By Alex Adams
Are you wondering how on earth to get rid of belly fat or to get rid of inner thigh fat, areas that you cannot seem to improve no matter what? Getting rid of stubborn fat is a pain for everyone across the board. Whether you are more than 50 pounds overweight or just trying to lose that last ten pounds, the frustration is the same.
It’s all relative to your expectations and goals.
The only thing that’s not the same is the way you would go about getting rid of that fat.
The reason it’s different is because of what’s known as a “Fat Loss Plateau,” and there are basically 3 plateaus for the 3 different weight groups.
A Fat Loss Plateau basically happens for 3 reasons:
One is that your body has a set weight that it tries to maintain. This set weight can change, but it takes time. For example, if you start losing weight and go from 200 lbs to 150 lbs, your body remembers the set weight of 200 lbs and signals your body to fill those fat cells back up. If you stay 150 lb, and don’t regain the weight, your body will eventually break through the first plateau signaling your body to hold onto fat.
Second is that as you lose weight, you actually burn fewer calories at rest and when you exercise. The heavier you are the more energy it takes to perform a given activity because there’s more of you to move around (i.e. your mass is greater). This means the less you weigh, the slower you lose fat, which in turn means your workouts need to be ramped up to overcome this second plateau.
Third is that once you’ve lost most of the weight your body starts to reset again about the time when you have about 10 to 15 lbs to lose. Your body actually thinks you are starving and signals you to fill up on fat, so it can store it just in case food becomes scarce again. This is the third plateau and possibly the hardest one to breakthrough.
Addressing each plateau occurs at each different weight category and there are 3 tailored steps that work for each group’s weight loss needs…
Now, before going on, I want to mention… while the speed you lose the weight is important, what’s more important is that you lose weight fast and safely.
Let’s break it down together, and see where you fall.
I Need to Lose 50 lbs or more
Step 1: Cut Calories
When you weight enough to lose 50 lbs or more, your first plan of action is to cut calories across the board. Don’t be too concerned over eating this and not that, be more concerned with eating less for the entire day of whatever it is you normally eat.
Step 2: Start Power Walking
Overeating and inactivity over time is the most likely reason the fat accumulated over the years. Jumping into a strenuous work-out routine may not be easy for you to do at this fitness level at this time. Remember even if you are only power walking an hour a day (i.e. walking at a pace that is nearly jogging but not quite) you are burning a good amount of calories because of your body mass. Once you are in better shape and have lost weight, then move onto a higher impact workout.
Step 3: Fight off Hunger Cues
At your current weight your body is going to signal you to eat the same amount of food you have always eaten. This is why you need to find ways to fight off hunger cues. This could be drinking more water, having a hot cup of green tea, or filling up on low calorie roughage like stalks of celery.
These 3 Steps will help you overcome the 1st Plateau.
I Need to Lose 20 – 50 lbs
Step 1: Eat Less Sugar & Carbohydrates
In this weight category, you have to step up your game. Now instead of just cutting calories, pay attention to what types of calories you take in. The less sugar and carbohydrates you feed your body, the more your body will use fat as a source of fuel instead of circulating glucose.
Step 2: Add Resistance Training
At this point your body is getting used to the power walking. Plus since you are almost down to your ideal body weight, the power walking isn’t burning a whole lot of calories anymore in relation to your mass. Now it’s time to add some resistance training to your routine. This could be as simple as using your own body weight for resistance. Try adding in push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. You can also use the elliptical or stair master on a higher resistance setting. If you’re trying to lose extra belly fat and get to your ideal body shape this will work well.
Step 3: Eat More Vegetables
Now is the time to start training your body to eat vegetables. For decades, your taste buds and brain has been trained to grab quick carbs for fuel like bread, cereal, chips, and crackers. Now when you want a pick me up snack it needs to be cucumber, celery, carrots, and broccoli. This is the only way you are ever going to reach your ideal body weight. It won’t be accomplished by not eating at all or only eating small amount of bread and cereal. You need the vitamins from vegetable to satisfy your metabolism.
These 3 Steps will get you passed the 2nd Plateau
I Need to Lose the Last 10 -15 lbs
Step 1: Lower Your Sodium Intake
Sodium is in so many foods we eat, but most people don’t even think to check. Sodium makes you hold onto water making you look fat. Try reducing your sodium to fewer than 1000 mg per day.
Step 2: Lift Weights
Blasting off that last bit of fat is easier if you lift weights. At this point your body is trying so hard to hang onto fat it’s not even funny. The trick is to trade fat for muscle. You can’t turn fat into muscle, that’s a misconception, but you can lose fat as a result of lifting weights while you simultaneously build muscle. Making your body work hard, while also cutting back on carbs, forces your body to use fat to fuel the muscle.
Step 3: Eat more Protein
Now that you are getting down to size, you want to make sure that you are a healthy weight with a good percentage of lean muscle mass. As you start lifting weights, you will need to fuel your body with protein to maintain and build muscle. Luckily protein, is filling so you won’t feel starved while you lose that last 10 -15 lbs.
These 3 steps will help you blast past that last Plateau.
You can read about some more nutrition tips and tricks for losing stubborn belly fat here.
To Sum Up, getting rid of stubborn fat needs to be tailored every step of the way. What works or no longer works for a particular weight category has a great deal to do with the 3 plateaus listed here. It’s important to reassess your fitness level on an ongoing basis, and continually take the next step to reach your goals and get you past these plateaus.
ABOUT ALEX ADAMS
Alex Adams is a main fitness and diet contributor to the diet and fitness sections of vixendaily.com. He is a former fast food junkie and couch potato turned health and fitness nut. Having once been very overweight and at risk for serious health problems, he cleaned up his act and has now been helping people do the same through educating and coaching. He has written many articles on various health topics and is the main contributor to Vixen Daily’s diet and fitness sections.