Have you ever started a diet or exercise program and had quick results, only to find your progress stalls after a few weeks or months?
Or have you successfully stuck to a diet or exercise plan for a period of time, then quickly gained back the weight you lost as soon as it ended?
Both scenarios are extremely common and very frustrating.
And yet, there is a simple explanation for why many people have such a hard time with long-term weight loss success.
Cutting out processed foods, high sugar beverages like soda, skipping trips to the drive through and increasing your daily water intake for most people will result in a fairly quick loss of five to ten pounds.
It is at this point that for most, weight loss will stall. Why?
There are a few reasons. The first, much of the pounds lost were likely water weight. When you stop eating so much fat and sodium and start drinking water your body stops retaining so much of it.
The second reason is the body will adjust to a new daily energy intake fairly quickly. This means at first your body is used to working at a certain level, and as you lose weight it causes you to burn more calories, creating a deficit. At a certain point, without increased dietary changes or an increase in daily energy expenditure from physical activity, the body settles in to a new balance.
Translation: you reach a plateau and weight loss stops.
This is where exercise comes in. In order to force your body to continue burning more energy than it takes in, you must expend more energy by being active.
Over time, you must consistently change the demands placed on the body until you reach a stage of maintenance.
Some examples would be increasing the frequency, intensity or duration of your workouts, adding in new activities like strength training, and changing up your diet to include new healthy foods.
Here’s where it gets tricky- once you reach that place of maintenance, you can’t return to your old ways of eating poorly and not exercising, or you tip the balance in the other direction and you gain weight.
That’s why eating healthy and being active must be a lifestyle. You can’t think of either as a temporary thing. They must become a part of your everyday life.