Today, we're going to find out why this occurs and what we can do about it!
Understanding Weight Loss Plateaus
Obstacles to Strength, Endurance and Weight Loss
By Paige Waehner, About.com
Almost everyone reaches a weight loss plateau at some point in their fitness lives. The reason is that the human body works hard to keep energy intake and output in balance. In other words, your body does not like to lose weight (not a revelation, huh?). After your initial weight loss, your progress will slow down and eventually stop even though your exercise and food intake is consistent. The bottom line is that the very efforts you make to burn more calories may eventually slow it down.
Problem 1. Lowering your calories too much
Fact: It takes calories to burn calories. When you decrease your food intake, your body simply lowers its metabolic rate in response. This still allows the body to function properly, but ultimately your body requires fewer calories which creates hunger and prevents you from losing fat.
Keep your calories slightly below your maintenance calories so that your energy and metabolism remain high. A deficit greater than 500-700 calories makes it much more difficult to maintain your lean body mass. To determine your approximate daily caloric needs, use this formula:
kg (body weight) x 24 = kcal/day
kg (body weight) x 23 = kcal/day
note: kg = pounds divided by 2.2 (i.e.: 180 lbs / 2.2 = 81.8 kg)
You can also calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate to determine how many calories you need to function, and then use a calorie calculator to add in calories you burn through out the day and with exercise.
Problem 2. Loss of lean body mass
Fact: Muscle burns fat and losing muscle means burning fewer calories. Lean body mass uses five times the calories as fat mass so, if you lose it, your metabolism drops and your weight loss stops.
Make sure your exercise program is combined with a fully nourished body. You can accomplish this with a diet that creates a safe calorie deficit along with some type of multivitamin to help with any nutrient deficiencies.
Problem 3. Weight loss
What? But you thought that's what you wanted! However, what you may have forgotten is that when you weigh less, it takes less calories to move your body. A loss of any amount of weight will lead to a reduced energy requirement.
Make sure you start (or continue) a weight training program to help increase lean body mass, which can help compensate for the loss of calories.
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