Whether you’re just getting started on your weight loss program or you’ve already been following it for a good three or four months – giving full effort, plateaus are something that frequently arises in even the best of situations.
What is a weight loss plateau? Essentially this is when the scale suddenly stops moving, or is moving so slowly that it seems like it’s hardly moving at all.
Any way you look at it, it’s sure to prove to be very frustrating to the dedicated dieter who cannot seem to figure out exactly why they have stopped losing weight.
Here is what you can do about this situation if it comes up while you’re on your weight loss program.
Consider Length Of Diet Period
The very first thing I want you to ask yourself is how long you’ve been dieting. Has it been three months or more?
Secondly, how strict is this diet? Are you eating less than ten times your body weight in pounds in calories (so for example, if you’re 150 pounds, 150 X 10 = 1500 calories a day)?
If so, we have a problem.
When on a very strict diet for a long period of time without any breaks whatsoever, the body is going to really start to slow its metabolic rate and conserve fuel as best as possible.
Why does it do this?
It is sensing starvation is happening and as such, is trying to preserve body tissues. The fewer calories it burns per day, the fewer body tissues – namely, your body fat stores, it will burn off. For you though, this makes further weight loss next to impossible.
So, the solution to this problem then is to carefully monitor your overall weight loss diet approach. Think long-term here and implement diet breaks right into the program.
Personally I would recommend you take a break every six to nine weeks. This allows for enough time for some good progress to be made on the diet, and enough time so that if a diet break is inserted in, the metabolism shouldn’t suffer too much. This diet break then should last approximately three days to a full week and calories should be brought back up to about fourteen to fifteen calories times your body weight in pounds.
This represents maintenance for most people.
Note that you might gain a pound back during this break, but really understand it’s just mostly water weight and muscle glycogen, and will be lost once you resume the diet. More importantly is that this diet break is going to rev that metabolism again so when you do return back to your diet, weight loss is ten times easier.
The way I look at it, what options do you really have?
Continue on as you are – hungry, frustrated, and not making any progress.
Or, have a diet break, risk the possibility of a one to two pound weight gain, but then start seeing much faster progress once you begin again. Not to mention the diet break will be great for you psychologically and make sticking with the program that much easier.
The choice should be obvious.