You’ve heard the story time and time again from anyone who’s changed how they were eating, or dieting to lose fat. This person could be you!
You change how you eat with the goal to lose body fat, and in the beginning it works well.
Clothes are fitting better, salads are becoming something you look forward to, and other people are starting to take notice of your progress.
You get questions about what you’ve been doing to lose fat. You can see that your new approach to nutrition is working, and others around you can too.
As you continue to lose body fat you’re encouraged and feel good about the process, it’s working.
You start to feel like that ideal physique you’ve desired for so long is getting closer by the weeks and even months.
A few months into the process the results start to slow down. The scale isn’t consistently getting lower, and measurements don’t seem to be budging.
Some weeks there is no changes at all, and on others your measurements or body weight may randomly spike for a day or two.
Eventually you hit a full fat loss plateau. You’re confused because you’ve been doing everything by the books, and haven’t broken your diet.
You’re doing exactly what got you the results in the beginning, and now you don’t understand why progress has come to a screeching stop!
You’re so close to your goal, and you just need to lose that last ten pounds to get there….
Why has your fat loss stalled if you’re doing everything that worked before ?
In this week’s blog I’m going to share the top five reasons that people struggle with those last ten pounds. Next week we'll be covering the steps you can take to avoid these fat loss plateaus covered in today's blog.
1.) A Smaller Body Burns Fewer Calories
When you’ve lost body fat and weight, you weigh less, simple right ? The less you weigh, the fewer calories the body has to expend to support your total mass.
This makes perfect sense when you take a step back and look logically at the situation.
A smaller body with less fat and less muscle mass will require fewer calories to fuel to maintain those tissues.
Both body fat and muscle mass require calories to maintain and if you lose either one or both in a significant amount the body doesn’t require as many calories to maintain them or to support your overall higher body weight.
2.) You Unconsciously Move Less
There is a specific part of our metabolism known as Non- Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT).
NEAT is all our daily activities that take place outside of exercising like walking the dog, cooking dinner, doing yard work, fidgeting or working at standing desk.
The fact remains that we burn WAY more calories through our daily NEAT activities than we do with any session in the gym.
When someone eats less, and loses weight the body will down regulate the unconscious NEAT movement to ensure those precious calories aren’t unnecessarily burned up by fidgeting or standing when working.
When you eat less to lose body fat, the calories burned through NEAT are reduced, and you unknowingly move less each day.
Interestingly enough periods of overfeeding cause NEAT to increase in some people, allowing them to burn up the excess calories from overfeeding.
3.) You’re Eating Less Food Which Burns Fewer Calories
Your body has to burn calories to break down, digest and assimilate the nutrients from food you eat, this is known at the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF).
When someone eats less, the amount of calories the body has to dedicate to the breakdown and digestion of food decreases.
While this may not be a huge decrease in calories, when someone is trying to get rid of those last ten pounds, it all adds up.
4.) You’re Basal Metabolic Rate Decreases
Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the minimum number of calories the body requires to keep your basic physiological functions running such as breathing, pumping blood and keeping organs working.
When someone eats below their RMR the body will adjust functions to run more efficiently, this means your basic bodily functions will slow down.
As a result of eating less for an extended period of time fewer calories will be burned at rest, during physical activity and through NEAT leading to lower overall caloric burn at rest and while moving.
The amount of muscle mass and fat mass someone has also plays a part in the amount of calories burned through RMR as well. With less fat or muscle to maintain fewer calories will need to be burned for maintenance.
5.) Exercising At A Lower Intensity
As you eat less and go to the gym you’re giving the body less fuel to use yet asking it to work hard and expend calories which are in scarce.
In the beginning when you’re running on stress hormones you can get away with this however, eventually motivation and intensity while exercising plummet.
As motivation decreases along with intensity you might miss a few workouts, cut sessions short, not put forth the same effort and generally see your performance drop.
The calories burned in the gym during exercise are much lower than your fitbit or cardio machine says, but they do add up over the weeks, months and years which can chip away at your fat loss goals.
If any of these signs sounds like something you’ve experienced when trying to lose those last ten pounds then stay tuned as next week I explain how to avoid these problems!