It's usually something everyone who is on some fat loss program goes through at least once during their journey. I know for me it happens and I have seen it with just about everyone I have worked with.
UGH...you have such momentum and doing so great and then BAM!, you're either stuck and not losing anymore fat or you might actually be gaining.
The plateauing usually leads to two reactions.
- You get so freaking mad you start eating EVERYTHING in sight. You don't care, you're just mad. And maybe it's because of this you just give up thinking you will ever lose the fat.
- You start training more AND cutting your calories significantly. Thinking that this is what is going to get you to your goal.
But in all honesty, neither is a good reaction and neither will get you to your goals. I especially don't like it when people have a reaction like #2. This one leads to false hope, because cutting even more calories will help you lose weight (not fat) but then it will come back like a vengeance! And all the extra training and very low calories, will lead to injuries.
So before you react you need to ask yourself 1 question.
WHY is this happening???
I mean, if you're following your fitness and nutrition program to a "T", you should still be seeing a loss right?
In a perfect world, yes.
For me the reason "why" I hit those plateaus (and most everyone who does) is because my body is telling me "HEY! You need to take a break!". I have done this long enough to know exactly why my body is plateauing.
As I have said in previous posts, people who are on perpetual diets, training 4, 5, maybe even 6 days a week and pushing their bodies to the extreme, don't always reach their goals.
You need to give your body a break.
A break from "dieting", or even just clean eating, and a break from training so much.
Take for instance my client Sarah.
For about 3 weeks, over December, Sarah hit a fat loss plateau. Weight wasn't creeping back up, but it wasn't going down either.
She was doing everything correctly.
So we took a step back and looked at what she needed to change.
Her training was great, only training 3 days per week and doing a day or two of light cardio. So that didn't need to change.
Then we looked at her nutrition and decided to change just 1 thing.
That's another thing a lot of people will do. Change a bunch of things and then if it's working or if it's not, they don't know what is contributing to it.
That one change?
I told her to ease up on her nutrition over the holidays. Enjoy herself, but don't go over board.
Just that little change up lead her to lose another 4 pounds!!
Her body was thankful for the change and the extra calories. And then after the new year, she was right back on her nutrition program and is still making great strides.
So next time you hit that ever frustrating plateau, don't react harshly and either starve yourself or sit down to a 24 hour buffet. Instead, take a look at what you are doing and decide to make one change. It may be the right one, it may not, but once you make it and know the results, you can either keep going or change something else.
I wish I could say once you hit a plateau adding calories will help you greatly, but not everyone's body reacts that way. Sarah's body just happened to love the extra calories at that time. We might try this again if she hits another plateau, and it won't work. So then we will have to go on to the next change.
Just remember, all plateaus CAN be broken! It just takes time and patience.