Why Has My Weight Loss Stalled?

Have you been following a healthy diet and exercising regularly to lose some extra kilograms? Have you been watching your weight successfully go down only to notice it has suddenly stopped decreasing? The answer is simple – you have hit a weight-loss plateau.

On a positive note, it’s typical for weight loss to slow or even stall, so there’s nothing to worry about. In this article, you will learn what causes a weight-loss plateau and how to respond to it so that you won’t get discouraged on your weight-loss journey.

What Is a Weight-Loss Plateau?

A weight-loss plateau happens basically when your weight stops changing. Anyone who tries to lose weight will eventually get stuck at a weight-loss plateau, even if they still follow the same diet and training plan.

What Is the Cause of a Weight-Loss Plateau?

In the first weeks of losing weight, you can observe a relatively rapid drop on the scale, which is typical. The reason it happens is that when you initially decrease calorie intake, your body releases stored glycogen to get needed energy. Glycogen is a type of carbohydrate that is partly made of water and can be found in the muscles and the liver.

Now, when glycogen is burned for energy, it releases water resulting in weight loss. However, as it’s mostly water that you lose, the effect is only temporary.

Losing weight involves losing fat along with some muscles. Muscle mass helps keep up the rate at which you burn calories, which is called the metabolic rate. So, as you lose weight, your metabolism slows down, resulting in burning fewer calories than when you started at a heavier weight.

A slower metabolic rate ultimately slows down your weight loss, even if you still consume the same number of calories that first helped you lose weight. When you burn the same number of calories that you eat, you reach the plateau.

In order to lose more weight, you either need to decrease the calories you consume or increase physical activity that will help you burn more calories. If you keep the same approach that you first started with, you will maintain your current weight, however, it won’t lead to further weight loss.

How to Overcome a Weight-Loss Plateau?

When you reach a weight-loss plateau, it means that you’ve lost all of the weight that was possible to lose on your current fitness plan. If you’re still not satisfied with your current weight and would like to lose more, you will need to adjust your plan.

Check out some useful tips that may help you get past the plateau. 

Reassess Your Current Habits 

Analyze your eating habits and physical activity routine to make sure you haven’t loosened the rules. Think about whether you’ve had larger portions of food or getting less exercise. Loosening rules on an on-and-off basis may contribute to a plateau.

Increase Your Calorie Deficit

Further cut the calories you consume every day, as long as the number of them doesn’t go below the required minimum of 1,200. If you eat less than 1,200 calories each day, it may not be enough to satisfy your hunger, which may lead to potential overeating.

Eat More Protein

Another important thing when it comes to your healthy diet is consuming enough protein. Protein boosts the metabolic rate more than fat or carbs, which is related to the thermic effect of food (TEF) and an increase in metabolism that happens due to digestion. 

Protein digestion can boost calorie burning even by 30%, which is over twice as much as fat or carbs. What’s more, maintaining a high protein intake on a weight loss diet can help protect against the loss of muscle mass and a drop in metabolic rate, which are both typical for weight loss. 

Eat More Fiber

Fiber is another valuable food component that is crucial in any healthy diet, especially the weight-loss-oriented one. Soluble fiber, which is a type of fiber that dissolves in liquid, slows down the movement of food through your digestive system. As a result, it helps you feel full for longer.

Soluble fiber is known as viscous fiber, which is the most effective at keeping the appetite and, therefore, food intake in check. It can also help your weight loss by decreasing the number of calories you get from other foods. 

Rev Up Your Workouts

Ideally, you should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of highly dynamic activity a week. A combination of both is also a great idea for your workout plan. 

For even better weight loss results, it’s recommended to get even 300 minutes of physical activity and spread them evenly across the week. Consider adding weightlifting exercises to your workout plan, as they will help you burn more calories.

Include More Activity in Your Daily Life

Don’t limit your physical activity to the gym only and try to increase it throughout the day. For example, go for walks more often, do more garden work, or do vigorous cleaning. Any activity counts and will help you burn more calories. 

Manage Stress 

Stress is also one of the factors that may slow down your weight loss. It not only triggers food cravings and comfort eating but also elevates your body’s cortisol production. 

Cortisol is a stress hormone that helps your body respond to stress. However, it can also increase belly fat storage which is mostly observed in women. Therefore, the excessive production of cortisol can make weight loss a challenging and long-term process. 

If you’re struggling with stress, it’s worth including some stress-reducing strategies in your daily lifestyle. Do yoga, go for long walks, or try out some breathing exercises – anything that will make you feel calmer and more relaxed. 

Drink Water, Coffee, and Tea

Drinking plain water as well as unsweetened coffee and tea can help reverse the effects of weight loss stall. Water can boost metabolism even up to 30% for 1.5 hours after drinking 500ml of it. In addition, consuming water before meals can help reduce food intake as it fills you up.

Coffee and tea are other valuable beverages that can contribute to speeding up metabolism. They typically contain caffeine which can boost the metabolic rate and therefore increase fat burning.

Stay Away From Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the things that sabotage your efforts when it comes to losing weight. It loosens inhibitions that may lead to making poor food choices and overeating. This may be particularly problematic for those who struggle with impulsive food-related behaviors.

What’s more, alcohol suppresses fat burning, which leads to fat accumulation in the belly area. If you’ve noticed that your weight loss has stalled, avoiding alcohol is one of the rules you should keep in mind in order to get back on track to losing weight again. 

Get Enough Sleep 

There’s no need to elaborate on how important sleep is in our lives. It is the crucial element that is necessary for mental, emotional, and physical health.

It also plays a significant role in maintaining a fast metabolic rate, which is crucial in a weight loss diet. Not getting enough sleep can slow down your metabolism leading to weight gain and altering your hormone levels to increase appetite and drive fat storage. 

For effective weight loss and good overall health, it is recommended to have 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. 

The Bottom Line

A weight-loss plateau can be frustrating and discouraging when you’re trying to lose weight, especially when maintaining a healthy diet and workout routine. 

Still, weight-loss plateaus are a normal part of the weight-loss process and can happen to anyone. In fact, most people whose goal is to lose weight experience a weight stall at some point in their journey. 

Luckily, there are some helpful strategies that you can implement into your healthy lifestyle and begin losing weight again. All you need to do is do some minor tweaks to your daily habits to effectively and safely achieve your weight goal.

About the Author

, Celebrity Personal Trainer and Fitness & Nutrition Expert headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ. He specializes in helping men and women achieve weight loss, muscle building, toning and other customized fitness & nutrition programs to create a Healthy Lifestyle. James offers private luxury personal training, 12-week custom workout plans, and personalized nutrition meal plans. Follow on Google+.

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