A weight-loss plateau is when you stop losing weight on a diet, even though you're still compliant with your calorie deficit. Plateaus can be a discouraging as a dieter because you're doing everything that you have been doing, and your progress stops.
However, most people think they are in a plateau long before they are. In this article, we'll discuss how to overcome that frustration so you can keep crushing your goals.
Use Other Measurements
The scale isn't the only measurement of fat loss. Sure, it's useful, but sometimes it takes a while to catch up, particularly when you're going through body composition changes. Using more than one way to measure your progress can keep you motivated and focused on the diet even when the scale doesn't budge for a few weeks.
Many of my online clients have had success with using tape measurements of their bodies, and photographs to see the changes they're going through. There have been so many occasions that the scale has been slow to reflect the body re-composition changes in a client - especially if she's started lifting weights and is building some muscle. Even though the scale might stay the same, her body can look completely different. If tape measurements and photos sound like too much work, you can also go by how your clothes feel.
Weight Loss Isn't Linear
Know that weight loss doesn't happen linearly. You probably won't lose a pound every week. Sometimes the scale will even say your weight has gone up, and you know that you've been within your calorie target every day.
There are loads of factors which affect scale weight. How late you ate the day before, how much salt or carbohydrate is in your diet, whether you're holding water due to hormonal fluctuations, or even if you've drunk a lot of water - this list is nowhere near complete either.
It can be a useful strategy for some people to weigh every day. This can show you without emotional attachment, just how variable your weight is. Sometimes your scale weight will spike despite your compliance. In these situations, it's important to practice emotional detachment from the scale result. You are watching the overall trend in the data, not any single data point. Weighing daily can be a useful tool in seeing this trend rather than weekly weigh-ins.
As you diet for longer, or train for a long time, you will experience diminishing returns. This means that in the beginning, you'll make incredible strides forward - getting leaner and stronger. As you become more experienced, though, you will see your progress start to slow. That doesn't mean that you're not making progress, though. You can expect it to slow down as a result of your body, your muscles, and your nervous system adapting to the increased physical demand.
Keep Doing What You're Doing To A Point
The most important part of weight loss is that you're in a calorie deficit. Sometimes the plateau is happening because you're daily intake is more than you use. That could happen when your calories creep up without you noticing or as a result of you have lost enough weight that your recommended calorie intake needs adjusting.
If you're sure that you're in a calorie deficit, then you may need to be patient. Weight loss plateaus are sometimes a part of dieting and can take a while to get over. The challenge in these situations is not the plateau itself but in staying compliant with the diet when you do not see any changes on the scale. Focus on what you can control, and keep to your calories.
If after a while - longer than you'd think - perhaps 2 months, you still see no changes, consider adjusting your calories. Please don't be too harsh to reduce calories because the fewer calories you have, the harder it can be to comply with them. It reduces your energy, and then you're less likely to train hard and push yourself. If you do need to adjust your calories, be conservative and do so in small steps. Don't go shaving another 500 calories off your daily intake that may not be necessary.
You might find, after a few days of food tracking, though, that you've become a little slack on a diet. Please don't beat yourself up, it is normal, we let standards slip from time to time. The best you can do is to get back on the right track straight away. Watch out for the bites, licks and nibbles that you may not think of as calories because you're not deliberately consuming them. Be aware of finishing leftovers from the kids' plates, or the hidden calories in oils you use for cooking or the drinks you pick up on the go.
Making active calorie counting a regular part of your weight loss plan and a strategy that you return to regularly is usually enough to get back on track with your weight loss progress. Are you stuck and need expert input? Feel free to get in touch!
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Busy Pro Fitness offers personal training in Hampstead for clients based in Hampstead, Belsize Park, St John's Wood, West & South Hampstead, Childs Hill, Finchley, Golders Green, Regents Park, Maida Vale, Highgate, Muswell Hill, Hendon, Primrose Hill and surrounding areas but we also provide a Virtual Training and Online Coaching service for those clients who live elsewhere and Worldwide.