Have you ever wondered how to overcome a weight loss plateau? I’ve written today’s post in response to some questions I was asked by a client of mine. His big goal is to lose body fat and so far he has lost 12kg in mass, much of which is fat loss since he has gained muscle mass – that’s a lot of fat loss!
How To Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau
A Weight loss plateau is normal at some point in your weight loss journey. Like everyone does, my client has experienced three weight loss plateaus over the last 12 weeks. We have overcome them by adopting new training types as well as nutritional changes.
Here are some answers to the questions that he asks, and I hope that you find them useful too. Before you read on please remember that these answers are intended for him and aren’t necessarily suitable for you.
In this article I hope to answer a few of your questions and give you some suggestions to continue with your progress.
More Nutrients, Less Toxins and Allergens
Still wondering how to overcome a weight loss plateau? Optimal nutrition will help. Continue to focus on adding nutrients and removing toxins from your body, along with reducing exposure to allergens.
Nutrients include macro-nutrients. Base your meals around protein and focus on getting enough protein at every meal. If you are logging your calories you should try for 2g of protein/kg of body weight for fat loss. So for you that’s about 180g of protein daily.
Fats are also crucial especially omega 3 fats from oily fish and grass fed organic meat. In addition focus on eating more avocado, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and coconut oil as fat sources.
Reduction of carbohydrates to below 50g per day if you are measuring your intake, or if not then get your carbohydrates from green leafy vegetables, kale, spinach and watercress, rocket etc. Lots of colourful vegetables will give you a wide spectrum of vitamins and micro nutrients too. Your carbohydrates should come from vegetables.
Fruit is a good source of micro nutrients but for your goal you should limit fruit intake to either after training sessions or limited quantity. I suggest 1:5 fruit:veg ratio or limit fruit for the next few weeks.
That said if you have a lemon or lime squeezed in a pint of water every morning this will alkalize your body and these two fruits contain negligible fructose content. Lots of health benefits for these two so it would be great habit to start.
While I’m on the topic of fluids, aim to drink lots of clean water. It is the transport system of the body and without it in sufficient quantity you will have a hard time functioning optimally. Aim to drink around 1l water per 25kg of body weight.
For you that’s 3.5l water. And when you are training you need 600-1200ml per hour depending on conditions and sweat rate etc. Lots of electrolytes to go with this too as you don’t want to become sodium, magnesium, potassium etc deficient.
The addition of extra vegetables will help remove toxins physically through the fibre content, and literally sweep out your system. The micro-nutrients and b vitamins and antioxidants from the vegetables and quality meat will ensure an available supply of these nutrients to literally start a detoxifying cascade in your body, which will help you lose fat too.
In combination with this detox effect it is essential to avoid allergens. Common allergens to avoid are wheat and dairy so avoid these except for organic butter and possibly organic full fat yogurt.
Something to consider is the home and car or work space. Are you exposed to chemicals, air fresheners or toiletries you may be intolerant too? Try removing them or replacing with things like ecover cleaners or paraben free shampoo etc.
I could go on to talk about estrogen toxicity which may be killing your progress from all the estrogen mimicking chemicals in our environment, but for now the above advice will help and is something to consider.
To bolster all of this great nutrition and hydration, and your clean environment you are taking the following supplements. Multivitamin and mineral supplement will help detoxify you as well as fill in any gaps left by your nutrition.
The magnesium and zinc supplement will help you with removing cortisol, sleep/stress, improve insulin sensitivity and it will help with any estrogen toxicity too. So many people are deficient in these that it is worth taking.
Omega 3 has too many benefits to list but for you crucially insulin sensitivity and fat metabolism are massively important.
By replacing your cell fat layers with the right fats (by eliminating processed oils and introducing omega 3) you will benefit. In addition to and combined with this you will take 2-4g acetyl-l-carnitine (ACLAR) powder daily.
This combination will help with fat loss but is has to be consistent over 12 weeks or longer. There are many other benefits to ALCAR including better sports performance and reduced effort perception, and recovery from fatigue so I think this is a really good idea to be consistent with over the next 12 weeks.
In addition to this, if you do happen to go and have high insulinemic meal or snack, ACLAR has been shown to limit fat gain when taken with carbohydrates.
How To Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau With Nutritional Supplements
In a nutshell I advise you to take nutritional supplements only once you have achieved sound nutritional intake from food. In addition please supplement as advised on the packet and by a registered nutritionist, and be aware of poor quality supplements as well as fads that are a waste of money.
That said this is what I have had success with in the past and there is a lot of research to suggest:
- 10g fish oil daily as 2x5g (5g morning and 5g evening). Reduce in a week or two to 3-6g/day.
- Take 1-2g of ACLAR with the fish oil, 2g morning and 2g evening or around training. Start the first week with 4g/day to see how you get on and reduce if you see fit. Be consistent with the ACLAR.
- Magnesium and zinc 20mins before bed.
- Multivitamin and mineral supplement in the morning and evening as directed.
- Supplements are not a substitute for great nutrition!
Your Weight Loss Progress
My next point is your fat loss, carbohydrate tolerance and insulin sensitivity. You have made massive progress so far so you really deserve a pat on the back for that.
As your body fat levels drop you will have become a lot more insulin sensitive. Once you reach that magical 10% body fat you will be even more so, and at that point any carbohydrates you do eat will be much more easily stored as glycogen rather than fat.
So now is the time to go for the next fat loss focus to get us there, and at that point you’ll be able to tolerate the carbohydrates much better. I know it might be frustrating, but think of it like interval fat loss.
By taking the above advice your insulin levels will reduce which is what we want. However there is also a hormone called leptin, which responds to this.
We want to periodically stimulate insulin production so the leptin also gets affected and to overcome any fat loss plateau.
You have been eating this way weekly but my recommendation now is to go for three weeks very strictly low carbohydrate/low insulinemic foods, followed by a low fat high insulin eating for 24-48h in three weeks time. Once this is done we can experiment with following this cycle every 7-10days again.
How To Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau With Exercise
Finally your training has a massive impact on the results. Tying into this goal really well is the sprint interval runs you have been doing and the gym based PT sessions.
We now need to reduce the amount of hours doing cardio training (cycling with club etc) as this will have a negative effect on stress hormones, muscle mass and therefore fat loss.
Now the sportive is done I recommend doing the next three weeks of short rides but super high intensity. That might mean your Saturday morning club ride is ridden easy but sprint on the hills, drop the Sunday long ride and focus on the running intervals.
Ideally keep the sessions sub 40mins but at the same time I understand the enjoyment factor and social importance of the club ride, and how nice a long ride is, and this has to be sustainable not torture!
In terms of training timing, you could introduce training in a fasted state, or double workout days (sprint workout in the morning and weights in the evening) in that order to end on a massive growth hormone response and the resulting great sleep, recovery and response in terms of fat loss and fitness.
That’s a lot for today! I hope that has answered some of your questions on how to overcome a weight loss plateau. By implementing the strategies and being consistent you will overcome your weight loss plateau for long term results and health and fitness improvements.
As a next step you might be interested in these full body workout routines or if you’re struggling to lose weight you might benefit from reading my ultimate weight loss guide. It is designed to show you how to lose weight without dieting and is packed with alternative diet advice and practical next steps.
Please do get in touch if you have any questions about any of this.
Hope it helps, Nico.