Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus: Effective Strategies and Insights
Hitting a wall and stagnating is a pretty common experience for anyone that’s attempted to lose fat and weight before. Oftentimes, this can even result in a "Yo-Yo" effect, as you quickly regain all the weight lost before! How can we avoid this from happening?
First of all, let’s discuss what causes stagnation and the Yo-Yo effect.
When you begin a limited-calorie diet, weight loss occurs fairly quickly but most of the time it will stop after a certain point. Due to physiological survival instincts hardwired into our bodies, when it realizes the amount of calories consumed is lower than expended, it has a tendency to enter “starvation” mode, much like your typical smartphone might enter “low power mode” after battery power is too low.
Once your body enters this “starvation” mode, the brain essentially starts firing SOS signals at your body demanding more calories, increasing the sense of hunger and appetite, and it’s very easy to overeat and regain weight and fat to compensate for the previous caloric deficit.
So how can we stop this from happening and erasing progress?
An important factor is to avoid reducing calorie intake by too much, to the point where your body enters starvation mode! Once you know your Total Energy Expenditure (calculated using your activity level and Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which you can get from a Body Composition Scale), you simply need to make sure you consume fewer calories than that. If your TEE is 2500, there’s no need to limit yourself to 1500 calories and compel your body to enter starvation mode! Maintaining a consistent calorie consumption level of 2200-2300 calories is much more feasible long-term, and you will still see progress towards your goal.
In addition, strength training to increase muscle mass is an important factor in long-term weight loss, as more muscle will increase your BMR, thus increasing the amount of energy your body naturally expends each day, making it harder to overeat.