A common occurrence that people who are actively working on losing weight encounter is a weight loss plateau. Understanding what this concept is and how to overcome it ahead of time can help keep you from losing track of your goals due to frustration. Imagine that you've been on your new diet for some time, and working hard to eat right and stay fit. You have been rewarded with consistent weight loss, but one day you wake up and the scale hasn't budged. After several weeks of keeping up your exercise and diet you seem stuck at your current weight, and just cannot seem to lose another pound.
The reason for the weight loss plateau is that in the initial stages of exercising and dieting, the body loses much weight in water. Once this rush of weight loss has passed, the metabolism slows down, making it harder to shed pounds. It is a survival mechanism that allows the body to adapt to changes in diet and exercise demands, although it is not exactly convenient when trying to lose weight.
Upon hitting this plateau, many people get frustrated and revert back to their pre-diet days, thinking they cannot lose more weight, so they might as well enjoy themselves. By understanding, and expecting, a weight loss plateau you can be prepared for the obstacle and readily overcome it.
The first thing to keep in mind when you reach your plateau is that the current diet and exercise you are doing is required to maintain the level of weight loss you have achieved. Reverting back to your old ways will make you gain weight quickly. At this point you must decide if you are happy with your current size, or if you feel you need to still lose more weight. If you decide you have not reached your original goals at this point, then there are a few things you can do to continue shedding pounds.
Cutting more calories is one option for overcoming the plateau. By reducing your calorie content by 200 calories a day you can kick start your body into the cycle of burning more than you consume. It is very important to understand that it is never healthy to consume less than 1,200 calories per day. If you are too close to that limit, you will want to try other alternatives.
Ramping up your workout is an excellent way to overcome the plateau without risking the harm of cutting calorie intake too low. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, so consider starting or stepping up your current strength training regime. Muscle keeps your metabolism up, and allows you to burn calories even while your body is at rest. If weight training is not an option for you, you can extend your current workout by 15 to 30 minutes to burn more calories.
It is always best to check with your doctor or personal trainer prior to making any drastic changes to your current weight loss plan. The plateau is a good time to get a physical and make sure that your body is ready to take your plan to the next level.