There comes a point with every fat loss journey where the scales just don’t seem to shift. Maybe you’ve been dieting for a week or a month, it can be an incredibly frustrating feature in your efforts to change your body composition. Alternatively, maybe you just struggle to keep the weight off. Your cut could be successful and suddenly you’re looking pretty lean, but everything reverts back to how it was in the few weeks after you stop. Today, we’re going to look at exactly why these scenarios might happen and what you can do to prevent or help with them in the future.
Let’s take a look at stalling fat loss first. You might be doing all the right things but still nothing has an effect. First, are you tracking your calories? If you’re not, then taking some time to see exactly how much you’re eating will give you a much more manageable way of losing fat. Now, you have quantitative data that you can adjust for your needs. You might think you’re eating 2000kcal but you’re actually averaging about 2200kcal.
Also, remember that you need to adjust your calories the more weight you lose. If you started on 150lbs and now you’re on 142lbs, then the maintenance calories needed by your body will be reduced. So, whilst you thought you were in a deficit you were actually eating the right amount to maintain. Many people forget to adjust their calories according to the weight on the scales.
Lastly, and this accounts for more people than you may think, did you do too much too soon? There are two ways to lose weight: increase your activity levels or decrease the amount of calories you eat. Both of these help put you in an overall caloric deficit. When you start losing weight you want to do pick just one of these as that’ll be enough to create change. If you do both right from the start, then you can drop weight too quickly, slow your metabolism rapidly and be left with no options when fat loss stalls (which will happen sooner than normal). If this sounds like you, then it’s valuable to take your time getting back to a healthy starting point. This should only take a few of weeks but it will be priceless in the long run. Eat good food, increase your calories back to maintenance and focus on feeling good. After 3-4 weeks, drop your calories again by just 200kcal until fat loss stalls. From here, add in half an hour of light cardio 2-3x per week. This should be enough to get you where you want to be.
On the other end of the spectrum you have people who have already lost weight but can’t keep it off. This is a common problem among people who have committed to extreme fad diets which don’t fix the long-term problem. When you start a weight loss journey you need to ask yourself one question:
“What can I improve about my current lifestyle to make it healthier?”
Many people will just see a diet in a magazine or on the TV and commit to it thinking it’ll fix all their problems. The issue with that it’s not sustainable. Juice diets are a great example. Can you really see yourself only drinking juice for the rest of your life? I highly doubt it. The key to losing fat is long-term, sustainable changes slowly implemented for a big effect. Things like eating more vegetables and lean protein with each meal instead of calorie-dense, non-nutritious foods. Swapping chocolate bars as snacks for fruit. Drinking water or diet drinks instead of alcohol and sugar-filled beverages. You don’t need to jump into the deep end right away, but taking a little step each and every day will result in one large leap.
Remember, healthy living results in a healthy mind and body. If you can’t see yourself doing a diet long-term, then there’s no point in doing it. Simply eating healthier will make you both slimmer and happier. So, the next time you commit to completely cutting out carbs or only ever drinking fat-loss shakes ask yourself what are you learning? What are you improving long-term? Is this diet teaching me to be healthier or is it just selling me a quick-fix? These simple questions will help you bust through most fat-loss myths.
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