We all know how frustrating it can be when after weeks or months of weight loss success we reach a period, where no matter what you do the kilos just won’t shift. These plateau periods are a normal experience and can last several weeks. However, with a few tweaks and changes you can break through this plateau and get back on track.
Our bodies get used to what we do and become efficient at burning energy. As you become fitter, your body adapts and eventually uses less energy to do the same activity. You will notice you won’t have as many gains in your fitness level or strength if you continue to do the same activities.
How to challenge your body:
- Increase the frequency of your activity
- Up the intensity of your activity
- Increase the time you spend doing activity
- Introduce new types of activity
Chronic sleep deprivation can influence levels of hormones that control appetite.
- Leptin: A hormone that is released by fat cells that signals satiety – it tells the brain that we are full.
- Ghrelin: A hormone secreted by the stomach that stimulates appetite – it tells the brain that you are hungry.
During chronic sleep deprivation, leptin levels have been shown to decrease and ghrelin levels increase. The combined effect could be an increased appetite and over consumption of food.
There are also other factors that could have an impact on your weight:
- Increased hours awake and more opportunity to eat
- Increased fatigue leading to decreased physical activity and less energy expenditure
So, we say get your 8 hours a night!
People who keep track of what they do are more successful with making changes in their lives.
Writing down what you do could help you realise things that you are doing that you didn’t realise are contributing to your plateau.
- Record everything you eat and drink: all food and beverages you put in your mouth needs to be recorded, everything counts! Then look at where you could eat less, or eat something different. The same goes for beverages.
- Record your activity: Every time you exercise write the type of activity, the time you spent doing it and the intensity level. Then refer to activity suggestions above and change/increase it with one of the options.
The scales are only one way of determining success in weight loss. Measurements are another.
You may be in a plateau on the scales but your body shape may be getting smaller and tighter, only measurements will show you this.
Taking measurements will give you a complete picture of your weight loss.
- Measure yourself in at least 2 different areas to give you an overall guide, more if possible (eg. Bust/Chest, Waist, Stomach, Hips, Thigh, Arm)
- Re-measure every 4 weeks, at the same time of day, ensuring you chart your results
- Wear light clothing to measure
Don’t underestimate water in your attempt to break your plateau.
- Are you drinking 1.5L to 2L a day? (More when you are active, or if you live in a hot climate.)
- Sometimes your body can confuse thirst with hunger, so if you are feeling hungry, check your water intake.
Water carries nutrients to the cells in your body and helps excrete waste. It also helps with digestion and is a great energy booster.
So, in short, water may help you eat less and exercise more to assist in breaking your plateau!
For more tips to help you stay on track click here.