Then you start a diet, lose a lot of pounds, continue to change your diet, but now you don’t lose weight or gain any more. Out of nowhere, you stagnate. This is a summary of what is called the plateau effect, one of the main disincentives for those who are undergoing an encouraging re-education, whether to lose weight or gain more weight. This stop in evolution needs to be avoided, but if you have already reached this level, know that it is also possible to get out of the plateau effect with some routine changes.
Behavioral nutritionist Renata Beserra (@nutricionista.renatabeserra) explains that the plateau effect is a response of our body to the drastic changes that can occur in a diet, especially when it is done without professional supervision. According to her, the effect is extremely common and democratic. The plateau affects people equally, regardless of gender, age, or ethnicity. However, Renata explains that age can be an accelerating factor for the arrival of the plateau effect.
“It’s very common for people to give up on the diet because they don’t know the plateau effect and within all that it’s not even interesting for the patient to lose weight very fast. When this happens, this accelerated process of weight loss, people look haggard, sucked, without structure because it ends up losing fat and muscle mass. This has a tendency for you to regain much more weight. So you must understand that this is a slow process and you have to have perseverance and if you enter the plateau effect, there are strategies to leave”, analyzes the nutritionist.
But before talking about the plateau effect, it is important to clarify that with a well-planned diet, the person may not lose weight on the scale, but continue with the weight loss process. The best way to identify the results of the eating plan that has been followed is through factors that go beyond the scale and include, for example, checking the patient’s body measurements. Another option is to evaluate before and after photos and clothing items, if they are looser.
“A more complete physical evaluation will be able to identify if the patient has really entered the plateau effect or if the parked pointer of the scale is meaning an increase in lean mass, which is a great metabolism booster, or fluid retention, which is when the person they are not drinking as much water as they should and the body retains fluid, making the person heavier. All of this needs to be analyzed in an anthropometric assessment”, explains Renata Beserra.
However, if it is indeed the case of an identified plateau effect, the same maneuvers made to avoid entering it are used to get out of this stagnant weight loss process. “From time to time it is necessary that different stimuli occur in the diet. For example, you start with a diet with a change in the proportion of nutrients, when the scale pointer starts to stop, you change the strategy and can propose the reduction of inflammatory foods . So these are strategies that need to be changed in cycles so as not to enter the plateau effect,” he advises.
But the plateau effect also needs to be tackled with a change in the training routine. Changing the type and intensity of your workout is part of the process. By changing the physical activity routine, it is possible to stimulate the body to spend more energy, avoiding the plateau effect and favoring weight loss and muscle mass gain. In some situations, it may be interesting to have a physical education professional follow up to promote different stimuli for the body.
And oddly enough, resting from training also helps. By taking a break, it is possible to promote muscle regeneration, which allows you to gain muscle mass, which is essential for increased metabolism and fat burning. Sleeping well helps in the regulation of hormones related to hunger, which are ghrelin and leptin, thus having positive effects on weight loss.