At the start of any weight-loss regime, the first few pounds seem to slip off almost effortlessly – which is great. But what to do when those scales stop budging… Why is it that those last few pounds are so hard to shift?
You’re burning less calories When you’ve lost a bit of weight, your body requires less calories to function. 60-75% of the calories you burn are from just functioning, not from exercise, so it makes sense that you use a lot less when you weigh less.
Your hormone levels change Our bodies are pretty clever, so when it starts to notice you’re losing weight, it tries to stop the weight-loss by changing the hormone levels in your blood to encourage you to eat more and exercise less. This shouldn’t be so much of an issue if you are losing weight slowly, than if you succumb to the dreaded crash-diet, but even so, your body needs time to adjust.
So, what can you do to carry on losing weight slowly and healthily?
Measure your weight-loss in different ways If you have been doing more and more exercise alongside cutting back on unhealthy, processed high-sugar foods, you are probably continuing to lose fat even if you don’t notice the reading on the scales changing. This is because muscle weighs more than fat (which is why you shouldn’t really focus on the weighing scales too much!).
Be realistic It’s also worth making sure your weight-loss goal is achievable and realistic for you – if you have more muscle, you should, perhaps, be aiming for a higher weight. Don’t forget, this is about a sustainable, happy and healthy weight – not magazine-like, air-brushed ‘perfection’!
Don’t slip back into bad habits Don’t let your weight-loss plateau affect your willpower to keep going. Make sure you aren’t slipping back into bad habits – are you drinking more calories than you realise? Is your sugar intake creeping up? Are you falling prey to too many processed foods?
Sit tight and be patient Weight plateaus are completely normal. Keep exercising and eating healthily and it WILL come off. The more muscle you build up, the more calories you will burn. So, you are building up your calorie-burning capabilities in preparation for the moment when your body is ready to let a bit more of its precious fat reserves go.
Tagged in Weight loss