Hitting a roadblock in your diet can be exasperating. You do well in the first few months–and then your progress stops. And all efforts you put into it are not translating onto the scale and you ask “I was doing so well! What happened?”
This Plateau Stage is a normal occurrence for all people following a weight loss program or certain diet plans. At this stage, the body’s weight loss progress stalls even though the person claims to be working out habitually and eating healthily. So what really happened? Let’s actually take some time to demystify this stage in the weight loss process.
Based on laws of physics, a friend that is, say 200 pounds will require more energy for him to move compared to you at 180 pounds. This translates to your friend using up more calories when you both run at the same speed. And so given that you are getting lighter as your diet process moves along, it will actually take less calories for you to move compared to when you started your diet at a heavier weight,. You would then need to take longer or more intense runs to achieve the same calorie expended, at the beginning of your workout when you still weigh more.
2.) Basal Metabolic Rate
The same principle applies to your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. BMR the rate at which our body uses calories to fuel our involuntary actions and while at rest, such as breathing, cell division, blood circulation, muscle contraction etc. In this case, a the person with more mass to move, the more calories is needed to help support these functions. As a person trims down, calories required for these also decreases.
3.) Water Weight
When a person from a sedentary lifestyle starts to improve his diet and workout, it will seem that weight loss will be rapid in the beginning. But sadly, at this stage, what you lose is not fat yet, it’s water. Since water is easier to get rid-off, it explains why people tend to lose weight fast at the start of their programs. Excess water in our body obviously reflects on the weighing scale, and the heavier our weight (excluding those who are heavy in muscle mass), the more water we will lose.
Now that this is cleared up. Let’s learn what’s the best way to lose weight at this stage and keep improving!
1.) Keep watching your food intake
Further into your diet, it’s a tendency to be complacent about your food intake. After losing some weight, some already disregarded the importance of keeping track of their intake on their food diary. Upon reaching the plateau, composition of meals may no longer be strictly observed and therefore limiting the changes in the body. That’s why diet coaches insist that monitoring tasks must be done and checked, constantly. Apps and services such as those of HAPIcoach.com can provide a good tool to help monitor your food intake and have a personal nutritionist take a look at your meals while your at it.
Another is for you to have an increased amounts of protein in your meals. According to a study done by Smart Foods Centre-School of Health Sciences, and CSIRO Human Nutrition, protein consumed in proper amount can increase your metabolism by about 30%, for 12 hours. But of course, protein intake must not go over to your total energy requirement in day, and must still be within desirable range of your total macronutrient intake.
2.) Reevaluate your workout.
Do you feel that your workout has become leisurely? Afternoon runs feel like a blissful afternoon stroll in the park? Rule of thumb: if it’s too easy, you’re probably not doing enough. When you reach this stage, increase the intensity or try a new routine. Also, try to include strengthening routines to your workout to increase your muscle mass. More muscle mass translates to increased metabolism, and faster weight loss.
3.) Rest. Sleep.
The importance of having enough rest and sleep is for you to give room to your body to do necessary muscle repairs. Workout is for stretching the muscles, protein is for filling the gaps from the stretch, and resting is for healing. Overtraining and ignoring rest days is counterproductive as it leads to muscle wasting instead. The weaker our muscles, the lesser the muscle mass. The lesser the muscle mass, the slower the metabolism. Keeping this in mind will help you get some shuteye and give your body a rest.
There you have it! To overcome the plateau stage, your body just basically needs some adjustments and your focus just needs to be realigned. So keep at it and you’ll achieve your workout and weightloss goals. We’re excited, for you, too!
The HAPILABS Team