After you start following a strict fitness plan, the first few weeks (or months, if you’re lucky) tend to be amazing. You notice that your pounds are falling off, your clothes fit better, you have much more energy than before, and you feel healthier than before. The results make you happy, and you just want to keep going.
But then something happens… the scale suddenly stalls, and you realize that your progress is hindering. This is what is known as a weight loss plateau in the world of diet and exercise.
Hitting a weight loss plateau can be discouraging, especially if your weight loss plan has been very effective thus far. However, weight loss plateaus aren’t the end of the world. Here are some ways you can break through a weight loss plateau and continue your fitness journey.
Keep Up Your Motivation
The most important thing to do when you hit a weight loss plateau is to make sure you don’t give up. Weight loss plateaus are inevitable, and almost everyone trying to lose weight will experience these at some point. If you worry too much about it, you may remain stuck in the plateau for a more extended period. Instead, refocus your attention and energy towards other things instead of the weighing scale.
Just make sure not to let yourself go. While going through a weight loss plateau, it’s easy to lose motivation and start indulging in unhealthy habits. This happens because you start believing that your weight loss plan is not working, so what’s the point of continuing? But if you stick to your plan, you’ll eventually start progressing further.
Reassess Your Caloric Needs
No matter what plan you follow, your weight loss ultimately depends on your calorie intake. It will help if you consume fewer calories than you use to create a calorie deficit that leads to weight loss. However, as you lose weight, your body needs fewer calories to maintain its weight.
A person weighing 160 pounds needs more calories for maintenance as compared to a 145-pound person. So if you start your journey by eating 1,800 calories per day and are still eating the same amount of calories on day 75, your progress will likely start to hinder.
Try cutting out an extra 100 or 200 calories from your diet and see how things go from there. However, it isn’t suitable to go below 1,200 calories per day under any condition, as extremely low-calorie intake can lead to nutritional deficiencies and eating disorders.
Add More Fibre To Your Diet
Fibre is one of the best weapons you have against fat. There has been a lot of research off-late that shows that focusing on including high-fibre foods in your diet can continue to help you lose weight even after other diets have come to a plateau. This is most likely because the nutrient is so filling and keeps you fuller for longer.
Ideally, it would be best to consume at least 30 grams of fibre every day from fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. Oatmeal, blueberries, raspberries, apples, chickpeas, beans, black beans, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, and other such foods are some of the best things you can include in your diet to up your fibre intake.
Don’t Skip Meals
You may feel like skipping meals will help you lose weight since it reduces your calorie intake. However, in reality, this can be counterproductive for your weight loss. Skipping meals can cause your metabolism to slow down, making it even more challenging to lose weight. In addition to that, it can also cause your blood sugar to plummet. This can increase your hunger feelings, causing you to overeat during your next meal and further stalling your weight loss.
An excellent way to keep your metabolism performing optimally is to eat a combination of proteins, fats, and carbs every 4 to 5 hours throughout the day. This can also prevent you from feeling hungry at odd times and indulging in unhealthy snacks. But make sure you don’t exceed your daily calorie requirement.
Carry Water With You
People often overlook one of the most important aspects of weight loss: proper hydration. At least 60% of our body is water. We need a certain amount of water to keep our internal system running smoothly. If you do not hydrate yourself properly, one of the first things to be negatively affected would be your metabolism.
Carrying around a water bottle with you can help solve this issue. Not only does drinking water help flush out the excess salt from your system, but it can also keep your hunger at bay. Every time you feel untimely hungry or crave something to eat, drink a tall glass of water and wait for 10 minutes. The chances are that your hunger or craving may go away by then. If not, you may have a healthy snack such as fruits or nuts to suppress your cravings.
Cheat On Your Diet
This may seem like the worst advice ever but stick with it for a moment. When it comes to weight loss, breaking the rules is sometimes the key to success. When you lose weight, you lose a certain amount of fat content in your body. The less fat you have, the less leptin – satiety hormone – you produce.
When you don’t produce enough leptin, your brain starts believing that you’re going in starvation mode, which causes it to conserve as many calories as it can. Ironically, the best way to amp up your leptin production is to increase your carb intake. So if you notice that you are hitting a weight loss plateau, have a cheat meal rich in carbohydrates. Carbs notify your brain that you will not starve and cause it to burn calories at a standard rate.
Remember that a weight loss plateau is a normal occurrence. It does not mean that your efforts are going to waste. Instead, thriving through the plateau can help you experience even better results later on. So follow these tips, stick to a healthy lifestyle, and see the benefits for yourself.