If you’ve lost a significant amount of weight or followed a weight loss plan for a period of time, you know that even if you continue to follow the plan perfectly, most people will hit a plateau in about 6 months. This happens because your body, as intelligently created as it is, learns to adapt to what it has been doing and no longer responds as it did before.
It is recommended that for every 10% of your body weight lost, you consume approximately 20% fewer calories if you want to continue losing weight. At a certain point, if you just kept doing this, you would feel hungry! You can only reduce the amount of food before it becomes counterproductive.
You want to continue burning fat and building muscle, as muscle is more metabolically active and will keep your metabolic rate high enough that you don’t have to reduce the amount of food you eat so drastically.
Another adjustment that you may find helpful is increasing your protein intake to minimize muscle loss. Protein is also more satisfying, so you’ll feel more satiated. When looking to continue weight loss, you may want to increase clean protein to about 25% of your total caloric intake.
Also keep in mind that your body becomes more efficient as you do your regular workouts. Add to that the fact that you expend less energy to do the same exercise as you lose weight, resulting in fewer calories burned. I always recommend that you change your exercise routine every 3 or 4 weeks: frequency, time, type of training or intensity. Keep your body guessing and it will answer. Many fitness experts believe that “confusing” your muscles by varying your exercises from one strength session to the next adapting to ever-changing demands, thereby improving growth and strength and allowing you to avoid stagnation.
While I’m on this muscle confusion topic, let’s talk grooves. Maybe you stick with the show but you feel unmotivated. Sounds like routine to me. We all like a little variety. Well, I think that changing things, both in your exercise routine and with your diet, can shake things up and renew your motivation, as well as get your body responding again.
You can change your meals. I mention several ways to do this in Today is Still the Day, in the last section, such as the progression principle and the carb cycle. You can try intermittent fasting and switch fasting windows, doing a 16/8 window for a few days or a week and then doing a couple of 14/10 days and maybe a 20/4 day. Your body remains amazed and nothing will get you out of a rut better than seeing your body respond again. With intermittent fasting, make sure you don’t eat less, just eat less often. Also make sure a meal in your eating window is substantial enough to make you feel full so your body knows you’re not starving. Otherwise, it defeats the purpose and your body will retain the fat instead of burning it.
Do you have a preferred way to get past a plateau or avoid a diet / exercise routine?