Maruchy Lachance is president of Running Ninja!, a lifestyle brand for runners by runners. Running Ninja! offers a wide variety of apparel and gifts for runners to keep you happy and inspired while you’re on the run.
After months of seeing results on the scale from your weight loss and exercise routine you’re surprised by a sudden end to your progress, in spite of your continued commitment. Experts call this a “plateau” and here is what you need to know so you can overcome it!
According to The Mayo Clinic, a plateau occurs because your metabolism – the process of burning calories for energy – slows as you lose lean tissue (muscle). When you lose weight, you lose both fat and lean tissue. The notion that overweight people have a slower metabolism is a myth. In general, the higher a person’s weight, the higher the body’s metabolic rate.
Your weight loss efforts result in a new equilibrium with your now slower metabolism. This means that in order to lose more weight, you need to increase activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked initially will maintain your weight loss, but it won’t lead to more weight loss.
Arming yourself with this information, you can now revisit your weight loss and fitness strategies to combat the plateau. The most important thing to do is not become discouraged. This is usually the time when most people who have been seeing a steady decrease in weight begin to give up on their routine.
By understanding that a plateau is a natural occurrence you can prepare for it before it comes. Reduce your caloric intake by as much as an extra 200 calories while also increasing your workouts by up to 30 minutes.
The most important thing is to remain motivated. Your healthy fitness goals should never be compromised by what the scale says. Ultimately, any changes you make to improve the quality of your health and wellness are going to benefit you in the long run. This is why a momentary stall in your results should not discourage you, but motivate you to continue your efforts. A plateau is not a sign of failure, it’s actually an indicator that you have been succeeding and now need to step up your game.
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