After initial rounds of successes, you will eventually reach a plateau where not much seems to change. Chrissy explains how you can climb over this wall and continue your path to weight loss.
“Damn it, why am I not losing more weight?” You’re putting in the effort, never missing a workout, and you’re eating healthily, but the pointer on the scale is still not or no longer going in the right direction? Before throwing it all overboard and lying down on the couch with a bar of chocolate, take a deep breath, count to ten, and don’t smash the scale against the wall.
Welcome to the most annoying phase of your weight loss: the plateau phase. After initial rounds of success with pounds tumbling off, your scale will probably stagnate for several days or even weeks. This is no reason to despair though, because such standstills are quite normal during the process of losing weight and they’re challenges that are there to be mastered!
Ask your friends. At least one of them will tell you that they’ve hit that wall before. They were probably as frustrated as you are now. In many cases, it’s not because you’re eating poorly or aren’t exercising enough. Let’s look for the reason together…
You will lose weight with a negative energy balance!
As long as you absorb less energy than your body needs to maintain its weight, you will continue to lose weight. There is no doubt about that! The fact that you need a negative calorie balance should be firmly anchored in your thoughts before you worry about other factors!
But: our body is not a machine or a mathematical function. So, the weight loss curve is not straightforward. Your weight can fluctuate greatly in a single day. This depends on the time of day when you step on the scales, whether you have already sweated, and how much you have already consumed. So, you should always weigh yourself at the same time – for example, always after getting up when you yet haven’t had anything to eat.
Possible causes for a standstill when losing weight
In addition to your calorie balance and fluctuations throughout the day, there are other factors that can cause a plateau when losing weight.
1. Carbohydrates bind water
You will only defeat a weight plateau with a low-calorie diet.
Let’s say you ate very few carbohydrates for several days, but your body needs carbohydrates to feed your brain. Now, it will resort to the carbohydrate stores (glycogen) in the liver. This glycogen binds four times its weight in water. If the body now breaks down the glycogen, not only are carbohydrates released, but also the water that is bound to them. This leads to a rapid weight loss and motivates us to continue at the beginning of a low-carb diet. However, when the carbohydrate reserves in the liver are emptied, the body has to resort to the stored energy in the fat. The fatty tissue does not contain as much water as the carbohydrate storage in the liver. So, now you only lose pure fat and no more water. That’s why losing weight is slow now. Because to lose 2 pounds of fat, you will have to cut a total of 7,000 calories and that takes time. If you save 500 calories a day, that will take about 2 weeks. Then the initial euphoria is gone for the time being.
If you eat carbs again after having skipped them, your body will instantly store them again with water in the liver and you’ll gain the weight back very quickly. This can significantly influence your result on the scale.
2. Water retention during menstruation
In the time before menstruation, the female body often experiences hormone fluctuations, which can lead to water retention in the body’s tissues. Long story short, not only are there frequent mood swings, but also weight fluctuations. It’s an explosive mixture. The excessive hysteria and crying caused by hormone chaos and extra pounds can hardly be avoided, but at least you are now well prepared with this information. Tell your scale goodbye for a few days and give it the cold shoulder.
3. Muscles are heavier than fat
If you have decided to take the healthy path, this goes hand-in-hand with exercising and a diet change for you. You should be praised for that decision. If your scale does not confirm this for you, there may be a simple explanation: exercise builds muscle – and that’s a good thing! Because muscle tissue is heavier than fat tissue, you cannot immediately see on a regular scale that you have lost fat. So, grab the measuring tape instead. Because maybe you have not lost weight, but you have lost girth and that’s also a great effect. Your new muscles burn even more fat for you than fat tissue, even at rest! That means they will help you to reach your goal faster and better.
Crash diets do exactly the opposite. Due to the very low-calorie content, they force your body to attack its muscles to provide itself with protein. So, you lose weight quickly. But what you first lose is the water bound to the carbs stored and then you lose muscle mass. In addition, your energy consumption decreases, making further weight loss difficult. The yo-yo effect is already inevitable. In conclusion: Stay away from crash diets!
If you weigh yourself every day, fluctuations are inevitable. In addition, you run the risk of driving yourself crazy too fast because of individual results. This will only discourage you, so avoid weighing yourself every day.
The most important rules in a plateau phase
Now you know why sometimes losing weight doesn’t always happen in a straight line. But how do you put the theory into practice? Quite simple: stay strong and do not let up!
Don’t make excuses!
If you stick to all the rules, eat very healthily, keep the calorie counts low and exercise, you will lose weight. Plateau phases may occur, but they should by no means be an excuse to give up or cheat. If you cheat in between, you’re just deceiving yourself! Your poor scale can’t rescue you, because the bottom line is this: if you consume less energy than you burn, you will lose weight. End of story! If you reach a plateau phase, it will be replaced by a weight loss phase after a while, but only if you keep your eye on the ball! If you cheat, you will wait endlessly for redemption. A weight-loss standstill is frustrating for anyone who is seriously trying to lose weight, but in the long run, don’t let it be an excuse or obstacle for you!
Don’t give up!
If you laze about, then you run the risk of getting stuck on that plateau.
Granted, it’s human nature not to be consistently disciplined. We quickly lose weight at the beginning of a diet and feel like we’ve done it. We tell ourselves that we can now have a treat. But these are the little things that can cause the scales to punish you. So be aware of how you choose to sin. That way you won’t lose track and can be sure that you will continue to lose weight.
Set realistic goals for yourself!
Don’t think that you will be able to continue losing weight at the same speed as at the start. Be prepared to lose a pound a week at most. Knowing this will protect you from disappointment. You should always be proud of yourself for losing weight, regardless of how much you lose. Also, remember how your body looked before changing diets. We tend only to look at the weekly change on the scale and forget where we were when we started. So, don’t say: “I didn’t lose any weight this week,” but instead “I’ve lost 10 pounds in 5 weeks.”
6 tips for avoiding the plateau
- Stick with low-carb! If you have a reduced-carbohydrate diet, avoid too many escapades in carb land on cheat days. Otherwise expect your body to store those carbohydrates with lots of water in the liver. This will only lead to rapid weight gain.
- Don’t weigh yourself every day! Fluctuations will spoil your mood. Please only weigh yourself once a week under the same conditions.
- Grab the tape measure! Use the circumference of your stomach, legs, and hips to quickly determine whether your effort has already paid off, even if it’s not yet showing up on the scale.
- Cool your jets! If you stick to it through the plateau, you will resume losing weight after 2 to 3 weeks as if by magic and this happens without changing anything.
- Keep an eye on the big picture! Don’t judge your weight loss by the weekly results, but rather look at your long-term changes.
- No cheating! Make sure that you remain disciplined, because a piece of chocolate as a reward here and there can get in the way of your diet. Every little bit counts, so don’t lose sight of your overall goal.
Healthy weight loss with Gymondo
With the Gymondo nutrition plan, you will effectively achieve your goals for the long-term. By combining regular exercise sessions with a healthy, natural diet, your pounds will melt away as you become more fit and active.