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Experiencing a weight loss plateau? 8 reasons you’ve stopped losing weight

17/06/2021

Have you stopped losing weight despite trying so hard and think you’re doing all the right things: energy deficit, balanced macronutrient ratios, and moving your body. You’re doing all the obvious things, yet still, you are struggling to get to your target weight. Let’s talk about why this could be happening and how you can move past it.

You’ve most likely stopped losing weight because you’ve reached a weight loss plateau. This is when you’re stuck at a specific weight after already dropping some weight. Even if what you’re doing worked to begin with, it may not work now. Your body changes during weight loss, so logically, your approach will need to adjust slightly throughout the process.

Why have you stopped losing weight?

  1. Your metabolic rate has naturally lowered
    Don’t panic! When you lose weight, the size of your body is reduced and so it’s no surprise that your body doesn’t require as much energy to operate on a day – to -day basis as it once did. Use this time to reflect on other small changes you can make to your diet that will switch things up again and get you back on track such as making sure you’re eating enough fibre throughout the day and eating a protein source at every meal to ensure your muscle mass is retained to rev up your metabolism.
  2. You’re eating too much protein
    High protein diets have been put on a pedestal for amazing weight loss results when the fact of the matter is only 1 in 5 people will have enhanced weight loss results following a high protein diet… the rest just won’t, and this may be hindering your progress! Finding out your variation of the FTO gene could be key to your success here to understand your daily protein requirements for weight loss. Remember excess protein (more than your body requires) can be turned into glucose (sugar) by the body if you’re following a low carb diet, hindering your goals.
  3. You’re drinking juices
    Yes, the diet industry wants you to believe that drinking bright coloured juices will bring you weight loss and wellness when, unfortunately, fruit that has been juiced will just get in the way of your goals. All the sugar and none of the fibre… Pro tip: Flavour your water with fruit or if you want to drink your veggies ensure you make smoothies that retain the fibre and opt for vegetable juices rather than those that contain fruit – read the label!
  4. You’re getting portions wrong
    It’s easy to pick up a packet of something and eat the whole thing because many associate one packet as one portion. Always best to check the serving size on the label to determine how much to eat and better yet only buy pre-portioned single servings of foods such as popcorn, nuts, guacamole, hummus, etc. Understanding your macronutrient requirements for weight loss based on your DNA can also help you understand how much of a certain food you should be eating.
  5. You’re focusing too much on exercise
    Moving your body is key to long-term success and health however more emphasis must be put on what food you are eating if you have certain variations of the ADRB2 & FTO gene. For a lot of people in order to lose 1 pound of fat, they’d have to work out for approximately 1 hour a day, 7 days a week, and would benefit more from focusing on a diet with exercise approximately three times a week. On the other hand, there are people who very effectively use stored fat when they work out and exercise is very important for their weight loss journey (2, 3). If you’ve stopped losing weight, actionable advice about how much exercise you should be focusing on based on your DNA can be very helpful.
  6. You’re not eating enough
    In order to lose weight, you must burn more energy than you take in to create an energy deficit. You achieve this by eating less than your body requires on a daily basis. The problem here is unless you understand your body’s metabolic rate you can get this horribly wrong. Unfortunately, introducing too much of a calorie deficit can create metabolic adaptation where your metabolism slows down as a survival mechanism to prevent weight loss. This only occurs when your body feels threatened by low food intake and ‘starvation mode’ kicks in. The variation of your UCP1 gene helps you identify your body’s perfect calorie deficit for weight loss that will never slip into starvation mode (4).
  7. You’re too stressed or not sleeping well
    These two factors can cause hormone imbalances in hormones that are strongly linked to food intake, satiety, and hunger cues, slowing down your weight loss. My FREE weight loss guide can help you understand more about how to optimise underlying barriers to weight loss.
  8. You’re not eating true to your DNA
    We all respond differently to the nutrients in the food and beverages we consume. Eating the wrong type and amount of certain foods will no doubt be hindering your weight loss goals. Discovering your unique requirements, in order, you can start Eating the DNA Way can only support you on your weight loss journey.

References: 

(1)   Zhang X et al. FTO genotype and 2-year change in body composition and fat distribution in response to weight-loss diets: The POUNDS LOST trial. Diabetes. 2012;61(11):3005-11.

(2)   Andreasen et al. Low physical activity accentuates the effect of the FTO rs9939609 polymorphism on body fat accumulation. Diabetes. 2008;57:95-101.

(3) Reddon et al. Physical activity and genetic predisposition to obesity in a multiethnic longitudinal study. Scientific Reports. 2016;6:1-10.

(4)     Nagai N et al. UCP1 genetic polymorphism (-3826A/G) diminishes resting energy expenditure and thermoregulatory sympathetic nervous system activity in young females. Int J Obesity. 2011;35:1050-5.

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