Breaking through weight loss plateaus
Here’s something you won’t read about in the women’s magazines: Weight loss is not a linear process. In other words, you’re unlikely to lose a steady 1 or 2 kilograms per week until you get down to where you want to be. The truth is weight loss is a dynamic process. Change one thing (food or exercise), and your body changes other things (the rate at which you burn energy, your level of hunger, the rate at which your body converts food into fat) to make sure that you don’t disappear. Even someone starving to death will hit spots where weight loss stops for a while as the body adjusts to what is going on. What do we know about plateaus? The answer is not much. But here’s a few tips.
Dr Garry Egger aka Prof Trim
- Everyone losing (or gaining) weight will hit a plateau (or several plateaus) at some stage.
- There are big individual differences in the timing and lengths of plateaus probably dependent on things like how long someone has been overweight, age, gender and the actions taken to lose weight.
- A plateau is natural and is a period of adaptation. The great Harvard Nutritionist Jean Mayer once said: “Like a wise man will reduce spending when his income is cut, the body reduces the amount of energy it expends when energy intake (food) is reduced”.
- Change is likely to be the best weapon against plateau-ing. Adaptation of the body comes about largely through routine ie. eating, drinking and exercising the same in relation to food intake over time. Similarly a change to the routine in the opposite direction is likely to cause a breakthrough in adaptation and a drop off a weight loss plateau.
– Click for more information on Professor Trim.