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Did you stop losing weight suddenly?

Himanshu Priyam
Himanshu Priyam
Everything is properly planned: you start following a calorie deficit diet, the macros are right, training is on point, and your results are visible on the weighing scale. This continues for some weeks but then, tragedy strikes - the weight loss suddenly stops!

Can you relate to this? Did you just hit a plateau? Continue reading to find out.

What is a plateau and why does it happen?

A fat loss plateau is basically the state where your body refuses to lose any more fat cells at a given calorie intake. It becomes efficient.
Two factors that contribute to plateau:

Reduced weight: If you started your fat loss journey at 100 kgs weight and now you are 90 kgs, that means you are 10 kgs lighter. Now your body doesn’t need the same energy to do its daily chores as it needed when you were 10kgs heavier. Specifically, it has been estimated that for each kilogram of lost weight, calorie expenditure decreases by about 20–30 Calories/day.

Adaptations: Human body is extremely smart and the most complex machine ever. When you feed fewer calories to the body, it becomes more efficient and tries to adjust to lower calories. It tries to preserve the fat cells as a survival mechanism. This is a major reason for the fat loss plateau.

Indicators of a Fat Loss Plateau:

Some indicators of fat loss plateau are:
✔	Weight: If the weight loss stops and the scale doesn’t move at all, then there is a possibility that you have hit a plateau.

✔	Measurements: The problem with weight is that it keeps fluctuating, depending on your stress, sleep, salt intake, hormones etc. If your weight has stopped decreasing, then the next thing to check are your measurements. If you are observing inch loss, you’re going great.

✔	Pictures: It’s a good idea to take your pictures on a weekly basis, as it helps to compare your progress. If your pictures show that you look better than previous weeks, then you are good.

✔	Fat percentage: It is an important indicator. If your fat% is decreasing even though weight is constant, then you’re good.

Keep a track of all these indicators. If none of them change for at least 2-3 weeks, then you might have hit a plateau.

How to break this Plateau?

Here comes the most interesting part of this article. To break this plateau and start the fat-loss process, there are few strategies that you can use:

Re-evaluate: Check whether you’re following the diet and training correctly. Small ignorance like using 1-2 spoons more oil, eating one spoon from another's tiffin, snacking peanuts etc. could be a major cause. Avoid eating food which is outside your diet chart.

Reduce calories: One of the easy ways to break a plateau is by creating a greater caloric deficit. You can reduce the calories by 100 – 200 calories provided your current calorie intake is not close to BMR.

Manage stress and sleep:  Stress and sleep both have a great role to play in your fat loss journey, as they directly impact the hormones that regulate metabolism. Keep a check on your stress levels and try to sleep at least 7-8 hours on average. 

Increase your NEAT: NEAT is the activity that you do the whole day apart from the workout. It can vary from 10% - 40% of daily energy expenditure depending on your activity levels, which makes it a very effective strategy.

While these techniques could help you break the plateau for some days, a time will come when the plateau will hit again, this is the time when you can use :

Diet Break: It is a short period where you eat at higher calories. You should take a diet break for 1-2 weeks and eat around your maintenance calories or slightly higher than that. A break doesn’t mean you are free to eat everything, you still need to have a controlled diet. If it’s getting difficult to suddenly raise calories, you can try to add calorie dense foods such as smoothies. You may gain some weight but if the calories are around maintenance, then fat gain will not be significant.

Create a deficit again and restart your fat loss journey. 
These are some effective strategies for breaking a plateau. 

Cheers to your health!