The problem of the weight-loss plateau
Spring has finally arrived, and with summer just around the corner, it’s time to think about getting back in shape. Once the decision has been made and you are committed losing weight, there can be many challenges ahead.
One of the biggest challenges you can face is known as the ‘weight-loss’ plateau. For the first couple of weeks, you eat like a saint and exercise like an athlete. You see results both on the scales and in the way you feel.
But at some point, the progress just seems to stop dead in its tracks. You are still staying focused, but the scales won’t budge, you have hit a weight-loss plateau.
Why do they happen? And what can you do to overcome them? Read on!
What causes a weight-loss plateau?
The body is always trying to create a balance and equilibrium. If you have stayed the same weight for a while (even if you are overweight) your body becomes accustomed to the new weight and your metabolism adjusts accordingly.
The first few pounds you lose can go undetected by the body. But once the weight starts to decline on a steady basis, the body goes into survival mode and looks to conserve energy (calories) for you. So even though you may be keeping on the right track in terms of the reduced amount of calories you eat your metabolism slows down.
You are now starting to burn fewer calories at rest. And when the calories you burn equal the calories you eat, you reach a plateau. So what can you do to break through the plateau and re-ignite your diet?
Losing weight – Overcoming a weight-loss plateau
One of the first things you might want to consider is increasing the amount of water you drink. Drinking plenty of water has numerous health benefits. And if you have cut back on the number of hot drinks you consume, especially the sugary teas or coffees, you may have actually decreased the amount of water you are taking on board.
Dehydration is bad for the dieting cause. When you are dehydrated the kidney has to work harder. And in a dehydrated state, it can cause you to store more of the calories you eat as fat.
In addition, drinking more water can help keep you regular. And especially if you have upped your fibre intake, then it’s very important to gradually increase your water intake to stop you from getting constipated. Get into the habit of carrying a water bottle around with you throughout the day, and try and sip regularly.
Another key to breaking through the weight-loss plateau is to increase your protein intake. Protein helps in a couple of important ways.
Firstly it helps the body feel more satisfied which is helpful for overcoming hunger pangs (important for resisting cheat snacks). But even more importantly, the body uses more energy to metabolise protein over carbs or fat. So, in essence, it helps to kick start the metabolism.
Above all, persevere. Weight-loss plateaus can happen, but over time the weight will start to come off again.