I often get clients ask me what to do when they “hit a plateau.”
“Hitting a plateau” means that the persons weight on the scale stays the same for days or weeks without moving, even though they are eating in a deficit or they think they are.
When you eat in a deficit the scale doesn’t move down in a linear fashion.
Even though the fat is burnt your body will sometimes hold onto water, but eventually it will flush.
It is not uncommon for me to see someone stay the same weight for 2-4 weeks while eating in a deficit then lose 5+ pounds over the next 7 days.
Did they lose 5 pounds in 7 days?
No, they actually lost the fat well before that when the scale wasn’t moving but it just took time for the water to flush.
Weight loss stops when there is no longer a calorie deficit.
As you lose weight you burn less calories because now you weigh less.
As you lose weight you may have to re-adjust your calories to still be in a deficit and lose weight.
So for example, a person that weighs 300 pounds will lose weight at a certain calorie load but once they reach 250 might have to re adjust how much calories(less) they eat to continue losing weight.
The diet I recommend to clients is based on lean body mass anyways so this is a non issue but for less aggressive calorie deficit programs this is definitely something to consider.
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