What is the weight loss plateau?
This term is used to describe a situation where the body has become incapable of losing any further weight. The plateau is hit when the body develops tolerance for an individual’s diet/ weight loss regimen, thus allowing the metabolic rate of the body to adjust and hindering further weight loss. Most diet books ignore the existence of the plateau, primarily because it can be seen as negating the purpose of the diet and is, therefore, bad for marketing. However, with hard work and a few modifications to your fitness routine, you can overcome the weight loss plateau.
How can I overcome the weight loss plateau?
The trick is to confuse your metabolism. The human body is crafty, and will eventually recognize and adapt to patterns of behavior (i.e., diet and exercise routines). As such, changing the pattern will allow your diet/ fitness routine to become effective again.
Add strength training.
Most people fall into the trap of relying heavily on cardio for weight loss. Adding (or increasing) strength training will crush calories while also building muscle, which will help the body burn more calories when in a resting state as well. Ease yourself into weight training, and increase the difficulty of the exercises as you are able. Changing the movements to target less-developed muscle areas can also effectively force the body to re-adapt. While the body is busy adapting to the changes, it can also start losing weight again.
Mix up Mealtimes.
Another trick to circumvent the plateau is to make changes to the time frame between meals. A simple action, such as eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day, can have a sizable impact on altering your body’s metabolic rate. Opt for small meals that deliver necessary nutrients to your body, and steer clear of the sweet and salty snacks that can derail your diet. The concept is to fool the body into burning the food faster, thus getting your weight loss program back on track with the help of healthy eating.
Hold yourself accountable.
Try keeping track of your meals and exercise each day to get a visual of your progress. This trick keeps you mindful of your behavior throughout the day and can help keep you focused on your goal. There are many apps out there that can help you log food and track exercise (we like FitScore and My Fitness Pal). When trying to overcome the weight loss plateau, it is even more important to hold yourself accountable and track the changes to your diet/fitness program to ensure you are avoiding the pitfalls that can lead the dreaded plateau.
Keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another. Some metabolisms may require the combination of both diet and exercise regimen modifications, while others can get by with merely adding weight training. Don’t get discouraged if any one of these strategies does not work right away. Mix up your exercise routines, improve your diet, hold yourself accountable, and you will be on the right track to overcoming the weight loss plateau.
Have your own tips? Leave them in the comments- we want to hear what works for you!