Things have been going great; You’ve been losing weight like crazy. But now, for no reason that you can see, you can’t seem to cut any more pounds. It’s official: you’ve plateaued.
Now you’re wondering: how long does a weight loss plateau last? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to that question. For that reason, we’re going to discuss weight loss plateaus at length below.
What Is a Weight Loss Plateau?
A weight-loss plateau is a situation in which — despite your usual efforts — you are unable to lose any more weight. The cause of a weight loss plateau is simple: you’re no longer burning more calories than you consume. This is due to the fact that your weight has caught up with your metabolism.
See, when you were losing weight, you were taking in fewer calories than you were burning. As a result, you were losing weight rapidly.
But now, your calories burnt have caught up to your calories consumed. As such, you’re not losing any weight at all. After all, you need to burn more calories than you consume in order to shed pounds.
There are a number of factors that can cause your metabolism to catch up with your weight. Some of these factors include stress, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and poor exercise routines.
How Long Does a Weight Loss Plateau Last?
The length of a weight loss plateau varies based on a number of factors. These factors include dietary changes, exercise changes, and the way your body operates, to name just a few.
Whereas some plateaus last only a week, others can last months. The key to getting out of a weight loss plateau is in switching up your strategy. A change in your routine can kickstart your metabolism, allowing you to start dropping pounds once again.
How to Break a Weight Loss Plateau
If you’re stuck at one weight, there are a number of strategies that you can utilize to break through the plateau. These strategies are as follows.
Do Away With Carbs
One way to kickstart further weight loss is to do away with carbs as much as possible. Reducing carbohydrate intake helps to shed pounds in two ways: 1. It reduces appetite, thus ensuring the consumption of less food, and 2. It increases metabolism, thus burning more calories.
Low-carb diets are popular for weight loss for a reason: they work! Study up on a few of these diets and alter your food intake to match them.
Eat More Protein
Whereas eating too many carbs can slow down the metabolism, eating more protein can actually speed up the metabolism. For this reason, if you hit a weight loss plateau, you need to up your protein intake.
There are a few ways to up your protein consumption. While protein shakes and powders are helpful, you should also prioritize lean meats like skinless chicken and red meat.
Up the Exercise Intensity
You’ve been hitting the gym hard. So, from a practical standpoint, there’s no reason that your weight loss should have stalled.
Unfortunately, over time, the body can get used to a specific style of exercise. When this occurs, weight loss can cease. At a moment like this, it’s best to up the exercise intensity.
Not only should you be pushing yourself in terms of resistance training, but you might also consider increasing the pace of your cardio workouts. A type of cardio that’s particularly effective is HIIT (High-intensity Interval Training). This is a form of cardio in which you go at full speed for short periods and then at moderate speed for longer periods, switching back and forth between the two.
HIIT works because it maximizes the heart rate. By keeping heart rate high for a prolonged period, it speeds up the metabolism, thus burning more calories.
Keep Stress to a Minimum
A common reason for weight loss plateaus is stress. The more stress you’re under, the more cortisol your body will produce. Unfortunately, cortisol produces fat storage space, thus slowing down weight loss.
As such, if you’re unusually stressed, you need to find a way to cut down on your stress levels. Some options for doing so include yoga, meditation, and seeing a therapist, to name just a few.
Get Your Sleep
Everyone prioritizes a healthy diet. Everyone prioritizes exercise. But most look past the importance of ample sleep.
The truth of the matter is that you need to get 7 to 9 hours of continuous sleep every night. Failure to do so can not only slow down your metabolism, but it can also increase your appetite.
Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how much exercise you’re putting in. A lack of sleep can render it all useless.
Stay Away From Alcohol
Do you like to indulge in alcoholic beverages? If so, you should know that they’re detrimental to weight loss. Not only does alcohol add empty calories to your daily intake but it might also work to slow down your metabolism.
Not to mention, alcohol tends to increase the appetite, particularly when one is under its influence. As such, it can lead to the consumption of even more empty calories (by way of junk foods, etc.).
So, if your weight has plateaued, you’re advised to lay off the alcohol for a while. Note, however, that even when the fat is falling off, you should still only drink it in moderation.
Undergo a Cosmetic Procedure
One last option is to undergo a cosmetic procedure. These procedures include everything from cool mini coolsculpting to liposuction to gastric band procedures such as gastric sleeve surgery and more. While they won’t keep weight off on their own, they will put you in a more favorable position.
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