Understanding The Weight Loss Plateau

Posted 04/12/2013 | By HealthCorps

You decide to begin a fitness regimen in order to burn extra calories and lose weight.  You also commit to a healthy diet plan and combined with the daily exercise, your scale begins to register lower numbers.  After a few months, though, you hit a plateau and your weight won’t budge.  What gives?

(a)   Maybe you’ve started to unconsciously eat a bit more because you’re exercising daily.  The reality is that as you lose weight and “become smaller” you actually need to eat less to support your lighter body, or you need to increase your exercise effort to keep losing weight, especially if you don’t modify your calorie intake.

(b)  You assume correctly that there is also a post workout calorie burn, so you indulge and add extra calories to your post-workout snack.  After the workout, you are indeed likely to burn an additional 6% – 15% of the calories burned during the workout.  If your workout resulted in 300 calories burned, then the “extra post workout burn” only translates to 18 – 45 calories.  Your snack or the fortified beverages you grab probably have significantly more calories.

(c)   You think your calorie burn is higher than it actually is.  The calorie counts displayed on exercise equipment monitors, or the calorie burn that class instructors typically boast about is usually much higher than reality.  Sophisticated equipment is necessary to get accurate calorie burning information.

(d)  You think that your weight loss has lowered your metabolic rate and that’s why you’re suddenly at a standstill.  That is true, but not to the degree that you think.  Extremely low calorie diets will shift your metabolic rate significantly.  If you are following a balanced, low calorie diet and exercising, your metabolism has probably adjusted minimally and you are just consuming too many calories.

As you lose weight, remember to keep measuring portions, counting calories and use an honest assessment of your exercise effort.  When you do hit a weight plateau, consider consulting with a nutritionist or personal trainer to reconfigure you efforts and boost your weight loss efforts.

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