A plateau occurs because your metabolism — the process of burning calories for energy — slows as you lose muscle. You burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight even doing the same activities. Your weight-loss efforts result in a new equilibrium with your now slower metabolism.
At this new equilibrium, calories eaten equals calories expended. This means that to lose more weight, you need to increase activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked initially may maintain your weight loss, but it won’t lead to more weight loss. This information is for anyone who thought a spin cycle class was a tutorial on doing laundry faster.
3 tips to start back slimming down:
#1 Re-evaluate Your Calorie Intake
Everyone remembers the old saying loose lips, broad hips. As you lose weight, not only does it become harder to lose, but your metabolism decreases. Now don’t go searching for those “how to boost your metabolism” articles – your metabolism is supposed to decrease as you lose weight.
My client Keenan before he lost 30lbs, used to weigh 230lbs, if he continues the same workout regimen at 200lb as he did when he weighed 230lb, his metabolism will be roughly 15% lower at 200lb vs. 230lb. Why you ask? He has less body mass, which means his body does not require as much energy to support a smaller frame.
That’s why every 10-15lb you lose (if you have a lot of weight to lose), you can reevaluate your calorie intake to ensure you are eating less calories than you are burning.
#2 Control the “Calorie Creep”
My estimate is 90% of all weight loss plateaus are related to “calorie creep”, or more generally, eating more calories than you think you are eating. It’s like when you go to the and believe you are buying organic vegetables, but when you get home you realize they are just regular donuts. Combined with a decrease in metabolism from weight loss, plateaus are almost a certainty.
The calorie creep can come from eating while board, eating out at restaurants that serve huge portions, or simply condiments like dressings, spreads, and sauces. Maybe you don’t realize that small 100 calorie bag of “healthy” chips is really 400 calories because there are 4 servings in each bag. Alcohol also goes on the calorie creep list. Cough cough Jen!
The best place to start is to track your food intake if you are not already doing so.
#3 Change your workouts all the way up (Fat Joe Voice)
While nutrition is likely the culprit for the stall in your weight, make sure you are progressing the intensity of your workouts. If your workout playlist is one song, then you need to make some changes. If you can’t find your favorite exercise machine in the gym because they don’t make that machine anymore, then you need to make some changes. A tougher workout can only help improve your results.
You understand that at this point you need to mix things up. That includes your workouts! If you have done the same routine more than six times in a row, it’s time to try something new! Get on the stair stepper if you typically get on the treadmill. Take a yoga class if you normally do Zumba. If you are a walker, try bike riding. Check out a gym that offers a free trial and experiment if you’ve never gone to the gym. If you use a gym, take a new class. If you are Jen Leoni my client, stop taking breaks during your training session to complain about your weight! Conversely, if you are already doing some serious working out and not seeing any progress, take a few days off from any workouts. Your body won’t know what to think!
Siddiqu “The Personal Trainer” is a CPT, motivational speaker, author of How Are You Fat and Saved?! He is also the Co-creator of the House Music Workout Class and the exercise series “You Would Think I Invented Sweat” for booking information or more fitness tips visit our WEBSITE www.chicagofit4life.com