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Initial Weight Loss and Plateau...Why?

"Why did I lose 10 pounds the first couple of weeks of working out and now I've hit a plateau, and even gained some weight back?

I've been trying to find a way to answer this question in a simple way for a while now, and well here we go, this is what I can say about Initial Weight Loss, Plateau and Re-Gained Weight

  • Initial Weight Loss - When we start working out results are often noticeable right away, and that can be so exciting, but it is only temporary. This happens mainly for two, connected reasons; Caloric Deficit and Glycogen Depletion. The first couple weeks of working out are so exciting that most people go ALL IN, meaning working out as much as they can and eating healthier. Those two elements make your caloric intake drop, and therefore you lose weight, since you're eating less and burning more than you used to, creating a Caloric Deficit (see my post about BMR to get the amount of calories your body needs just to function and how to create a deficit), pretty simple math. During this time your body is using any energy source it can find to try to keep up with your new lifestyle. Glycogen, which has been stored in your liver and muscles comes to the rescue, but it is soon depleted (it takes just a few days of dieting and exercising), now, Glycogen is bound to three to four grams of water, so, if you use up your body's Glycogen storage (as when dieting or with prolonged exercising), a lot of water is released over a short amount of time, and that's what we call Water Weight Loss (nothing to do with sweating or not sweating enough, that's another topic). All of this is happening pretty fast, and results in a drop of weight that we all wish would last forever... but that's not the case, and that brings us to...

  • Weight Loss Plateau - Imagine you've been eating 3,500 calories per day without any workout regime and maintaining your current weight, then suddenly you start eating 2,000 calories, while working out; that creates a huge 1,500 caloric deficit and therefore a fast drop in weight. Once you start to lose body weight, however, this deficit becomes smaller and smaller, slowing fat loss. (Because a smaller body requires fewer calories.) As this process continues, your metabolism adapts (BMR), lowering your calorie needs even more than what you’d expect from the weight loss alone. You’ll also become more efficient at exercising, reducing the number of calories you burn through movement. And if that’s not enough, you might even exercise less frequently and intensely because you now have less energy coming in. All of this makes your body hit that dreaded Plateau status, but of course, there are ways to break this, such as; Exercise more Often, Reduce Carb Intake, Eat more Fiber, Drink more Water, Cut down on Alcohol, Consume more Protein, Manage Stress and Get enough Sleep. Now, all of this sounds great, but what about...

  • Re-gained Weight - Gaining some weight back during, or right before hitting a Plateau is totally normal, mainly for the reasons we talked about before, a lot of this initial weight loss was mostly Water Weight, so, once your Glycogen is back to it's normal state and you hydrate, you'll see a small increase in weight, which, if you've been working out and keep the Caloric Deficit, will not stay for long. So Don't Give UP just because you gained 3lbs out of the 10lbs you've lost so far!

Hopefully this info can help bring some light to these questions, also, we need to keep in mind that everybody is different and every body reacts and adapts differently to changes in diet and exercise. That being said, if you find this info useful please hit the Share button and see you guys next time!

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