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My Weight Loss Has Stopped, Help!
When individuals are looking to transform their body, lose weight, lose body fat, etc., it's completely understandable that these individuals may feel as if they hit a wall or a plateau if they do not continue to see weight loss. So, let's address the issue of a weight loss plateau. Is it a real thing? If so, how can we break through such a plateau? The answer is a little more complex than you might think because it is actually a, yes and no, answer. Hitting this weight loss plateau or not hitting this weight loss plateau is going to be determined by the path that we choose to follow. When it comes to nutrition, there are really only two paths an individual is going to take. They are either going to choose the food fad/diet path or they are going to choose the, eating right path. These are two completely different worlds and therefore two completely different journeys with two completely different experiences. Let's take a look at each.
Food Fad/Diet Path
When individuals choose this path, no doubt, they are going to hit a weight loss plateau. But keep this in mind, the weight loss plateau is the least of your worries as a chronic dieter/food fad follower. No doubt, every food fad and diet out there, by design, is going to produce fast weight loss. That's why it's a diet and that's why it's a food fad. Take for example a low carbohydrate/no carbohydrate diet. Of course, individuals are going to drop weight quickly, and a lot of it. Glycogen stores are getting depleted, individuals are becoming dehydrated, etc. So literally, it's as if the "weight is just falling off." This is temporary of course because once again, it's a diet and food fad and weight loss on any diet is going to be temporary. Because individuals cannot sustain low to no carbohydrates, physiologically, for an extended period of time; they will be forced to eat carbohydrates. Plus, they are going to be craving them, big time. And when someone starts to just simply eat normal on such a diet, look out; because some, all and even more weight is going to be gained right back as compared to what was lost. This rebound effect from weight loss is nothing shy of a guarantee, no matter what restrictive diet someone chooses. Whether it's a calorie restrictive diet, carbohydrate restrictive diet, etc., the rebound effect is looming in the background and is going to happen. Again, it's a diet. So, the answer to a weight loss plateau is an emphatic, YES, when it comes to the world of diets and food fads. But, not only is the weight loss going to plateau, it's going to slingshot right back up in the opposite direction. So, in summary, what is the best way to avoid a weight loss plateau and a rebound effect of weight gain? The answer is simple, run as far and as fast as possible from every diet out there.
Eating Right Path
Let's just jump right to it. When it comes to a weight loss plateau, while eating right, absolutely not. Now, will the weight loss be slower at times than others? Absolutely, that's only normal and we will touch on that a bit later. This is what 9Round Nutrition is all about. 9Round Nutrition is built off of the principles of science and human physiology. This is no diet. This is no food fad. 9Round Nutrition is going to help assist individuals in fueling their body right and setting their body up for great success. When we focus on eating right, we are focused on fueling our body right, immediately upon awakening. We are focused on fueling our body every 2.5-3.5 hours thereafter, all throughout the day. We are focused on fueling our body with the proper balance of carbohydrate-protein-fat, at every meal and snack. Quickly you can see how different the path of eating right is, versus the path of diets and food fads. Diets and food fads are all about restriction. While eating right is all about focusing on the proper fuel for the body and brain. So once again, there is no truth to a weight loss plateau when we choose the path of eating right. But as mentioned above, there is truth in the fact that progress, in terms of body composition change, can and will be slower at times than others. Let's examine this a bit further.
Let's say a female is 5'4" tall, 190 pounds. And her goal is to lose 70 pounds of body fat and to have a goal body weight of 120 pounds. A fantastic goal, no doubt about it. Now, let's say this individual is all-in. They are focused, committed and they are bringing a "I'll do whatever it takes" mentality in order to achieve their body transformation goals. They are working out smart and they are eating right. There's a very good chance that in the early stages, this individual is going to experience some pretty big changes in terms of body fat loss and weight loss. Now, let's fast-forward. Let's say that this individual is absolutely crushing it and they have lost 55 pounds of body fat. They are only 15 pounds of body fat loss away from achieving their ultimate body transformation goal. As the individual reflects back, the first 55 pounds of body fat seemed to come off pretty quickly in the whole scheme of things. But now, with only 15 pounds of body fat to go, they find that the progress has slowed and slowed significantly. Many weeks can go by and they may notice very little, if any change in terms of body transformation. Is this a plateau? In the individual's mind, often times it is; and I completely understand how it can be viewed that way. But we just have to change our mindset and understand that, in no way, is this a plateau. Rather, it is very normal and expected. But here in lies the issue. Often times, individuals don't realize that this is normal and expected and therefore, in their mind, it's a plateau. And that is exactly what we are going to clear up here.
This is just a perfect example of the law of diminishing returns. Let's take a look at the definition of the law of diminishing returns, "used to refer to a point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested." Let's put this into even more simplistic terms. The more body fat we have to lose and the more room for improvement, the results in the early stages are going to be a lot faster. The less body fat we have to lose which means there is less room for improvement, the slower the results are going to be. And this is despite putting in equal, if not even more, time, effort and energy. I can see, on the surface, how this can be anxiety producing for individuals in the weight loss world. But, that's why we have to break through this mindset. Using the example of this female; at 190 pounds, there is a lot of room for improvement in terms of body transformation. Hence, in the early stages, the results are going to come fairly quickly. But at 135 pounds, the room for improvement is much less. This individual now has significantly less body fat. Therefore, she has much less body fat left to lose. And as a result, despite the time, effort and energy she puts forth, the return on her investment (in terms of how quickly she sees results) is going to be slower, make sense?
Let's use athletics as an example. Let's say an individual is significantly overweight and not active. They decide it's time to make some lifestyle changes. The first thing they decide on is that they want to run a 5K race. They feel that this will be a good goal for them to shoot for and it will help them start to develop a healthier lifestyle. Now remember, this individual is significantly overweight and not active. Before even adopting a consistent workout program, this person decides to go out and complete a 5K, just to get the ball rolling. They complete the 3.11 miles in 45 minutes. Over the next few weeks and months, the individual starts a consistent workout and running program. After some time, and a few 5K races later, they are now running a 5K in 30 minutes, fantastic! It did not take long for this individual to take off a massive, 15 minutes, off of their 5K time. Now, is this individual going to continue to take off another, massive 15 minutes, of time in a very short period of time? Absolutely not. And if they think they are, they are just not being realistic. Again, back to the law of diminishing returns. Remember, an overweight, inactive individual, has a lot of room for improvement when it comes to a 5K running race. At 45 minutes, there's a lot of room for improvement and that is why we see such a big chunk of time, 15 minutes, come off pretty quickly. But here's the reality. There's a very good chance that it will take a lot longer for this individual to go from 30 minutes down to 25 minutes, as compared to the first 15 minutes they took off, make sense? Once again, the law of diminishing returns. But remember, this individual is still putting in a very high amount of time, effort and energy. It's just a matter of having less room for improvement, therefore, the return on investment of time will be less.
Let's sum it up. And let's use competitive athletes as an example. Competitive athletes, in all sports, are always looking to improve their personal performances. They put in a ton of time, effort, energy and focus into their nutrition, workouts, sleep, nutrition supplements, etc. And let's use a 5K runner as our example. Is this competitive, 5K runner, always going to set a personal best, every single time they race a 5K race? Absolutely not. The athlete wants to, no doubt. Their workouts, their nutrition, etc., all reflect that. They are putting in the time, effort and energy to do so and that is the goal every time, to set a personal best. But at the same time, athletes understand that despite the great efforts that they put in, they are not always going to knock it out of the park. At the same time, they are not going to get frustrated, dejected, etc., when they don't have the best race of their life. And again, of course they want to, and that's the goal; but, they also understand that that is not realistic. A competitive athlete can be putting in a ton of work. Despite all of this hard work, weeks, months and even years can go by where they may not see drastic improvements. But in no way is this a plateau. In no way does this derail them. They understand that this is part of the process, part of the journey. They understand that they have to be okay with putting in a boatload of time, effort and energy and not getting a massive return, every single time, on their investment of time. I share this with you because this is one of the greatest mindsets that individuals in the body transformation world can take from those in the competitive athlete world. The bottom line is this. We have to be okay with not always seeing weight loss results, despite the huge efforts we are putting in. This is normal. This is part of the process. And it's another huge reason as to why it's very important to have a bigger why, then just wanting to lose weight, (What is Your Why?).
In closing, a weight loss plateau, never, ever has to be our reality. It's all going to come down to the path that we choose. What's your choice?
Workout Smart, Eat Right, Get Results™!
Dr. Rick Kattouf II
2x Best-Selling Author
Sports Nutrition Specialist
Heart Rate Performance Specialist
9Round Nutrition Coach
Named One of America’s PremierExperts® in Nutrition & Fitness
Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year