Hitting a weight loss plateau can be tough. Feeling like you're doing everything right and still not seeing your body change is frustrating - especially if you'd been previously losing weight.
But don't fear, there are reasons for it - not least that your body doesn't really want you to lose weight. When you cut back on calories, sometimes your body's response is to retain weight in order to protect against what it may perceive as 'deprivation'.
"Your body will then make you feel hungry because it thinks something is wrong and wants you to gain that weight back," says Peter LePort, MD, a bariatric surgeon and medical director of MemorialCare Surgical Weight Loss Center at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
Also, when you start losing weight (muscle or fat), your body's metabolic rate slows down, which means your body starts burning calories at a lower rate, too.
Frustratingly enough, there is also a 'set point' at which your body does not want to lose any more weight, says Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, an instructor of medicine and paediatrics at Harvard Medical School and obesity medicine physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. "You might notice that, no matter what you try, you are always within five to ten pounds of a baseline weight," she says. "When you attempt to lose weight, the body aims to defend its set point, via the brain, to keep you in a certain range."
6. Move more outside of the gym
It’s great if you’re getting your 150 minutes of exercise in per week, but most people spend the majority of the day sitting. And that’s not doing you any favours, particularly if you’ve hit a plateau.
Being active isn’t something that just happens in the gym, so make sure you keep moving to keep those weight-loss goals on track. Even just standing can boost your calorie burn, Dr. LePort says.
It’s also a good idea to add little calorie-burners to your everyday routine, like taking the stairs, parking your car farther away from a shop’s entrance, and doing jumping jacks when you need a little pick-me-up in your day.