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Training and diet hacks to break weight loss plateau
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Training and diet hacks to break weight loss plateau

Be it any weight loss program, the body adapts to the diet and exercises over time, slowing the reduction in body weight to a halt, say experts

Shedding those extra pounds healthily is an elaborate process that involves planning not just the exercise routines but also diet, rest, and other aspects of training. Once you begin the weight loss program, the initial days are bound to provide great results. However, However, over a few months, most go through a phase when the reduction in body weight slows down or stops altogether. You would have hit a weight loss plateau, something you can overcome with minor tweaks.

“I would say that around 70% of people in their weight loss journey experience a plateau and sometimes they are unable to understand the exact cause for this, which leads to further frustration,” says Rishi Jethwa, an ACE-certified fitness trainer from Ahmedabad.

One of the major reasons for a weight loss halt is the body getting accustomed to the intensity or type of physical activity/exercise and diet. It is important to bring progression in the activity to overcome this.

“Plateau occurs when the intensity of the workout or the diet remains the same over a period,” explains Jethwa. “Let’s say when a workout becomes monotonous and the body gets accustomed to a certain fitness routine, the results stop showing up. This is also seen in general fitness as well.”

How to break a weight loss plateau

From a workout point of view, ensuring periodic progression in the exercise routine is the first step. “If the workout becomes monotonous then the results are not seen,” says Jethwa. “There needs to be a periodic progression where the intensity of the workout needs to be changed along with the type of the workout.”

Ideally, changes should be made in the workout pattern every 35-40 days. However, do not step up the intensity of the workouts indiscriminately.

“It is a myth that a faster result will be achieved by doing more,” elaborates Jethwa. “Sometimes people either increase their workout duration or the intensity without understanding the science behind the weight loss plateau. By doing so, there would be more adverse effects, including chances of injury, rather than any benefits.”

Diet and weight loss plateau

“Weight loss is brought by a net calorie deficit diet,” says Ansa Saju, a sports and preventive nutritionist from Kochi, Kerala. “For breaking any kind of plateau, diet is as important as a workout or any other parameter. To get the desired results, the macronutrients need to be adjusted. An individual who is trying to break the plateau attempts either by modifying the calorie intake or by modifying the timings of the food.”

According to Saju, whenever a diet is planned, initially fat reduction and maintenance of muscle mass are the targets. And as it progresses, the principle of diet will also change. Initially one looks at a calorie deficit diet while also maintaining the required nutrients. But once the person reaches a mid-point where the desired weight is attained, then things need to be changed to a sustainable and effective diet.

“There is a scientific theory known as the set-point theory: if one reduces the calorie intake, the body will also reduce its energy expenditure,” says Saju. “And just like physical activity the body gets accustomed to a certain routine that needs modification. Similarly, if someone is on a low-calorie diet, the body will eventually start getting used to the low-calorie intake.” And as the body gets accustomed to the low calorie, a weight loss plateau can set in.

To break this pattern, certain modifications to the calorie intake like a restrictive feeding pattern can help in achieving sustained results.

Common mistakes to be avoided during the weight loss journey

As per both Jethwa and Saju, people fail to understand the science behind weight loss plateau and out of frustration they either leave the routine or else through their own volition or from the advice of their friends or acquaintances, resort to various means to deal with the plateau, including adopting intermittent fasting, consuming fat burners, and getting into different dietary systems like the keto diet. This is invariably done without understanding the purpose and science being such diets. This could lead to many health implications.

Apart from workouts and diet, focusing on other lifestyle-oriented aspects like managing stress and sleep cycles is also important to counter or break a weight loss plateau.

Takeaways

  • During the weight loss journey, the body may get accustomed to a certain workout routine and diet pattern, hitting a weight loss plateau.
  • To break the plateau, it is important to bring in a variation to not only the exercise routine but also the diet.
  • In terms of workout routine, it is advisable to go for a modification in the schedule every 35-40 days.
  • For diet, certain changes to the calorie intake or the feeding pattern can be incorporated.

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