Do I believe that fat loss has plateaus? Yes….and no. I do think that we do have plateaus when it comes to fat loss. I don’t however think it’s due to the fact that our actually caloric intake and fat burning metabolism has stalled. I think however we do plateau in our skill sets to keep us going on our fat loss journey.
Fat loss is not linear by any means. No matter how much you workout, how perfect you eat and how disciplined you are, you will never just continuously lose 1 or 2 pounds a week indefinitely until you reach your goal. There are way too many things to take in to the equation from sleep, stress, hormones, types of foods, etc. Fat loss is more like a roller coaster, it will have small ups and downs, followed by big drops and high rises but over a spectrum of time you will see change.
What I have learned in my journey towards my personal goals and with working with hundreds of people consistently trying to lose weight is that what got you here, will not get you there. Let’s us an example of a 200 pound person. They change their eating habits a little bit in terms of drinking more water, taking their supplements, and exercise 2x/week. They drop 10 lbs. But then they struggle at that point and can’t make any more progress. They aren’t going backwards either though. So has their fat loss hit a plateau? Nope, it’s just their habits and skills sets have gone as far as they can take them at this point, now it’s time for a skill upgrade.
Next they add in vegetables at each meal and work on getting 10k steps in a day. Their weight loss starts happening again and they drop another 10lbs over the next 2 months. Awesome, they added two new habits/skills and boom the weight started moving again. Then they hit another snag. Even though these current habits are very consistent for them, they just can’t seem to lose any more weight. Time for another skill upgrade. Let’s add in meal planning and meal prepping each week. Four months later they are down 20lbs more pounds!!! These habits allowed them to not plateau as quickly because they are keystone habits that have a huge impact. The important part however is they had to be ready for these habits though. By starting out with some more simple habits in the beginning, ones that didn’t take a lot of effort they got the ball rolling. Over a few months they had built in a nice foundation of habits that improved their health. They started to get really good at these skills and with the weight changing they started to really buy into the fact that they can change. They realized that even though they always believed they were the one person that weight would never come off of they actually were wrong, it just took time and consistency. So now that they have proof that it does work for them, they were ready to buy in fully by taking control of the aspects they really truly could control. Their prepping, planning and logging because then with control of these parts they didn’t have as many excuses.
See it wasn’t really a plateau in fat loss. It was a plateau in habits/skills. Every time we hit a road block, we start to build up these mental barriers and start creating this list of excuses why it happens. When in all reality, none of us are really that special. Meaning that we aren’t the one person in the world whom God won’t allow to lose weight. No one was born obese or with bad habits. These have been created over a life time. We have consciously or unconsciously built life styles that have created these issues and what we start to see as the norm is also the blinders that we put on ourselves. These blinders start to become our reality when in all honesty, we spend most of our time self-sabotaging all we do. So instead of thinking I’m at a plateau and building in these limitations in our self, let’s instead take a moment to assess ourselves.
The assessment would be taking a look at your food log and sitting alone for a moment and thinking about what is your biggest limiting factor. Maybe it’s that you drink a small glass of wine each night. Maybe each day for a snack you have just one square of chocolate. Now each of these by themselves is really not that big of deal in the grand scheme of things. But maybe because you do these things, you stop noticing other little things that you are also doing. Some minor things that you don’t think will do much harm but a little here, a little there, all that really adds up. Especially over a month and over a year.
So when you reach a plateau, take a moment and think about what is one little thing I do currently that I can improve forever going forward. We aren’t looking for changes that we can’t stick with, we need changes that will last a lifetime because we have to change who we are as an eater if we want to break plateaus as well as never put that weight back on. Any short cut we try will get us there faster, however, it will 100% of the time put your right back where you were in about 3 months and why put yourself through that feeling of failure. Just do it right the first time around.