Let's face it, achieving weight goals can be tough. You need to have tonnes of discipline and be extremely dedicated to your diet and fitness regimen if you want to see results. And sometimes, even though you are super-motivated and the weight seems to come off fairly rapidly at first, you reach a point when you reach an impasse and your weight just won’t budge.
So, what is a weight-loss plateau?
The sudden and extremely frustrating inability to lose weight is known as a weight loss plateau or stall, and it can be annoying AF. Even though you are following the same healthy habits and low-calorie diet, the scale suddenly stops moving, leaving you at a loss what to do next.
Why does this happen?
According to WebMD, this roadblock often occurs just after your initial weight loss, and again when you can’t seem to lose those last few pounds. It’s very discouraging to keep working hard when you can’t see the results. To make things worse, these weight-loss plateaus can last from several days to months. Yikes!
So, while you might be wondering if you are doing something wrong, experts say hitting these plateaus is nothing unusual. As your weight drops and your body composition changes, so do your nutritional needs. Getting stressed about it will only slow the process down further.
Ok I'll try not to freak out, but what should I do next?
Don’t be discouraged, or worse, backslide from the new and healthy habits you have worked so hard to develop. Instead, try to follow these 11 simple steps to get your weight loss regimen back on track.
1. Rev-up your workout: Adding exercises such as weight-lifting ( which will increase your muscle mass and help you burn more calories) and increasing the duration and intensity of your workout is a great way to get your weight loss going again.
2. Cut back on the calories: Further cut down your calorie intake. Just make sure you don't go below 1,200 calories a day, as this not be enough to keep you from constant hunger, which increases your risk of overeating.
3. Get active outside the gym: Take the stairs, go for a walk or try some vigorous spring cleaning, any activity that helps you get moving is welcome.
4. Cut back on carbs: Low carb diets have been shown to reduce hunger, provide a feeling of fullness and promote long-term weight loss.
5. Up your protein intake: Studies show that Increasing protein intake can boost metabolism (increasing protein from 15% to 30% can help boost metabolism by almost double) and help prevent muscle-mass loss. Try to switch-around the kind of protein you are consuming as well. For example, if you tend to consume more non-vegetarian protien (such as chicken, fish, etc.) try switching to eggs or tofu for a while instead.
6. Manage your stress: Being stressed-out is a sure way to put the breaks on your weight-loss. In addition to promoting comfort-eating and triggering food-cravings, it can also increase your body's production of Cortisol that increases belly fat storage. Practice some deep-breathing, yoga or meditation, whatever it is you need to do to help you feel relaxed.
7. Try intermittent fasting: This recent craze that involves going 16-48 hours without eating, has been know to promote loss of body fat and weight. A review of several intermittent fasting studies found that it led to a 3–8% weight loss and 3–7% decrease in waist circumference within 3–24 weeks.
8. Cut back on the Alcohol: Consuming alcohol can hinder your weight loss by adding empty calories, making it easier to overeat and increasing belly fat storage.
9. Do add some fibre: Fibre promotes weight-loss by slowing the movement of food through your digestive tract, suppressing your appetite,and reducing calorie absorption.
10. Drink more water and coffee/tea: The caffeine in tea and coffee can help with fat burning and weight loss. Studies show that drinking plain water can boost metabolism by 24 to 30%.
11. Get plenty of sleep: We can’t stress how important sleep is for your emotional, physical and mental health. Insufficient sleep can interfere with weight-loss and reduce metabolism by shifting your hormones to promote hunger and fat storage.