Wednesday's Weight Loss Plateau ...

You are following your healthy eating program really carefully.  And you are exercising consistently.  When you started this "healthy lifestyle" you were losing weight and it was all working, but the weight just doesn't seem to be coming off like it was in the beginning.  It appears you have reached the dreaded weight loss plateau! But you were being so good!  So why did this happen and what can you do to get passed this and keeping heading to your goal?

First up, I'm going to say that I'm not a dietician or a nutritionist as you know.  What I will share here are my thoughts on what happens when your weight loss slows and what you can do to change what's happening.

Why does your weight loss slow or "plateau"?

From the research I have done, no one really has a definitive answer.  Our bodies are pretty sophisticated machines that adapt to whatever it is that we doing quite quickly.  So one reason why weight loss might slow down is that your body has got used to your calorie intake or exercise level and is working efficiently so there's no need for it to do any extra.  Your body and it's metabolism has adapted to the energy you are providing it and also what you are doing.

When someone initially starts out on a healthy eating program ( I don't like diet, it's scary! ) they usually cut calories, particularly in the way of carbohydrates.  Your body likes to take the easy way out so it uses glycogen as fuel because it's a fast option.  As you use up glycogen you will also lose water .. hence, water weight loss in the first few weeks.  As your stores of glycogen become less your body will then start to use fat stores as fuel, which results in a slower rate of weight loss.  But this is better as we want to lose fat but make sure that we keep our glycogen stores up. 
As you gradually lose weight, your body will require less calories to keep going, so taking in the same calories may result in a weight "maintenance" rather than loss.

The above is obviously not a scientific version of what happens as you lose weight, it's just a basic explanation of what can happen.  It is way beyond my expertise to go into the process any further.

So, what can you do to get your weight loss going in the right direction again?

Food ....

- try a new eating regime ie timing of meals, eat more often, check your portion size
- try some new foods
- eat more .. crazy I know but it really does work!
- eat less .. but be careful, you can't just keep reducing your calories until your are sucking in air!  You need a certain amount just to keep your basic body functions going

Exercise ..

- change your training .. your body has adapted to what you are doing, it needs a challenge
- include more strength training .. I talked about why do strength training here
- include interval training .. I wrote a bit about interval training here
- reduce the amount of cardio ( especially long endurance type )

I know you are thinking it's a bit odd to change some of these training options, but it really does work.  Personally, for me, if I am trying to lose a few kilos I cut right back on my running and include an extra strength training session.  Interval training, strength training and one maybe two runs per week will help me shift the added extras!

It's really all about me, but I'll give you this one ...

Bear in mind though, that what works for one may not work for another.  Sometimes it really will benefit you to do something that you are not used to!  Shake it up a bit!  Listen to friends, family, those who have done it before ... take in on board but ultimately their way may not be the right way for you.  You are an individual!

Vicki x

Again, I will mention that I am not a dietician or a nutritionist.  The above information is based on my own research and experience.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me or seek the advice of a professional in this field.


Liz@LastChanceTraining said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

yup, weight loss certainly isn't linear and for every gram of glycogen you store, you'll also store 4 g of water - which is why "carb bloat" is a true phenomenon :)

Vicki said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

@Liz@LastChanceTraining Thanks Liz! Love it!

Deb said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I got stuck at a weight earlier this year for weeks and weeks. Eventually I got frustrated and tried a few different things - including not-dieting.

But - ended up putting on about 7-8kg in two months. I'm trying to fix that now but realise I needed to get past that plateau differently!


steve carve said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Cutting of running and including an extra strength training session with involvement of interval training, strength training and these experiments are really very helpful.

Great approach and keep posting!
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