You're trying to lose weight and, in fact, you were doing very well until recently. You were eating better and doing exercises and, suddenly, what had been working for you, stopped. It does not make sense, right?
Weight loss plateaus are frustrating because they seem to come out of nowhere. Scientists commonly refer to them as adaptive thermogenesis. The cause of adaptive thermogenesis is not known but researchers believe it may be caused by changes in body weight, thyroid function or changes in leptin levels or sensitivity. Leptin is a hormone released by fat cells that acts on the brain and regulates appetite and body weight.
Do not always trust the scale
Just because the scale does not move does not mean you are not making any progress toward your fitness goals and dream body. It is easy to think that you have reached a plateau when you do not see additional weight loss on the scale but that is not always the case.
The balance is a poor indicator of short-term progress because it does not distinguish between changes in water, fat or muscle. Fluid regulation in the body is a fluid process that is constantly changing, so a pound up or two pounds down on a given day does not reflect any real change in body composition. To avoid this false plateau and motivation killer, make sure to follow your progress through different data points, including circumference (chest, waist, arm size) and body fat percentage. It is possible that you may be staying at the same weight but losing inches from your waist and other areas as the body tones and affirms.
"We never used a scale alone to measure and monitor a patient's progress," says Joe Dowdell, executive director and founder of Peak Performance in New York City. Dowdell tells me that in Peak Performance they prefer to track changes in body fat percentage through measurements of skinfolds or bioelectrical impedance. He is aware that most people do not have access to these options and, therefore, states that the next best option is to use a tape measure to monitor changes in the circumference of the chest, waist and arms. Balance of weight should never be used alone, "he adds.
Fat loss is not linear. In other words, do not expect to lose 2 pounds per week each week until you reach your goal. Some weeks you lose less, some weeks you lose more. If you stay a week short, that does not mean you have reached a plateau. It's just part of the natural process of weight loss.
Sleep to optimize fat loss
Sleeping properly is not your typical advice for overcoming the plateau of stagnation.But sleep is important for the optimization of multiple hormones, including a series of hormones to lose fat. Unfortunately you can start to reap the negative effects on these hormones to lose fat after a night of bad sleep. Each person's sleep needs are different and the increase in tension guarantees you more sleep. But, generally, seven to nine hours of sleep should be aimed every night. "Recent research shows that proper sleep is important for managing a healthy body weight," says Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, professor of Nutrition from Penn State University. She says that, in addition to focusing on diet and physical activity as important components in a weight-management program, new research suggests that getting enough sleep is also important to promote weight loss and prevent weight gain.
Kris-Etherton notes that Healthy People 2020, a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends at least seven hours of good quality sleep per day for good health. According to the CDC citing data from the National Health Interview Survey, almost 30% of adults reported an average of less than six hours of sleep per day in the period 2005 to 2007. Therefore, if you have reached a Plateau on weight loss, it is important to pay attention to the frequency and duration of sleep, along with good nutrition and physical activity practices.
Stick to your plan
If you are adhering to your diet plan and get enough sleep and your progress is still at a standstill for a couple of days weeks, it's time to make some dietary adjustments.
The first change you should make is to reduce the total amount of carbohydrates in your diet. Here is the list of carbohydrates for use as a guide for reducing carbohydrates:
- Added sugars
- Refined grains
- Whole grains and starches
Eliminates carbohydrates in your diet at the top of the list. This eliminates foods with more dense carbohydrates, which act faster first, and leave the carbohydrates lower, lower in calories and higher in volume until the end. Although I have included the added sugars and refined grains to complete, keep in mind that they should not be in your diet except for the occasional (and I mean occasional) waste.