Weight loss plateaus: this too shall pass

weight loss plateauYou have been eating healthy, exercising and getting results for your hard work. But recently you have started seeing a downward trend in your weight loss. Have you reached a weight plateau?

A weight plateau is a period of time during which your weight remains at the same level for a long duration. When losing weight, it is common to have plateaus or times when you are not able to lose any more weight. Research suggests that our bodies try to maintain a specific weight or “set-point”. When a person reaches this set-point it becomes difficult to move over and lose weight. The reason for this slow weight loss is that the body adjusts to the selected workout schedule and calorie reduction, making it harder for us to maintain a steady weight loss.

Another theory suggests that if calorie intake is decreased too much or too soon the body is forced to burn more and more protein which seriously lowers the metabolism and dieters give up and go back to the old eating habits leading to gain in weight.

Dr. Kevin D. Hall from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states, “If you stick to a diet, you should expect your weight loss to continue for years, although not at the same rate.” Thus it can be rightly said that most people who experience a weight loss plateau six to eight months into a diet are reverting back to pre-diet behaviours.

Here are few tips that can help with managing plateaus and resetting your set-point:

  • Plateaus are often temporary. Stay with your program and you should start losing again.
  • Try increasing your physical activity. Adding a few additional minutes or a different kind of physical activity to what you are already doing can get you going again.
  • If you haven’t been writing down what you eat start doing so. You may discover that extra calories have crept into your diet plan. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who kept a food diary dropped double the weight as compared to those who did not record their food choices.
  • Plateaus make you feel like giving up. Remember how hard you have already worked and how far you have come. Do not lose heart and push a little harder to keep moving past the plateau.
  • Getting 8 hours of sleep and limiting stress is a sure way to reinitiate the weight loss process.
  • Revisit your goals each week. Make sure they are measurable and process-oriented. Make a list of activities that will work to help you achieve that goal.
  • Weight loss plateaus can be very taxing on motivation levels. Remind yourself that they happen with everyone, whosoever is trying to lose weight. Keep your focus and you will get through this bump in the road.

So accept that you are going to have a few let down moments but be honest about where those pitfalls lie instead of pointing a finger at the scale. It is the first step in recovering from a dreaded plateau.

Image Courtesy: avrilcarpenter.com

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