You’ve tried every fad diet and spent endless hours at the gym, yet you still can’t get rid of those last few kilos. You’re tired of cutting calories, avoiding food groups and spending more time with your treadmill than with your partner.
If you’re dieting and not seeing any results, you’ve plateaued. A fat loss plateau is very common, especially for those who are nearing their target weight. The more weight you lose, the harder it gets to consistency reduce your body fat. That’s because your body has what’s known as a ‘comfort zone’ or a ‘body weight set point’.
Your hormones, gut microbiota, metabolism, appetite, behaviours and other physiological mechanisms all encourage your body weight to be at a certain point in order to survive. Not only that, chronic dieting can lead to metabolic adaptation where body adjusts to the calorie intake. Consume a caloric deficit for long enough and your set point well adapt. This will result in you putting the weight back on and some as soon as you return to your normal calorie intake. Metabolic adaptation only takes a few weeks which is ultimately why fad diets are unsustainable.
So, what do you do when your weight loss slows and you stop burning fat? Here are 5 common ways you can lose those last few kilos without committing yourself to a lettuce leaf diet for good.
- Make some nutritional changes
If you want to lose fat, you do need to be in a caloric deficit but not a severe one. A moderate deficit will result in steady, weight loss which is more easily maintained long term. If you’ve already in a caloric deficit, time to consider if it’s realistic and where your calories are coming from.
Increase your protein and fibrous vegetables to help with satiety and provide you with the nutrients you need to maintain lean muscle mass. Include quality fats to support immunity and decrease inflammation. Consider consulting with a nutritionist to help formulate a plan based on wholefoods that will promote health as well as weight loss.
- Check in with your exercise regime
Are you over training? Are you only doing cardio and no resistance? Have you reduced your physical activity altogether?
While it might seem like you have to be at the gym more to lose weight, over training could be hindering your efforts. Your body needs time to rest in between heavy training sessions to repair. If you’re doing cardio five or more times a week, cut back on the duration and intensity of your sessions. You could also swap a cardio session for a couple of strength training days to help prevent the breakdown of lean muscle mass.
If you’re not doing much cardio, time to step it up by increasing the duration, switch the style to a HIIT or adding another session in a week. Remember to also move throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to your colleague’s desk instead of emailing, or ride your bike instead of taking the car.
- Ensure you’re getting enough sleep
Sleep deprivation is one of the big culprits for slowing down your metabolism. It also affects your hormones leptin and ghrelin which influences your hunger. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll have lower levels of leptin, the hormone which tells your brain to stop eating. You’ll also have higher levels of ghrelin which stimulates hunger, causing weight gain.
Sleep deprivation also inhibits your body from undergoing the physical and mental repair and regeneration it needs to maintain good health.
- Improve your environment
Maintaining a great diet except for that little bowl of ice-cream you have after dinner every night? It’s only one vice, we hear you say! While it’s not a big deal to have a treat every now and then, if you’re enjoying that ice-cream daily it’s going to be impacting your fat loss results.
Start by cleaning up your environment. It’s hard to have self-control if it’s in the house, so don’t stock your freezer with ice-cream. Pack your fridge with healthy, fresh produce. Don’t buy lunch at work, take your own. Speed more time with people who are living a healthy lifestyle for the additional support. You are a product of your environment, so make it a positive, healthy one.
- Research body contouring methods
Fat loss is not an easy feat, especially if you’re nearing your goal weight. It’s hard and for long-term, sustainable results, it takes time and requires consistency. If it was easy, there wouldn’t be an obesity epidemic and there wouldn’t be a thriving industry selling fad diets and weight loss pills.
In some cases, people find it almost impossible to lose the last few kilos. Maybe they want a little more definition around their abs or to target the last area that simply won’t shift. This is where modern technology can help as it’s impossible to target areas of fat loss through diet and exercise alone. Liposuction has become one of the most successful tools to remove unwanted fat from problems areas. It’s become more accessible and liposuction costs are more affordable with the help of choosing or switching to a good insurance plan, making it an attractive solution for those who are struggling to burn anymore fat.
For some, it may only need a few tweaks to kick start your metabolism and encourage more fat loss. For others, it’s going to take a few more drastic interventions to cut the last bit of fat and maintain it long-term. Trying some of the above methods may enable you to reach your weight loss goal.