The weight loss plateau is a phase many dieters dread and even more experience. However, simply being aware of it may just be the key to long-term success.
A weight loss plateau is very common and can occur at any point during a weight loss journey. It’s a period during a weight loss programme where your weight stops decreasing, despite carefully following an appropriate diet and lifestyle plan.
Unfortunately, those who would be considered “yo-yo dieters” often give up hope and go back to their old habits as soon as they experience a weight loss plateau, because the loss of momentum can hinder motivation. However, anticipating a weight loss plateau and accepting it as a very normal and common part of a weight loss journey means no surprises, less disappointment and being able to prepare for a healthy way of eating to overcome it.
While a weight loss plateau can be incredibly frustrating and often the reason people struggle to stick to a lifestyle change, it’s important to not be disheartened, or discouraged, and carry on through until you see the other side of it. And, with the right mindset and some tips and tools, you will see the other side of it and continue on towards your ultimate weight loss goal. Read on for some simple strategies to help.
There is no single cause of the weight loss plateau. One reason may be that when calories are significantly reduced, the body switches from using glucose to using its stores of glycogen (before then moving into fat-burning mode) in the muscles and liver. As the body uses glycogen, it is also excreting water, so many people experience an initial rapid weight loss as the body loses both fat and water. Once this initial “water weight” is lost, weight loss inevitably becomes more gradual as the body works to burn its fat stores.
In addition to this, as glycogen is stored in muscle, people can experience some loss of muscle mass, along with fat, and recent research has shown that a reduction in muscle mass during weight loss has a correlation with the weight loss plateau. Following a Mediterranean-style diet rich in protein, like The Fast 800, is one way to better maintain muscle mass while also losing fat. Weight loss can therefore seem more gradual, because the body is not losing heavier muscle stores while burning fat, which by volume weighs less than muscle.
Additionally, at a reduced body weight, your body expends less energy than it did at a heavier weight. Think about your everyday activities; at a reduced weight, you will burn less calories going for a walk than you would have before. This is because it takes less energy to move less mass.
While it is normal to experience short periods of weight loss plateau, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of it happening. Maintaining lean muscle mass during weight loss and beyond is crucial in reducing your risk of weight loss plateau. By maintaining and, where possible, building muscle mass, your metabolic rate will stay the same or increase, and you will continue to lose weight.
To maintain muscle mass, you need to:
If you’re experiencing a weight loss plateau, The Fast 800 Online Programme is a great option to help get you through. All of our meal plans have been created with this in mind and are carefully calculated to make sure you reach protein targets.
If you do find that you are experiencing a weight loss plateau, there is no need to panic. If you continue to exercise and eat the right foods, you will begin to lose weight again. For that period where it seems like there is nothing shifting, here are some strategies to make things a little easier:
Start today and take our personalised assessment to determine the right meal plan and exercise level for you. Twelve weeks really can change your life, you just have to take the first step!
Bueno NB, de Melo IS, de Oliveira SL, da Rocha Ataide T. Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Nutr. 2013 Oct;110(7):1178-87. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513000548. Epub 2013 May 7. PMID: 23651522. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23651522/
Consult your healthcare professional before beginning any diet or fitness regime.
Any advice given is general in nature and not meant as a substitute for care by your usual health professional.
9 Thorney Leys Park