The last 5 kilos really are the hardest to lose. Here’s why, and what you can do about it
The last 5 kilos really are the hardest to lose. Here’s why, and what you can do about it
farhad ibrahimzade/unsplash The last 5 kilos really are the hardest to lose. Here’s why, and what you can do about it Nick Fuller, University of Sydney We always hear the last five kilos are the hardest to lose when dieting. The number is made up, but the principle is correct – it’s called the weight-loss plateau.

The last five kilomes are the hardest to lose, that's the frustrating word.

Even though you are following the same healthy diet, lifestyle habits and exercise plan, the scales won't budge even if you hit your target weight.

The weight-loss plateau is a scientific reason why it is hard to lose weight. Here are some important information about why it happens, and five simple things you can do to break it.

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Understanding the weight-loss plateau

Basic biology explains the weight-loss plateau.

When your body is threatened with death, it will respond with a series of hormones to protect it.

When we change our diet and reduce our calories, our body feels that it is under threat and we are losing weight. It slows the rate at which we lose weight by reducing our metabolism and burning less energy.

It also has higher levels of the appetite hormone ghrelin, which is known to increase hunger and promote the reduction of fat stores.

It has been shown that between three and six months of weight loss, the plateau begins to appear. For people who need to lose a lot of weight, the plateau will be visible before the last five kilos.

Between three and six months is when research shows weight loss begins to stop.

I uymai/unsplash, CC BY.

A weight-loss plateau can be hard to break. It is a sign of your successful approach to losing weight.

Here is what you can do.

1. Revisit your weight-loss goal

When you hit a weight-loss plateau, it's important to modify your definition of healthy body weight.

What is special about the weight I am trying to achieve?

The number on the scales and the score generated when you enter your weight and height into the calculator are nonsense. It doesn't tell the whole story of what a healthy weight is.

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It's nonsense to measure your health with a body mass index. Here's why.

The body fat percentage and bodyfat distribution are more meaningful measures.

If you have been exercising regularly as part of your weight-loss plan, you will have gained muscle or improved your muscle-to-fat ratio, which will affect the number on the scales.

You are likely to have changed where fat is distributed in your body, which will reduce the amount of fat around the stomach and reduce your risk of disease.

Take the tape measure, check how your clothes fit, and think about how you feel if you really need to lose some weight. Work towards a waist circumference of 90-94 cm for men.

Continue your weight-loss goal.

farhad ibrahimzade/unsplash

2. Focus on meal size throughout the day

intermittent fast is the current fad. Breakfast is usually the first item to be removed from the menu in order to cut calories and shorten the time you are allowed to eat. When you eat and how much you consume, it's breakfast that matters. The most important.

Research shows that this is the time when your body burns calories more efficiently than the evening, when you put in more calories. Load up your breakfast and reduce the size of your evening meal, instead of reducing your eating window.

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Do 'fasting' diet help you lose weight?

3. Consider more strength-building exercises

Diet alone can reduce body fat. It's harder to keep the weight off when your metabolism slows.

Incorporating a couple of days of strength-building exercises into your weekly exercise routine will help preserve your muscle mass. Lifting weights in the gym are just as effective as exercises using body weight.

4. Review your food intake

When you lose weight, your body needs less fuel, so you need to review and adjust your calories.

When you reduce your weight by 10%, you need to consume 10% fewer calories. This shouldn't mean deprivation or starvation. You should be focusing on an abundance of food and keeping the treats for once a week.

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Will this diet make you live longer?

5. Check your stress

Your weight-loss success will be affected by stress. Stress increases your body's production of cortisol, promoting fat storage and triggering food cravings.

Exercise is the best form of stress management. No matter what it is, take up something you enjoy. Doing the same routine every day is a sure-fire way to get bored and avoid activity, and can also make it hard to hit your goals.

The bottom line

A weight-loss plateau can derail your diet attempt.

Making sure the weight-loss target you have set is realistic will help you get back on track.

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Are you hoping to get in shape for the summer? If you want to stick to a diet, ditch the fads.


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