Many of us have probably heard the term, but do we really know what exactly is a weight loss plateau? Of course, the name implies that your weight loss slows down… but why?
Why Does This Happen?
Maybe you’ve experienced it or maybe you haven’t, but it’s more likely than not you’ve encountered this more than discouraging situation. You’re trying your best to hit the gym everyday before or after work and watching everything that you eat. Week after week you’re dancing in the mirror checking out your progress and patting yourself on the back. Your tummy is getting flatter and flatter and your abs are starting to shine through! It’s an amazing feeling of self confidence and accomplishment that’s overflowing through your mind. You’re feeling fantastic about yourself, which makes you and overall happier person and things are going great! … all up until you approach your second month and suddenly you see no more progress. Your motivation automatically drops and your ask yourself why? Why am I doing everything right and still somehow can’t lose that last inch around the waist? Why did my progress suddenly stop?
Weather you realize it or not, you’ve hit that pesky weight loss plateau.
As much as we think we can control our bodies (which we can to a large extent), the reality to face is that sometimes our bodies are smarter than us. The reason why we hit a weightloss plateau is because our bodies are programmed to have survival instincts, which means slowing down your metabolism naturally. This is due to the fact that a fast metabolism will make us burn calories faster, and therefore use more energy. Survival instinct kicks in and makes us use less energy, thus slowing down our metabolism. If we’re alone in the forest for a few days, or lost up in the mountains, we can be grateful to our bodies for this.. Although for trying to trim off those last few pounds..it can a little annoying. Not to mention, this reseats your whole workout routine and diet plan, most likely just when you were beginning to master it. But the good news is that this allows you to change things up… and even cheat a little. Yes, I said cheat!! Keep reading to be relieved that a little cheating here and there isn’t actually a bad thing ;)
1. Change It Up
Your muscles probably have a better memory than your mind. Hence why changing up your workout routine is necessary to achieve optimal results. If you’ve only done the same routine again and again, you’re not activating new muscle chains, thus making your body used to this exercise and adapt at a fast rate. All exercise isn’t just exercise. The type we do affects our bodies quite differently. For example, putting resistance exercises into your routine helps you to retain muscle, rather than burn fat.
This means that although you’ll still be burning fat, your abs are more likely to peek through considering it’s not so calorie intensive as heavy cardio exercises. HITT is known to speed up your metabolic rate due to this reason. Even adding 10 minutes, 3 times a week to your workout routine will help you beat this part of the plateau, and therefore get back on track to steady weight loss.
2. Define Your Diet
The ever-so-popular line that abs are made in the kitchen is completely valid in this case as well… although it’s better revised it to abs are made and maintained in the kitchen! It’s no question that what you eat directly affects what your body looks and feels like, but paying attention to the foods that affect your metabolic rate is key to get out of the plateau. Eating foods that speed up your metabolism, such as spices, proteins, good fats (like avocado and nuts), and beans and lentils will surely help you get your metabolism back on speed… but, what if you’re already doing this? Since our body is so smart, we have to find a way to outsmart it. This is where it gets good..
Yea…the promised cheat word has arrived. If you take into account that our bodies reach a plateau because of routine, then how to revert the plateau? We mix up our diet. Using the same principle of mixing up your exercise to increase the effectiveness, mixing up your diet will have the same effect. When you’re continuously consuming low amounts of calories (i.e. a calorie deficit, which makes you lose weight), your body adjusts quickly, thinking that this is the only amount of calories that you will consume, so it becomes your new “normal.” When this occurs, cheating on your diet actually could be beneficial. Essentially, you want to throw off what your body adapts as normal, thus making your metabolic rate fluctuate and not plateau only eating healthy foods.
Of course, there is no way that you’re going to speed up your weight loss by eating only processed foods with high sugar contents… but a piece of pizza here and some potato chips there could be beneficial when you feel you’ve hit your plateau – the key is not overdo it! You’ll end up getting behind and regretting it. So, try and tie it in with a social setting somewhere, so you’re hitting two birds with one stone .. and not downing a whole tub of ice cream or bag of chips alone (and yes- the temptation is the same for all of us!!).
3. Take Care Of Your Mind
Your metabolic rate is affected by your sleep. Wait what? Yes. A study shows that adults who have slept less than 6 hours per night experienced 2.9% decline in their metabolic rate. Not only does insufficient sleep slow down your metabolism, it also promotes hunger and makes your hormones crave unhealthy foods. These cravings will go beyond your allowable cheat day calories. So, taking care of your sleep is essential. Stress levels are the same principal.
Having stress in your life produces a hormone that directly increases weight gain, since it promotes storing belly fat. Plus, it cuts your motivation to make it the gym, considering you’re mind is elsewhere, you may be more likely to skip the gym day or want to be a little more lethargic. When you go long periods without working out, your metabolic rate adjusts, thus slowing down considering working out speeds up your rate. So, when you’re lazy and skip the gym for 1 or 2 weeks, your rate adjusts. But, luckily the quick fix is to keep a consistent routine, with consistent change as a main category!
Did you know that you can actually track your metabolic rate using an app? The BMR Calculator will help you avoid plateau. Since you have to input frequent information into the app, why not have a case that ensures your phone is always with you.. Including during your workouts! The SlimClipCase is the thinnest clip case on the market, to ensure your totally focused during your workout!