A plateau is a relatively stable, level, period or state. So the good news is when you hit the dreaded plateau, you are in a very stable state of being. If this is the case then why does the lack of progress drive us crazy? Because we have become obsessed with results and have forgotten how to enjoy the process. Also note that just because the scale is not moving doesn’t mean that you’re not still losing fat.
I’m sure you’ve heard someone say, “Muscle weighs more than fat.” I admit I’m guilty of saying it. The truth is a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat. The problem is the scale does not know the difference between muscle and fat. You may not have lost a pound in a couple of weeks or maybe even a few months. Yet, your hips and waist are shrinking and your pants are falling off. Rejoice! You have exchanged fat for lean muscle. Remember they weigh the same so you weigh the same. However, lean muscle takes up less room and thus you are smaller at the same weight. You may even weigh a little more during this plateau as you continue to build muscle at a slightly faster rate than you burn fat. But hang in there because the body will eventually begin to burn fat again.
Here’s some things you can do to blast through your plateau:
- Slightly decrease your daily caloric intake by 300-500 calories. You may have fallen victim to calorie creep and so scaling back can get you losing again.
- If you are eating the right amount of calories and can’t afford to decrease them anymore. You can increase your level of activity. The easiest things to change in a workout is the intensity and the duration.
- Check your stress levels. If you have gotten to the point where you are stressed out, your body is producing cortisol which tells the body to store fat as oppose to burn it.
- Get 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Sleep is an important time for restoration, repair and hormone production. Insomnia and other sleep disorders greatly impact weight loss.
The Little Things You Can Do Today
- Purchase a journal in which you will not only track your meals but also log how each meal makes you feel. Are you sluggish or energetic after eating the meal? Did you have enough energy to get through your workout? Are you still hungry? All of this information helps you to better design meals that work for your body.
- Invest in a food scale. If portion control is a big problem, the simple solution is to measure and weigh your food. This way you will know that you are eating the precise serving size on the label. This will also ensure your calorie counts are more accurate.
- Hire a personal trainer who can track your progress. A good trainer will also know when and how to safely progress you into higher intensity or longer duration workouts.
Until Next Week,
Nicole D. P. McLaughlin, P.T.
- 10 Tips to Get Off the Diet Plateau (everydayhealth.com)
- Does Muscle Weigh More Than Fat? (everydayhealth.com)
- Weight loss plateau? 5 tips that will help right now! (sunbeamnutritioncenter.wordpress.com)