When you started this journey , you knew it was going to be a process. After all, you didn’t gain the weight overnight. And I’m all for fast fat loss. In fact I love it. The faster the better. Unfortunately running into weight loss plateaus can be pretty common.
Weight loss plateaus happen to everyone at some point. For example. If you’re goal is to lose 50 pounds you might knock off the first 30 pretty fast then see a slow down in your weight loss. Those last 20 are just setting there and they need to go too.
Plateaus are where you’ve already had some fat loss success. You’ve got your eating dialed in and you’ve been training consistently but results are slowing down or stalling.
The faster you can pop through the plateau the better. So patience is a virtue but taking action on it assures success.
Here are some of the tactics we use to break through plateaus with clients. Because the cause of the plateau can vary. From increased stress at work, erratic schedules, unwitting sabotage to your diet. Or even changes in metabolism that comes with losing up to 1/3 of your body weight at times. So these are not in a particular order. Again you might have to test one or two of these to find what works best for you.
- Alter your diet-While you’ve no doubt made some changes to lose some of your weight. You body is amazingly adaptive. You may need to make a few changes to keep the success coming. If you’ve stopped writing down your diet start again. This will help you weed out any snacking or extra calories that you might have unwittingly added into your diet. And remember as you drop weight your numbers get smaller. Your margin of error gets smaller so you have to keep an eye on it all the way to your goal.
- Increase your Protein Intake- we’ve seen a lot of success with this lately especially with women. Increasing protein pushes out carbs which no one seems to not get enough of. Protein makes you feel full longer, accelerates your recovery from training, and increases your metabolism. That’s a lot of positives to pass up.
- Get more sleep- In the past I’d have clients seeming to be doing everything right stalling out for no apparant reason. In the middle of their plateau they’d go on vacation and get 8 or 9 hours of sleep a night and come back from vacation 8 to 20 pound lighter! When stress goes up and sleep suffers your cortisol(bad hormone) levels go up. This blocks fat loss and contributes to nasty belly fat. Just getting 2 or 3 nights of 8 hours can help kick start fat loss back in gear. I look for this a lot earlier now when people plateau.
- Change your training up-this isn’t a problem for our clients, no two workouts are ever the same.. But if you’re on your own you need to look at your training. Remember the death of progress in training is “routine”. Your body thrives on change when it comes to exercise. If you’re used to doing 10 reps on exercise go to 15-20 or go heavier and drop to4-6 reps on your exercises. Or make it a point to add a new move to your program every workout. You would be surprised how adding just one new exercise to your program can revitalize a stale routine. Pro-tip-you burn more calories when learning a new exercise than you do once you’ve mastered it(Double Win!)
- With a Little Help From Your Friends- I could tell you that you’re going to have to simply use some mental discipline to power through this. And that is important. But nothing will make increase your chances of survival like getting a training partner/buddy or joining a committed workout group. Study after study confirms the undeniable success superiority of social support as opposed to being alone. Being part of a group will help you power through the inevitable motivation dips your bound to run up against. And some days just showing up is all you need to do to keep going.
Losing momentum can be discouraging but not disabling. Most important thing you can do when you reach a plateauis to take is to take action, any action. One or two simple adjustments can help you avoid a backslide and keep you going in the right direction.