Rest assured, you're not alone. Hitting a weight loss plateau happens to almost everyone on a weight-loss program, but it often comes as a surprise, nonetheless. Some people even have weight loss plateau prevention plans but still plateau. At that point, the big question is "Why?" Here are three contributing factors.
1. Water weight loss slows down
It's not unusual that you'll experience rapid weight loss in the first few weeks of losing weight. Part of the reason is because when you cut calories, your body gets its needed energy by releasing stores of glycogen, a carbohydrate that's found in the muscles and liver. Glycogen is partially made of water, so when it's burned, it releases water and contributes to water-related weight loss. But the effect is only temporary as carbohydrate intake fluctuates from day to day.
2. You're not just losing fat
As you lose weight, you're not just burning fat for energy, but also burning muscle. Muscles help keep the rate at which you burn calories up (your metabolism) so as you burn muscle, your metabolism declines. In other words, it will slow the rate at which you use energy from food. Cutting too many calories can work against you because your body will break down muscle at a faster rate. One way to offset this is to eat the proper amounts of protein as well as optimizing your carbohydrate and fat intake.
3. You burn less as you weigh less
The fact is, you expend less energy moving around as a lighter person than you did when you were heavier. The same amount of calories that helped you produce your initial weight loss may now just be maintaining your weight. To continue losing weight, you'll need to increase the calories you burn through exercise and physical activity, and/or reduce the number of calories you're taking in. Changing your routine at the gym is one way to up the ante and burn more calories.
The Downtown Athletic Club of Amarillo is an exclusive, upscale club that can help guide you on your health and fitness journey. The DAC has personal trainers available seven days a week.