You pinch your stomach and sigh. You’ve tried everything, from strenuous exercise to a strict weight loss diet, yet your body weight hasn’t budged.
You’ve hit the weight loss plateau, which can put a damper on your motivation and make you wonder if your efforts are hopeless. However, there are quite a few ways you can beat the weight loss plateau and reach your body weight goal. Here are five reasons why you’re stuck and how you can get around the weight loss plateau.
Keep a regular sleep schedule
Adequate sleep helps you lose weight. If you’re sleep-deprived, your body will retain, and even gain, more weight. According to Healthline, “Sleep loss has been shown to cause alterations in satiety hormones, feelings of hunger, and can lead you to crave fatty comfort foods.” Make a plan to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day to maintain your body and give it the recuperation it needs.
No matter how strenuous or extensive your diet plan, you won’t lose weight if you’re stressed. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, “A complex interplay of hormones such as glucocorticoids and ghrelin (that increase appetite) and corticotrophin-releasing hormone and leptin (that decrease appetite) has been proposed by other researchers to be involved in the physiologic pathways between stress and weight gain.”
Stress activates your glucocorticoids and ghrelin, making you reach for comfort food and hit that undesired weight plateau. Take a yoga class, get regular massages, go for a relaxing walk, or immerse yourself in creative activities to de-stress.
Frequent snacking on carbohydrates, fatty foods, or desserts will slow your weight loss, even if you exercise daily. According to DoveMed, “When people binge on snacks that are high in energy and calories or take large servings of snacks, they put on weight easily.”
Eat healthy snack alternatives like fruits and vegetables and balance them with protein to lower your hunger levels. For example, dip vegetables like celery into hummus or peanut butter to give you a boost and satisfy your hunger.
Muscle mass maintains your metabolism and prevents you from falling into the weight loss plateau. Your muscles affect your metabolic rate, making you burn more calories throughout the day.
According to a study published in the journal Adipocyte, “This feedback to the CNS (central nervous system) could be via a direct muscle-brain axis through an unknown myokine, although not necessarily a peptide, or an indirect mechanism by muscle signals acting on another tissue that relays satiety signals to the brain.” This means that the more muscle mass you have, the more satiety and metabolic burn you get. Build your muscles by incorporating resistance and strength training in your workout routine.
Determine if you have a hormone imbalance
Keeping your hormones in balance helps you maintain weight and health. For instance, having an estrogen imbalance can prevent you from losing weight. According to Hormone Rebalance Centre, “Estrogen increases fat storage by upregulating certain receptors in fat deposits around the thighs and hips, known as alpha-androgenic receptors which are known to block fat burning.” Check with your doctor to ensure that your hormone levels are optimal.
Block, J. P., He, Y., Zaslavsky, A. M., Ding, L., & Ayanian, J. Z. (2009). Psychosocial stress and change in weight among US adults. American Journal of Epidemiology, 170(2), 181-92. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2727271/
McPherron, A. C., Guo, T., Bond, N. D., & Gavrilova, O. (2013). Increasing muscle mass to improve metabolism. Adipocyte, 2(2), 92-8.