Why Am I Not Losing Weight?- 5 Tips to Beat the Weight Loss Plateau

Achieving your weight goal can be tough. When you first start, weight can come off very rapidly, but at some point it tends to stall. This inability to lose more weight is what's known as a weight loss plateau and it can be incredibly frustrating and discouraging. However, there are several strategies that can help you break through that plateau and in this article I'm looking at five of the best strategies. Without further ado, lets get started!

No.1: Track Everything You Eat

Sometimes it may seem as though you're not eating that much, and yet you're still struggling to lose weight.

It turns out in most cases we just have a tendency to underestimate how much we do eat. In one study, obese participants reported consuming about 1200 calories per day, however, a detailed analysis of their intake over a 14 day period showed that they were actually consuming nearly twice that amount on average.

Tracking your calories and macro-nutrients, which are protein, fat, and carbs, can help give you some concrete information about what you're taking in. This will allow you to modify your diet if needed. Additionally, studies show that the act of recording your food intake alone can improve your weight loss efforts.

No.2: Avoid Alcohol

Sorry to say, but alcohol could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Although one standard alcoholic drink contains only around 100 calories it provides no nutritional value.

In addition, many people have more than one drink at a sitting. Another problem is that alcohol loosens inhibitions, which may lead you to overeat and/or make poor food choices. This may be especially problematic for those trying to overcome impulsive, food-related behaviours.

In this study of 283 adults who completed a behavioural weight loss program, they found that reducing alcohol intake led to a reduction in overeating and greater weight loss among those with high levels of impulsivity. Plus, more research has shown that alcohol may suppress fat-burning and lead to more belly fat accumulation. So, if your weight loss has stalled you should definitely avoid alcohol. 

No.3: Increase Exercise Frequency

A lot of people don't want to hear this one, but it's really important. Unfortunately, as you lose weight your metabolic rate slows down. 

One study of over 2900 people found that for every pound or half a kilo of weight that they lost they burned 6.8 fewer calories on average. As weight declines, the gradual reduction in metabolic rate can make continued weight loss extremely difficult. 

The good news is that revving up your exercise regiment has been shown to help counteract this effect. Resistance training promotes the retention of muscle mass, which is a major factor influencing how many calories you burn during activity and at rest.

In fact, resistance training seems to be the most effective type of exercise for weight loss. In this 12 week study, young obese women who followed a low calorie diet and lifted weights for 20 minutes daily experienced an average loss of 13 pounds or six kilos and two inches, or five centimetres from their waistlines. 

Aerobic exercise and high intensity interval training have also been shown to protect against the metabolic rate slowing down. So, adding in a mixture of these workouts or increasing the intensity can really kick start your weight loss efforts again.

No.4: Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is extremely important for good mental, emotional, and physical health. It turns out that not getting enough sleep may be a contributing factor in cases of stalled weight loss. 

One study found that healthy adults who slept four hours per night for five nights in a row experienced an average of 2.6% decrease in resting metabolic rate, which returned to their baseline levels after they slept for 12 hours, and that was just one of many studies to find that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain by affecting metabolic rate and hormones that influence appetite and fat storage.

To support weight loss and overall health you should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night. 

No.5: Stop Relying on the Scales

When you're trying to lose weight hopping on the scale is likely a regular part of your routine, but it's important to realise that the scale may not accurately represent your progress, such as changes in body composition. Rather than weight loss, your goal is actually fat loss. If you're working out regularly you may be building muscle, which is much denser than fat and takes up less room in your body.

So, if the scale weight isn't moving you could be building muscle and losing fat, yet maintaining a stable weight. Now, in addition, you may retain water for a number of reasons, including your dietary choices. However, the most common reasons involve changes in hormone levels that affect fluid balance, particularly in women. 

Lastly, instead of focusing solely on the numbers on the scale, assess how you feel and how you fit in your clothes. It's also a good idea to measure yourself with a tape measure on a monthly basis to help keep yourself motivated when it does seem that your weight loss has plateaued.

And that's all she wrote folks (at least for now I think?). Please let me know down below if you are going through a weight loss plateau or if you have managed to break through. It's been great talking to all of you again, until next time. Enjoy the rest of your day!