After starting a weight loss plan, you may start to shed pounds pretty quickly at first. But after a few weeks, you may hit a weight loss plateau, where it seems like you aren’t losing weight or the numbers have begun to creep back up.
While this can be frustrating, don’t get discouraged. Your body is getting adjusted to changes in your body, and weight loss plateau is one of the ways it’s trying to return to homeostasis. However, with consistent effort, you can get over the hump by increasing your physical activity to burn more calories or reducing your calorie intake.
How does weight loss work?
The carbs you eat are stored in your body as glycogen. When needed, glycogen is converted to glucose, which provides immediate energy for your body. Eating excess calories produces more glycogen, which is stored as fat for future use, causing fat accumulation and weight gain.
When you restrict calories and keep your body in a calorie deficit through diet and exercise, you can start to lose weight by burning fat instead.
Weight loss varies from person to person, and what works for someone else may not work for you. The stage at which your body hits a weight loss plateau may be affected by factors such as genetics, age, sex, and lifestyle.
10 tips for overcoming the weight loss plateau
- Restrict calorie intake: Decreasing your intake of carbs will force your body to burn more calories for energy. Keep track of your daily calorie intake of calories and try to reduce them.
- Exercise more: Increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts. Maintaining an active lifestyle helps you burn more calories. This is called nonexercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT and includes climbing stairs, walking while working, doing household chores, etc.
- Eat more protein: Eating more protein may boost your metabolism, reduce hunger pangs, and help you lose weight while retaining muscle mass. It is recommended to split up protein intake throughout the day because it results in increased metabolism through the thermic effect of food.
- Increase your fiber intake: Soluble fiber helps you feel full for longer by slowing the passage of food through your digestive tract. This can help reduce the number of calories you absorb from other foods. Vegetables are a good source of fiber and nutrients and are low in calories.
- Drink more water: Drinking plenty of water may boost metabolism, and having a glass of water before meals can fill your stomach and prevent you from overeating. Black coffee and green tea may also help, as caffeine plays a role in boosting metabolism as well.
- Try intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting is an eating plan where you fast for a certain period and only eat during a certain window of time, or fast every alternate day. Avoid this if you have diabetes or a heart condition.
- Limit alcohol: Alcohol contains empty calories and suppresses fat burning, which can lead to accumulation of fat around the belly.
- Get enough sleep: Good sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. Lack of sleep results in hormonal disturbances, which further decreases metabolism rate and increases hunger and fat storage, leading to weight gain.
- Manage stress: Try to reduce your stress levels. Being in a state of constant stress increases stress hormones, which can interfere with weight loss.
- Don’t give up: Building healthy eating and exercise habits takes time and perseverance. If you hit a weight loss plateau, don’t get discouraged or give up. Be consistent with your diet and exercise plan and make sure that your strategy is sustainable over the long term. Whatever you do, don’t go back to old unhealthy habits.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
McCallum K. 5 Ways to Break a Weight Loss Plateau That Actually Work. Houston Methodist. https://www.houstonmethodist.org/blog/articles/2020/nov/5-ways-to-break-a-weight-loss-plateau-that-are-actually-achievable/
Yamut TJ. On A Weight Loss Plateau? 10 Ways to Overcomeyou’re your Health Forum. https://yourhealthforumbydrcirino.org/2021/03/08/on-a-weight-loss-plateau-why-it-happens-and-how-to-overcome-it/
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