A predictable occurrence in weight loss is when the weight loss stops despite continued efforts. A plateau is usually defined as a slowdown of BMR [Basal metabolic rate] with two weeks in a row without weight loss. Weight loss plateaus are common and can be easily explained – and overcome. Don’t get discouraged, keep up the hard work and you’ll be rewarded in the long run.
Here are some keys to overcoming a weight loss plateau.
Increase Your Protein
Research suggests that shifting fat and carbohydrate calories to protein calories may help preserve your BMR during weight loss. Unless you’re a competitive athlete it’s best to stick to ½-3/4 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
One of the best ways to overcome a plateau is to increase your physical activity – including lifting weights. Exercise both burns calories and builds muscle. The more muscle you have, the higher your BMR.
Shake Up Your Routine
Changing your physical activity routine, your diet or both can be a great way to overcome a weight loss plateau. Research shows that changing exercise activities up regularly helps keep the body adapting and burning more calories in the process.
Consume More Water
When we are losing weight, water is generated in the body as a normal part of fat metabolism. This can cause unwanted water-related weight gain. The solution is not less water, but more to encourage our body to get rid of more water and reach a healthy water balance. Additionally, when fat cells shrink they release toxins that need to be eliminated by our liver, kidneys, skin and digestive tract. If we don’t drink enough water the toxins build up and may interact negatively with our hormones and cause increased fat storage. Drinking water also helps us feel full and regulate our appetite.
Increase Your Metabolism
Start your day on the right foot by doing a cardio workout first thing in the morning in a fasted state. About 30 minutes of cardio before breakfast will give your metabolism a boost that can last all day – resulting in more calories burned all day long.
Optimize Your Hormones
Dopamine, one of the feel-good neurotransmitters in our bodies, begins to decrease after a few weeks of weight loss. Dopamine is associated with pleasure, alertness, motivation, attention, learning and concentration. As if that wasn’t enough, dopamine also naturally suppresses appetite and supports weight loss (this is why some antidepressant medications have been shown to be effective for weight loss).
With all the benefits of dopamine it is a good idea to try to prevent the decrease in dopamine levels that occur with weight loss. Regular exercise, supplements and meditation can help keep your dopamine higher.
Boost Your Motivation
Weight loss plateaus can be devastating to our motivation and drive. If your motivation is suffering, get to the root of why with self-analysis. Ask friends and family to offer words of encouragement. Consider going to a weight loss physician. Research has shown that people who have someone supporting them to lose weight – either in-person or on-line – lose more weight and more motivated than those who go it alone.
Weight loss plateaus can be upsetting. But keep in mind that a healthy diet and exercise are worth more than being lighter on the scale. Better sleep, more energy, less depression, less chronic disease, and better self-esteem are all valuable rewards. Keep working towards your goals and you may find you’ve achieved more than you ever set out to do.
Have more questions about breaking weight plateaus? Contact us for more information about our Primex Medical weight loss program and make an appointment with Dr Eric today!
By Dr. Eric Fete, The Fitness Physician, certified bio identical hormone optimization & weight loss expert and founder of PrimexWeightLoss.com & Primex Cellular Nutrition and Fitness [Available live in Ohio or online tele-medicine nationwide].