Beginning a weight loss journey can be quite challenging. Learning about healthy food options, training routines, counting calories, etc. but once you get the ball rolling, you notice the scale moving almost immediately. Reason being is that if you’ve been eating junk for some time, your body is holding on to water due to high amounts of sodium and lack of water intake. Also lack of micro nutrients such as fiber that aids in digestion. This is very common for individuals to lose up to 5 lbs weight loss in the first week after cleaning up their diet. After a few weeks or even months of committing to your new lifestyle, you may notice the weight loss slowing down or stop all together. You may be asking yourself, “what do I do now?”.
There are several things you can do to overcome a weight loss plateau. Lets cover what you can do on the nutrition side of things. Every individual requires a certain amount of calories to maintain their current body weight. As your weight goes down, so does the amount of calories you need to maintain your new body weight. So what does this mean for you? I always suggest others to track their calories especially when weight loss is the goal. Tracking your calories gives you a baseline of what you’ve been doing in the past in order to adjust for the future. The reason for the plateau is that the calories that you’ve started out with can very be your new maintenance calories for after dropping some pounds. In order to create a new deficit, you will have to decrease your calories again to make sure your body is burning more calories than you’re consuming. Easy yet simple just make sure you don’t drop the calories too low. Refer to “Losing Weight Too Quickly? A Bad Thing” article.
For those of you who have been dieting for while and you’re calories are pretty low already, you may not want to eat less. In this case the amount of cardio that you do each week is the next thing you can adjust. As an online coach, I give my clients weekly amounts of cardio that they need to complete. Cardio adds to the deficit that you are already getting from the diet. When the plateaus come about, either adding another session of cardio or increasing the amount for the current cardio session(s), will create a larger deficit. Low steady state cardio is perfect for those who want to burn some extra calories without the feeling on being fatigue or it affecting recovery. Cardio is your friend when it comes to weight loss. Use it as a tool to complement your current diet.
Not all of us have the time to spend more time in the gym. You may be eating low calories and work a job that is highly demanding of your time and adding 15-20 minutes extra for cardio just won’t work for you. If time is not on your side throughout your journey, your training routine can be manipulated. Let’s say your current training routine has you performing one exercise at a time and resting roughly 45-60 seconds. Pairing exercises in a “super-set” will keep your heart rate up longer which will help you burn more calories. “Super-set” simply means you perform one exercise for a certain amount of reps or rep range then immediately perform another exercise and then you rest. Implementing tools such as “super-sets” increases your training intensity which can help overcome a plateau as well as get you in and out of the gym that much sooner.
These are all things you can apply to overcome your current or future weight loss plateaus. Even though they all can help continue further weight loss, I don’t recommend adjusting everything all at once. Troubleshoot the weight loss stall one aspect at a time. This will ensure that you are not losing weight too quickly and instead just creating a small enough of a deficit to continue losing a healthy amount of weight which is 1-2 lbs per week. If it isn’t broken don’t fix it. But if it is in fact broken, look for the one thing that you can adjust but is still sustainable throughout the duration of your weight loss journey.