By: Coach Gannon
What’s up Revivers!! So think of this, you’ve worked super hard to improve your health by clean eating and continuous exercise (by coming to class everyday and seeing your favorite coaches). In doing this, your reward has been watching your weight go down on the scale and energy levels go up in your every day life. Except, now, for some damn reason, the numbers on your scale have stopped moving. Not only is it discouraging but it also has become confusing. How could this be? Despite your healthy eating habits, daily fitness, and low-stress levels you cant seem to shred another pound. What could you be doing wrong? Well, thing is, it isn’t that you are doing something wrong; it quite possibly could be that you’ve hit a weight-loss plateau.
1.) What is a weight-loss plateau?
Plateaus happen when an individual has steadily seen results over an extended period of time but suddenly comes to a complete standstill. Now usually this “standstill” only happens for a minimum period of four weeks. Recognize that four weeks is a very general time frame and will very from individual to individual. Plateaus can last longer, or shorter depending on daily habits, genetics, metabolism, prior medical history, etc.
Now before reading on, I want you all to keep one thing in mind. Staying motivated is the most difficult part of a weight-loss journey, especially when you are staring straight into the face of a plateau. Not only is it a normal part of the weight-loss process to experience plateaus, but it is also normal to have your journey become more difficult day in and day out, especially when the results become less, and less visible. BUT It is very important to recognize, and remind yourself daily of “your reason why”. Why are you are on this journey in the first place, and if it were easy, we’d all have six packs.
Now that you are super motivated, and pumped you up from my speech above, lets learn about why these plateaus may have happened to you.
2.) What causes a weight-loss plateau?
Thing is, plateaus may occur multiple times over the course of any weight-loss plan, especially since during the first few weeks of losing bulk, a rapid drop in body weight usually occurs.
This rapid loss in weight usually (usually being the main word since all bodies are different) happens because when you cut calories, the body has to get its fuel (energy) from a different source other than your caloric intake. It instead finds its essential energy by releasing its stores of glycogen, which is a type of simple carbohydrate found within the muscles and liver.
Glycogen is partially comprised of water, so keeping that in mind, when glycogen is burned for energy by the body, it releases water, resulting in weight loss via water weight. Which on the scale may seem exciting, but in reality is unfortunately only temporary.
Now as you continue to lose both water weight, and body fat, you also will inevitably lose some muscle mass. That becomes an important role in weight loss because muscle mass is what helps regulate the rate at which your body burns calories (metabolism).
As you lose weight, your metabolism declines, causing you to burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight. So though you may still be following the same strict routine that has helped you loose weight in the past few weeks, it may not be ideal in the success of the following weeks.
3.) How to bust through your plateau!
So, we know why it happens, we know to stay motivated when it happens, but what good is that with out a couple ways to make it go away. Though there is no one size fits all when it comes to dieting, or exercising, these suggestions below may help give you a head start on busting through your plateau during this trial and error based process.
3a.) Focus on quality
Busting through a weight-loss plateau is more than calories in and calories out. Processed foods won’t cut it anymore, thus quality whole foods like vegetables, beans, high-fiber fruits and lean proteins are needed for your engine to burn body fat.
3b.) Know your numbers
If you’ve been watching what you eat and exercising more and your weight is not budging, consult with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could make it difficult for you to lose weight.
A full night’s sleep is vital to losing body fat because it resets your hormones. Even a little sleep deprivation can lead to increased cortisol, a stress hormone. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to body fat accumulation around the midsection.
3d.) Flush with fluids
Keep your hydration in check since the body will often crave food when you are even mildly dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration are similar to symptoms of hunger, so it’s easy to confuse the two. Aim to drink 80-100 fluid ounces (2.35 liters) of water per day plus additional fluids lost during activity.