Jumpstarting a Weight Loss Process After a Plateau
You worked hard to improve your eating habits and integrate physical activity to your daily routine, and were rewarded by seeing the numbers on the scale going down. But for no apparent reason, the numbers aren’t changing anymore, even if you are sticking to your good habits. Reaching a plateau is a common thing and normal in a weight loss process, but the majority of people think that by following their current routine they will keep losing weight. That’s a mistake! Before getting discouraged and giving up altogether, read the following to understand what caused this plateau in order to know what to do to jumpstart your weight loss process.
Why does my weight stagnate?
Weight loss is possible through an energy deficit created between the quantity of calories eaten and spent. Reaching a plateau means you are back to a balanced state; the quantity of calories you eat is equivalent to the calories you burn. Although you keep eating the same servings and doing the same exercises, it is not enough anymore to generate weight loss. But, why? Since you have lost weight, you are lighter, and performing the same activities requires less effort. Therefore, you burn less calories than when you were heavier. Also, because you are less fat your basal metabolism has also decreased, so you don’t need to eat as much to meet your needs.
How to jumpstart a weight loss process?
In order to successfully jumpstart your weight loss process, you need to recreate an energy decifit by increasing the amount of calories spent (through physical activity), and decreasing the amount of calories eaten. However, at this point, make sure to evaluate if you are satisfied with the weight you have lost, or if you want to lose more. If you wish to continue, use these tips to inspire yourself:
1- Review your current habits. You may be eating more than you think. Do you train as often as when you began? Do you measure your servings as accurately? By keeping a food and training log for a few days, you will be more able to identify potential problems and adjust your aim.
2- Cut more calories, but not too much! You can reduce the amount of calories you eat every day, but do not eat less calories than you basal metabolism.
3- Modify your exercise sessions. After some time, our body and muscles get used to the routines and become more efficient at performing them, which means we burn less calories. Here are your options:
a. Increase the length of your sessions (from 30 to 45 minutes).
b. Integrate muscular exercises if it is not already done! You will thus minimize loss of muscle mass.
c. Increase the intensity of your cardiovascular sessions.
d. Change the type of activity you perform. If you usually walk, ride a bike instead, if you are used to swimming, take a Zumba class, etc.
e. Exercise more during the day. Outside of your gym sessions, try to walk more, use the stairs, or get up from your desk more often.
Rather than letting this plateau discourage you, allow yourself some time to adapt to your new weight. Use this time to maintain your weight. Keep eating healthy and exercising. Once these habits are well ingrained, you can think about jumpstarting the process!
By Karine Larose