Weight loss is a journey, and there are often times when you plateau. This can be frustrating and discouraging, but it’s a normal part of the process.
Plateaus are common, and they can last for weeks or even months. That doesn’t mean that you have given up; it just means that your body has adjusted to its new level of calorie expenditure and diet and is now operating at that level. You need to change something in order to get past the plateau.
A plateau is a sign that things aren’t working anymore, so don’t panic! Instead, try something different: lower your calories if you’re eating too much, increase your activity level if you’re not moving enough (or change up the type of activity), try a new diet plan or supplement regimen—there are endless options available when it comes to weight loss methods.
To lose weight, your body needs to burn more calories than it consumes. If you consume 2500 calories a day and burn 3000, then your deficit is 500 calories—and that means you’ll lose 1 pound per week.
To figure out how many calories you need to eat in order to maintain your current weight, use the following formula:
Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) = 6 * weight(kg) + 10 * height(cm) – 4 * age(years) + 77 (for women), or 66 for men.
Consume about 10% below this number every day until you reach a healthy weight and then increase by 5%.
Whether you’re measuring your food or your waist, it’s important that you’re using an accurate tool. Many of us are accustomed to using measuring cups and spoons, but these can be off by a few grams in either direction. A more reliable method is to measure with a scale—this will ensure the most precise measurement possible.
When it comes to measuring your waist, it’s not just about getting an accurate reading; it’s also important that the tape measure is placed properly on your body. If you wrap it too high up, for example (near the bottom of your rib cage), then this may result in an inaccurate reading because there are so many layers of fat here which can make it hard to get an accurate measurement.
What about stress?
It’s true: stress can affect your weight, sleep, hormones, appetite, metabolism, energy levels and mood. But it’s not always as clear-cut as you might think. For example: in a 2011 study published in the Journal of Obesity researchers found that people who had higher levels of cortisol (a hormone released during times of high anxiety or stress) were more likely to be overweight than those with lower levels. However when researchers looked at those whose cortisol levels increased after eating sugary desserts their weight loss slowed down—suggesting that it’s possible for certain types of stress to have very different impacts on weight loss depending on individual responses.
So while there’s certainly evidence that chronic stress can slow down your progress towards achieving your fitness goals by influencing nutrient partitioning and hormonal balance, we don’t know exactly what type of impact this will have on any one person until they try it out for themselves using self-tracking tools like MyFitnessPal or Fitbit Sleep Stages (which track how many times you wake up during the night).
Your workouts may be the thing that’s holding you back from your weight loss goals. If that’s the case, try switching things up with your workouts. Here are some ways to do so:
Try a new exercise.
Try a new workout at the gym or studio of your choice.
Get a personal trainer you’ve never worked with before and have them design a workout plan for you. It’ll help keep things fresh!
Change up where you exercise—maybe go somewhere new or try exercising in different places (like at home or outdoors).
If you are not losing weight, the first thing to do is check your diet. Make sure that you are eating a healthy, well-rounded diet that includes fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein sources. If it’s been a while since you’ve eaten some fruits and vegetables, or if your daily diet needs more variety, consider adding those foods into your routine.
Next, check whether or not you have been exercising regularly. Even if it’s just a walk around the block each night after dinner or stretching while watching television in the evening, being active is important for good health. If there has been an interruption in your exercise routine (such as becoming busy with work), now would be a good time to get back into it again so that it becomes part of your routine again instead of something “extra” on top of everything else that’s going on in life.
Once these basic things have been checked off the list (and if they aren’t the cause of any problems), then there may be other factors at play here: stress levels; sleep patterns; overeating/under-eating patterns; etc.)
Don’t forget to have fun!
Don’t get too focused on weight loss. Don’t forget about the process and how amazing it is that you’re taking control of your life, one step at a time. Focus on what you’re accomplishing and don’t think about the number on the scale or how much fat is burning away in your cells at any given moment. You’ve already made a choice to live healthier—now enjoy it!
As a certified personal trainer, I have been helping clients lose weight for over 10 years. If you are looking to lose weight, call us today! We’re located in Richmond VA and can help you get started with a program tailored specifically for you.