Have you ever asked yourself this question: Why don’t I take it off?
Probably yes. Because only a few manage to lose weight permanently.
It often fails because a weight loss stop becomes a permanent condition and you give up in frustration and thus gain weight again.
I wrote this article so that this doesn’t happen to you.
Let us first clarify the question of what a weight loss standstill or plateau is: If you have not been able to measure any positive changes in your body for at least 2 weeks (body fat percentage does not decrease, weight does not decrease, etc.).
Only a few lose weight successfully
Do you have any idea how many weight loss attempts made by overweight people are consistently successful?
What do you appreciate?
Does one in ten manage to maintain their weight? Or just every twentieth?
A group of researchers around Alison Fildes and Judith Charlton published an interesting cohort study (observational study based on health data) in the American Journal of Public Health in 2015. Click here for the study.
You have observed a total of 76,704 obese men and 99,791 obese women over the age of 20 from the UK from 2004 to 2014.
It turned out that during this time 1,283 men and 2,245 women had regained their normal body weight (measured using a body mass index below 25 kg / m2).
What does that mean for the probability?
Probability also means that the improbable will occur. Aristoteles
Well, it says this:
- One in 210 overweight (body mass index from 30 to 34.9 kg / m2) men was able to reduce their weight to normal weight during the observation period.
- One in 124 overweight (body mass index from 30 to 34.9 kg / m2) women was able to reduce their weight to normal weight during the observation period.
If the overweight was even greater (BMI over 35), the probability of permanently achieving normal weight was far below.
As you can see, “Why don’t I take it off?” a very important question. The probability of being able to keep the weight permanently in the normal range is namely less than 0.5 percent for overweight men and 0.8 percent for overweight women.
Not much to start with in a motivated way to reduce your body fat percentage and lose weight.
(Don’t worry, remedial action will come soon)
What are the reasons for losing weight?
The good news first: In the vast majority of cases, it is not due to your genes, a slow metabolism or a broken thyroid gland. If you have health problems, it definitely makes sense to clarify this with a doctor you trust. Also to be able to definitely rule out the loss of weight from this direction.
The rationale lies in one of these four areas:
- Mental Training
Are you ready to change? Do you know your why and have you set specific goals?
Are you in a calorie deficit and rely on natural, unprocessed foods as possible?
Do you train your strength regularly and get stronger in the process? Do you train your endurance regularly and get better at the same time?
Have you largely eliminated negative environmental influences – plastic, plasticizers, chemicals, sleep disorders, radiation, etc.? Do you use positive things from your environment such as good apps and cool equipment?
By the way: A weight loss stop is basically not a bad thing. On the contrary.
The plateau signals that your body is back in homeostasis (equilibrium). So he has adapted. Adaptation is what makes our life possible.
Not the strongest survives, not even the most intelligent, but the one who adapts to a change the fastest. Charles Messier
So: First of all, be grateful that it is so.
But if you want to continue to lose weight or reduce body fat, you have to think about how you can get going again.
Plateaus at different times and how you react to them
The real nature of losing weight lies in the calorie deficit: you can only lose body fat if you eat fewer calories than you use. Here I explain details to you.
This equation has two sides: You can get fewer calories from your diet or you can use more calories from exercise and exercise.
If you have already lost a few pounds, for example, you move less mass with each step and thus burn fewer calories per day. If you then leave all other variables (diet, amount of exercise, training, etc.) the same, you will not lose any further.
That was the clear and irrevocable answer to the question: Why don’t I take it off?
But: not every plateau is the same.
Early weight loss: plateaus in the first two months
If you realize in the first two months of your weight loss project – we’re not talking about crash diets, but about real weight loss – that nothing is going on, start again!
Ask yourself in which of the four important areas – mental training, nutrition, exercise, and the environment – you have the most potential to improve. Then implement this improvement and take a closer look.
Calculate your calorie requirement, if need be, exactly and measure your calorie intake. This is how you make sure that you are on the right track.
Medium weight loss: plateaus in months 2 and 3 of your weight loss project
If you have been in a calorie deficit for more than 2 months, your body starts to adapt.
Whether you like it or not.
He becomes more efficient and uses fewer calories for the same activity. He does this because he wants to ensure your survival.
You can of course still use the tips from the 1st phase and simply “tighten your belt”.
But you also have to go new ways. Contra-intuitive ways.
Sometimes in such a situation it is best to increase your calorie intake back to maintenance level for a limited time. You would then eat as much as you consume. This will help you to get your metabolism going again by normalizing your hormone status.
In practice, you do this one or two days a week. So you let your calorie intake climb back to normal and still eat the good, high quality unprocessed foods. Especially when it comes to carbohydrates, you should ramp it up on these days.
This method is known as refeeding or cycling.
Later weight loss: plateaus after losing weight for more than 3 months
If you’ve been training hard for months, eating well, and never losing focus, there is only one thing you can do when you plateau.
It is much better to do nothing than to do nothing. Leo Tolstoy
Well, better said: rest and regenerate!
For example, turn back your training for a week and let your body recover completely.
Or eat as much as you need for a week. Return to the maintenance level of your diet.
The big advantage of this is that you also have a psychological break. Then you can start again and your body reacts again almost as it did at the beginning to the stimuli you set.
How you never have to ask yourself the question – why don’t I take off – again
So far we have kept a bird’s eye view.
I gave you an overview of what plateaus are and how you can react to them in general.
Now we’re going one level deeper.
I’ll show you a checklist that you can use to turn any weight loss stop into full throttle.
Before you do this, you should know that I assume that your basic weight loss framework is in place: Mental training, physical training (strength and endurance), good nutrition and not too bad environmental influences.
I mentioned it above. Unfortunately, the fact that you have to eat fewer calories than you burn is irrefutable.
So when you stop losing body fat, you have to try to get back into a calorie deficit.
You can do this by eating less. Or better: Eats foods with a lower calorie density. More on this under # 3.
Change your macros
By macros I mean the macronutrients proteins (protein), carbohydrates and fats.
Lowering the carbohydrate content in favor of your protein intake can help you overcome your weight loss standstill.
You can then link that to # 1 by simply consuming a little less carbohydrates (especially processed ones).
Improve the quality of your diet
If you ask yourself the question – why don’t I lose weight – more often when eating a burger, you have the problem already found: Improve the quality of your diet.
My favorite point.
It’s about getting the maximum amount of additional micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, trace elements, etc.) out of every calorie that you eat.
The best way to do this is to lower the calorie density of your food. You do this by eating more of the good things: vegetables, fruits, legumes, etc.
Just pay close attention to the processing level of your food. That helps!
Do longer endurance units
In my fat loss training plan I have included endurance units of 30 to 40 minutes in length.
If you are on a plateau, you can increase this duration up to an hour, for example. Be careful not to overwhelm yourself.
With the duration of the unit, your calorie consumption increases and you find yourself in a calorie deficit again.
Do cardio training more often
For example, if you go running twice a week, consider not adding a third session.
Do not do this until step # 4 is no longer successful.
If you are fit enough, you can do endurance training every day. But see it for what it is: a strategy to overcome your weight loss standstill and then return to your normal level.
Do more intensive endurance training
If your runs have been loosely fluffy so far, it’s time to step up the intensity.
Just try to run the same length of time, but cover a longer distance.
To do this, you have to run faster and the intensity increases: you burn more calories in the same amount of time.
Get started with HIIT
I would Not recommended for beginners. If you count yourself to it, first work through steps # 1 to # 6 and only then start with HIIT.
HIIT means high-intensity interval training and helps you to consume maximum calories in a little time. In addition, you can enjoy an afterburn effect, which increases your calorie consumption for hours after training.
You use it for HIIT sprints, but also for bodyweight training.
And of course any other form of endurance training (cycling, rowing, swimming, etc.).
Speaking of the forms of endurance training, maybe you have an endurance sport that you love.
For me it’s walking. There are many good reasons to do it.
If you are not making any progress in terms of fat loss, then you should think twice about switching sports.
This will help you to set new stimuli and thus get your fat loss going again.
In this article you learned that losing weight is not that easy.
Caution: There are even psychological traps.
Nevertheless, it is doable and manageable if you have the right tools with you.
It mainly consists of these four areas:
- Mental training
- Proper nutrition
- Exercise and training
- Environmental conditions
I showed you how to get these things under control.
You also have a nutrition and training checklist with which you can get your fat loss going again step by step:
- Eat less
- Change your macros
- Improve the quality of your diet
- Do longer endurance units
- Do cardio more often
- Do more intensive endurance training
- Get started with HIIT
- Stay flexible
But what happens when you have reached your goal and no plateau in the world can argue with you anymore? Then it’s time to start thinking about new goals. Here you can find out how to do it.