Saturday, September 15, 2012

Day 8: Stalls, Plateaus and...the Last Resort

A fat loss stall or plateau refers to an extended period of time during fat reducing efforts where there is no weight loss according to the scale and no loss of inches according to the tape measure. If you've been following your routine to the letter of the law, and it seems that the bathroom scale has become permanently stuck, take your measurements. Also notice if your clothes are getting looser, or if you can now fit into formerly tight garments. Chances are, you are continuing to lose fat, but your body is adding lean muscle tissue, especially if you’ve been strength training as well. Muscle is less bulky than fat for the same amount of weight, so your body will be smaller and leaner. If this is the case, you haven't stalled at all; your body is just recomposing itself.

   This is why it's so important to record our body measurements at the very beginning, so we'll have a reference as we make progress. Don't just measure chest, waist, and hip. Other key areas to measure are neck, upper arm, thigh, and calf. It's normal for the body to go through adjustment periods while we're losing fat. A plateau lasting 3 or 4 weeks is no cause for alarm, nor is it a reason to quit. Simply check your measurements as noted above, and stick with the program. Remember, this is about making permanent, lifelong changes; a few weeks is just a brief period in the rest of our life.

   One other thing to consider–are you within 5-10 lbs of your goal weight? Following a healthy eating routine and exercising may have given you an increased muscle-to-fat ratio than you had previously. As noted earlier, muscle tissue weighs more than fat, but takes up less bulk. Maybe it's time to just rethink your goal weight and be happy with the progress you’ve made. Congratulations! Now you can focus your energies on maintaining your proper weight, instead of struggling to drop a few more pounds.

Okay, four weeks have gone by and still nada. No additional fat loss or inches? Now, this sounds like a stall and here are a few things to consider. On Day 8 we’ll examine our options while facing the inevitable stalls and plateaus.

About the Author: James Hackley is an author, inspirational speaker, and a philanthropist who earned a B.S. degree in Physics from Longwood College and an M.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia.  He's the founder of Omega Consulting Enterprises, chaplain of a local chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and faithfully attends Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International in Lansdowne, Va. His latest book, Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening can be purchased by visiting him at ,, and

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