• Joshua Li

4 Reasons Your Weight Loss Has Plateaued


Losing body fat can be tricky. When you start your journey, motivation is high, you’re devoid of hunger and everything goes as per plan. One minute your numbers are dropping nicely and then everything starts to become harder and hunger starts to creep in. So why was that initial weight loss so easy and then a few weeks in it is starting to slow down? Here are a few possible reasons why.

1. You have lost fat… but also a lot of water

It’s common to lose a significant amount of weight at the beginning of a low carb diet. This could result in a rapid weight loss of 4, 5 or even 10 pounds. This might seem like worrying drop in weight… not always.

It is all related to glycogen stores and the association between carbs and water retention. For each gram of glycogen you hold 3-4 grams of water. So, when the body burns through the dietary carbohydrates and into the glycogen stores, the water connected to the glycogen being used up is lost… in other words it would be “losing water weight”.

What to do: Be aware that the initial weight loss might come easy and consist mainly of fat-free mass. Just know that the weight loss will likely slow down somewhat after this initial period. However, if you are in an intelligent calorie deficit, weight loss from now on will consist of a larger proportion of fat.

2. Metabolic adaptation – your body isn’t burning calories at the same level as it previously was

It is easy to assume that if you lose weight eating a certain number of calories, then you will continually lose weight if you stick to the same plan. However, as you lose weight your energy expenditure decreases - a lighter body requires less energy to move around. It is estimated that with every kilogram of body weight gone, there is a decrease in energy expenditure by 20-30 calories per day.

What to do: Weight loss always comes down to calories in vs calories out, meaning you must either increase your overall movement or decrease the number of calories you are consuming. *Remember – quality of those calories is important for physique development. Ensure you are consuming high quality food sources.

3. You are eating more than you think

After a couple weeks of being completely compliant to the diet, some cravings and hunger start to creep in, leading to the occasional snack or meals that aren’t apart of the plan. This is not surprising since weight loss comes with hormonal changes - hunger hormones increase and satiety hormones decrease. Some habits that can hinder further weight loss include snacking, not accounting for calorie-dense ingredients that you might not always notice.

What to do: Hold yourself accountable by logging your food. MyFitnessPal is a great way to be aware of your daily intake and discover foods that may be more calorie dense than your expected. Have your meals planned with some snacks that will satisfy your cravings without going over your set calories.

4. Sleep

Lack of sleep is a stressor on the body and it can also increase the likelihood food consumption. When you are overtired and not prepared it is always easy to reach for the most convenient foods which usually tend to be off the plan. Not getting enough sleep can be detrimental for recovery as well. After training your body needs all the right tools to help rebuild, maintain and prepare you for your next session.

What to do:

  • Make sleep a priority by having a relaxing routine before going to bed.

  • Take a magnesium supplement 30 min before bed to help get in a relaxed state.

  • Avoid electronic screens (blue light)

  • Aim for 7-8 hours of good quality sleep per night

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