You have heard whispers about it. You have heard people complain about it. Maybe you haven’t experienced it yet and maybe you are in one right now. That IT is a weight plateau.
What is a weight plateau?
A weight plateau occurs in sporadic intervals during weight loss. Every person that has lost a significant amount of weight will experience this at some point. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, do not be surprised when it does. It is completely normal. Please read that again….IT IS NORMAL.
Even though it is a typical occurrence, weight plateaus are frustrating. It can be very frustrating to eat on plan and continue regular exercise, but see the same weight on the scale over and over again.
When do they happen?
There is no scientific method to determine when a weight plateau will occur. However, most surgical patients will experience a stall after the liquid phase of their diet. The transition from liquids to soft proteins at two weeks postop will cause a plateau for most people. Others will start to experience weight plateaus more often when close to their weight goal. As the body approaches a comfortable weight (or new set point), weight loss automatically slows down.
What can you do?
Typically a weight plateau will run its course. You might be in a stall for a few days or a few weeks. But there are a few things you can do individually to make sure the stall does not last forever!
- Hydrate. Water is essential. One of the main functions of water is appetite regulation and fat metabolism. If you are even slightly dehydrated, weight loss will stall no matter how well you are eating or exercising. Each person that comes to WeightWise in Oklahoma is coached about proper hydration. Minimum goal set is typically 96 oz (3 Liters) each day.
- Consistency. I say this about 30 times each day to almost every person I see….weight loss is about consistency. If you eat on plan for a few days then have a “cheat day”, you have undone all of the hard work you did. Consistency is KEY!
- Nutrition. Some of us are unaware of how often a ‘cheat’ is slipping in to our meals or snacks. That is where a food journal comes in. Track everything you eat in Myfitnesspal. Are you letting too many starches slip in? Have more fat based foods taking the place of your protein? Tracking will help you identify potential problem areas.
- Exercise. Your exercise regimen might be great, but is it too intense? High intensity exercise can lead to weight loss plateaus. A VO2 test will help you determine your optimal heart rate range for exercise. If you are interested in this test, call 405-359-2473 to schedule one today!
The take home message today is that a weight plateau will eventually happen if you are trying to lose weight. They are normal. But do a self assessment. Look at the four strategies above to see if you can kick start your weight loss a little quicker!