intake which usually effectively stops weight loss. Solution: Remaining motivated during a weight loss program can be a problem. One of the best ways to overcome this issue is to find a weight loss buddy. Having anyone to exercise with and be answerable to can be an effective motivator. Another great motivational tool is a printable weight loss goal setting tools worksheet. Print it out, fill it out and place it for the fridge, where you will see it regularly and it will remind you of everything you are trying to achieve

Physical Adaptation Our bodies adapt themselves to our calorie consumption plus physical activity levels. When we begin an exercise regime, our body is required to make several changes to adjust to changing workloads. Our muscles have to rebuild themselves which requires many calories. But , with time the body finishes adapting and burns up less calories for the same activities. Solution: Don’t allow you body to adjust. Vary your exercise program by modifying the intensity, duration, frequency plus type of exercise. If you always perform weights then go do some cardio exercise, grab a jump rope and skip for 15 minutes. You can also utilize interval training where you swap and change between different types of exercise for set amounts of time.

Exercise Ability Whenever you do an exercise regularly you become better at it and your body requires less calories to perform it. A trained athlete burns much less calories playing their sport compared to someone who isn’t trained in that sport. Solution: Once again, don’t allow your body to adapt to a single exercise. Mix it up, if you’re always doing weights after that go for a run, switch from the treadmill machine to a rowing machine etc .

Over Physical exercise If you exercise too much your body adapts and reaches a point where the additional energy consumed in exercise is counteract by a DECREASE in the amount of energy utilized when not exercising. In other words, when you increase exercise intensity, your body decreases the amount of calories consumed during the rest of your entire day. Solution: Allow yourself recovery period. Take a break for a few days with some low-impact exercise like swimming or tai chi. When you return to your regular exercise routine, pull back a little in support of increase intensity when needed to maintain weight reduction.

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