When you are attempting to diet and get fit, you will find a disturbing phenomenon occurs that may begin to discourage you from continuing your efforts. Dieters around the world have come to know this as the weight loss plateau. After weeks of losing tons of weight and getting fantastic results, you will find that suddenly you are not losing any weight at all, even though you are still eating right and exercising. Getting over the weight loss plateau can be a very difficult task, if you don't have the knowledge necessary to get to the next level of your health journey.
Why Does a Weight Loss Plateau Occur?
Once you can understand what a weight loss plateau is, you can better combat it. You have to realize that your body is an amazing thing. The very system processes that could save your life in extreme circumstances are the reason why you may be finding it hard to continue to lose weight in the first place. The human body works very hard to keep itself in balance as far as the energy that goes in and comes out of it. For example, if you drop your calorie intake too much, your body thinks that you are starving. Therefore, it tries to balance this out by lowering how fast your body uses the calories that you put into it. Now your body needs less calories to maintain the same weight, and it makes it very hard for you to lose the last few pounds.
How Do I Get Over the Weight Loss Plateau?
Even though your body is very intelligent and will do things to maintain your weight, you can do things to essentially "trick" it into burning fat anyway. If you follow the following steps, you can continue to lose the weight and keep up the results that you desire:
First, find out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. To do this, use the following formula: (Your weight in pounds divided by 2.2) x 24 (for men) or 23 (for women) = the number of calories you need per day. For example, if you are a 150 pound woman, your formula would look like this: (150 divided by 2.2) x 23 = 1568 calories/day.
Next, set your calorie target every day to just under your necessary calories to maintain your current weight. Trying to lower your calories by too much will sabotage your efforts, because your body will go into starvation survival mode. If you are supposed to eat 1568 calories per day, you should set your goals at around 1200 - 1300 a day to lose weight effectively.
Make sure that you take a multi-vitamin while losing weight. If you decrease your calories and give yourself a vitamin deficiency at the same time, you will begin to lose lean muscle mass. Muscle is what burns fat the fastest, so this can cause your dreaded plateau. Taking a multi-vitamin will make sure that you do not become nutrient deficient.
Shock your system once a week. Your body starts to get used to a regular diet, even if it is a calorie-restricted one. To shock your system, give yourself a break once a week. Eat limited calories and highly nutritious meals throughout the week, but on that last day, allow yourself to indulge in your favorite "no-no" foods. Don't binge or go overboard, but eat things you normally wouldn't. This will cause your body to readjust, allowing you to lose weight again.
Thank goodness that our bodies are smart enough to compensate for changes in our diet. If we were stranded in the desert or marooned on an island, we would appreciate it very much. Getting over the weight loss plateau, means working with your body instead of against it. Let your body do what it is supposed to do, and just do what you need to do to guarantee continual weight loss until you reach your ideal goals.