I've Hit a Plateaux, Hit the Wall.
Is this you? Everything was going so well, and now you have hit the wall, a stumbling block, or as is the technical term, ‘A Plateaux.
A levelling out of your progress, which seems to have dwindled out. All is not lost, you have not come as far as is possible for you, there is still progress to be made. You need to look at yourself, and ask which of the following relate to you.
This time of year, coming towards the end of January, it’s a highly common problem. You began the year with the highest of motivation, this led to you having the highest amounts of discipline when it came to your goals and desires for a new body. No doubt you would have started strong, good amounts of exercise, focussed hard on eating good food, I bet you never had a takeaway in the first 2 weeks….? Is this still the case? Be 100% honest with yourself, the progress you made in the first few weeks was down to the discipline you installed in your life. Exercising and eating well. Are you still maintaining your high standard, or are you letting a few things slip? That late evening walk has dwindled out, you have only made 4 training sessions, instead of the usual 5. All the ‘bad’ foods you avoided a few weeks ago, you are letting slip back in, because you are doing well, 1 won’t hurt. It all comes down to accountability. Are you still holding yourself to the highest accountability? If you know this is you, and things aren’t quite ‘as good as they were’, you can’t expect to see the same output. All the little small bad habits creeping in, they all add up.
If this isn’t you….. read on……
The human body is very clever, fair smarter than today’s scientists even realise. Every day we are discovering new phenomena about the Human Being, so trying to out-smart it, isn’t recommended.
Keeping it simple, as you diet, your body adapts. It knows what it is receiving, in terms of food and exercise, so it makes itself more efficient. Your body has 1 job, and that is to keep you alive. So in the process of becoming more efficient, because you are fuelling it with less calories than it needs, it becomes fairly obvious that it is going to make fat loss harder for you. A hugely important and vital point to make here, is around the subject of ‘starvation mode’. Yes the body can adapt, and as discussed above, it is fairly good at it. Meaning it can lower its calorific output, based on its calorific input. But, and this is the important part. It categorically cannot store calories that aren’t there to be stored. In scientific terms ‘You cannot produce and store energy from nothing’. Remember calories are just a value of energy within food. This does not mean I am recommending to just stop eating to lose weight. Absolutely not!
To explain that in simple terms. If your body uses 1500 calories a day (this is quite low) and you only feed it 1000 calories (this is not recommended btw), as smart as the human body is, it cannot begin storing those calories as body fat, as was once believed and termed ‘starvation. Mode’. What it can do however, is slow the bodies processes down (and you will notice this) so your bodies output becomes for example; 1200 calories. Again making it harder to lose weight / bodyfat because of the lower calorie output. Hopefully this is making sense. And now you can see how, when eating a set number of calories and losing weight before, you may be eating the same number of calories and no longer losing weight, because of adaptation and the calorie difference is non-existent. This is called Metabolic Adaptation. Not to be confused with the made up ‘Starvation Mode’.
Now onto the harsh bit, If you are reading all the above, and don’t know exactly how many calories you eat consistently day to day, or have no idea on a measurement of your output. For example; step count. Then that needs to be the first place you start! ‘What gets measured, gets managed’. It’s that simple. If you don’t know the above, how can you make any adjustments or changes? You can’t expect optimal results, or even results for that matter, if you are not willing to put in the effort, for a short period of time, and tracking your daily routine and lifestyle. Without this, you are guessing. Without this information, your coach is just guessing.
Soooo concluding, hitting a plateaux could be due to a number of reasons. It could be down to consistency on your behalf, you just have to ask yourself, are you being honest with yourself. It could be down to the human body doing its job when it comes to dieting. A point to note here, the more ‘drastic’ (so the bigger calorie deficit you create) the quicker the body will adapt. But above all, you simply cannot know, if you aren’t crunching the numbers. During school I used to hate Maths, and would often say, I don’t want to work in a bank, so don’t need to know all these Math equations and formula. The world revolves around Math and numbers, it’s the same for losing weight. Learn the Science, do the Math, the find someone who can ‘English’ it up and get your point across.