Mary's Story: How I Got Past My Weight Loss Plateau
Ever felt that despite trying harder and making healthier choices, you are not making any weight loss progress? Or, maybe your progress has stalled, and you are finding it difficult to break through. Trust me. I know the feeling.
You see, I had been seeing great results and had lost 20 pounds. However, about three months into my journey, things started to get harder and harder. No matter how I doubled my effort at the gym or dieted strictly, the numbers on the scale just didn't match my fitness goals.
I felt like I was doing all the right things, but nothing was happening, which made me so frustrated - I was ready to give up.
That's when I decided to take a step back, re-evaluate my approach, and make fundamental changes that helped me finally break through the plateau. In this article, I will share my personal experience and the strategies that helped me overcome the so-called weight loss plateau and finally achieve my goals. So, let's get started!
Understanding What Weight Loss Plateau Is
Overcoming weight loss stagnation starts with a basic understanding of the science of losing weight and what a weight loss plateau actually is. Weight loss happens when there is a calorie deficit, which means you burn more calories than you consume. The body then begins to burn stored fat for energy, resulting in weight loss.
Over time, however, the body learns to adapt to this deficit - and this is typically where weight loss plateaus occur. At this point, the person stops losing significant amount of weight despite continued efforts to follow a diet and fitness regimen. This is because the body has adapted to the lower calorie intake, and the metabolism has slowed down to conserve energy. To overcome this, you must change your approach to create a new calorie deficit that the body cannot adapt to, thereby breaking the stagnation.
Common Causes of Weight Loss Plateaus
There are several reasons why weight loss stagnations occur, including the following:
- Metabolic adaptation - When you stick to the same diet and exercise routine, the body learns to adapt over time. For example, your body's metabolism slows down as your body becomes more efficient at burning fewer calories to carry out the same activities. In other words, the same calorie deficit that was effective initially is no longer effective, and the body stops making the progress that you expected.
- Not enough caloric deficit - Sometimes, individuals tend to underestimate the number of calories they consume. To help you drop pounds, you need to burn more calories than you consume. If you create enough caloric deficit, you may achieve your fitness goals and nudge the scale in the right direction faster.
- Inadequate protein intake - Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass, which helps boost metabolism. If you are not getting enough protein, you may be losing muscle mass, which can slow down your metabolism and will likely sabotage your progress.
- Lack of variety in your workout routine - Repeatedly doing the same workout routine can lead to a weight loss plateau. Your body becomes accustomed to the same routine, and you may not be challenging your body enough to drop those excess pounds.
- Overeating or eating too many high-calorie foods - Even if you are eating healthy foods, eating too much of them can make it more challenging to lose weight. This goes to show how portion control is an important part of losing weight.
- Hormonal imbalances - Hormonal imbalances, such as thyroid disorders or insulin resistance, can also make weight management even more difficult.
- Stress - Stress can also be a significant factor that can impact a person’s weight. When you are stressed, the body releases cortisol, a hormone that promotes the storage of fat. This can make it challenging to shed those excess pounds, even when you are doing everything else right.
- Lack of adequate sleep - Lack of sleep can also impact your metabolic rate and make it harder to achieve a healthy weight. Why? When you are sleep-deprived, the body produces more ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite and reduces leptin, a hormone that suppresses appetite.
How I Managed to Break Through Weight Loss Plateau
Breaking through a weight loss stagnation requires making changes to your approach. While frustrating, a plateau does not mean that you have failed. Below I will share some strategies that worked for me:
The Importance of Tracking Progress
Tracking progress is essential to any weight management program. This includes tracking your food intake, exercise routine, and weight. When you track your food intake, you become more aware of the number of calories you consume. This can help you make more informed decisions about what to eat and help you stay within your calorie limit. Similarly, tracking your exercise routine helps you identify areas where you can make improvements.
Increase your Caloric Deficit and Tweak Your Exercise Routine
If you have noticed that your weight stopped decreasing, try increasing your caloric deficit by reducing your calorie intake or increasing your physical activity level. In the same way, doing the same exercise routine again and again, can lead to a weight loss plateau. Try incorporating new exercises or increasing the intensity of your workouts to challenge your body and keep seeing results.
Incorporate Strength Training
Incorporating strength training into your exercise routine can also be helpful when you hit the point where your progress has stalled. Strength training helps build muscle mass, which increases the body's metabolism. This means that the body burns more calories even at rest, making it easier to create a calorie deficit.
Practice Mindful Eating Habits
Mindful eating habits can also be effective in breaking through weight loss stagnation. Even if you are eating healthy foods, eating too much of them can make it difficult to stick to a calorie deficit. By paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues and eating slowly, you become more aware of the amount of food you consume, which can help you stay within your calorie limit.
When you are stressed, the body produces cortisol, which can take a toll on your quest for a healthier you. Try incorporating stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing into your routine to help break through the plateau.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting adequate sleep at night is also crucial to support your weight management efforts as it helps regulate metabolism and hormones that control hunger and fullness.
Celebrating Small Victories and Staying Motivated
Finally, celebrating small victories and staying motivated are vital for both your mental and physical health. When you celebrate small victories, such as losing a pound or fitting into a smaller size, it can help keep you motivated and on track. Staying motivated can be challenging, but finding a support system, setting realistic goals, and rewarding yourself can help keep you motivated.
Conclusion: Staying Committed to Break Through the Plateau
Remember that what works for one person may not work for another, so it is crucial to find what works best for you and your body. As for me, the changes I made worked, and I started to see some progress again. After a few months of hard work and dedication, I was able to break through my plateau and carry on!
Weight loss plateaus can happen to anyone and can be a frustrating part of your journey to a new, healthier you. Try to think of this challenge as a checkpoint where you reassess your habits and commit to best practices you have let lag or incorporate some new strategies. With commitment and perseverance, you can achieve better health and weight management to reach your desired results.
My journey was far from easy, but it was worth it in the end!