Have you been losing weight consistently for the past few months but now you can’t seem to get that scale to move no matter what you do? Plateau’s are completely normal and everyone will hit one at least once in their weight loss journey. Never fear, there are things you can do to break through a plateau and get that scale moving again!
1. You aren’t eating enough
Many women eat too little when trying to lose weight. If you are eating below your BMR (basal metabolic rate), your metabolism is slowing and you are most likely losing muscle. When you eat less than what your body needs you go into what is called ‘starvation mode’ where your body holds on to every bit of body fat as an act of survival.
When you drop your calories too low you will initially lose water weight, notice I said water weight and not body fat. In order to lose body fat you need to fuel your body and that means eating enough calories. If you have been eating below your BMR, try increasing your calorie intake.
2. You are eating too much
Are you tracking every little thing that you put in your mouth? A little bite of something here and there can add up quickly.
3. You haven’t changed your exercise routine
Has your weight loss stalled 4-6 weeks into your new exercise routine? Sounds like you need to change it up! It is important to change your routine every 4-6 weeks to keep your body guessing. Below are some examples of things you can do to change it up:
High intensity interval training
Low weights with high reps
Heavy weights with low reps
Increase exercise intensity
Increase exercise duration
You can do anything that you’d like, just remember to change your exercise routine every 4-6 weeks.
4. You’re not drinking enough water
Water is essential for fat loss. It will help to supress your appetite and help to rid your body of toxins. As counterproductive as it sounds, if you don’t drink enough water you will actually hold on to water, making you weigh more. Aim to drink at least half your body weight in fluid ounces daily.
5. You’re not getting enough sleep
When you skimp on sleep, your body releases the hormone cortisol which increases your stress level and triggers your body to store fat. Not only that, but it also increases your appetite due to fluctuations in the hormones leptin and ghrelin which tell your body when its hungry and when its full. In order to avoid this, aim to get at least 7 hours sleep per night.
6. You’re not lifting weights
Many women shy away from the weights in fear that lifting weights will make them ‘bulky’, this is not true at all! Strength training should have a place in everyone’s exercise program. Strength training increases your muscle mass which increases your metabolism so you burn more calories at rest; the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. Aside from an increase in metabolism, strength training has many other benefits such as an increase in muscle tone, bone strengthening and blood pressure reduction.
7. You’re doing too much cardio
Cardio is a great way to lose weight and burn excess fat and calories, but too much cardio can actually hinder your fat loss results. After 60 minutes of cardio, your body starts to burn muscle for energy, your cortisol levels start to increase and your body starts to preserve fat. I recommend keeping your cardio workouts between 30 and 60 minutes. Remember to change up your cardio – a mix of moderate intensity cardio, low intensity cardio and HIIT.
8. You’re losing inches instead
It is extremely important to take your body measurements and body fat percentage and not to solely rely on the scale to track your progress. If you are lifting weights then you will most likely be losing body fat, even if the scale isn’t moving. Be sure to track your measurements each month.
Note: I see a lot of people mentioning that their weight gain or others weight gain is probably because they are ‘gaining muscle’. Unless you are lifting heavy weights, the weight gain will not be from muscle. If you have recently started lifting weights that are challenging for you, then the scale increase is most likely water weight. The reason you retain water is due to microscopic tears in your muscles that are holding onto excess water in order to repair themselves. The water weight should subside within 2 weeks.