After working hard, eating right, and cutting back on things you used to eat in excess, your reward should be that your weight continues to fall off, right? Unfortunately, this is not always the case. You may experience successful weight loss after switching to a healthier lifestyle, but the scale may not budge after a while. This is what is known as a weight loss plateau.
Some people may be at a healthy weight and they are struggling to get rid of an extra stubborn five or ten pounds, while others need to lose more weight and cannot seem to do so. This is no reason to get discouraged! It can be frustrating, but know that it is still possible for you to push through and release that weight.
What Causes A Weight Loss Plateau?
In the initial stages of your weight loss journey, pounds can fall off quickly. Because most people cut calories, the body releases its glycogen stores for energy. Glycogen is a type of carbohydrate found in muscles and the liver. As the body burns glycogen for energy, water is released and weight loss can happen. At a certain point, however, you begin losing muscle and fat. Muscles work to keep your resting metabolic rate up; therefore, losing muscle can slow your metabolism and cause you to burn fewer calories. In order to lose more weight and push past the plateau, we recommend following the tips below.
Dine Out Less Often
It isn’t impossible to dine out at a healthy establishment, which serves correct portion sizes. Those restaurants are not everywhere, though. Most restaurants serve high-calorie meals that exceed healthy portion sizes. Additionally, you don’t know how all the food is prepared. Excess fats and carbs can sneak their way into your food. Try to eat out less and meal prep healthy portions to see if your weight starts heading down.
Rotate Your Workout Routine
If you have been doing the same elliptical or treadmill workout, you need to change it up and do other exercises. You body will become used to your routine and your workout will become less effective. A great way to aid body fat loss is to get outside of your fitness comfort zone. Try high-intensity interval training, which has been proven to burn body fat effectively. At the same time, this training helps to build muscle, and that helps to increase your resting metabolic rate to burn more calories.
Manage Your Stress
Excess stress hormones in the body can put a stop to your weight loss. Cortisol, a.k.a the stress hormone, can increase belly fat storage and can cause you to crave unhealthy foods. The effects of stress hormones also seem to be stronger in women. According to an eight-week study with overweight women, those who took part in muscle relaxation and deep breathing lost more weight (9.7 lbs) than those who did not attempt to relieve stress.
Focus On Quality
In order to break through your weight loss plateau, you have to focus on more than your caloric intake. You have to focus on where you are obtaining your nutrients and your calories. Processed foods, refined sugars, and refined carbs need to go. Quality foods like vegetables, legumes, high-fiber fruits, lean proteins, and nuts & seeds need to take center stage in your diet. These foods contain essential nutrients and contain fewer calories than processed foods.
It is possible to push past your weight loss plateau if you have a plan in place. In addition to the above tips, focus on getting sufficient sleep, avoiding alcohol, and flushing the body with healthy fluids.