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What causes a fitness or weight loss plateau?

The main reason the body comes to plateaus during dieting or exercise (besides consciously or unconsciously not following the plan) is that you become more fit when you lose weight AND your body uses fewer calories to perform the same work. This forces you to have to perform more work or eat fewer calories to continue to lose weight. This is because you are simply moving more efficiently and you carry less weight throughout the day. Another reason people hit a plateau is they have unknowingly reduced total daily activities, despite the fact that they exercise regularly. Remember, we burn the vast majority of calories while performing daily activities, not during a one-hour workout. Also, a person may, through change in employment or other lifestyle alterations, simply start to move less throughout the day. Therefore, exercise does not offset the decrease in daily calorie burn. And finally this: during very low calorie diets or at any time following significant weight loss, one often binges as the body attempts to recover lost pounds. And it only takes one “binge” to wipe out a week’s worth of accurate dieting. Most people can’t believe this because they worked hard to consume the proper amounts for seven or 10 straight days, so the one binge is either underestimated, forgotten, or they never grasped the fact that every calorie counts. Therefore any time weight or body fat is stable for at least one week, you need to eat less, move more or a combination of the two regardless of what you read or hear from others. The easiest way to accomplish this is to increase your daily activities such as standing, pacing or walking instead of sitting.
A plateau is caused by an adaptation to your food intake, daily activity and exercise routine. Therefore, you must make the proper adjustments in order to resume progress. If you’re following the Move It and Lose It program, be sure to update your weight or body fat when the system prompts you for a Progress Check – you will get feedback about how to adjust your program.
 
 
 
 
 
A plateau will occur when your body adapts to what you have been asking it to do. Plateaus are very common, but they can be avoided. Your body is a very complex and adaptive machine. It will work very hard once a new stress or stimulus is placed on it (this stress will be in the form of exercise). If the exercise is never changed, then your body will adapt to the demands and your results will level off. The key to avoiding a plateau is through periodization. Periodization occurs when you set up an exercise program which has small phases or stages which progress overtime. Another factor which may need to be considered is that once you lose weight, your metabolic rate will also decrease (there is less body to maintain) and you may need to readjust your caloric intake. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you take in. If you are burning fewer calories during your body's resting state, then you will need to consumer fewer calories to continue to lose weight.
Your body has adjusted to your current program and needs to be challenged. I like to change it up every 6 weeks so the body doesn't know what to expect. Treat your body like an elementary student that needs constant tweaking to grow/improve and you will get past the bumps in the road with success.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.