Have you been following a fat loss program and it’s stopped working for you? There are reasons for this! Contrary to popular belief there is no “one fat loss program fits all”. You have to understand that everybody is Biochemically individual and to that extent it is inevitable that you will hit a plateau at some point during your fat loss program. Plateaus can be for a short time, or in some cases people can be stuck for a long time. This article will help you to understand why these happen and how to overcome them if they do arise.
You are no different to the many people I help everyday who are trying to lose body fat, plateaus will inevitably happen so don’t panic and don’t lose faith. You have to expect plateaus and then find a strategy to deal with them when they come along. Yes plateaus can be frustrating, but if you have set guidelines to work from, you can often avoid them before they come around. I feel it is important that you understand why plateaus happen, if you know the reasons then you are adding another tool to your fat loss tool box and you will always be one step ahead. I want to share with you my top reasons for why plateaus happen and then give you the strategies of how to overcome them. There are many ways to break your plateau but just sticking with your same eating plan and the same training plan hoping for fat loss success will not do it.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get results” Albert Einstein
You are learning new skills throughout your fat loss program and your body will take time to readjust to the new way you are living your life. You must be prepared and fully understand what to expect.
Here are my top plateau tips:
1. You are still losing body fat but also building muscle As a body composition specialist it is my job to give you the body of your dreams and to that extent the increase in your exercise level will see you putting on muscle mass. If you are training with a personal trainer such as myself strength training is the way we get our results. Building muscle is a large part of the process. Even though the scales might not be changing the way you would hope them to,you can guarantee your shape will be. By having your body fat measured regularly you will be able to monitor your fat loss. We coach our clients not to concern themselves with scale weight and to concentrate on other motivational measurements like fat loss and regular photographs.
2. You're not eating enough protein If you’re not consuming enough protein on a daily basis, your body will break down its own protein in the form of muscle mass. It will breakdown your muscle to achieve the desired energy so you can function daily. Muscle loss in turn will lower your metabolic rate and the bulk of the weight loss each week will be mostly muscle and not fat. Make sure you are consuming the required amount of protein according to the plan you are on. A simple rule to is to make sure that you eat a portion of protein every 2 – 3 hours.
3. Your liver is not working optimally If you are someone that drinks small amounts of water each day, your body is going to perceive this as a threat and will try to hold onto the small amount that you have. If you are not drinking enough water your kidneys will not be able to do their job properly and as a result they will dump some of the work load into the liver. You may not know this but your liver is the main organ responsible for fat metabolism, it cannot work at optimal capacity if it is stressed or overloaded, As a result, less fat will be metabolised and your fat loss stalls. So drinking plenty of water actually helps you lose fat. As a base guideline you should try drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
4. Your carbohydrate level is too high If you have read any of my work you will understand that I believe in lower carb diets for fat loss, not no carb diets! The problem is that people get confused with the hidden carbohydrates that are in many foods. You may not realise that they could be creeping in by just having one sugary food group per day. If you are not losing weight your carb intake may just be too high for you, If you think this may be your problem, write out your food diary, this can always shows up the hidden culprits!
5. Under eating This is one of the most common plateaus that I come across. The simple reason that under eating can affect your fat loss is that your metabolic rate will slow down as a result. I would always prefer someone to be eating slightly more and have to drop a few calories than to under eat and then have to ask someone to add calories.
6. You will be experiencing a period of readjustment If have been stuck at a weight for a few weeks your body may just simply be readjusting. Because of the different changes you are going through like diet and exercise, your body sometimes needs to just catch up. Be patient it will happen. When I ask a client to work on a new habit, I let the body adjust for 2 weeks before measuring fat loss success again.
7. You're over eating Not that I’m one for excessive calorie counting but sometimes over eating can be the problem. You’re much less likely to consume too many calories on a fat loss program but in some cases too many calories can be the problem. A simple analysis of your food diary can beat this common plateau. All calories are not created equal, you cannot eat vast amounts of lean meats, healthy fats and fibrous vegetables and expect to lost body fat like many people think. Monitoring your daily food plan will help you balance out the extra calories that you have sneaked in. Be sensible about eating and don’t make it stressful on yourself.
8. You're not training enough Whilst I am a big believer in nutrition playing a huge part in fat loss, not doing enough exercise can stall your results as well. A minimum amount of exercise to follow is 4 – 5 times per week if you are serious about changing your body shape.
In nearly all cases addressing one of the above will move you past your sticking point and you will continue to lose fat successfully week by week.