There’s nothing more disappointing than when your weight loss journey comes to a screeching halt after just a few weeks on it and you can no longer see the numbers drop steeply as before, even though there have been no major changes to the diet or exercise routine. It might be baffling, but let’s say that the honeymoon period is now over, and you may need to employ more effective strategies in order to get over the plateau. It’s that point where contrary to your expectations, the body switches to a fat-conservation mode because with weight loss, the body becomes efficient at functioning at lower calories. Also, if you lose some muscle along with fat, the metabolism dips further (more muscles means more calories get torched). These are some basic theories why you have stopped losing weight after a certain point, but there are more reasons that you should know and take steps to overcome those. We will go over them one by one:
1. Becoming Complacent After Losing Some Weight: If you have lost considerable amount of weight and now know how it all works, don’t become complacent or let guards down yet. A small bite here and there, a few extra cupcakes, bringing back the dessert after every meal, skipping the gym – all these can slow down the pace and even stall the fat-burning process. Do not become complacent until you reach the goal, and even after that.
2. Metabolism Has Dipped: If you are trying to lose weight, keeping the metabolism robust should be high on the list of priorities. Metabolism should be robust at all times because it is the process through which calories are torched and converted into energy form. But to conserve energy and fat, the body tends to lower metabolism, and this dip can stop weight loss. Lift weights, do compound exercises, and focus on building muscle in the gym (more the muscles, better the metabolism). Dark chocolate, sipping on green tea have also been found to boost metabolism. Most importantly, protein helps build and repair tissues in the body, it also boosts metabolism to a great degree (quinoa, eggs, cottage cheese, chicken, beans, legumes, green peas) are amazing sources of protein that you can include in your daily diet.
3. Overindulgence on Healthy Food: In a quest to dig into everything healthy, we might actually skip the “calorie counting” part. There’s no doubt that clean and healthy eating is the foundation of a good weight loss strategy, but the point is to remain within the calorie deficit even with the healthiest of foods. No food is calorie free (some of them are extremely high in calories), and without mindful eating, they can put you into calorie surplus and lead to weight gain instead. There’s a wrong notion that there’s no need to count calories with healthy food, but do remember, peanut butter, almonds, dry fruits, avocado, quinoa, etc. are calorie-dense foods and you need to practice portion control with these too. Also read: “14 Healthy Foods you are Probably Overeating.”
4. Overeating Post Workout: Are you overestimating calories burnt at the gym and “eating back” to compensate with energy drinks and high-calorie food? Machines like treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationary bike tend to show inaccurate readings with the respect to calories, so never rely on them to estimate the total number of calories burnt. Post-workout meal should not put back extra calories into the body that would become difficult to burn off later.
5. Compromising on Sleep Routine: Sleep deprivation is not only about waking up with tired and puffy eyes, in fact not getting enough shut eye, can increase your waistline. Important hormones like insulin, cortisol, ghrelin that play a major role in weight gain/weight loss, can slide either way, depending on whether you are sleep deprived or having a good-quality sleep each night. Lack of sleep increases appetite, lowers metabolism, and shoots up stress – making sure you do not lose any weight. Experts do recommend sleeping for 7 hours or more each night to boosts weight loss efforts and to improve overall health as well.
6. Chronic Stress is Taking a Toll: As we have mentioned above, stress can stand between you and your goal weight, triggering overeating and overindulgence in sugary, high-fat food that help to calm down jittery nerves. Simple activities like walking, listening to music, dancing, exercising, playing with a pet, etc., can help to beat the stress, and make sure you continue to lose weight.
Summing up, it’s quite natural to get frustrated and get off the weight loss wagon when you can no longer lose weight despite sincere efforts and hard work. Making a few simple tweaks to the diet, changing the workout routine a bit, can help overcome these hurdles and kickstart your weight loss journey all over again. Most importantly, when you feel like quitting, remember why you started in the first place. If you are struggling to shed extra pounds, check out my Speed Slim program on the Rati Beauty app for a leaner and healthier you.