Wedding Tracker Plateau?
Kaylin is jamming along at a slim 136 pounds, 1 pound shy of her 20-pound weight-loss goal. As you saw from our last Wedding Tracker, she looks great. In fact, as an onlooker, it seems like she could stop right there. But Kaylin isn’t ready for maintenance mode and, unfortunately that last pound might be a dreaded plateau-in-waiting.
For most people, losing initial weight is a fairly simple equation of calories in vs. calories out. But what happens when they are within a few pounds of their goal and can’t seem to cinch that final, ideal number? Why are the last few pounds the most stubborn and difficult to lose?
Simply put, the body has reached a state of homeostasis. The leaner you get, the more your body wants to hold on to those last few body fat energy reserves, so pulling off those final few pounds of body fat can be challenging even for highly fit people.
Let’s examine ways to get past that plateau and lose those final pounds:
- Instead of stepping on the scale, monitor body fat percentage with skin calipers or electrical impedence.
- Recalculate calorie requirements: now that you’ve lost weight, you may only need 1800 calories instead of 2000.
- Track food intake and control portions. Measure out food with a scale and know that all calories weren’t created equal.
- Track exercise intensity with a heart rate monitor: can your sprints be longer or more intense?
- Add variety to your program: sick of cardio sculpt? Take kickboxing or a jump rope class!
- Have you been lifting the same amount of weight for the last 6 weeks? Time to lift heavier for more muscle recruitment. You’re stronger than you think, seriously.
- Eat more often, like every 3-4 hours to keep the metabolism burning throughout the day and to keep blood sugars from zig-zagging.
- Cycle your calories with a caloric periodization program to trick the body further: If 1800 calories/day is your goal, eat 1600 Monday, 1500 Tuesday, 1800 Wednesday, 1900 Thursday, 1400 Friday, 1600 Saturday, 1800 Sunday. With a weekly calorie deficit of 800 calories and by working off 1500 calories with exercise, that last pound will be gone in no time.
At some point, Kaylin will reach her ideal (and only she can decide when the timing’s right, not me, her fiance or her friends). At that point, we’ll go into maintenance mode and we’ll all congratulate her on a job well done!!