A diet plateau is an unavoidable obstacle for every diet. It doesn’t matter if it’s low carb, high fat, juice or detox diets. They all struggle with plateaus.
It’s because a plateau isn’t due to bad diet structure. It’s the result of a successful adaption by your body. Here’s how to break a diet plateau with a few simple daily adjustments to your eating habits.
What Is A Diet Plateau?
A diet plateau is when you stop losing weight after a consistent period of weight loss. When you start a new diet there will always be “low hanging fruit”, in a sense, that leads to a quick drop in weight.
After this initial period, the weight loss stops even though you’re diligently following your diet plan.
Why It Happens
Your body is constantly adapting to your behavior. This includes both diet and exercise. The weight loss you experience while dieting is your body burning body fat to use for energy due to a lower calorie consumption.
You will continue to adapt and burn body fat, until you reach a state of equilibrium. You stop burning excess body fat, to utilize for energy, because it’s no longer a necessity.
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Maintenance Calorie Range
A good way to visualize why your body stops adapting to your diet is by thinking in terms of maintenance calorie ranges. Your current body weight requires a specific range of calories just to maintain weight.
If you weight 150 pounds you’d likely need 1800-2000 calories just to maintain this weight. You wouldn’t gain or lose weight. You’d stay at 150 pounds in this range.
A diet essentially lowers the maintenance range. If you lower your range to 1600-1800, your body will adapt and burn excess body fat until you reach equilibrium between current body weight and calories needed.
Once your body weight drops to around 140 pounds you would essentially plateau and stop losing weight. Your body doesn’t need to adapt to anything anymore.
You’ve reached the desired state of equilibrium between calories consumed and current body weight.
That’s the plateau in a nutshell. To continue losing weight you would need to influence your body to adapt once again.
See Also: How to lose weight if over 200 pounds
What To Do Next
If you’ve reached a diet plateau, but you’d like to lose additional weight you’ll need to adjust your diet and behavior with the following.
Adjust Calories Consumed
The most obvious solution to breaking a diet plateau is to lower your calories consumed. Don’t make the mistake of slashing your calories by 50% in an effort to kick-start weight loss.
A simple, progressive reduction of 10-15% is all you’ll need. When the weight loss slows once again, re-evaluate your current maintenance range and adjust further.
Adjust Diet Content
Everyone reaches a point where it’s no longer feasible to continue reducing calories. It becomes unsafe, and makes you miserable and tired all day. If you’re close to your limit of a healthy calorie restriction you can influence body fat by changing the content instead of just slashing calories.
Here’s some changes you can make:
– Reduce Sugar
– Reduce Total Daily Carbs
– Less White Flour
– Reduce Dairy
– Increase Protein
– Increase Whole Vegetables
– Drink More Water
The final option is to increase your physical activity in an effort to increase your daily calorie deficit and burn excess body fat. If lowering calories is no longer an option, and you’ve made all the changes to diet content, the only difference maker left will be to burn more calories with cardiovascular exercise.
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