Why Your Weight Loss has Stalled and How to Fix It
We have all been there. You're finally taking the weight off. You've been sticking to your diet, you're getting your workouts in, and the pounds are coming off! You're excited and you're on a roll. And then all of a sudden, the scale. won't. move.
You're not losing any more weight no matter what you do! You're frustrated, you're hungry, and you're over it.
Did I just read your mind?
If you're going through this right now OR if you've been through this before and ended up giving up on the process altogether, this blog post is for you. The majority of my coaching clients come to me with your exact problem, and we are about to break it down and give you the solution once and for all.
Here is What's Happening to Your Body
You could be doing everything right with your diet and training - you could be sticking to your calories perfectly and training hard and still see your weight plateau. Throughout a dieting phase, your body goes through a process called metabolic adaptation.
During this process, your body, which is very smart, comes to the realization that you're giving it less calories than it is used to receiving. It has a very comfortable body fat set point that it likes to maintain and right now, you're dipping below that nice comfy set point. Your body does not like this.
It essentially enters survival mode. Your metabolism, which is responsible for turning your calories into usable energy (to fuel your workouts and everyday bodily functions), will learn how to burn less calories while doing the same amount of work. Say, up until last week you were losing about a pound a week while doing 3 cardio sessions and 4 weight lifting sessions. Maybe this week it takes 4 cardio sessions and 4 weight lifting sessions to lose a pound.
Your body is trying to hold onto those calories to keep it at its comfortable body fat set point. In other words, if you continue to train and eat the same way as you did last week, you will not continue to see the same progress.
There are 3 ways to tackle this problem. The method that you use depends on your current caloric intake as well as your current time spent exercising and the amount of time that you've been in a dieted state.
This one will be the most obvious option - Lower your calories.
If your calories are still pretty comfortable for you and still decently high, this is what I would recommend. Lowering your calories will ensure that you're, once again consuming less than you're burning and weight loss will resume.
Add cardio. If your calories have dipped and you're not wanting to lower them anymore or not at the moment, this is another way to get the weight loss going again. The first method decreases your consumption in the consume < burn equation. The second method increases your burn in the consume < burn equation.
The higher intensity the cardio or greater the frequency of cardio will lead to more calories burned, which will cause more weight loss.
However, I do not recommend going balls to the wall decreasing calories or increasing cardio. Make these changes gradually so that you can see continual weight loss over time without suffering or rebounding. This is how I pursue weight loss with my own coaching clients.
This is where things get a bit counterintuitive.
If your calories are VERY low or are uncomfortable, insufferable, and unsustainable, it's time to add calories back IN. 75% of my clients come to me in this state. To pursue effective, long term weight loss, you have to be in it for the long haul.
This means you cannot keep your body in a dieted state forever. You HAVE to reverse diet back to a normal caloric intake aka your maintenance level. This means gradually adding calories back into your diet at a rate that allows your metabolism to catch up to your new consumption rate.
You may see weight stay the same or you may see slight weight gain. With the right training program however, you can improve your body composition while doing this (reduce fat and build muscle) so that, even though the scale stays the same or goes up slightly, your body tightens up and IMPROVES.
I encourage clients to look at it this way - you can choose to stay at insufferably low calorie levels and not lose any more weight. Or you can choose to add calories back in now at a nice, gradual pace that will allow you to feel better, see minimal to no weight gain, and lose weight more efficiently when you return to a dieted phase.
It can be very HARD to accept that you physically cannot see anymore weight loss with where you're at. But with proper guidance, you can prime your body to lose weight in a way that is 10x healthier and more enjoyable.
Shorter Diet Breaks
If you haven't been dieting for an extensive period of time, you may be able to resume weight loss with a shorter period of increased calories. I talk more about that HERE. If you're unsure of what you need, try one of these shorter breaks from your calorie deficit. If that doesn't get weight loss going again, it's time to consider the reverse diet as explained above.
Need More Help?
I know how frustrating it can be to see your weight loss plateau, and I also know how terrifying it can be to eat MORE food when your whole goal was to lose weight! If your weight loss has stalled and you feel totally lost on what to do to reach your goals, APPLY HERE for a customized training and nutrition program. I will be there to coach you every step of the way so we can get you better, lasting results.
Not convinced? Check out some of these amazing success stories from women JUST LIKE YOU. Stop telling yourself you're too old, too far off, too busy, too tired. You are NONE of these things!
No more waiting for the perfect time. There will never be a perfect moment. The time to make a change is always RIGHT NOW! Let me show you what you can do.