So you may be following a training and nutrition regime to a Tee or just simply eating healthy and getting active but you get to a point where you can not lose any More fat and you don't know what else to do. How can you be doing EVERYTHING right and still not getting results?
Don’t worry! I know the feeling as I have been there myself. And, it can be very discouraging, I know. But even when you think you are doing everything correctly, chances are that you may be missing something small that can be stalling your fat loss significantly.
Here are 9 factors that you may be overlooking that might very well be contributing to your fat loss plateau.
1. Too many calories
Many of us think we are eating generally well, and for the most part, you may be. But many people over consume calories without even realising it. You do need to be in a caloric deficit In order to lose body fat, so if you are consuming too many calories this will make fat loss very difficult.
I would recommend that you track your food intake every day for a week. You can use any app on your phone or a food log. Make sure you add in everything, that is, anything that goes into your mouth including drinks, teas, coffees. I guarantee you will be surprised by how high some foods are in their calorie content. Once you now where you are at then you can make changes from there.
2. Too little calories
Consuming too little calories can be just as detrimental to your fat loss and even more detrimental to your long term fat loss than over eating. When you calories drop too low for an extended period of time, your metabolism will begin to adapt and slow down in order to prepare your body for starvation. This can cause your thyroid to slow right down, which will wreck havoc on your metabolism and can cause long-term metabolic issues.
The most optimal way to help restore and fire up your metabolism from a low-calorie diet it to very slowly introduce extra calories week by week until your get to a higher calorie range where your metabolism is firing again. Females should never eat below 1200 calories and should aim to have a maintenance of at least 1600-1800 calories per day.
3. Too much steady state
The typical cardio we are all told to do is general steady state cardio. This means it is at the same or similar pace the entire time like a run or cruising on the elliptical. Even though steady state cardio has its benefits, performing too much steady state cardio alone will stagnate your fat loss progress.
This is because the more cardio you do, the better your body becomes at adapting to that cardio session. So instead, try adding in some HIIT or interval sessions that challenge your and increase your heart rate up and lower it back down. These short challenging sessions will ensure that you not only burn calories during your cardio session but you will continue to burn fat for up to 24 hours after.
4. Going through the motions
Resistance training is very important to incorporate into your fat loss program for 2 reasons:
- It will ensure you maintain your muscle, which, as I have mentioned before, will help you burn more at rest.
- You will continue to burn fat long after your weight session is over. However, if you are already doing this in your plan you MUST continue to challenge yourself.
Going through the motions will just not cut it. You need to change it up, lift lower reps some days, higher reps on others, and make sure that your final few reps are very challenging each time. If they are not then your weight is simply too light. Your body is very good at adapting so you need to keep it guessing and working hard.
5. Skimping on the protein
Protein the building block of your entire body, without adequate protein it will be difficult for your body to repair and build lean, toned muscles. The quicker muscle repairs the more muscle tone you will have over time which will boost your metabolism and allow you to burn more fat at rest (provided you are exercising of course).
However, eating a diet higher in the protein itself also aids directly to fat loss as protein takes more energy to digest than carbohydrates or fats, which in turn will burn more calories. Protein will also help keep you feeling fuller for longer which will help eliminate those cravings and urges to overeat.
You can consume anywhere from 1.8-2.8 grams of protein per kilo or 08-1.5 grams of protein per pound depending on your activity and your goals. If you are unsure then aim for somewhere in the middle this should be just fine. Remember this is the protein content of food and NOT the weight of a piece of protein. (e.g. 100 grams of chicken breast contain approximately 32 grams of Protein)
6. Cheat correctly
Cheat meals are often thrown into nutrition regimes in order to help “shock” your metabolism, but chat meals can also destroy your progress. Most people go overboard during a cheat and over consume calories which can also lead to a large binge eating session.
That can actually be detrimental to your results. But a calorie boost that is structured is very beneficial. When you eat lower calories your leptin levels will drop. Leptin is a hormone that sends hunger signals to the brain, but also influences weight loss and controls starvation. When leptin drops too low it can make it more difficult to lose fat.
So it's great to add in structured meals or days into your week that is higher calories in order to boost leptin. These days should be higher carbohydrate and lower fat orientated and should be within certain caloric guidelines to ensure that you do not over consume calories to the point where you hinder your weight loss results.
7. You are not managing your stress
Stress is a huge factor when it comes to fat loss. Sometimes we don't feel as if we are under stress but our bodies can be telling a different story. Stress can come from anything such as over training, emotional, workload, busy lifestyle, no down time to name a few.
When our bodies are under any form of stress this can cause cortisol (stress hormone) levels to raise. When cortisol is elevated it can interfere with other hormones in our body and they function, which can stall fat loss drastically. So you need to manage your stress by add in RNR activities daily if possible.
Try some of the following:
- Take a bath
- Read a book
- Deep breathing
- Get outside
- Go for a walk
8. Drink water
You will hear me say this time and time again.. you NEED to drink enough water every day for optimal results and to ensure your body is functioning optimally. Even the smallest amount of dehydration can stall your fat loss because it can slow down your metabolism in order for you body to conserve water. So aim for 8 cups per day minimum, which should be about 2 Liters. Anywhere from 3-4 Liters is fantastic if you are more active.
9. No consistency
Consistency is honestly the key. No matter how you decide to embark on your fat loss journey you need to commit and be consistent. If you continue to change your diet and follow new methods from week to week, or you are “good” for a few days then go off the wagon, then you will definitely struggle to see results.
You by no means have to be 100% perfect because we are all human, but you do need to be consistently on point to the best of your ability in order to get your fat loss goals cranking. So just take one day at a time and keep going from there. If you mess up one day just keep going, move on from there because tomorrow is a new day.