Tuesday Tip: Why weight loss plateaus 📈
Usually a few months into a new diet (or eating regime) we start to see plateaus – this is despite people claiming they are still eating the same amount (at a calorie deficit) and exercising the same. Why?
It could be that you’ve lost so much that your caloric requirements have dropped slightly and therefore you need to adjust your calorie goals, but there’s another more common reason.
A couple of recent studies found that as weight (fat) loss dropped participants subconsciously increased their calorie intake. For every 1kg of fat lost, they were consuming an extra 100 calories per day, without realising they were doing it. This is due to increased hunger in response to weight loss, and as the kgs drop, the extra calories sneak back in. So after losing 3-4kg that’s an extra 300-400 cals a day which puts you back at maintenance calories, stalling weight loss.
Another study also fund that for every 1kg lost participants expended 20 – 30 cals less energy per day. This is a subconscious reduction in NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) such as standing less, walking less etc and a decrease in bodily functions e.g. blinking less, breathing slower etc
Over the course of several months, with a fat loss of say 4kg you could be unknowingly consuming an extra 400 cals, and burning 120 cals less, that means a extra 520 cals a day which wipes out your deficit, can stall any fat loss and even cause weight regain.
So what can you do?
Usually a few months in, with fat loss going well, people go back to eyeballing portion sizes and that’s where those extra calories will sneak in from slightly larger portions, an extra 5g here and there etc so I encourage my clients to go back to basics and measure portions. Also be mindful of extra mouthfuls of things you’re not tracking (grabbing the odd handful of cereal, crisp, etc).
Focus on more filling foods to help combat the hunger too – foods high in fibre, protein and good fats.
In terms of energy expenditure – try to be as active as possible – add a few more steps to your day for example, be mindful of standing more than sitting etc.
Happy Tuesday 🤗