I’ve had a lot of people ask me whether a weight-loss plateau is a normal part of a weight-loss journey.
My answer: yes!
What is a weight-loss plateau, anyway? It’s a temporary stop in the drop of your weight. It’s completely normal to experience this during the weight-loss process, so don’t feel discouraged!
What causes a weight-loss plateau? Well for starters, to experience weight-loss you need to put your body in a calorie deficit – whereby you are burning more calories than you are consuming.
At the start of your weight-loss journey, your body starts to lose glycogen (the stored form of carbs in the muscle and liver) because of the need for more energy. Every 1g of glycogen is attached to 3gs of water, so when you lose glycogen in a calorie deficit, essentially you are losing water weight. This is why you lose weight in the beginning – it’s water weight.
When you put your body in a calorie deficit, you also begin to lose muscle and fat. The body burns calories to maintain and build muscle mass, so it makes sense that as you lose muscle, your metabolism slows down (hence you burn less calories). So as you lose weight, your metabolism slows down, which means burning less calories than you did at the heavier weight you started at.
If your burning less calories (because of a slower metabolism) and still eating the same amount of calories as when you started, you will see no changes in your weight. When you eat the same amount of calories as you burn, this causes a plateau. You won’t see any changes in your weight. Hence, the weight-loss plateau.
In order to overcome a weight-loss plateau, you need to review either you exercise (to burn more calories) or your nutrition (to lower your calories) in order to bring your body back into a calorie deficit.
So the next time you experience a weight-loss plateau, don’t feel de-motivated. Either increase your physical activity levels, or decrease your calorie intake.
Keep smiling and move along your journey.