More often than not, people experience the dreaded fat loss plateau. I’m specifying fat-loss because, quite frankly, that’s what we’re often after, here – a more lean, defined look – as opposed to losing merely water and bloat weight or, even worse, losing muscle.
Weight loss plateaus are not only common – they’re downright infuriating. You feel like you’re doing everything right, you’ve been consistent, the progress is coming along like you want… then, out of nowhere, it’s like the weight loss gods pressed a pause button on your progress. Quite frankly, it sucks…
…but trust me, it’s far easier to work around than you think.
Throughout my own weight loss journey, I experienced weight loss plateaus frequently – some were due to slip-ups, and others were due to a need to recalibrate my fat loss plan. Here’s a few tips to help you through yours:
1. Check the efficacy of your workouts. If you’ve been visiting the same class for months or even weeks, now, what you might find is that the class isn’t quite as hard as it used to be. Your body has adapted to it! That’s great for your fitness levels, but it’s a hurdle you must climb if you want to continue to lose weight at the same speed. Something as little as adding an extra half-mile to your runs or wearing ankle weights can make a huge difference. Grab yourself a heart rate monitor – check out my favorite here! – and test it out for yourself. Is it time to up the ante?
2. Consider your, ahem… regularity. Are you, uh, going potty on a regular basis? Everyone defines “regular” differently, but if you’re doing the fresh fruits and vegetables thing frequently, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be spending some quality time in the bathroom at least every other day. When you step on the scale, all that extra stuff gets weighed just like the fat, muscle, bones and anything else. In other words, be mindful about whether or not your potty time is regular, and don’t be afraid to cut yourself some slack until it is.
3. The math might not be in your favor anymore. As your body changes size, so goes with it your ability to burn calories. As you gain mass, be it muscle or fat, the amount of calories you burn through the day – both in and outside of physical activity – increases. The same goes for a loss. If your body is experiencing a plateau, it’s likely that it’s because the amount of calories you’re burning throughout the day has reached equilibrium with the amount of calories you’ve burned, as opposed to having a healthy deficit. Take a closer look at what you’re eating in comparison to what you’re burning all day, and make a judgment call – adjust the calories, or bump the workouts up a bit.
4. Be honest – are you really following the plan? Let’s keep it 100 – sometimes, in first-starting a plan, you’ll find yourself ‘cheating’ a bit and still experiencing results. That’s fine and dandy, until it gets to the point where your full compliance is necessary in order to experience results. In fact, the more fat you lose, the more essential your full compliance becomes. No more skipping meals or skipping workouts, no more leaving class early, none of that.
Though one can never count out the reality of simply needing to consult with a registered dietician or a weight loss specialist in some way to fully troubleshoot their fat loss goal, oftentimes it’s so simple that you can take care of it all yourself. Like I always say, your body will thank you for it!
Erika Nicole Kendall is the writer behind the award winning blog A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss, where she blogs her journey from 330lb couch potato to certified personal trainer and nutritionist. Ask her your health and fitness-related questions on Facebook and Twitter.