Shattering Weight Loss Plateaus
A lot of people report that they make good progress losing weight at first but then their progress stalls. Lets first look at some of the reasons that your fat loss progress can stop:
- You have lost weight but not adjusted your caloric intake downward, this is the #1 reason for stalling. Remember that each time you lose 5lbs you need to recalculate your caloric requirements. A 3300 calorie diet will let a 300 pound person lose 5lbs a month but when they drop to 240lbs they will cease to lose weight because 3300 calories is exactly the number of calories their body needs to maintain weight
- The initial rapid ‘weight’ loss was just water loss. When you cut carbs and salt, a lot of water can be shed in the first few weeks. This is not weight loss! Fluctuations in your sodium intake can make wild weight swings.
- The initial weight loss was because your weight was not measured properly. Weighing yourself accurately is not a simple matter, if you are using a scale at the gym then you have little hope of success. If you are not measuring yourself first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything then your weight can be off by as much as 12 pounds. If you are using a bad digital scale or one that is hot or too cold, it can be off by another 5 pounds or more. Add those things up and you might as well use a dartboard to measure your weight. Remember that the mirror doesn’t lie and your pants do not lie. If you pants are getting looser then you ARE losing weight! :)
- You are too lean already. Your body needs a certain amount of fat (~6% for men, ~12% for women) and attempting to drop below that the body rebels. Lowering bodyfat further without loss of muscle requires tricking the body with something like carb cycling.
- Your caloric intake is not what you think. You are not calorie counting accurately. You are not weighing/measuring everything or are not taking into account hidden calories like sugar in coffee or other beverages or condiments
- Your have too drastically cut your calories and are basically fasting
When you have stalled, I suggest you hit the reset button on your weight loss program.
Do the following for two weeks:
- Use my calorie calculator and set the goal to be a 20% reduction in calories.
- For two weeks weigh, measure and log every single item you eat and every item you drink and tally the daily calories on the free website www.loseit.com to make sure your daily caloric consumption is on track, they have an iPhone app too if that is more convenient.
- Measure your weight accurately, every day.
- Do a good basic resistance training program and at least 20min of daily cardio.
- Don’t forget to drink lots of water and get enough sleep!