Have you hit a weight loss plateau? It’s time to find out why and what you can do about it.Fat has practically fallen off your body just a few weeks ago, and now you wonder if your scale is broken, because whatever you do, your weight will not budge.
Why did your routine suddenly stop working, and what can you do to break through this weight loss plateau?
Understanding weight loss Vs. Loss of fat
“Weight loss” is a cunning little devil, because he does not distinguish between changes in fat, muscles and water.
The goal, of course, is to lose maximum fat and minimal muscle mass and keep water retention at a healthy minimum. When you step on the scale and register the pound more easily than the day or the week before, you probably assume that you have lost a pound of fat; if you weigh as much or more, you probably assume that you have lost fat or purchased. Unfortunately, everything is not so simple.
For example, nothing bends weight up or down as easily as water retention. If you eat a lot of sodium and carbohydrates and drink a little water, you will remain quite a bit of water, giving you this plump, smooth look. It can easily add 3-5 pounds per day, which can be quite disturbing if you hit the scale in this state. On the other hand, you eat a little sodium and carbohydrates and drink a lot of water, your body will wash the water, giving you a harder, more specific look that can make you think it was an excellent fat loss day.
The unpredictability of water retention is one of the reasons why I only weigh myself once a week, on the same day in the morning, naked. Weigh yourself several times a week, or, worse, a day, quickly kills your confidence and mess with your head.
I also recommend that you choose a “weighing day” that does not contain any chewy food, as it can often add a pound or two of water that will come out by the end of the next day (my experience, at least).
What is a true weight loss plateau?
The real weight loss plateau is a situation where you no longer lose fat.
I believe that I got on a plateau if my weight did not change in two weeks. Since I’m only going for one kilogram of actual fat loss per week, no change in scale after one week of diet is necessarily a cause for concern – I might lose that pound of fat, but maybe a bit of water, or maybe my movements The intestines were not as regular in the previous two or two days. No weight change after two weeks of diet tells me that I am definitely stuck.
Some fat loss facts to remember
Before I tell you how to break these plateaus, I want you to learn a few things about fat loss.
- Weight loss planets should be expected
Almost all are experiencing weight loss. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, and with complete ease achieve an unambiguous fat content in the body, consider yourself happy. Very often people face several plateaus on their trips up to six packs, because the human body is just stubborn when it comes to shedding fat.
I need to add cardio if I want to continue the loss. When I bulk, I usually end up with 14-15% body fat, and I can diet from the first 5% or so, but then I got on a plateau that can only be cured 3-4 days a week from cardio (20-25 minutes per session). Then the next plateau for me is about 8%. If I want to go lower, I need to increase my cardio up to 4 days a week for 30-40 minutes per session.
Everyone I have coached and otherwise helped experienced the same phenomenon, but the rapids change. I know a few rare people who can diet below 10% without adding cardio, but most people can not break double-digit percentages of fat without strict nutrition and conventional cardio procedures.
- The more you lose, the harder it gets.
The less you get, the longer it takes to lose fat (key, since you want to keep as much muscle and force as possible in case of fat loss). If you live on 25%, you can lose 2-3 pounds of fat per week for the first few weeks. If you live 10% and run to individual numbers, however, 2-3 pounds of fat per week will be impossible without dangerous drugs.
For me, when I get below 12% or so, I’m very happy to see only one kilogram of fat loss per week, and I have to work for it.
- Your body has a “comfort zone”
Although this may sound a little scientific, it’s the best way to describe the phenomenon that I and millions of other athletes have experienced around the world. The body seems to have weight (and, correspondingly, the percentage of fat in the body), which is most convenient. Your natural appetite tends to support this weight, and if you eat less of this, you feel hunger. If you eat more than this, you feel completely fat.
For some, this “comfort zone” is relatively oily, while others settle in a very thin weight. For me, for example, I find that my body is most comfortable about 11% fat (which now puts me about 200 pounds). I do not need to keep a close eye on my calories, and I can cheat a few times a week, and I’ll stay about 11%.
Now maintaining weight in this comfortable area requires constant work in the form of calorie restriction and cardio performance.
5 ways to break the planet
Well, now that you know the difference between the weight loss plateau and the fat loss plateau, here are three true ways to refill your body’s oven again to conserve fat.
- Re-calculate your daily caloric goal
Your metabolism slows down as you lose weight, because your body does not need to apply so much energy to support its now thinner physique.
If you do not customize your calories to accommodate this, you can go to the plateau. An easy way to avoid this is to recalculate your daily caloric goal after every 15 pounds of weight loss. As you will see, the goal creeps lower and lower.
There are many formulas for determining how much you should eat to lose weight, but here’s a simple one based on Katch McArdle:
1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight
1 g carbohydrate per pound body weight
1 gram of fat for 5 pounds of body weight
This simple formula of macro nutrients can lead to a moderate caloric deficit and provide a stable and healthy weight loss. To turn it into calories, simply multiply protein and carbohydrates by 4, and fats by 9.
- Manage “Hidden Calories”
Most weight loss plateaus are caused by nothing more than “calorie creep”, that is, there are more calories than you think. This, combined with a constantly slowing metabolism, is a guaranteed formula for stagnation.
Calories can creep from many places. Barren snacks, food in restaurants (they load calories in food with butter, butter, sauces, etc.), overdoing with seasonings and drinking alcohol – these are all the usual ways to add enough calories to stop your weight loss without forcing you feel you are completely “out of the diet.”
The sad truth is it’s only 200-300 calories, too much per day can completely stop the loss of fat. To imagine this in perspective, it’s just a couple of handfuls of nuts, a few tablespoons of fatty salad dressing or a small bag of chips. Yes, fat loss is like that. This is not very difficult, but requires absolute accuracy.
So, to overcome the “caloric creep”, you just need to know exactly what is happening in your body every day. You can keep a journal of food, or you can do what I do: every day count what you need, decompose into daily meals and eat the same every day, every meal.
- Increase your cardio
If you know that your daily caloric goal is good, and you have absolutely no creep of calories, then you should increase heart rate.
You can add one more day if possible (I do not recommend more than 4 days a week if you are also exercising by weight), or add time to each day (I would like to add 10 minutes for each session and see how my response is organism).
The idea is to just tilt the scales slightly toward fat loss and watch the results. If the first round of additional cardio does not do this, add another (10 more minutes for each session, for example) and you will get there.
Oh, and make a HIIT cardio, please.
- Announce the cheat-food
Yes, believe it or not, deceptive food actually helps you lose fat.
Well, firstly, there is a psychological impulse that keeps you happy and motivated, which ultimately facilitates the use of your diet.
But there is also a physiological impulse.
Research on overfeeding (the scientific term for beating on food) shows that this can increase your metabolic rate anywhere from 3-10%. Although this sounds good, in fact it means little if you think that you will need to eat from several hundred to several thousand extra calories per day to achieve this effect.
More importantly, fraud affects a hormone called lepton, which regulates hunger, metabolic rate, appetite, motivation and libido, and also performs other functions in your body.
When you are in a caloric deficit and lose fat, the level of lepton drops. This, in turn, leads to a slowdown in metabolic rate, increased appetite, reduced motivation and worsening mood.
So, if this increase in lepton levels, which you really want, how do you best achieve it?
The use of carbohydrates is the most effective way. Secondly, it is the consumption of protein (foods with a high protein content also increases the level of metabolism). Dietary fats are not very effective at increasing the level of leptin, and alcohol actually suppresses it.
So, if your weight is stuck, and you are irritable and demonized, a pleasant leptin blow can be all you need to get a scales again.
Have good cheesy foods full of protein and carbohydrates, and enjoy increasing the level of leptin. This can help your weight loss!
- Lift heavy loads
If you are familiar with any of my work, you know that I’m a big fan of lifting heavy weights. Well, among the many benefits of lifting heavy is the fact that it helps to accelerate fat loss.
Thus, blowing weight and hitting them is difficult if you want to increase your metabolism and, in turn, accelerate your fat loss.