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Breaking Through A Weight Loss Plateau: 3 Simple Strategies

Reaching a weight loss plateau can be one of the most frustrating experiences on your journey to better health.


You're putting in the effort, sticking to your diet, working out regularly, yet the scale refuses to budge.


Understanding what a plateau truly means and how to overcome it can make all the difference in reaching your goals.

Scale

What is a Weight Loss Plateau?


A weight loss plateau occurs when you stop losing weight despite maintaining a consistent diet and exercise regimen. Initially, weight loss is relatively quick due to water loss and the body’s initial response to dietary changes.


However, as you continue, your body adapts, and the rate of weight loss slows down, eventually reaching a point where it seemingly stops. This is a plateau.


Imagine you're climbing a mountain. At first, the path is steep, and every step you take brings you significantly higher. But then you reach a flat area—a plateau—where the incline is minimal, and progress feels slow or non-existent.


Just like on a mountain, a weight loss plateau is a flat stretch that requires a new strategy to continue ascending.


Why Do Plateaus Happen?


1. Metabolic Adaptation: Simply put. As you lose weight, your body requires fewer calories to function. So, in order to continue to lose weight, you’ll need to gradually maintain a calorie deficit through the right balance of activity and nutrition.


2. Muscle Loss: Alongside fat, some muscle mass is lost during weight loss. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, losing muscle mass reduces your overall calorie expenditure.


This is why strength training should be your # 1 priority for long term metabolic, muscle, and bone health.


3. Behavioral Fatigue: Maintaining a strict diet and exercise routine can lead to mental and physical fatigue, causing small slips and less effective workouts, which cumulatively impact weight loss.


Common Misconceptions


Many people think they're not progressing because they're still eating too much or not exercising enough.


While these factors are important, and can be true, they often overlook the body's natural adaptation processes.


Simply cutting more calories or increasing exercise intensity without understanding the underlying issue can lead to burnout or injury.


Pro Tip

Breaking Through the Plateau


1. Revamp Your Workout Routine

Your body is a lot smarter than we sometimes give it credit for and over time, it will adapt.


Fine-tuning your workout routine can reignite weight loss and supercharge some lean muscle gain.


 Here are a few strategies:


  • Increase Intensity: Incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to boost your metabolism. The goal is to get you out of your comfort zone and push to a new level of fatigue.

 

  • Strength Training: Building (and keeping) muscle through strength training increases your resting metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories even when you're not exercising.

 

  • Mix It Up: Try new activities like swimming, cycling, or yoga to work different muscle groups, keep things interesting, and increase your daily energy expenditure. Or keep it simple and aim for 8,000+ total daily steps as a baseline.


2. Accurate Tracking of Food Intake

One of the most effective ways to break through a weight loss plateau is by ensuring accurate tracking of your food intake.


Many people underestimate (sometimes as high as 50%) their calorie consumption, which can stall progress.


Here are some tips:


  • Use a Food Diary or App: Tracking what you eat helps you understand your actual caloric intake. Apps like MyFitnessPal, Lose It or Eat This Much, can make this process easier and more precise.

 

  • Weigh and Measure Your Food: Estimations can lead to significant inaccuracies. Use a kitchen scale and measuring cups to ensure you’re eating the right portion sizes.

 

  • Monitor Hidden Calories: Be aware of hidden calories in condiments, beverages, and snacks. These small additions can add up and impact your total calorie intake.

 

“What gets measured gets managed.”


3. Prioritize Sleep and Stress Management


Sleep and stress play significant roles in weight management. Lack of sleep and high stress levels can disrupt hormones like cortisol, which can promote fat storage, especially around the abdomen (y’all know that stubborn “fluff”).


Additionally, lack of sleep increases ghrelin, decreases leptin, and weakens willpower, leading to increased hunger, reduced satiety, and poor dietary choices.


  • Improve Sleep Hygiene: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, keep your bedroom cool and dark, and avoid screens before bed.

 

  • Manage Stress: Incorporate stress-reducing activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies you enjoy. Chronic stress can lead to emotional eating and hinder weight loss efforts.

 

If all else fails, just remind yourself, “It ain’t that bad”. Look around at all that you do have. I guarantee you’ll find a lot to be grateful for.


Final Thoughts


A weight loss plateau is a natural part of the journey. It’s not a sign of failure but an opportunity to reassess and adjust your approach.


Initially, progress will be rapid and noticeable, but as you get closer to your goal, advancements become incremental and that’s okay.


By revamping your workout routine, ensuring accurate tracking of your food intake, and prioritizing sleep and stress management, you can break through any plateau and achieve your weight loss goals and much more.


Remember, the journey to a healthier you is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay patient, stay committed, and keep pushing forward. Your persistence will pay off!


Every “plateau” is getting you one step closer to your ultimate goal. So rather than becoming frustrated next time things stagnate a bit, embrace it!


It’s another chance to enthusiastically overcome one more obstacle. And each obstacle overcome, is shortening the path toward realizing your dream!


Committed to Your Success,

Coach Michael

 

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