Motivation is so important to successful weight loss, and when you’re doing well it can be frustrating when your results begin to slow down. But, realize that this is a natural part of any process of change and prepare for how to deal with it. Here is a list of the top 4 reasons why weight loss platea’s.
The first reason you hit a plateau is because your metabolism decreases. While this does not completely stop fat loss, it does slow down fat loss. If you’ve been cutting calories, especially if you cut them severely, your body adapts by decreasing the metabolic rate. That’s sometimes known as the “starvation response” or “Adaptive thermogenesis.”
The second reason is that you need fewer calories after you lose weight. Calorie needs are directly tied into your body weight. One problem is that after people lose a lot of weight, they tend to keep eating the same way they were eating when they were heavier.
So they’re feeding a smaller person the way they were when they were a bigger person, but when you’re a smaller person, you don’t need as many calories, even at rest (your basal metabolic rate is lower).
A third reason is that when you move that smaller body, you’re not burning as many calories. If you strap on a weighted vest or heavy backpack and go out and hike up a hill, you can tell, obviously, that if you’re lugging around extra weight, you’re burning more calories. So now can you see why, after you lose weight, you burn fewer calories?
The fourth reason is that most people either cheat on their diets or they forget to record part of their food intake. This one requires a little bit of honesty with yourself. Even if you don’t do it intentionally and you don’t “cheat” per se, unconsciously, we’re all terrible at estimating how much food we eat.
Some studies have even showed underreporting calorie intake as much as 50%. In other words, you say, “I’m only eating 1,200 calories a day, but i’m stuck at a plateau!” but you’re really eating 1,800 calories a day which doesn’t give you much of a deficit.
All of these reasons for plateaus get amplified in the later stages of a diet, because biologically speaking, your body is doing everything it possibly can to get you to go off your diet and to get weight to stabilize.
After a long period of dieting and after a large weight loss, your body cranks up the appetite, stimulates cravings and tries to trick you into eating more.
The leaner you get, the longer youve been dieting and the more aggressively you cut calories, the more your body tends to defend its weight, and hold on to remaining body fat.
So it’s really common to hit that plateau when you’re dieted down and leaner. Usually it’s nowhere near as difficult for the overweight person to start losing weight as it is for the lean person to get even more lean. The last 10 lbs is usually a lot harder than the first 10.
If you think about it, it’s pretty unnatural from a biological perspective to walk around with really low single-digit body fat. It’s not beneficial from a survival-of-the-species point of view to have low body fat. So this metabolic adaptation becomes more pronounced the leaner you get.
you’re also at a higher risk of losing muscle, because extra muscle is not econmical when there’s a calorie shortage. Having extra muscle is like having an engine that’s bigger than you need – It’s like a gas guzzler.
The ultimate answer to why you plateau, why that last 10 pounds is so hard to lose and why it’s hard to break into those single digits is that you were in a calorie deficit but for all of the reasons mentioned above, you’re no longer in deficit.