Anyone who’s undergone a weight loss diet has encountered what is known as the weight loss plateau. This is basically the point at which you stop losing weight despite your best efforts. The plateaus can happen suddenly without warning and there is usually not a clear reason why the weight loss halts.
Normal Part of Dieting
If you have hit a weight loss plateau, you should know that it’s a completely normal part of dieting. While discouraging, it is possible to get past it and regain your weight loss for the results you’re after. Understanding what causes weight loss plateaus can help you overcome the hurdle in your diet plan to get back on track with your weight loss.
Understanding The Cause
If you’re hoping to avoid a weight loss plateau, it’s important to understand what causes it. During the initial stage of a diet, you can expect to lose steady weight. The scale will inch down with every weigh-in and things will go pretty smoothly. This initial weight loss happens as a result of reduced caloric intake which causes the body to dip into glycogen stores to make up for reduction in fuel.
Glycogen is stored in the liver and muscles. It holds on to water, so when glycogen is burned, a certain amount of water is also released. Thus, during the initial diet phase when the body is burning glycogen, most of the weight loss is from water weight.
A Healthy Equilibrium
As you lose muscle and use up glycogen stores, the body reduces its metabolic activity to make up for the reduction in energy. This reduction in metabolic activity is the body’s attempt at reaching a healthy equilibrium, but it also results in the dreaded weight loss plateau.
Reaching The New Equilibrium
When you reach the new equilibrium and hit the plateau, you can assume that the calories taken in are equal to the calories expended. In order to continue losing weight you need to throw the equilibrium off so that the number of calories taken in is less than the number of calories expended. To achieve this, you can either reduce your food intake or increase your activity.
Changing Your Routine
Instead of looking at a weight loss plateau as a bad thing, look at it as a chance to change your routine. You can try a new activity, sample a new eating plan or make another change to keep your diet interesting and fresh. Weight loss plateaus are completely normal and knowing about it before it strikes will help make it a pit-stop rather than a speed-bump in your journey to fitness and health.