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Health and Fitness News

A Pause in Weight Loss

Frustrated at your lack of weight loss? Here’s what may be the cause.

You’re depriving yourself of all your favorite foods and you’re sweating it out at the gym several times a week, so why aren’t you seeing the results you hoped for? Maybe you experienced initial weight loss but now things have slowed down and the pounds are taking longer to come off. A stall in weight loss can be a very frustrating experience. There’s even a name for it—a weight loss plateau. As you stand on this plateau, you wonder what you’re doing wrong and even consider giving up all together. Why the sweat and tears if nothing’s working?

Don’t give up. Whether it lasts for a few days or several weeks, slamming up against a plateau is a normal part of the weight loss journey for most people. Sometimes all it takes is a little more time, patience, creativity, and hard work.

Read on to learn four possible causes for stalled weight loss and what to do about them.

1. Water Weight

It may sound strange, but your initial weight loss success was likely water weight. When you begin cutting calories, your body turns to its energy stores of glycogen found in the liver and muscles. Glycogen contains water and as it’s used for energy, it leaves behind the water to be flushed out by the body. As a result, you experience quick weight loss and motivation to keep at it!

Unfortunately, this loss only lasts so long. Then you’ve got to find new ways to shed pounds.

2. Declining Metabolism

While you’d prefer to only lose fat cells, weight loss often means losing muscle along with the fat. The more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism (the rate your body burns calories). So, losing muscle means slowing your metabolism and slowing the rate you lose weight. When your calorie burn slows to match the number of calories you eat, your weight loss plateaus.

Fight this effect by doing weight-training exercises to build and maintain muscle. You may also need to lower your calorie intake and increase the length or intensity of your workouts to keep up with your slower metabolism. Don’t worry, it’ll catch up soon and you’ll begin to see results again.

3. Turning Lazy

Another reason your weight loss may have stalled is because your initial fire has started to flicker. When you first made the decision to lose weight, you set the standards high. No carbs, no desserts, and an hour of exercise every day, but strict rules are hard to stick with for long. Chances are you’ve let yourself cheat a few times and have gotten a little lazy in your efforts. Maybe you’ve been sleeping in on the weekends and skipping your workout or perhaps you’ve let your portion sizes build back up again. It’s time to reevaluate and recommit to a weight loss plan.

4. Your Body’s Adapted

Some people face a weight-loss plateau because they do the same workout every day. They step on the treadmill and jog the same distance at the same pace. In the beginning any exercise was a challenge, but now that you’re in better shape, your muscles aren’t working as hard and they don’t burn as many calories. It’s time to step things up a notch. Each week, plan to increase the intensity of your workout. Change things up by trying new workouts. Work with your trainer to develop a new challenging workout routine every few weeks.

With these steps, you’ll leave that plateau in the past as you burn calories like a pro!