So you stopped losing weight, what do you do?
Step 1: Ensure you’re tracking your calorie/macro intake accurately.
Under-reporting calories is extremely common. In fact, it’s one of the most common reasons why overweight individuals can’t seem to lose fat despite “dieting”.
Under-reported calories can come from:
● Little bites of (untracked) food throughout the day
● Cooking oils & butter
● Beverages (coffee with creamer, alcohol, fruit juice, etc.)
Another major source of under-reporting calories is measuring your portions inaccurately. As mentioned earlier, make sure that you’re tracking your fish/poultry as “cooked” or “uncooked” – this makes a big difference. Also, try not to eyeball things like peanut butter or other calorie-dense foods. It’s best to use a tablespoon measurement (and not a “heaping tablespoon”!) or, even better, a weight scale for these foods.
If you’re sure you aren’t under-reporting your calorie intake, then you can move onto the next step.
Step 2: Make sure you're completing your off day cardio
Your calorie intake is set based on your activity level and this included being lightly active on rest days. If you don't meet this activity requirement your TDEE will be lower than predicted on the nutrition calculator and so your calorie deficit will also be less, resulting in slower weight loss.
Depending on how fast you walk, you should be getting in 8000-10,000 steps on your rest days, if you aren't you try to bump up your activity level in general by walking more during your daily activities, such as parking farther away from the store, taking the stairs rather than the elevator or talking a walking lunch break etc.
Step 3: Wait a week
Having your body fat percentage stall during a fat loss phase is common. All too often people panic when their weight hasn’t changed for a week or two, when in reality, this is perfectly normal and is actually part of the process.
As you can see, client A reached two points where their body mass changes slowed down for a period of ~2 weeks, but then continued to lose weight. But guess what? The WHOLE time, throughout each of their plateaus, they did not make any changes – they didn’t reduce calories nor increase cardio and simply waited it out. It can be tempting to make changes to your program, but you must keep in mind that weight loss doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. Body weight is affected by SEVERAL variables (sodium intake, fibre intake, water retention, etc.), meaning that it’s vital to pay attention to the big picture and long term trend.
On the other hand, client B stayed in a plateau for ~3-4 weeks. This is a scenario where it’s likely you truly are in a plateau.
To break your plateau you have two options. Try #1 first and if it doesn't work on its own or if it's not possible for you you can also try #2:
1) Increase your activity level:
This can be done by adding more cardio into your weekly routine by adding an additional 15 minutes of walking on your rest days or using the HIIT workout that you can find in your program tab 1-2x/week on your off days.
2) Decrease your calorie intake
As you lose weight overall your metabolic rate will decrease due to less active tissue in your body. This will mean your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) and BMR (basal metabolic rate) will decrease and so your calorie deficit will also decrease. Our calorie targets are aggressive enough that this shouldn't matter much in the long term (unless your bodyfat is above 20% to start with) but re-calculating your target calories (and macros) using the nutrition calculator is the easiest way to decrease your calories. If this doesn't do the trick try reducing your calories by an additional 50-100 calories for at least one to two weeks and if the number starts moving down again, keep it here until and if you plateau again.
*Note: it’s also important to ensure that this weight loss plateau isn’t the result of you simultaneously building muscle AND losing fat (achieving a body recomp) - meaning that your weight isn’t changing but your body composition is still actually improving. For example, if your waist measurement is decreasing and/or you notice more fat loss yet your weight is staying the same, then this is exactly what’s happening and no changes need to be made as of yet!
In the long run, you’ll likely have to utilize a combination of both options at least to some extent in order to reach our goal body fat level of 12% for males and 21-22% for females.
BUT keep in mind that you can’t simply drop calories forever in order to break through fat loss plateaus – there comes a point where you’ve reached such a low calorie intake that you’re either extremely physically/mentally drained, or you can’t intake adequate macro & micronutrients with such a low daily intake. For this reason the sheet has a “bottom floor” of 1,500 calories for males and 1,200 calories for females. We advise to avoid going below these recommendations.