Weight loss plateau – what is it?
Let’s say you’ve been on a diet for three weeks. The first week you did nothing but diet and you lost a lot of weight – around five pounds. The next week you dieted and added two or three days of fitness and exercise. You lost three pounds. Week three, you upped the exercise to five days per week and stuck closely to the diet, and when you stepped on the scale you saw…half a pound…gained!
What on earth just happened? This is not uncommon and it can happen at any time someone makes a serious lifestyle change. The scale is not lying to you…you did gain those eight ounces, but it was not eight ounces of fat, it is all muscle. And though you don’t want to watch the numbers climb back up, you cannot panic about this issue.
Why not? You WANT muscle. It is the world’s greatest fat burning machine. The body that has a lot of muscle is the body that burns up a lot of calories and often taps into stored calories (also known as fat) in order to maintain itself.
Muscle always burns more calories because it is denser tissue, and it continues to burn calories long after you work out in order to sustain and repair itself. So, if you have gained a bit of weight after a week of rigorous exercise and mindful dieting, it is likely that you are actually on the right track.
This is not a time to slow down on any of your weight loss tactics or exercise routine. Instead, keep at the pace you established the week before, and try to bump up the amount of effort that you exert during one or two of those weekly routines.
You will see things start to shift pretty soon, and even if you see that a few pounds have returned, if you are seriously doing exercise, it is going to eventually balance out and all of that muscle is going to begin burning up any stored fat.
If you think you have reached a weight loss plateau and the weight won’t budge, it could mean that you are eating foods that are not the most suited to your body and metabolism. Consider adjusting the ratio of macronutrients such as increasing fat, decreasing carbs, and maintaining adequate protein. This is often a good formula for people who exercise and hope to lose weight. If you keep up the efforts, the weight will disappear.