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3 Changes to Make When the Scale Isn't Moving

You’re churning right along during a weight change phase, losing or gaining consistently the weight you’d like to see. But it’s inevitable when you start making larger and larger changes, your body fights back. If you’re struggling to lose additional weight at the end of a fat loss phase, you’re completely normal. Likewise for weight gain. Our bodies love the idea of homeostasis – the absence of change and resumption of normality. Here are 3 things to implement in order to continue progressing.

Decrease/Increase Calories

Yes, this is probably the most tried and true method to continue seeing progress on the scale. If you’ve hit a stall during a weight loss phase while consuming ~2100 calories/day, you’ll eventually need to decrease calories further to reap more results. This is because your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) goes down. You’re quite literally a smaller machine. Smaller machines require less energy to run. Don’t go too crazy though. Personally, I like to adjust calories by an average of 100 calories/day and only when need be.

Take a Diet Break

Taking a break from your surplus or deficit allows your metabolism to “reset” so to speak. Perhaps you’ve been gaining one pound every 2 weeks, and you’re TDEE has increased to the point you’re struggling to maintain your caloric surplus. Breaking the diet, only for a short time, may allow your TDEE to come down slightly to a more manageable level. The opposite is true for those seeking weight loss. Further, the stress hormones circulating around your brain that scream “STOP GAINING WEIGHT” or “YOU’RE FREAKING STARVING” need time to dissipate. A diet break gives them a chance to normalize.

Change your Modality of Cardio (if you’re aiming to lose weight)

This is probably the least efficacious of these three tips, but it makes a whole lot of intuitive sense. I’ve written before about just how resilient the body can be, and also how hesitant it can act toward change. That said, the efficiency by which we burn calories is likely to increase over time if all we do is run, use an elliptical, or whatever the case. The 250 calories you were burning from walking 3 miles in May might decrease to 178 calories by August simply because your body finds a more efficient means to perform the activity.

Take Home Message

  • Seeing weight change stall is completely normal and our body’s way of showing us how much it enjoys homeostasis.

  • Decreasing/increasing calories is the best way to continue seeing change.

  • Taking a break from the diet can allow your body’s energy expenditure to reset and decrease the stress hormone circulation created by dieting.

  • Change your modality of cardio to give your body a fresh, non-acclimated stimulus to change if weight loss is your goal.

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