Fat loss is one of the most common fitness goals – and just as it is common, it can also be very difficult to achieve! Whether you’re just starting your fitness journey or are someone who is looking to shred the last couple of stubborn kg’s for a competition, at one point or another you are likely to hit a fat loss plateau.
Working hard and not seeing the desired results can be incredibly frustrating! However, there is no point to throw in a towel and put your regime on hold. Instead, let’s brainstorm some common reasons for hitting a fat loss plateau, as well as effective ways to fix those issues!
1. You are not eating enough
Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? Yet, undereating is one of the most common causes of fat loss plateaus! True, to shred, you need to be in a calorie deficit, i.e. consume fewer calories with food than you burn throughout the day. Following this logic, many people try lowering their intake dramatically – however, this approach can backfire. Our bodies are wonderful at adaptation, and soon learn to conserve energy by slowing down metabolism and preserving existing resources, which means fat loss stops. To then achieve progress, you’d have to create an additional deficit, which at some point will stop being plausible or sustainable. Instead of over-restricting, facilitating a lower calorie deficit and implementing reverse dieting periodically it a much more efficient approach to prevent metabolism from stalling excessively.
2. You’re packing on sneaky calories
If you’re reading this, chances are very low that you’re knowingly eating too much all the time – otherwise, you’d know for sure why you’re not losing any fat. However, it’s quite easy to pack extra calories without noticing! Some of the common reasons include:
- Eating while distracted (e.g. watching TV) which can easily disrupt portion control and mute satiety cues
- Tasting everything when cooking
- Finishing baby/toddler meals
- Grabbing a tiny snack every time you go past your pantry
While each individual occurrence may just be a little thing, these calories can add up quickly! There is no need to be obsessive, however staying mindful and eliminating any sort of boredom eating is a good strategy if fat loss is your goal.
3. You’re overestimating your energy expenditure
This is especially common for those relying on fitness trackers to determine how many calories are burned through the day or trusting the numbers on gym equipment – and then basing nutrition off these numbers. However, fitness trackers can be up to 40% inaccurate when it comes to estimating calories burned!
So, should you rely on energy requirements equations, available online aplenty? Not exactly, unfortunately, as even the best equations are only estimating, not providing definitive conclusions! They can be a good starting point, however from there you need to take responsibility for monitoring your progress and reassessing your exercise and nutrition plans every few weeks. By all means, get help from gadgets and clever maths – but remember that the work just starts there!
4. You’re not tracking your intake correctly
If you prefer not to track your intake, that’s fine – make sure you’re assessing your progress frequently though if you have particular physique goals!
However, if you are tracking, that’s a good area to assess and check whether you’re doing everything right. Some of the most common tracking mistakes include:
- “Eyeballing” portions instead of using scales and other tools, e.g. cups
- Entering incorrect information into nutrition tracking software
- Not checking the entries chosen from the nutrition tracking software, picking “close enough” products without assessing nutrition info, etc
- Confusing raw and cooked weights when measuring and tracking
Again, each of these factors is little, however together the errors can add up very quickly! Make sure you’re measuring your foods carefully, picking accurate entries (preferably verified) and are mindful of cooked/raw weights when creating your meals.
5. You’re lacking rest and recovery
Rest and recovery are just as important as workouts and nutrition when it comes to a balanced health and fitness regime! If you’re constantly stressed and worn out, levels of the hormone cortisol increase in your body, which can hinder fat loss – especially when it comes to abdominal deposits. Likewise, lack of sleep isn’t doing you any good by increasing cravings, blunting hunger/satiety cues, and causing fatigue bad enough to interfere with your workouts. So, if you’re been feeling a bit flat lately, it may be time to give yourself a break!
6. You aren’t being patient
We get emails from girls within a couple of days starting the programs, stating they have been consistent and it’s about time for some results to appear! However, progressing physically takes a long time – so if you’re just starting out, please be patient! We strive to create a sustainable lifestyle change, which may be more time-consuming than following the newest fad diet but is also much more sustainable. Work for it – and you’ll be rewarded!
In conclusion, there are many factors that can contribute to fat loss plateau – and the above are just a few of the most common ones. Stay vigilant, get enough rest and constantly assess your progress – and the results will come. There is simply no other way!
Liz & Team BBR