We’re starting to get over the hump of winter and wondering WHY am I still not losing weight? Maybe you developed some nasty habits from the winter? or maybe you think everything is going great – except the number on the scale is not moving? We’ve all had those weigh in’s – and the expectation is that if we do the diet… we’ll get results. When you experience a plateau, the first thought is that “this diet is not working. I should give up… where is the chocolate!?” Don’t let weight loss plateaus stop you from loosing weight or even worse – cause you to lose track of your goal. Learn from them, work through them, and get back on track!
It’s NORMAL to plateau – it happens to everyone! They can happen at any time of your dieting path and can last anywhere from 4-8 weeks. What’s also important to realize, is that we can experience different kinds of plateaus – let’s take a closer look.
1. the OH-NO it’s the first time I’ve stopped losing weight PLATEAU
- When you first start a diet regime, the body recognizes that you are cutting down calories and it responds to this by storing fat. If you are a regular dieter, this process will happen fairy quickly and last longer. Once the body gets accustomed to the mini meals and sees that you are actually eating, it will catch up to the process.
2. I’m EXERCISING what’s the problem PLATEAU
- When you start an exercise program your body’s muscle mass may increase and your fat mass will fall, this might mean the scale will read no weight loss. Muscle plateaus can last up to 6 weeks, so body compositions are an important part to determine this plateau. In some cases, this plateau does not exist, instead the patient justifies more calories due to increased exercise, therefore they are building muscle and fat! Which one are you?
3. OK – we are MID-WAY there PLATEAU
- You have been on the program for a while and were losing, but now you have stopped! Your first reaction is that this is your set point: the weight at which your body LIKES to be at. Typically in this case, a closer look at the patients diet will show that they are cheating more frequently, they are not measuring their portions and their overall compliance has dropped. WHY? The novelty of the program has work off, as well you are probably getting used to the new you, although you are not fully content at the point you are at, you are no longer in weight loss desperate mode and more often than not, you will let your guard down and give in more often.
4. GET on your with LIFEstyle PLATEAU
- This is not the time for the 80%/20% rule. If you want to lose weight, you should follow the metabolic program more than 80% of the time. This type of plateau is most common when you are trying to make this time fit your social lifestyle. This means you are not following the program, cheating on weekends, not writing down what you are eating, not drinking water or picking at foods and not counting it.
5. ALMOST there PLATEAU
- That last 10 pounds seem to be the hardest! But don’t quit now! The body is probably used to what you are doing day in and day out and out, what you are lifting, the meals and snacks you are having. NOW is the time to shake things up! Try different foods, different ratios, timing of meals as well as your exercise routine. Body compositions are this time are also important to identify if you really need to lose fat, or do you need to start gaining muscle.
6. The LITTLE things PLATEAU
- Weekly weigh ins are a great idea to help keep you on track – HOWEVER, it is not a good idea to get caught up in them because as LITTLE things can cause short term plateaus. This is a big reason that our assessments of weight loss are done MONTH to MONTH! Here are a list of LITTLE things that will effect your week to week weigh ins:
- It’s that time of the month, PMS or other hormonal issues
- Food and water consumption for that day
- High sodium meal the day before
- Alcohol the night before
- Stress and / or lack of sleep
- Metabolic mistakes – your portions are off, too many starches or fruits and missed meals