Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. - Thomas A. Edison
This is Part 1 of a Two Part Series
Most people give up on their fitness and diet program when they hit the dreaded weight loss plateau. You have been eating healthy and working out and are pleased to notice some weight loss. In fact, you are thrilled to notice your body getting leaner and then all of a sudden you hit the weight loss plateau wall. The scale stops moving and losing weight becomes such a struggle. This is the point when most people actually give up. They throw their hands in the air and say "it does not work, I failed." If only they tweaked a few things which we will discuss, they would have achieved their weight loss goal.
First it's very important to understand what a plateau is, because it's a completely natural process. The human body is the most adaptable organism on the face of the earth. If you stay in the sun for a little while, your skin will tan. If you continuously keep holding something that is tougher than your hands, you will develop calluses.
The human body's top mission is survival and in order for it to survive it has to keep things on the level by avoiding drastic changes. This means your body will defend your current weight and levels of body fat with resistance by adapting itself and only a vigorous change can break through the body's adaptation. This means if your weight loss has slowed down or stopped, it almost always means that your body has adapted to your fitness and diet program.
If you want to get the maximum value out of your new fitness routine, you will have to change it up by learning to break away your most comfortable habits on a consistent basis. On average, the body will take anywhere from 6-12 weeks to adapt to a new fitness program and the higher your fitness level, the faster your body will adjust and adapt.
Now that we know what a plateau is, it's crucial to get into 2 major errors we might commit to bring about a weight loss plateau. Understanding this might give you the "Oprah Aha moment" and you might not even need to read the rest of the article. First, you have to understand that weight loss is pure mathematics. This is the foundation of most weight loss programs, which means, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Weight loss is brought about by a calorie deficit. You can get this deficit by either increasing your metabolism or cutting calories. Ideally you want a mixture of the two with more emphasis on increasing your metabolism.
A large percentage of weight loss plateaus are brought about by metabolism slow down. If you have significantly reduced your caloric intake, your body will trigger the starvation response. Remember we said your body wants to keep things on the level. If you go on a starvation diet which varies for most people but is usually around 1200 calories, your body is so smart it will recognize you are trying to starve it and every time you eat, it will store the food in your body as fat for later use. So you don't want to starve your body, you want to constantly give it 5 -6 small meals throughout the day, which is about every 2-3 hours you are awake.