Monday April 14, 2014

Written by: April Beaty, CPT

I work out and eat healthy, but my weight just plateaus. Why?

A weight loss plateau, fortunately, can be overcome.  The most common reasons for plateaus include:

:: Miscalculating your calories intake.  Weight loss plateaus can be related to eating more calories than you think. Tracking your calories in a food journal is a surefire way to avoid this problem.  Never eat less than 1,200 calories per day (except under a doctor’s care), as your body requires at least that much to function normally. To keep your metabolism steady and to remain feeling satiated longer, eat five or six small meals per day and increase your water consumption.

:: Same old workout routine. There is a common misconception that long cardio sessions burn the most fat.  Actually, weight training can burn more calories, and high intensity training burns the most calories. High intensity strength training workouts with short, intense bursts of cardio or complexes of whole body strength-based movements require more energy and, therefore, burn more calories. Post-workout calorie consumption is higher after strength based workouts than cardio based workouts, as well.  The body has an impressive ability to adapt to the stresses put upon it and will always find a way to burn less and less energy for the same exercises. Most people adapt in 6-8-weeks, so change your workout regularly to challenge yourself, which in turn will increase more weight loss and build lean body mass.

::Lack of sleep and too much stress. Sleep deprivation causes the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that catabolizes muscle and promotes the storage of fat. As a significant amount of muscle repair occurs during deep sleep, try to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Inadequate amounts of sleep hinder your ability to recover from exercise which causes the body to produce more cortisol.  Seek out ways to reduce stress like taking periodic walks out of the office and practicing yoga, deep breathing or meditation.