Why Does Weight Loss Plateau?
Everything was going smoothly, you were losing weight consistently and were proud of your progress. But now, you are stuck. It seems like you aren’t losing any weight, even though you think you are still eating right and working out consistently.
So why has your weight loss plateaued? There is nothing more motivationally devastating than a weight loss plateau. Thankfully, it is a relatively normal occurrence and it is not impossible to break through the rough patch and get back on track. Here are a few common reasons why your weight loss progress stops.
#1: You Are Overeating
Overeating is one of the most common reasons for weight loss plateauing. While it may seem like you have stayed on track, it is really easy to accidentally overeat. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is eyeballing your portion sizes.
It can be pretty difficult to tell whether or not you are overeating if you only eyeball your portion sizes. While you may think you have a good handle on correct portion sizes, what you see with your eyes can be a bit misleading.
Learning correct portion sizes based on what you see takes time and practice, so its best to measure everything out until you get a hang of it. Accidental overeating is one of the main reasons your weight loss plateaus, and it is a lot easier to avoid if you know how much you are truly eating.
Better yet, start tracking your calories. Calorie counting is by far the most effective way to make sure you continue losing weight after you’ve hit a plateau.
It is also the most important factor to consider when it comes to losing weight and getting fit, there’s no way around it. In fact, you can get shredded on a diet of twinkies and pop tarts if you really want to, as long as you remain in a calorie deficit (please note I’m NOT advising you do this if you value your health). If you tell me that logging your food is too much effort, you are essentially telling me that your health and goals are not worth the effort.
Weight loss takes consistent effort to accomplish, so you have to be able to put in the work if you want to see results. Calories apply to every individual, period. So when someone tells me that calories “just don’t work for them, it’s clear that they haven’t actually tracked them or put in the effort. So how can you properly track your calories?
- Use 1 of the thousands of calorie tracking tools out there like My Fitness Pal, Lose It or Fat Secret to start tracking how many calories you are actually eating & drinking over the next 7-14 days.
- Take the average amount of calories you’ve been eating & drinking for that amount of time and use an accurate BODYFAT CALCULATOR and BASAL METABOLIC RATE CALCULATOR to see if you’re eating the right amount of calories each day to lose weight.
#2: Overestimating the Calories You’ve Burned
Let’s be honest, most of us are guilty of overestimating the calories we have burned. Its quite common for people to equate fatigue with burning more calories, but that can wreak havoc on your weight loss progression. If you think you are burning more calories than you actually are, that might also lead to overeating.
A major misconception is the amount of calories burned when preforming daily activities, like walking around the office or mall. While you may burn a few extra calories, it certainly isn’t enough to splurge on an extra cheat treat. In addition, the calorie counters on traditional cardio machines are VERY general estimates, and don’t account for your metabolic rate or current level of bodyfat, which can greatly affect the accuracy of those numbers.
Overestimating the actual amount of calories you have burned is one of the most common reasons for a weight loss plateau. The key to overcoming this issue is to be realistic and honest with yourself. You can also try making little changes in your exercise routine that will bump up the intensity and fat burning potential.
#3: Mix Things Up
Getting stuck in a comfortable workout routine is something most of us are guilty of. However, this is another major reason why weight loss progress slows. Mixing things up not only helps keep you engaged, but it is also a good way to challenge your muscles.
Mixing things up a bit helps (especially when it comes to conditioning), but you should also be increasing the intensity of your workout as you progress (how hard you are working, not how heavy the load you are using is). If you are doing exercises with the same intensity now as when you first started, how are you suppose to progress?
Progressive overload is an integral part of a comprehensive, well thought out training plan. HERE IS AN ARTICLE going into a bit more detail on what progressive overload is, why it’s important, and how to make sure your workouts have this element built into it.
As far as exercise intensity goes, a great way to see whether or not yours is high enough is to measure your heart rate. Ideally, it should be about 70-85% of your maximum heart rate. So don’t be afraid to experiment and challenge yourself!
#4: You’re Forgetting the Little Things
It is oh so easy to forget about the little things that have become apart of your diet. We tend to forget to account for the little things that we consume, or the things that have become apart of our daily routine.
Whether its the coffee creamer, the cookie you had on your break, or the handful of potato chips you ate while you were cooking supper, all these little things start to add up. While separately these things don’t seem like a big deal, when added up they can stall your weight loss progress. The best way to avoid this is to keep track of what you eat, even the small things.
While pinpointing the exact reason why your weight loss has plateaued can be difficult, it’s not impossible. It usually comes down to something as simple as accidental overeating or not challenging yourself enough. So try not to fret too much when you aren’t seeing the progress you want, just take a step back and see what you can do to push past the rut.
Interested to find out how I can help YOU achieve your fitness and fat loss goals while still living your life? Check out my 28 Day Fat Shredder Program which has helped hundreds of busy parents just like you shed pounds and pounds of ugly, oozing bodyfat while still enjoying the foods and beverage that they love…
Author: Chris Friesen
Chris Friesen is a gym owner, personal trainer, online fitness coach and former “fat dad” living on 60 beautiful acres of countryside in rural Canada.
He specializes in helping busy parents shed body fat quickly, WITHOUT becoming gym rats OR giving up the foods they love to eat.
In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 kids, sitting in his hot tub out in the snow with a glass of bourbon, and yelling at his (many) misbehaving barn cats.