Avoiding Diet Plateaus (With Kansas City Personal Trainer David Oquendo 26/8/2016)

Hey, today I’m here to talk about plateaus.

A lot of people hit plateaus because they are so low on calories for so long that it causes them to build up cortisol. When you have a low amount of calories and you work out a lot, you don’t recover well. The cortisol starts to build up, your body gets stressed out and starts to fight against it. It makes you retain water weight and you can hold 10 to 15 pounds. You ladies have more of a problem with this than guys. Of course you know when it’s that time of the month and you have your period, it’s easier for you to retain water weight. Also, I’ve talked about this before, as a female your body actually adapts to low calories faster, especially during pregnancy, as that is what your body revolves around. The lower calories you get, the faster it actually adapts.

So if you are on a low amount of calories for a long time, you’re working out really hard, and you hit this plateau and you can’t seem to lose weight, it could be because your body is retaining too much water. An easy way to fix that is to maybe go into higher calories for a little bit longer, adding 400 or 500 calories, trying to figure out your maintenance, staying there for a whole month, and letting your body adapt to normal nutrition, or a normal amount of calories. That way when you go into a deficit again, your body is not as stressed because it’s had normal nutrition for a while, enough to reset it back to normal.

I see it all the time; people feel fluffy and puffy, and just kind of soft, and it’s because in a sense, they’re not following their food plan. They’re always eating really, really low, and they think they have to go lower and lower, and really they’re not eating enough calories for their body to be happy. A lot of plateaus happen because of that.

Another reason you may have hit a plateau could be that you are not drinking enough water. Think about it – the less water you have, the more your body wants to reserve water. So having enough water during the day will help you keep the water weight off. It’s kind of weird and you may pee a lot, but after it levels off again, the water weight will drop.

Another way you might hit a plateau: let’s say you’re not watching your calories, and you start off just eating clean or eating less, by portion size, and you do great. You’re losing weight…losing weight…losing weight…and finally you hit a plateau. It could be that at fifty pounds heavier, your body needed a certain amount of calories and just by eating healthier and a lower amount of calories than you needed, you lost weight. You’ve lost a few pounds and your calorie needs have changed a little bit. You’ve begin to hit that margin where you’re at maintenance now and you’re not losing weight because of it. So if you’ve been eating clean for a while but you’ve stopped losing weight, it’s time to watch your calories to solidify that you are in the position you need to be.

In the end, there’s no better way to get past a plateau than to watch your calories. You know low carb diets, yeah they work, of course they work, because you’re taking carbs out of the usual protein, fats and carbs that you have, you’re only having proteins and fats so you’ve lowered your calories. It’s not necessarily the best way to go, it’s an easy way to go, but eventually at some point you’re going to have to get strict and follow some kind of calorie loss or calorie maintenance plan so you keep your body happy and not cause a high cortisol build up or slow your metabolism down. It’s not a dramatic loss of metabolism but it’s enough, and you’ll hold on to that water weight.

That can really cause a lot of frustration; if you’ve lost ten pounds of fat and you’ve got ten pounds of water weight on, you won’t see the scale drop. If you’re eating right, you’re eating healthy, you’re working out 5 to 6 days a week, but you just can’t drop the weight, you might have to really start dialing in on the calories, and it’s not that hard. It just takes a couple weeks of doing it. Two or three weeks and you’ll begin to see the results. And guess what, when you start seeing results, you’ll want to do more of it. Really think about this, do baby steps, small habit changes, I’m not saying you have to be, boom, perfect. But if you hit a plateau, start looking at how many calories you’re having – it could be a huge issue. Maybe you’re not drinking enough water – start drinking more water. And don’t let the plateau discourage you, keep pushing, find a way, and keep being more strict with what you need to eat.

So – if you’re at a plateau or you’re hitting one right now, and you’ve not followed your diet plan very well, or you’ve never ever followed a diet plan, you just ate healthier, it may be time to really hit that and make sure you’re having enough calories. Or it may be time to go into a maintenance phase where you don’t lose weight for a month and kind of get your body back to normal and happy with the calories you’re taking.

All right, I’m out. Have a great one!

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