Are you struggling with a weight-loss plateau? If your weight loss has slowed, but your diet and exercise routine has not changed, it can feel incredibly frustrating. The important thing to remember is that a weight-loss plateau isn’t uncommon; in fact, it happens to many people. Despite knowing this, it can still be frustrating when it happens. Learn more about why it happens so that you can prevent yourself from sliding back into unhealthy habits.
What is it?
When you initially adopt a weight-loss plan and begin lowering your caloric intake and increasing your activity level, it isn’t uncommon to see a rapid drop in weight. This is because the body begins releasing glycogen that has been stored in the body. The body receives energy by burning the glycogen, which means that much of the weight loss that initially occurs is water weight. However, as you continue with your weight-loss plan, you will begin to lose both muscle and fat. Muscle keeps your metabolism up, so as you continue to lose weight, you may also notice that your metabolism continues to slow. This can eventually lead to a weight-loss plateau. While the initial decrease in calories and increased physical activity may have initially led to weight loss, once you reach a plateau, these methods will only aid in the maintenance of your weight loss. Therefore, if you wish to continue losing weight, you’ll need to switch things up again.
How do I overcome it?
If you are happy with your weight loss, you may be happy to continue with your lifestyle changes and continue in the plateau/maintenance phase. However, if you have yet to reach your weight-loss goals, it may be time to try one of the following:
- Cut your calories further (decide on a healthy range with your doctor)
- Change your workout routine (increase the intensity or duration)
- Focus on building muscle to help you burn more calories
Before you try one of the above strategies, you may want to take a second look at your habits. Have you loosened the reins a bit? You may find that you have begun to eat an extra snack here or there or you have started to decrease the intensity of your workouts.
It’s important to remember that, even if you are facing a weight-loss plateau, that doesn’t mean you should stop what you are doing and revert to old, unhealthy habits. Speak with your doctor about more strategies to overcome your plateau.
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