What Causes A Weight Plateau?
WATER WEIGHT LOSS RETURNS
A rapid drop in weight is normal during the first few weeks of weight loss, but what you may not realize is that a fair amount of this initial weight decrease comes from water lost as the body uses up carbohydrate stores in the form of glycogen (sugar). As carbohydrate intake fluctuates day-to-day, it’s not uncommon for some, if not all, of that water weight to return, which can offset fat loss and cause a plateau. In Bariatric weight loss there will be plenty of ups and downs. Be sure that you are drinking enough water to ensure you are not retaining fluids as well.
YOUR BODY DOESN’T JUST BURN FAT
The downside to losing weight is that your body doesn’t just burn fat for energy — it breaks down muscle, too. Unlike fat, muscles burn calories, so losing muscle will slow the rate at which you use up energy from food. This, of course, impacts weight loss, and is part of the reason why cutting too many calories can work against you because your body will break down muscle at a faster rate. This is why we provide a protein goal and tell you to meet it every day. This is also why we tell you to USE your muscles. Use it or you lose it! If you have less muscle mass you will burn less calories in return. Strength training and cardio will help you lose more weight so if you’re in that plateau switch up your work out!
WHEN YOU WEIGH LESS, YOU BURN LESS
As a smaller person, you expend less energy moving around than you did at your heavier weight. Thus, the same number of calories that produced an initial loss may now just maintain your current weight. To continue losing, you’ll have to increase the calories you burn through physical activity and/or reduce the number of calories you eat. For up-to-date calorie need estimates, be sure to update your nutrition goals in MyFitnessPal every 5–10 pounds or so.
Remember, it’s completely normal for weight loss to slow or even stall on occasion, so don’t get discouraged. These “peaks and valleys” are normal and expected. Just be sure to stay on track through these times and don’t get discouraged. The plateau will end if you stay persistent. DO NOT give up and begin adopting old habits out of frustration, this will be detrimental to your success!