If you have a substantial amount of weight to lose, more than 30 pounds or 25 percent of your body fat, you may find that the first 5 or 10 pounds come off quickly. This is exciting when you do the math and calculate how long it might take you to lose the rest. However, the excitement may not last for long because a weight loss plateau is more common than not. Here’s why and what to do about it.
When you make a major lifestyle change you often see and feel rapid results. For example, if you go from never working out to working out four days a week you will quickly feel stronger. When you swap your 3x daily soda to water or syrup sweetened café coffee to black coffee the drastic decline in sugar and empty calories can lead to fairly rapid weight loss. However, your body will quickly adjust to your new normal and a plateau is likely to follow.
Incremental changes are one of the most sustainable ways to improve your health so you must not be discouraged. Once a healthy change becomes a habit continue to build upon the change and adopt additional lifestyle changes. As with the examples above, you may go from working out solo to working out with a personal trainer. Or from just cutting out soda to having a personal nutrition plan created for your individual needs. This ongoing evolution is essential to success and sustainability. Particularly because your nutritional and fitness needs will change as you age.
Where most of us go wrong is that we turn to extreme changes and attempt to build a habit that is unsustainable or that lacks the quality required for optimal health. For example, you might think that doubling your cardio time will help to burn the calories you need to further progress—but your trainer will likely suggest more strength training. As always, avoid any temptation to extreme diet and instead opt for a personal health assessment with the goal of creating a diet that supports your health as a whole.
Last but certainly not least, you must consider the often forgotten contributing factors to weight loss such as stress, lack of sleep, prescription medications, and unhealthy lifestyle choices. Your nutrition is 90 percent of the weight loss and maintenance equation. Reach out today to discuss a personalized nutrition plan.