Losing weight is a frustrating experience especially if you don’t know what to expect. One of the obstacles you can encounter is a plateau. In this article you can learn what that is and how to avoid a weight loss plateau.
How to avoid a weight loss plateau
Avoid a weight loss plateau by carefully tracking your daily progress and making changes preemptively. Doing so allows you to see when you are advancing towards your goal, backtracking or staying stagnant. You can then make adjustments to your diet or exercise plan as needed.
That is the basic strategy for avoiding a weight loss plateau. Keep reading to learn how to identify, and use several tips to avoid this common diet struggle.
What is and how do you identify a weight loss plateau?
A weight loss plateau is best defined as a period of at least 4 weeks where your weight has not moved. In most cases, this is due to your daily calories burned being less or equal to how much you consume.
Although it is defined as occurring over 4 weeks, it’s best to know how to prevent a plateau before it begins.
Use these tips to do just that.
Tracking your progress can help avoid a weight loss plateau
Tracking your progress (calories, weight, etc) is part of the basics of fitness. It is key to helping you lose, gain or maintain weight.
And in today’s age it’s become very easy to stay on top of all the numbers, apps like fitbit or myfitness pal do most of the heavy lifting for you.
By tracking your journey, you can see what’s working in real time and act BEFORE a weight loss plateau has a chance to happen.
How to implement fitness tracking
The main items you can choose to track that will greatly benefit your weight loss effort are your daily weight, calorie intake and activity level.
Luckily these can all be done through tools like free apps or even a smart watch.
Record everything you eat for the most accurate results. And weigh yourself each morning before meals.
Then all you have to do is keep track of your weekly weight average, this is to avoid fluctuations from day to day.
As long as your weekly average is moving in the right direction, you can be sure that what you are currently doing is working.
Don’t wait too long too act
You want to know the easiest way to avoid a weight loss plateau?
Act fast and early.
Like we mentioned before, a weight loss plateau can be defined as lasting at minimum 4 weeks.
4 weeks is more than enough time for you to identify setbacks. Get rid of them as soon as possible.
Doing so helps you avoid potential headaches you could have from adjusting to, and being comfortable in, a routine that isn’t positively affecting you.
By making adjustments early, you can save yourself from adopting bad habits that are hard to kick.
How to do it
If you want to identify problems earlier and act on them follow these quick tips.
- Be honest with yourself. Short cuts provide short term results.
- Set a timeline for your end results. Doing this gives you something to look back on and check progress.
- Sometimes we are delusional in our efforts. Having someone to support you in this journey provides an honest opinion on how things are going.
Use the thermic effect of food to avoid a plateau
Have you ever heard that some foods burn more calories than others when consumed? This refers to the thermic effect of food.
This is the measurement of how foods increase your energy expenditure.
Fats use about 0-3% of its own calories during digestion, carbs use 5-10% and protein uses 20 – 30%.
You can use these concepts to burn more calories and make weight loss easier by just changing the foods you eat.
How to do it
To benefit from the thermic effect of foods, and avoid weight loss plateaus, follow a few simple diet guidelines.
- Eat a higher protein level. 0.7 to 1 grams of protein per pound of weight is where you should aim to be.
- Try to get most of your carbs from whole foods, or at the very least avoid empty sugary treats.
- Keep fats less than 30% of your total calories, and aim for unsaturated fats.
Exercise Consistently to prevent a plateau
Take a second and look at your journey. Was it a highly motivated effort in the beginning where you worked out everyday and now it has become a slog to be consistent?
If that’s the case, you could have reached a weight loss plateau because you are not burning as many calories as before.
This is actually more common than you think because things like New Year’s, birthdays, and other big life events actually encourage this kind of effort in people’s lives.
But by having some days where you get little movement and other days where you exercise a lot you might not be hitting the calories burned to reach your goal.
If you got 10000 steps every day in the beginning and now you get about 5000 steps every day you are essentially cutting out half of those calories that you burnt. Now of course you’ll be losing less weight.
If you can be consistent with your daily activity level you can understand whether you just need to be moving more when weight loss slows down.
How to do it
Here are some basic guidelines to help you become consistent with your activity levels.
- Track how many steps you walk with a smartwatch or just your phone.
- Create a workout plan that you can consistently follow, start small and work your way up.
- Set time aside dedicated to being active, don’t just hope you can find cracks in your schedule
I hope these tips help you avoid a weight loss plateau, if you want to take one more thing from this article, check out my free workout plan that can be sent straight to your email.