Overcoming Weight Loss Plateau
If you have read the previous post on the common reasons of weight loss plateau, you must be wondering what's the next step to move forward. The biggest question right now will be,
"So, what should I do now?"
1. Rest and Recovery
The recovery process is correlated to exercise load in order to achieve an optimal balance to maintain high physical performance(1). If you are overworked, the next best thing to do is to rest. If you are not giving your body ample time to recover, you are actually causing your fitness level to spiral downwards instead of up. You have put in the work, now you've got to also put in the equal amount of time in recovering, period.
Recovery can come in different forms depending on your own individuality. Sleep, nutrition and rehydration do play a part in recovery (2,3) but what I want to emphasise here are the different recovery interventions that you can incorporate into your daily lives. There are two kinds of recovery methods, passive and active. Passive recovery involves massages, iced baths or saunas. Whereas for active recovery, it includes low-intensity exercises that we can all be imparted easily in our daily schedules to help us move better, and feel better. These low intensity exercises aids in reducing muscle pain, restoring or enhancing performance, improve thermoregulation and increases relaxation (2,3,4,5,6).
Low intensity exercises simply means moving and walking a little more. It is really as simple as that. For me, it is scheduling a day without any form of intense workout, but consciously include more movements throughout the day. These movements can be easily achieve through brisk walking, or going for a light swim, cycling or doing a simple 30mins yoga session. On top of that, I also clock an average of 14,000 steps a day (& loving it!)
If you have been skimping on sleep just to go for a second workout, don't. You are actually doing more harm than good to your body. Studies have shown that chronic sleep duration of ≤6 h/night has also been associated with higher BMI (7,8). While you are sleeping, your body is working to bring your body back to balance. If you are not obtaining sufficient amount of sleep to completely expend accumulated sleep pressure, you are accumulating sleep "debt" over time. This causes a increasing severity of chronic stable sleep deficiency which can be reflected through a continual deterioration of neurocognitive performance (9,10). So, if you are not sleeping enough, you are not recovering enough! (This is not a chance to misuse this reason to sleep in and let the whole world run you by. Know the limits.)
If you are not sleeping well due to stress, going for yoga, massage, dance classes or a pedicure session might help. Find anything that helps you relax and relieve your stress your way, things that remind you that you are beautiful no matter what you are going through. Though things might not be where you want them to be, but have a little faith, you are on your way. Put aside your worries, count your blessings and enjoy the journey with all the little things. (Sending all the love to you to whoever needs it now <3 )
3. Stop counting calories
Are you going to count every single calorie for the rest of your life? If your answer is yes, good for you. But if deep down you have a voice that doubts its sustainability, then its time to ditch this method. Stop restricting yourself. You deserve to have a healthy relationship with food. You look at food as they are, not as numerics or categories. Food are neccessities to human. But what we don't need is lavish, overcomplicated and exaggerating amounts of food. All we need is simple, fresh and moderate amount of food to nourish our body. Food should not always be a reward and our happiness should not solely be based on our food cravings. We eat well and make better choices not because we want to stay in trend or to look like a certain Hollywood star. But because this is the only body that we are gifted, so we take good care of it. If we are not responsible of our own bodies individually, then who is going to? There's no one else who knows your body inside out better than you. You always have a chance to bring your health back. So stop being so hard on your body, the harder you are to your body, the harder it is to lose the weight. Rather, the more you start loving your body just the way it is, knowing you are not going to look like someone else but uniquely your way and your body is a beauty because there's no one like you. This is when you will see past the number on the scale, and in time to come the weight will be lifted off without you even realising it. <3
I hope the above gives you a new strength to carry on in your journey, no matter where you are at right now. Know that you are always, always deeply loved and heavenly blessed in every single way.
All my love,
1. Bompa, TO. Periodization: theory and methodology of training. London: Blackwell Scientific, 1999. pp. 95-146
2. Reilly, T. The Science of Training-Soccer. London: Routledge, 2007. pp. 107-125.
3. Reilly, T and Ekblom, B. The use of recovery methods post-exercise. J Sports Sci 23: 619-627, 2005
4. Dowzer, CN and Reilly, T. Deep-water running. Sport Exerc Inj 4: 50-61, 1998
5. Wilcock, IM, Cronin, JB, and Hing, WA. Physiological response to water immersion: a method for sport recovery? Sports Med 36: 747-765. 2006.
6. Wilcock, IM, Cronin, JB, and Hing, WA. Water immersion: does it enhance recovery from exercise? Int J Sports Physiol Perform 1: 195-206, 2006.
7. Knutson KL, Van Cauter E. Associations between sleep loss and increased risk of obesity and diabetes. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008;1129:287–304
8. Van Cauter E, Knutson KL. Sleep and the epidemic of obesity in children and adults. Eur J Endocrinol. 2008;159:S59–S66.
9. Belenky G, Wesensten NJ, Thorne DR, et al. Patterns of performance degradation and restoration during sleep restriction and subsequent recovery: a sleep dose-response study. J Sleep Res. 2003; 12(1): 1–12.
10. Van Dongen HP, Maislin G, Mullington JM, Dinges DF. The cumulative cost of additional wakefulness: dose-response effects on neurobehavioral functions and sleep physiology from chronic sleep restriction and total sleep deprivation. Sleep. 2003; 26(2): 117–126.