Tuesday Tip: Dealing with 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?
As you get ‘smaller’ your resting metabolic rate drops so you need fewer calories, therefore you may need to adjust your calorie target. You may also be more tired as you’re running at a calorie deficit – this impacts your activity levels – both consciously in terms of perhaps skipping workouts, working out less, reduced intensity, fewer steps etc but also subconsciously. A recent study found 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, less fidgeting etc and a decrease in bodily functions e.g. blinking less, breathing slower etc
In addition as you progress diet adherence weakens and motivation wanes, so you’re more likely to have a few more ‘off track’ days. You’re also likely to be relying more on eyeballing portions and not being as accurate – without realising it extra calories sneak in and portion sizes subtlety increase.
Subconscious eating also increases – a nibble of the kid’s tea, a handful of cereal as you pass the kitchen, grabbing a biscuit at work etc. You become less aware of these.
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 even realising they were doing it.
So after losing 3-4kg you could be unknowingly consuming an extra 400 cals, and burning 120 cals less, that means an 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?
First accept it’s happening. The hard thing is that it won’t FEEL like you’re eating more and moving less, so it’s easy to blame other causes – hormones, ‘my stubborn body’, the ‘diet’ etc. Go back to basics and measure portions again and 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 🤗