Fat loss plateaus are frustrating. Fat loss plateaus are discouraging. In fact, fat loss plateaus have even been responsible for countless individuals deciding to give up on their fat loss aspirations altogether.
As frustrating as they are, fat loss plateaus don’t have to be given the horror status so many ascribe to them. The reason most people fear the prospect of experiencing stagnant fat loss is because they don’t understand what’s causing it or how to overcome it.
Remember, the changes that take place on your body are nothing more than the result of how you’re feeding it and how you’re exercising it.
All that is required for fat loss to occur on the body is a caloric deficit. In other words, if you’re burning off more calories than you’re consuming on a weekly basis your body fat levels are going to decline.
A fat loss plateau is nothing more than an outgrowth of this basic principle.
What I mean by that is: If your fat loss has stopped it’s because you are consuming too many calories, not burning enough, or both.
It logically follows, then, that the easiest way to eliminate fat loss plateaus would be to track your consumed calories and maintain a training log.
Fat loss plateaus are so frustrating to the average person because the average person isn’t tracking their food intake and therefore have no way to objectively determine a plan of action to get back into the realm of caloric deficit when they occur.
This is why the default response to plateaus is to simply eat as little as possible, leading to constant feelings of hunger, drained energy levels, extreme irritability, metabolic damage, depletion of their body’s production of essential fat burning hormones and them ultimately concluding that such a plan is not a realistic long-term solution.
And they’re absolutely right!
As your body leans out, your metabolism will naturally slow down. Obviously, it doesn’t take as many calories per day to maintain and move around a 200lb body as it does a 300lb body.
So, when just starting out, you’ll probably be able to get away with eating considerably more calories while still losing fat than when getting close to reaching your goal weight.
This is just the way it is and there isn’t much you can do about it; except to manipulate your nutrition.
Tracking Your Calories and Your Results
Counting calories takes effort and isn’t exactly the most convenient thing in the world to commit to doing every day. But the control it will give you over your results is well worth it.
Start keeping a food log. This can be an app on your iphone or ipad, an Excel spreadsheet, a spiral-bound notebook, whatever.
You just need some way to know how many calories you’re eating so that you can make the necessary slight reduction whenever your body rebels on you and fat loss ceases.
By the way, it’s okay to use the scale as one way to monitor your fat loss. However, the scale only deals with your body’s mass – not what the mass on your body is made of.
For example, if you lose one pound of fat and gain one pound of muscle, the scale would tell you that your body wasn’t improved at all. I think we can all agree that the scale wouldn’t be all that accurate in assessing this situation.
In addition to tracking your body weight, you should also take a measurement of your stomach circumference by simply wrapping a tape measure around your stomach at belly button level. This will give you a much better indication of fat loss than using the scale alone.
If the either of these measurements ever fail to decrease after 7 days, you’ve hit a plateau, and will know that it’s…
TIME. TO. PANIC!!!
You’ll know that it’s simply your body’s way of telling you that it’s time to reduce your calories, increase your activity level, or both.
And this doesn’t require a drastic reduction in calories. Take the average number of daily calories you consumed the previous week and reduce it by 250 to 500 to get your new daily caloric goal moving forward.
If you can make some additional time for it, adding another 5-10 minutes of exercise to each of your weekly workouts will also make a difference. Although, reducing calories should do the trick all on its own.
That’s not so bad, huh?
I hate fat loss plateaus as much as the next guy or gal. But I’ve learned – and hopefully you now have, as well – that they’re nothing to be overly concerned about.
Everyone striving to lose fat has hit one or will hit one at some point. The difference between success and defeat lies in understanding their cause and having a plan of attack to remedy the situation.
Fat loss plateaus are like the imaginary monster that hides under my daughter’s bed at night. The mere thought of them are much more frightening than the actual threat they pose to our ability to achieve our goals – as long as you know how to defeat them.
My daughter wields a plastic baseball bat decorated with various Disney Princesses. Your weapon is your food log.
So start putting it to use and send those fat loss plateaus packing!
- Photo Credits:
2 Stomach Measurement