If you’ve ever tried losing weight, chances are you’ve tried using a popular diet you found online or in a magazine. You may even have had success on a few occasions with different diets before the dreaded moment you start to plateau. Why does this happen? Any diet that causes weight loss works by creating a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit refers to any shortage in calories consumed compared to the total amount of calories required to maintain current body weight. Calories in versus calories out.
So why does the weight loss inevitably slow down?
When you diet, your body senses the calorie deficit and, fearing starvation, starts taking survival measures. Your metabolism slows and you burn less energy. In order for weight loss to continue, either the calories you consume each week must decrease a little or the amount of exercise you do must increase.
Start slowly. Assuming that your current body weight has been in maintenance, aim to remove 500 calories from your current food intake. As the weeks go on, incrementally create a larger deficit.
No weight loss diet can last forever though, so it’s important to incorporate diet breaks at least every 9-12 weeks where you aim to maintain your weight for a period. Then it’s up to you whether you continue with your weight loss journey or, if you’re happy, you can stay put and maintain your current calories, or very gradually start to increase calories back into your diet to start the process of returning your metabolism back to its normal state.