How To Bust Through A Fat Loss Plateau
Have you hit a fat loss plateau and are now struggling with knowing what to do?
Maybe you need to cut calories further? Do you need to exercise more?
Or have you hit your genetic potential and can't lose anything further?
These are some of the questions I'm going to answer in this article and providing actionable steps.
Once you've read this article, you will know:
What a fat loss plateau is.
What it's not.
Reasons why you might be in one.
Reasons you're not in one.
And how to break through it.
So without further ado, let's dive in.
#1 What Is A Fat Loss Plateau?
A fat loss plateau is a point everyone reaches at some point during their fat loss journey. Whether you stay there or not is down to you and your knowledge. A fat loss plateau is when you hit a wall in your fat loss journey. What once worked well to help you lose body fat no longer works leaving you stuck and confused. This leaves you in a pickle wondering what you need to do, nothing in your diet has changed, activity is the same, so why has fat loss stopped?
Let's continue to find out.
#2 What It's Not!
Firstly, there is a huge difference between a fat loss plateau and not losing weight. Just because you're not losing weight does not mean you're not losing body fat. Ensure you have hit a plateau in fat loss and not scale weight before trying these upcoming tips. If you're checking that it's fat loss and not a scale plateau, ensure you're giving yourself enough time and not being impatient. A week or two of no results is not a case of fat loss plateau but a case of fat loss impatience.
#3 Why Might I Be In A Fat Loss Plateau?
If you have been at a plateau for more than two weeks this is likely why:
1. You've become slightly flippant. You were in the zone, kept a diary of everything, pushing hard in the gym, and ensured you were getting your steps every day. Now you're a bit more comfortable with how you look, the ball has dropped.
2. You now weigh less, therefore, burn less. If you've lost a substantial amount of weight, around 10% of you're starting weight you now require fewer calories. When you weigh more, you burn more calories because you're carrying around more weight. Once you become lighter, you burn fewer calories, therefore, require fewer calories. Adjust calories to your new weight and continue.
3. You need to up your knowledge if you want to achieve results you haven't yet achieved, you need to do things you haven't yet done. The knowledge you currently have got you where you are today where you want to be requires more knowledge and a deeper understanding of training and nutrition. For instance, did you know that you can burn more calories through your nutritional choices? Some of the calories in the food you ingest will be used to digest, absorb, and metabolise the rest of the food, and some will end burned off as heat. Known as TEF (Thermic Effect of Food) and accounts for roughly 10% of the calories you burn each day, the exact number depends on the types of food you eat.
Fat provides 9 Calories per gram, and its TEF is 0–3%.
Carbohydrate provides 4 Calories per gram, and its TEF is 5–10%.
Protein provides 4 Calories per gram, and its TEF is 20–30%.
Therefore, a diet richer in protein leads to more calories burned.
4. You're experiencing what's known as adaptive thermogenesis. If you have been dieting for a long time, have a past of extreme yo-yo dieting, yo-yo fat loss and gain, lost a large amount of weight, you might be experiencing this. Adaptive thermogenesis is where your body slows down the number of calories it burns to save energy. This is done through fidgeting less, moving less, not holding your posture well, fewer facial expressions, less enthusiasm, and in extreme cases in women the loss of their menstrual cycle. If This is the case then I would suggest a 2-4 week diet break. Eating maintenance calories priming your body to tackle fat loss again.
I'd point out that in most cases, it's the first one, becoming flippant, always start with this first and work your way down.
#4 Reasons Why A Plateau Won't Happen:
The common thing people blame is their genetics and their metabolism but, this isn't true. Not one person has reached their genetic potential because there are so many other things that are more important to your results than genetics. Here's a list of some of them:
7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Achieving your step target or higher step target daily.
Working out more or better.
A better quality diet.
More muscle tissue.
Hormone responses (affected by all the above).
If you haven't perfected all of the above down to a tee, it's not your genetics the above play a more important role.
Now, your metabolism can affect your plateau but only in rare circumstances.
68% of the population stay within 8% of their predicted metabolism 80-100ish calories.
96% stay 16% within their predicted metabolism 200-300 calories.
That may sound a lot, and for a small woman who is already lean, it is, however, most diets/calorie deficits will take this into account, placing you in a deficit beyond this. Unless you have PCOS or an underactive thyroid (which you can get tested by your Dr) then your metabolism isn't stopping you.
#5 How To Break Through A Fat Loss Plateau
Now you know everything about a fat loss plateau, it's time to use what you have learned to break through it:
First and foremost, be honest have you been doing everything you can to lose body fat, or have you let things slip? Adress this first.
Make sure you're getting enough sleep, 7-8 hours a night I can't begin to explain how crucial this is in a few words but believe me, it has the greatest effect.
Adjust your calorie output and protein intake to your current weight. If you've lost a fair amount of weight recently, you may need to lower your calorie intake or increase your output to match where you currently are.
Expand your knowledge like stated above current knowledge got you to where you are today but won't likely get you to where you want to be. Start educating yourself more with your nutrition and training.
Do you need to go on a diet break? Have you been dieting for a long time and lost a lot of weight? If so, maybe it's time to increase your calories, energise your body, reverse adaptive thermogenesis and then reenter dieting.
Seek help if you don't know what to do or how to get to the next stage then hire someone that does. There are many coaches out there with the knowledge you need to get you to that next stage invest in their expertise, their support, and accountability, and you will benefit from it tenfold.
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