A very common phenomenon among people who are losing weight for a long time is the lack of expected effects in both figure and weight. Very often in such a moment people continue to cut the caloricity of their diet, often at the same time increasing their physical activity. And the human organism, although it’s very complicated in terms of construction, but it’s governed by simple laws and is focused on one goal - survival. Therefore, at all costs, try to go against excessive loss of energy accumulated in the form of adipose tissue, because it’s simply evolutionarily necessary to survive in conditions with lack of access to food. In this article, I will explain what the biggest mistakes are during weight loss, and how to continue reducing body fat at the time of stagnation.
There are many factors affecting this. The basic issue by which the weight loss process can take place in an optimal way is health. Being ill with any metabolic or hormonal disorder leads to failure. Few people are aware of how hormones can help us or harm us during weight loss. It’s worth preceding the process of fat reduction with appropriate diagnostic tests. Besides, even if you do not plan to lose weight, it’s worth doing regular blood and urine tests at least once a year for your own mental comfort.
However, what if I am healthy and not losing weight?
Then the mistake should be sought in our diet, training, regeneration, and sometimes attitude. When we think negatively and do not believe in the success of our weight loss, our subconsciousness will make this process difficult. However, this is a topic for a separate article.
Errors in the diet are usually extreme approaches such as diets introducing significant disharmony between proteins, carbohydrates and fats. These are, for example, Dukan's diet, Kwasniewski's diet – and let’s not mention the 1000 calories and other diets ruining our health and metabolism. Therefore, if you do not know how to properly balance your menu, contact a specialist who will suit your menu accordingly. However, if your menu is arranged properly, and the effects of weight loss are not what you would like – turn your attention to your training. Think about whether it’s too intense, or does it cause fatigue of the nervous system and whether you give yourself enough time to regenerate. An improperly regenerated organism will not function properly. Also, make sure that the reduction training includes exercises that you will perform in the low repetition range. It's about maintaining strength, which will force you to keep as much muscle as possible against the fat you burn.
Weight loss suddenly stopped. What am I doing wrong?
Probably everything is on the right path, but it depends on how long you stopped losing weight for. If the weight drops for 3-4 weeks and your body lost some of the fat, then it’s probably enough to cut the caloricity of the diet or increase the energy expenditure by adding physical activity. This treatment will allow you to continue burning fat. However, if the stagnation appeared a few or several dozen weeks later, then the body's defences already come into play. As I mentioned before, the body is determined to survive. It does not perceive the continuous cutting of calories and increasing activity as a signal that says "hey - I have to have a great figure to be able to show up to the beach in the summer". It treats this as a threat, slowing down basic metabolism, and inhibition of the production of certain hormones (including sexhormones), reduction of spontaneous physical activity, apathy and aversion to physical exertion, including training.
One of the most important hormones hindering the dream degreasing of the body is leptin and ghrelin. They regulate our feeling of hunger and satiety. I do not want to delve into the exact way in which hormones work, because this is not what I am aiming for in this article.
However, to simplify: leptin is a satiety hormone that informs the brain of the body's energy resources. The less it’s, the more we have to eat in order to feel satisfied. In contrast, ghrelin is the reverse hormone and indicates to our brain that our body is hungry and it’s meal time. The level of leptin falls in the body in direct proportion to how long we lose weight and how much body fat we have lost. You must know that with the decrease of leptin in the body also decreases the basic metabolism, which reduces the energy requirements of our body at the expense of inhibiting a number of processes occurring in it. So how to raise leptin levels and re-accelerate metabolism by burning body fat? Here, the procedure called refeed or "feeding" comes to our aid. It’s 1, and a maximum of 2 days, during which we significantly increase the calorie content of our diet.
However, be careful - these should be additional calories mainly derived from carbohydrates! They cause an increase in insulin that sends satiety signals to the brain. Increase in insulin in relation to the standard calorie reduction diet = increase in leptin level that sends the brain a signal "the crisis has ended, we have plenty of food in abundance - it's time to speed up the metabolism and continue to burn unnecessary ballast". Such a procedure should be carried out more often, the longer we are on reduction. As a rule, it’s recommended to do this every 4-10 days. The more fat we lose, the more often we can afford to refeed, because as I mentioned earlier, the more fat we lost, the more leptin we are losing and the more it should be increased.
What should I do when I have been losing weight for a few months, the figure has not changed for a long time - and I do not have the strength to live, and my libido and gym results have been drastically reduced?
Then it’s necessary to take a break in weight loss. It’s then necessary to gradually reduce the aerobic effort and increase the calorie content of the diet. One should simply bring the metabolism to order. And I do not advise you to abandon the cardio workout at once and eat everything that falls into your hands - it will end up worse than it may seem to you. Both in terms of health and figure. Repairing the metabolism depending on how long we have been on a caloric deficit should last from 6-10 weeks. During this time, you should add calories. Increasing the caloric value should end at the moment when our figure will be revived but not yet covered with fat. Remember not to carry out the reduction for more than 3 months. If we have quite a lot of fat on ourselves, I suggest to interweave a 3-month reduction period with a 6-week increase in calories aimed at restoring all the body'smetabolic functions.
Caloric rotations are a great way to overcome stagnation in weight loss, but I do not recommend using them at the very beginning. It’s best to start slimming in a classic way, and rotations should be applied at the time of stagnation. What are the caloric rotations? They consist in division into high caloric, medium-caloric and low- caloric days. You can also apply the method of low- and high-calorie days, but in my opinion the 3-day breakdown is much more effective. They are aimed at maximizing stimulation of metabolism - causing that on low calorie days fat burning is severe, while on high calorie days our hormones return to life, for example leptin, which I mentioned above. How to adjust low-, high- and medium-calorie days to my training plan? Some people recommend using high calorie days on training days of parts we care about most, and low calorie days on non- workout days. It’s also a method - but in my experience, it’s most effective to implement the plan's mobility.
That is, we determine that Monday is a high-calorie day, Tuesday is a medium-calorie day, Wednesday is a low-calorie day, and Thursday is again a high-calorie day and so on, regardless of training days. This may cause that sometimes a high-caloric day falls on a non-training day, and a low- calorie day on the day of the hardest training, e.g. legs. And that's what it's all about to shock the body so that each day is different in terms of exercise and calorie. How to divide calorific value? Suppose we eat 2500 kcal at a given moment. Let us conclude, therefore, that we eat the same amount on a medium-caloric day. However, on a low calorie day, let's eat 1800 kcal, and on a high calorie day 3200 kcal. When we sum up all the calories in these 3 days and divide them into 3 - it gives us an average of 2,500 kcal. Remember, caloricity doesn’t matter so much over a single day as over a longer period of time. After all, no one will lose 2 kg of fat during the day, and in the same way will not accumulate 2 kg of fat during the day. Numbers on the weight scale do not always mean fat, and quite often they indicate the water accumulated in our body and food content in the intestines.
Can I keep my body low-fat all year long?
Yes - provided that your weight loss was healthy and rational and it did not come down to the use of extremely low-calorie diets. It’s enough that after proper fat loss, you will increase the calorie content of your diet in a rational and slow way. The most optimal is to increase the caloric value by about 50 calories for women or 100 calories for men every 10 days. Increase the caloric value until the weight is stabilized - that is, the weight should go up by approx. 2-4 kg depending on the gender or training.
However, this does not mean that the weight will be gained in fat, because after a long- used reduction period, our starved muscles demand the energy first. And it’s them that accumulate energy in the form of glycogen. And as you know, glycogen binds to water cells and it’s the collection of water in the muscles and in a smaller amount under the skin that increases our weight.