So January 1st came and you decided it’s time to go full steam at getting yourself into shape but now the month is drawing to a close and the question is why has my weight loss stopped?
There are many possible reasons but with most January Workout Warriors the simplest reason is usually because you said to yourself “how do I fix a years worth of over eating and drinking in 30 days?!!”
You can’t is the answer, but that didn’t stop you buying $100’s worth of fitness magazines proclaiming you can. Not all are bad magazines, but remember they are a business and you probably wouldn’t of bought the magazine saying lets start steady and healthily and get you back your body in 10 – 12 weeks now would you?
So why has my weight loss stopped or slowed?
- The body is an amazing machine designed to be smarter than you.
Even though you think you can run 26 miles on your 1st ever run your body defense mechanism will kick in way before that and bring you to your knees so as you can live to run another day.
This is the same with weight lifting and the all or nothing rule “ if the object you’re trying to lift like Phil Heath is too heavy the body simply will not lift it” Even though you think you’re superman your body knows your not and will not allow yourself to be crushed to death
- Not only are you now working out seven days a week like a warrior you’ve also decided to starve yourself in the age old law of calories in calories out.
- The body will only let go of 2 pounds of fat a week that’s if your doing things very carefully.
A lot of what you saw in the 1st few weeks above 2 pounds loss on the scale was a mixture of water loss and possible muscle loss depending on what regime you’ve been putting yourself through.
Shows like the biggest loser are completely unrealistic based on the heaviest people under very controlled environments watched 24/7 being pushed 6 hours a day.
Put the first two things together and you have a perfect storm for your body’s defense mechanism to take over.
Exercise is very stressful to the body. If you’re weight lifting you are breaking down muscle, if you are pushing cardio you will have a hormone called cortisol racing round your body stressing your system.
To keep this up the body needs a decent amount of food. Good nutrients, carbs, proteins and fats to repair itself. Yes it’s true that to lose weight you need to be carful how much you eat (pizza every night is not a good idea) but if you are starving yourself your body will go into “starvation mode.”
Your body believes a famine has occurred and will store any calorie it can get a hold of, and apart from using these calories to keep your basic functions alive everything else will be stored as fat.
This is why what started out as an exciting adventure as you watched the scales drop down every Monday you are now not only seeing no results on the scales but are also feeling down, tired and agitated and drooling even at those dog food commercials like it’s a Gordon Ramsey show!
So how to fix the problem?
Firstly breathe. You are not an NFL athlete with the ability to push yourself to the limits and survive.
Secondly start understanding you might need more than 30 days to get to the goals you want. As I’ve pleaded before the scales are not your best friend. If you really want to know where you are check out Fitnesswave.com or find a Hydrostatic Body fat test near you. This is the gold standard of body fat testing and will help you see where you really are and what’s really happening to your body.
Don’t get me wrong if you have a lot of weight to lose and checking the scales on a Monday morning helps keep you in check go for it, but don’t let that number rule your life. You can be a 200-pound guy and in amazing shape or a 170-pound guy and be fat.
Here are 6 simple things you can do to turn things around:
- Give yourself the weekend off. Spend two days doing nothing more strenuous than going for a walk. This is going to give your worn out body some much-needed recovery.
- Eat some nutritious food. This does not mean boring! If you want a slice of pizza enjoy it but also get in some much-needed nutrients to help your body recover. Drink some cold pressed juices, eat lots of fruit and vegetables, eat some pasta and chicken or bagel and locks hell throw a pancake in there with berries on top. Your body needs to know you are not in the middle of a famine but in fact are surrounded by lots of food and there’s nothing to panic about.
- This is the absolute number 1 do not do under any circumstances. DO NOT WHEIGH YOURSELF ON THE MONDAY MORNING!!!
Yes if you did the scales would show (shock horror) that the number you live by has gone up. This does not mean that you gained tons of fat. This number will quickly drop back down over the next few days. But now your body is recovered happy and ready to continue the hard work you’ve been doing this past few weeks.
- Take things a little slower. Eat regularly throughout the day don’t starve yourself. Start to trust your judgment a little. Use your pants or a tape measure, take a before shot of your body and another 4 weeks later. There’s many ways to check your progress that isn’t just the scale.
- Unless you’re an athlete give your body a break. Make sure 2 days out of the week are reserved for rest and relaxation. If you must do something (which I understand I’m the same) go for a walk even a light hike but without rest you will always stop making progress in the end.
- Get some sleep! I know it’s impossible not to watch one more “Breaking Bad” but if you really want the results you could do with the extra hours sleep.
Hope this helps, give it a try for a couple of weeks and see the difference!