We have all had it before, initially when you begin trying to lose weight the or where you have just decided to take nutrition a little more seriously and consider exercising, you may find a progress a little slow.
This is all a very new approach and probably still unsure of what you should be doing, and so the initial weight loss is small.
But after a little while you ‘get good at this’ and start to see fat loss happening REALLY rapidly. At this point you might be losing 1, 2 or even more pounds per week and endless other changes in your body and energy levels
This kind of progress is REALLY motivating, and helps you feel amazing.
Unfortunately, though, every pound you lose is a little harder than the last. The less fat you have, the less happy your body is about losing it, and this means that things slow down.
2lbs per week becomes 2lbs per month and you might not feel that you are making progress as well as before.
But Why Does My Weight Loss Slow Down?
It’s an absolute certainty that fat loss will slow down after the initial ‘honeymoon period’.
The reason for this is because as we lose weight our metabolism and requirement for the same amount of calories reduces. This means that the less you weigh the less calories you need to maintain or lose weight.
The reason this happens is because as we lose weight we are losing metabolically active tissue (fat and possibly some muscle) which means we are burning less calories at rest compared to when you were heavier. Also, because we may have lost some weight, we may be carrying around a lot less weight when we are moving about. As a result, we then are also burning less calories even when we are moving around because we are moving less mass and therefore require less energy to do so.
Overall, as we lose weight we burn less calories and so require less calories to keep ourselves going and maintaining weight. So if you want to continue losing weight it is a case of having to further adjust the nutrition side of things.
How Do We Overcome This Plateau?
As mentioned above, to continue losing weight you must begin to adjust your nutrition. In particular, you must continually bring down the amount of calories you eat as you lose weight.
However, be careful not to do this too quickly as you will start to see energy levels, performance and other things start to deteriorate. So make your nutrition changes very gradual reductions in calories.
A good way to do this is to start to replace some of the higher calorie carb options for lower calorie carb options. This will help to bring the calories down without sacrificing the volume of food you eat. For example, potatoes, are a very low calorie density food.
100g of potato provides around 20g of carbs, that’s roughly 80kcals.
Compare this to rice that provides 75g of carbs for the same 100g serving, that’s a whopping 300kcals, or 220kcals more than the potato.
So rice is a higher calorie dense carb, compared to potatoes, so if you are trying to lose weight and reduce calories, it may be worth choosing lower density carb foods like potatoes.
This allows you to eat more volumes of food, thus keeping you fuller for longer, without consuming higher amounts of calories.
Increase Exercise Intensity
As you progress, you want to also maintain good progression with your fitness. This will help you to keep a focus on something other than weight, but also help with your weight loss.
The more you can do or the harder you can work each time you exercise, the more calories you will be able to burn and the stronger your muscles will become. This is important if you also want to keep your weight loss progress continuing as it will mean you burn more calories per session, but also it will enable you to maintain a portion of your resting metabolic rate because your stronger muscles require more energy.
So ways you can start to increase the intensity of your workouts may be:
- Lift heavier weights
- Aim for more reps
- Take less rest between sets
Focus On Other Measures
There are many other measures for you to focus on besides the scales. For example, clothes sizes are a really good thing to look at because they actually help translate how your results show in real life. It is no good being the weight you want to be on the scales if your jeans are still too small.
Furthermore, find things to motivate you outside of your results – how you feel day to day, your energy, your improved sleep quality, a group of likeminded people around you, improving fitness levels.
If your only motivator is seeing the scales drop rapidly, then maths dictates that you’re going to struggle eventually.
Focus on the process and enjoy what you do.
You got this.