Key Topics Covered
Why Do They Occur?
- The smaller you are, the less calories you burn.
- If you start off with a small/moderate deficit and do not adjust calories throughout the process, you are guaranteed to run into a plateau. This is because literally losing muscle/fat reduces your calorie expenditure.
- Metabolic adaptation.
- Being in a deficit for an extended period of time means your body starts trying to reduce calorie expenditure. The larger the deficit, the more severe this response typically is.
- This can be done by reducing heart rate, core temperature and incidental movements.
- It also explains why a lot of women lose their period when they are either in an extended deficit or they get particularly lean.
- Habits change.
- Maybe the novelty where’s off and somebody is not sticking as closely to their plan as they were at the start. Maybe they are exercising less, or less intensely.
- Hunger and desire to eat typically increase over the course of a diet.
Strategies to Improve Diet Adherence
- Tighten things up again
- Reducing grazing/snacking
- Track calories more accurately – track EVERYTHING you eat and weight the foods accurately.
- Going out to eat less – this is harder to track and more likely to have hidden calories
- Take a good 2-4 weeks diet break
- Diet breaks – 1-2 weeks seems to help with desire to eat and hunger AND 4+ weeks may assist with reversing metabolic adaption as well.
- Sometimes you do just need a psychological and emotional break from dieting
- Reduce the size of your calorie deficit – Eg. if you’re at 1000cal deficit, maybe drop to 800cal deficit.
- Increase exercise – If you aren’t near the over training threshold, this could help. However, usually we like you to train as much as is required for your sport and adjust food/ calorie intake.
- Appetite management strategies – Increase protein, aiming for 30+ grams of fibre per day, volume eating, maintaining good hydration, etc.
- Try fasting – This is not magical, but it could make it easier to stick to a lower calorie intake.
- Reduce you caloric intake – Your plan could simply be too many calories, aiming for a lower target could be beneficial especially if you’re prone to going over.
Useful Links/ Resources
Relevant Blog Posts