Weight Loss Plateau (Part 1)

Time to tackle the topic I get asked about the most.. weight loss plateaus!

I’m going to split this week’s topic into two separate posts because it is A LOT to understand and digest.

But it’s important we talk about this because I see this happening with my students in Flexible Eating 101 all the time.

A few weeks into losing weight, the weight loss stalls. And they automatically tell me, Ravleen.. I hit a plateau.

And 99% of the time, they actually did not.

So let’s talk about why they think they did but how I know they did NOT.

First things first.. what is a weight loss plateau?

As you’re actively trying to lose weight, you eventually notice that your weight loss stalls, despite feeling like you’re in a calorie deficit and doing everything right.

The scale is just not moving anymore.

This is a real thing and can happen as you’re losing weight.

It happens because your metabolism slows down.

As you’re losing weight, your body gets lighter.

When you’re lighter, your body requires fewer calories to function.

Say you were 40 lbs heavier a few months ago. Carrying a 40 lb backpack of rocks all day = more calories burned because it takes more energy/calories to carry that weight around.

Now that you’re not carrying a 40 lb backpack of rocks around, your body requires less energy and movement becomes a bit more effortless.

The calorie deficit you initially were on is now your calorie goal for weight maintenance. That’s why you’re hitting a plateau.

But please remember, it generally takes an individual on average 3-6 months of actively losing weight to actually hit a plateau. This equates to about 20 lbs of weight loss or more.

So how do I know most of my students did not yet hit a plateau? I know because it usually hasn’t been 3-6 months of losing weight or they only lost 5-15 lbs so far and this is not yet significant to actually be in a true plateau.

So what’s happening to these students who think they are hitting a weight loss plateau but actually likely are not?

They aren’t tracking calories correctly. Somewhere, the calories are adding up without them realizing it.

Maybe it’s the mindless snacking that increased. Or maybe takeout is being ordered several times a week now. Or weekends are becoming a bit more carefree. Or the two glasses of wine are turning into four.

Or it can be exercise.

Maybe they aren’t hitting their exercise goal as consistently. Or their steps have decreased.

Or maybe it’s a combo of calories & exercise that is preventing them from losing further weight.

Something changed with their eating/exercise regimen without them being aware of it and that’s why they think they are in a plateau when they actually likely are not.

This is golden to know because getting over a weight loss plateau is not an easy thing. I want my students to 100% know for SURE they are in a plateau before we proceed with the next steps.

Next week, we’re going to talk all about the golden rule I created to actually know you’re hitting a weight loss plateau and then how to actually get over the hump!

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@bruno_nascimento

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