AHHH! When you first started losing weight it may have seemed like the pounds were just melting off but now you have hit a brick wall. It’s frustrating but you are not the only one dealing with this issue.
The more weight you have to lose, the easier it is to get it started. This is because bigger people have a higher metabolic rate than smaller people do, which means their bodies work harder to use up the calories they eat. A very large person has a high resting metabolism and can burn a lot more calories in the day just by existing. So as the weight starts to melt off, you have to work harder to burn the same amount of calories. If you started with a 30 minute workout, you may find that you need to intensify your workout to burn the same amount of calories. You have to push your body harder to keep it burning. Your body will adapt to the current diet and exercise program you are on, that is why you always have to change up your workout routine and keep it interesting.
We are here to help you succeed in your weight loss goals. We want you to succeed whether you are looking to lose last 5lbs or you are just beginning – Here are some tips to help you get over this hump:
1. Monitoring Body Fat, Not Just Scale Weight
It’s not really about weight loss, but fat loss. The key is to carefully track both scale weight and body fat percentages. Start measuring and tracking body fat percentages, as well as weight, and monitor the change in muscle to body fat ratios, not just scale weight. A pair of body fat calipers are inexpensive (under $10) and once you get the hang of them, easy to use at home. Take your body fat percentage measurements every two weeks. As long as your body fat percentage is decreasing, you can be pretty sure that you haven’t hit a weight loss plateau.
2. Recalculate Your Calorie Requirements
If you haven’t recalculated your calorie requirements recently, do it. As you lose weight or fat or gain muscle, daily calorie needs changes as well. As your weight decreases, so can your daily calorie requirements. This could mean that you’re eating more food than you need for your new weight. In addition, if you’ve added substantial muscle since your last calorie requirement calculation, you might actually be under-eating, which can cause you to lose hard-earned muscle. Regardless, you should recalculate your calorie requirements at least once a month. Use this new number to adjust your daily calorie intake based on your goals. If you continue to experience a plateau, keep reading.
3. Check Your Exercise Routine and Activity Levels
Your exercise and activity habits can decrease also. Intensity can drop, you get pressed for time and start cutting your workouts short; it gets hot outside and you become a little less active. Over time, these reductions in activity can start to chip away at how many calories you are actually burning each day.
Even a reduction of 50-100 extra calories burned from activity can have long term fat-loss and weight loss consequences. Over a period of 30 days, ending the day up 50 calories from working out with less duration or intensity can result in a gain of a half-pound of fat in a month.
- Carefully record your exercise routine.
- Consider a pedometer to keep better track of your actual activity levels across the day.
- Check to see if you are still coming in at or around your goal targets for fat/weight loss.
If this is a bit too much for you, just do it for 2 weeks as a check and recalibrate your exercise routines based on what you find.
4. Add In Resistance/Weight Training
Simply adding in 2-3 days of resistance or weight training in addition to your regular cardio training can not only help break a fat loss plateau, but it will also add muscle, which is metabolically more active than body fat. Over time, this can help you burn more calories and keep your body fat levels in check. It also has a wide range of proven health benefits, including improved bone density, reduced risk of injury as you age, and improved insulin sensitivity.
5. Kick Start Your Metabolism: Eat More
If all the things in your diet and exercise routine have truly remained the same, the reason your fat loss has stalled is that your body doesn’t want you to lose any more fat. You need to let your body know it is tap into those fat reserves. The way you do this is by eating more calories for a short period of time. We’re not talking about huge amounts of additional food consumed over days or weeks. Instead, gradually increase your calories to a level that is just above your maintenance level (by 100-150 calories) for approximately 1-2 weeks. Take body fat measurements and weigh yourself and see if you’ve lost any additional body fat. If you keep the body guessing, it won’t be able to stay in plateau mode for long.