Have you ever been striving through your health and weight loss goals and suddenly come to a sudden halt in your progress? It can be really disheartening, right? Below, we’ll explain the reasons why a plateau might pop up on your health journey and how to deal with a plateau in your health goals, to try and avoid them as much as possible!
Why do plateaus happen?
Our bodies are always adapting and changing. Maybe you have increased your exercise or changed up what you are eating for a while and are seeing great results, and then all of a sudden, those results start to lag.
This is when you might hit what is often called a health or weight loss ‘plateau’. This can be un-motivating especially when you believe you are doing all the ‘right things’ health-wise! But don’t worry – plateaus are just biologically normal and there are ways to shake up your body again to get back on track.
Very commonly, people’s main health goal is to lose weight. If this is the case, one of the most common reasons plateaus occur is if your energy intake no longer matches up with your energy needs. As your weight alters, so too does your daily energy (calorie) need or your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). So, doing your calculation of this number as you lose weight is important to ensure you are consuming the right food to be in an accurate calorie deficit.
As well as this, our bodies simple overall focus is on remaining at a stable and normal level functioning in a state called ‘homeostasis’. This causes our bodies when we do change how we function to work hard to move back to what it knows as ‘normal’. If you have gone from little to no strength and resistance workouts to extreme strength and resistance workouts, there is no doubt this can start off very positively by shocking the body and causing great results. You might find you get to a point though where the progress does stall. It is great to talk to a fitness professional to see if maybe you should move from heavier weights at fewer repetitions to lighter weights at more repetitions, for example!
Our top tips to try and avoid plateaus
- Ensure your goals are clear
Being aware of what your goals are is always a priority with anything you want to change in life. Keeping focused and accountable, as well as being aware that plateaus are a normal part of any health journey is so important!
- Keep yourself a food diary
Making sure you are aware of what you are actually consuming can be extremely beneficial if you are aiming to lose weight. Whether you are counting calories or simply logging the foods you are eating, you are more aware of possibly how much and what you are really eating. That extra row of chocolate or a couple of unnecessary snacks might be your undoing!
- Change up your exercise routine
If you are finding your exercise goals stall, maybe give something else a try? Ultimately, if you are still moving your body and getting in your minimum of 30 minutes movement per day, you are doing great! Of course, certain goals require certain workouts such as weight training. For example, maybe you need a stronger core for your strength goals, so introducing Pilates as a subsequent workout can be a great help!
- Ensure your water intake is up
It is no secret the number of benefits of consuming enough water every day is huge; being about 2.5 litres for men and 2 litres for women! Water aids in digestion, keeps the blood stream liquid to flow throughout your body, carries nutrients and eliminates the by-products of the body’s metabolism just to name a few!
- Don’t go crazy once it gets to the weekend!
It is so easy after being super strict and cautious during the week, to get to the weekend and treat yourself. Which you absolutely should! Maybe just try not to go too overboard. It is not rare for someone to weigh in on a Friday, really happy with the number and then by Monday have the scales show that number is back where it was before Friday! Those few extra cocktails and late-night pizza could be doing more damage than you think! It is all about a good balance!
- Bulk up on veggies
You almost can’t go wrong with bulking up your meals with a whole bunch of vegetables. There is a reason the suggested servings is five per day! Centring your meals around vegetables will lessen the foods that might take up more of your calorie budget for the day, like starchy carbs! One of the longest standing and helpful tools when it comes to creating balanced meals is the plate method. This is where you aim to have half your plate full of veggies, a quarter smart carbohydrates and the other quarter, lean protein! Portion control is a huge key.
- Don’t restrict yourself
If you absolutely love chocolate and make one of your goals to completely cut chocolate out, there is a high chance you will eventually eat much more than you’d like. Overall, this way of thinking is not sustainable or productive when it comes to long term health. Instead, maybe enjoy a row of chocolate each day after dinner. As stated, it is all about balance! Completely cutting something out won’t do you much good in the long term, instead, it will most likely just make you crave it more!
- Check your sleep schedule
Sleep is one of those health saviours for a whole multitude of reasons, other than just getting well rested. Sleep is a huge help when it comes to weight loss and mental clarity, both really positive pluses when it comes to ensuring your health goals are met consistently, and plateaus are avoided. The recommended number of hours that adults should clock up overnight is 7—8 hours per night. You can check out our blog going into more detail on the many health benefits of sleep by clicking here!
- Don’t give up!
If you are doing everything you are supposed to be doing, to put it simply – it will happen! Your goals will come if you really are following your journey to your health goal right. It just may take a little longer than you might have thought. And that is ok! Keep going!
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