You think you are doing all the right things to lose weight, but you have hit a plateau or the scale might be creeping back up. Before you hit the panic button, evaluate your current methods of weight loss to determine if you are sabotaging your goals.
Your Goals Are Unrealistic
If you have reached a point in your weight loss where you have five or ten more pounds to lose, but you find yourself stuck, it might be time to re-evaluate your goals. Consider having professional body fat testing to determine your actual amount of body fat and lean body mass. Just because you have an ideal weight or a goal on the body mass index (BMI) chart does not mean it is a healthy weight for your body. Remember, the BMI is only a measure of mass or how much space you take up. Two people with an identical BMI may have vastly different percentages of body fat.
You're Not Consuming Enough Calories
In general, you should not drop your calorie intake below 1200 to 1500 calories per day. Although there are many low and very low-calorie diets, these should be reserved for an emergency where the potential benefits outweigh the risks. One of the reasons a significant calorie deficit is usually ineffective long-term is because it is difficult to maintain forever. If you drop below the recommended amount of calories and cannot sustain the calorie deficit, you are more likely regain the weight quickly and may pack on additional pounds.
Many people have a long history of frequent weight losses and regains, or yo-yo dieting. Over time, people who are yo-yo dieters find each attempt at weight loss is harder because their metabolism becomes increasingly sluggish. If you exercise at an intense level, you need to compromise between having enough of a calorie deficit to lose weight, while providing your body enough energy via calories to complete workouts.
You Don't Have Adequate Nutrients
Similarly, your nutrition is an important component of any healthy diet and being overly strict about what you consume can backfire, especially if you do not find a way to add back critical nutrients. If you are not consuming adequate amounts of calcium, iron, protein, amino acids and trace minerals, you will feel miserable. If you are nutrient-deprived, your body will naturally start consuming muscle and bone to use stores of nutrients.
Your weight will decline from atrophy of lean body mass, in addition to body fat loss. When this occurs, ordinary tasks are painful and cause fatigue, and exercising may be virtually impossible. The decline in lean body mass also slows your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight and easier to regain the weight. Supporting your body's lean body mass through adequate calories and nutrition will help preserve your lean body mass so your body will choose to burn excess stores of body fat instead.
You're Exercising Too Much
You can reach a point in exercise where you are placing too much stress on your body and make yourself prone to injury or exhaustion. You should always have one or two days of rest each week to prevent burnout. If you are exercising one or two hours per day, five to six times per week and the scale seems to stall, it is time to re-evaluate your overall weight loss strategy.
Sometimes the scale seems to stall if you are gaining muscle or retaining fluid. This is the reason keeping track of your measurements can be more revealing than the numbers on the scale. Consider changing the types of exercises you do or increasing your intensity without adding time to your routine. Your body can easily become accustomed to your workout and it may take changing your routine every few weeks to keep your body guessing and burning calories.
Setting yourself for failure in your weight loss efforts is the easiest way to fall off the wagon and potentially gain more weight. Being realistic about your goals and approach to weight loss will increase your chances of keeping the weight off for good. For more information on weight loss, contact a clinic like Martin Medical Center.