Why Weight Loss Slows Down and How To Prevent It

Why Weight Loss Slows Down

Why Weight Loss Slows Down and How To Prevent It

Weight loss slows down as you lose weight and it’s totally normal. 

There’s nothing wrong with your metabolism.

You don’t need to mix up what you’re doing with some other new trendy diet.

But you can’t keep doing the exact same thing and expect the same results for your entire weight loss journey.

This article I’m going to explain why weight loss slows down and what you need to do in order to keep it moving.

 

Why Weight Loss Slows Down- Losing A Pound A Week   

You might’ve heard that to lose a pound a week you need to be in a calorie deficit of 3500 calories for the week.

If you haven’t heard, it’s basically because a pound of fat contains about 3500 calories. So to lose a pound, you need a deficit of 3500 calories. This can be achieved in a week if you aim for a 500 calorie deficit each day (since 500×7 days = 3500). 

There are many things that impact this formula from working in the real world. To keep it simple though, let’s say that it does work like that.

You’ve figured out your calorie target to put you in a deficit of 500 calories a day. It’s been working and you’re losing about a pound a week.

You calculate that you’ll be at your goal weight in 15 weeks since you want to lose 15 more pounds.

As long as you stay consistent hitting your calorie target you’re all set right?

Not necessarily.

As you lose weight, you start to adapt to the calorie deficit.

This means that whilst you might have been in a 500 calorie deficit at the start of your diet, a few months into your diet you may only be in a deficit of 200 calories per day.

Since the size of the deficit is smaller, you won’t be losing a pound a week anymore. Your weight loss slows down.

How quickly you adapt to your calorie deficit depends on a number of things. It’s also highly individual.

But your body will adapt- it’s part of your progress. You need to expect it. 

Why does this happen?

Basically, as a result of you weighing less, your BMR will decrease and  so will your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). If you want to understand more about your TDEE read this. 

 

Weight Loss Targets

Your rate of weight loss will slow down as you go.

In addition, it will likely fluctuate week to week due to a number of other things. For example, water retention can mask weight loss progress some weeks.

This is why I don’t love setting expected rates of weight lost per week.

Your body will respond how it responds, and everyone is different.

It’s hard to predict for sure how much you’ll actually lose per week.

When you have an expectation of how much you should be losing, it leads to disappointment when you don’t lose that much.

Then you start to feel like a failure and lose motivation.

You need to set yourself up for success and part of that is making sure you stay focused on your wins. It’s easier to do this when you feel like you’re winning. 

Then you’ll be able to keep yourself semi- motivated to keep going even through the hard phases.

A successful weight loss journey involves having the right mindset.

I also don’t like having expected rates of weight loss because of the emphasis it puts on the number on the scale.

If you want a lean and toned body, not just a smaller one, you’ll likely have your best body at a heavier weight than you think.

The number on the scale is data and is important to note. It’s not nearly as important as many other forms of progress you should be making throughout your weight loss journey though.

These include: learning more about what you’re eating, changing your mindset, improving your relationship with food, breaking free from the binge/restrict cycle, clothes fitting better, being able to move better, becoming more confident, improving your health, etc. 

The most important thing in my opinion is that you feel better- physically and also mentally.

Your weight is not the most important thing about you.

How you feel in your body is.

At the start of your weight loss journey you may have a goal weight in mind and you’ll likely be very disconnected from your body.

As you go, you should connect more with your body and in doing so you’ll let it lead you.

You’ll end up with your best feeling body when you do this.

 

Avoiding Plateaus

You get that weight loss slows down and that it’s ok. How you feel matters most.

But what if you still need to lose more weight to continue feeling better?

You don’t want weight loss to slow down so much that it stops.

As much as I don’t like to predict rates of weight loss, it is necessary to keep monitoring your progress including your body weight and biofeedback. This helps to identify WHEN you need to make changes to ensure you continue making progress.

Then it is simply a matter of lowering calories a bit further.

You don’t need to decrease them by another 500 calories. Usually a drop of 100 calories per day or an extra 5% will be enough to keep things moving.

You could also add some more activity such as increasing your step target or adding some cardio.

Depending on your biofeedback and how everything is tracking, you likely don’t need to do both at once.

It’s important that you don’t overload the body with stress too (both a deficit and cardio are stressors on the body). If you want to learn more about how stress impacts fat loss, read this. 

 

Finally… A Key Step To Weight Loss 

Hopefully now you understand that you’ll need to continue to lower calories to continue losing weight.

This is why it pays off to build your calories up as much as possible when you’re not dieting.

You want to be in the best position possible to go into a calorie deficit. You need room to move calories down further as you go. 

Your body will respond a lot better if it’s used to higher calories and you haven’t been “trying” to diet for your entire life.

If you’re someone who has been yoyo dieting forever, then you should spend at least 6 months not dieting. A year is even better. 

Eat at maintenance, try to build your calories up even further (without weight gain) and focus on getting strong in the gym.

Then you’ll be in a much better place to go into a calorie deficit.

I know you want to be leaner now. But you have to expand your timelines a bit.

Think about it…

You can spend the next 5 years repeating what you’ve been doing, on and off dieting, trying to rush the process, and getting nowhere.

Or you can try something different: spend a year not dieting, enjoy more flexibility with food and how good you feel having more energy. Then go into a deficit the following year and actually make some progress.

If you’d like further help with this, you can apply for 1:1 coaching by reaching out here.