The mission towards weight loss can sometimes come to a halt – just when we thought the needle started to move in our favour.
Initially, the change in your food and lifestyle behaviours tend to appear pretty much straight away. But, then, a few weeks will pass, perhaps even a month, and all is running smoothly.
Sometime after this initial stage, you might begin to notice a few things. Slowly, your progression begins to slow down. Maybe it’s pretty incremental, or perhaps it stops suddenly. For example, you may begin to start cutting food groups out of your diet or do a lot more cardio (which is usually the case). Then, a shift may occur – or it may not. The result could either move towards weight gain, water retention, and perhaps nothing at all.It’s frustrating when many inexperienced weight loss novices can either lose hope or take drastic measures. The drastic measures could be:• Using weight loss shakes or toxic appetite suppressants• Eating even less, or going for many days without food and water• Binging and purging A five to ten per cent decrease in body weight can drop your metabolic rate by about fifteen per cent, says Holly Lofton MD, obesity medicine expert in NYU Langone. That can explain why those last couple of kilograms are so hard to lose. The good news is, once you get to this point along your dieting journey, there are several things you can do to push the ignition on your fat-burning potential.Fortunately, you can use these throughout your path towards weight loss and also as a lifestyle strategy.
One: The power of protein
The metabolism slows down with weight loss because your body doesn’t require the same energy level to maintain size it initially was. Leaner people DO find it more challenging to lose weight – they have less to lose and have quite possibly diminished their metabolism during the dieting process. But then, we haven’t even accounted for the loss of muscle mass during the dieting phase.When you embark on losing weight, one of your main priorities should be to preserve as much muscle mass as possible. To do this, we must strategise the following:• Eat more protein (0.8g to 1g protein per KG of body weight)• Train with weights regularly to keep maintaining and building muscle mass• Watch the intensity and duration of our cardio. Cardio can quickly burn our muscle mass fast – leaving us more susceptible to weight gain.
Two: Keep a close eye on the amount of food you eat
I don’t want this to sound like an obsessive-compulsive habit in the least. However, I’d like to stress that adding this brings up your overall caloric intake. So, when you begin to get closer to the number on the scales, or the body fat percentage you want, it’s essential to become more aware of what and how much you are eating. A good habit to get into is to familiarise yourself with what you should be eating. I would recommend using the visual scale of the size of your hand for different macronutrients. If this doesn’t take your fancy, how about the tennis ball theory (half a cup) or your protein intake (size of a deck of cards). When you think about portions in this way, suddenly you may realise that you’ve been eating quite a lot. I know I do! If you need to refer to a visual display, please click on this link for one.
Three. Save the cheat meals for your post fat loss goals
As much as I encourage (and love) treat meals, I would say, in this instance, to skip it for a while. Sometimes we overestimate just how many calories we expend and talk ourselves into having a treat “here and there.” But, unfortunately, those extra calories to spend aren’t going to do us a lot of good.Everything we eat in a day stacks up. That accumulates week upon week and can keep us stuck on the same spot every time we weigh in.Suppose you feel that you must have something, exercise portion control. Eat a small cube of dark chocolate or some good quality ice cream. For those who find it hard to stop at one scoop, and maybe a lot more susceptible to eating a whole chocolate bar – then avoid this at all cost. But, sorry, you will have to possibly become the type that throws all rubbish in the bin – so it doesn’t go into your mouth!
Four. Watch out for overcompensating your activity levels
I mentioned this slightly in the above point. But this is so true that most of us miss the mark by miles!When we are training a lot more, we might start to let the gremlin of inactivity compensation start to rear his ugly head. He makes us believe that we won’t have to move much during the day (and sit on our bum). It’s a big mistake! Could you imagine this being the one thing that could kill your weight loss goals? Never miss out on an opportunity to become more active as often as you can. Go for a walk in the park at lunch, take the stairs instead of the lifts. You could even walk to work or do some light training during lunch. You are encouraging yourself to move during the day. It helps to eliminate the monotonous notions of our very inactive office settings. When you incorporate more movement during your day, you will create a remote ignition in your metabolism. If you can keep this up during the entire day, soon enough, your weight loss goals won’t be that hard to attain. I love to get on my home treadmill when I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. A colleague of mine hops on her treadmill when she has team meetings. She doesn’t have to talk or show her face; she’s on mute and does some exercise. What a great way to spend 30 minutes instead of losing it to sitting down on your butt?
Five. Be sure to eat enough
Most fitness professionals and I always mention human beings need to overeat — but what about those of us that don’t eat enough? This can be just as damaging to your body, weight loss goals and health too. The lower your calories go, the more your body will compensate by learning to function on those small amounts of calories.Don’t go ahead and slash as many calories as possible – do so in incremental ways throughout your week. The goal is to make this sustainable and lose weight faster to eliminate any metabolism fluctuations. There is no fast race to weight loss. We may and will more than likely, experience some setbacks and slowdown of our initial results. The trick is not to panic and go into complete elimination. Unfortunately, that’s not always the best case. The most important part of the weight loss journey is your soul effort to change your body and life. It all comes down to you, my friend. Stay consistent, be aware of your food intake, and be active as much as possible during the day. You will get there.