Not getting the results you deserve from exercise?
Get full details of our Online Nutrition Coaching course.
How To Fix A Fat Loss Plateau
Our recommended approach on How To Fix A Fat Loss Plateau
What exactly is a Fat Loss Plateau?
A true Fat Loss Plateau is where you've not lost any body fat for more than 2 weeks. After this amount of time, it's necessary to re-assess what is going on. However, we also need to be aware that weight loss is rarely a linear journey! Some of my most successful clients have stayed at the same scale weight for week's at a time.
One problem is that the scale weight alone does not provide all of the information required to assess progress. So I recommend using additional tools to track your weight loss progress. These additional tools are especially important if your goal is body recomposition rather than just straight weight loss.
Excess Calories Causing a Fat Loss Plateau:
You've diligently stuck to your plan and you've successfully lost weight - which is fantastic but you are now stuck in a Fat Loss Plateau some way short of where you want to be.
The reality is that as your bodyweight decreases, so do your calorie requirements. You therefore need to periodically adjust your totally daily calorie target to match your bodies new requirements.
During a fat loss exercise, your calorie total should be tapered down in line with your weight loss progress. If you've not done this at all or not done it for some time, it is likely you have moved out of being in a calorie deficit and into a maintenance level - hence the Fat Loss Plateau.
Revising your calorie intake to be approx. 20% less than maintenance will put you back into a comfortable and sustainable fat loss position.
Metabolic Slow Down Causing a Fat Loss Plateau:
This is typically seen in long term dieting or severe calorie restricting diets. I see this in clients that come to me that have been using other common diet schemes (sometimes with initial success which then typically stalls - a long way off the ideal target).
After a sustained period of weight loss, your body will start to resist losing weight. It will start to slow down the normal functions which burn calories in order to reduce the use of calories for anything deemed non-essential.
Whilst this is very clever, it is clearly fighting against our fat loss aims. In order to reassure our body that things are under control, we need to implement strategic refeeds or move to a period of maintenance level calories to reset our Leptin and Grelin hormones.
Not Recording Daily Calories Correctly:
It's very common for people to under record the amount of food they are eating.
Simply mis-calculating food weights or forgetting to record an item all together can cause us to move outside of a calorie deficit and leave us wondering how to fix a fat loss plateau!
The amount of deficit we are looking to implement is quite small (around 20%) so mis-calculating the intake of some high calorie items can easily erode this.
Mis-calculation is likely to put us more at a maintenance level of calories which will either completely stop a loss or make it so marginal as to be difficult to notice the results.
Using Smartphone tools such as: My Fitness Pal or My Net Diary are great ways to accurately record everything that is consumed. These tools allow you to easily scan bar codes from foods or ingredients to improve the accuracy of capture.
Hormones Creating a Fat Loss Plateau:
Correct hormonal balance is very important to allowing fat loss to take place. If Leptin, Ghrelin or Cortisol levels are off base then it can prevent natural weight loss from occuring.
Having each of these three hormones at the correct levels will ensure that your fat loss progress is maintained.
As mentioned in the Metabolic section above, if you have been dieting for a period of time without a strategic refeed or break then it is likely that your Leptin levels will be preventing further weight loss.
If you have been through a period of stress then it is possible that high cortisol levels could also be responsible for preventing further weight loss.
For sustained natural weight loss, the body needs to be in a comfortable state. So adequate time for sleep and de-stressing needs to be factored in.
WANT HELP PUTTING ALL THE PIECES OF THE JIGSAW INTO PLACE!
Our 1:1 Coaching Programs can take all the guess work and uncertainty out of weight control. Why spin your wheels?
Get education, support and accountability to help reach your goals.
Hopefully the above has given you some quick pointers on How To Fix A Fat Loss Plateau and which areas you should focus your attention on.