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The plateau effect is the situation in which the continuity of weight loss is not observed even when there is adequate food and regular physical activity. This is because weight loss is not considered a linear process, as it depends on several factors, including physiological ones, which are believed to be related to this effect.
It is normal that when starting a diet and the practice of physical activity, you can easily lose several kilos, however, as time passes, the body becomes more adapted to the food and activity routine, so that energy consumption becomes lower and weight changes are not observed.
Although it can be considered frustrating, the plateau effect can be avoided and can be overcome through periodic nutritional consultations, so that the effect of the recommended diet can be evaluated and adjustments can be made, and changes in intensity and stimuli of physical activity.In this way, the organism does not remain under the same effects and it is possible to avoid the plateau effect.
Why does the plateau effect happen?
At the beginning of the weight loss process, it is normal to observe loss in the first few weeks, this is because there is a breakdown of glycogen reserves to generate energy, in addition to requiring less energy expenditure for the processes of digestion, absorption and food metabolism, which favors weight loss. However, as the amount of calories is maintained, the body reaches a balance, becoming adapted to the situation, which makes the amount of calories spent daily the same as consumed, with no weight loss and characterizing the effect. plateau.
In addition to the adaptation of the organism, the plateau effect can happen when the person follows the same food or training plan for a long period, when they follow a restricted diet for a long time or when they quickly lose a lot of weight, with a decrease in metabolism.However, further studies are needed to actually determine which physiological mechanism is most closely related to the plateau effect.
The plateau effect is more common after 6 months of a calorie-restricted diet, so it is important that the person is accompanied by a nutritionist in order to not only avoid the plateau effect, but also nutritional deficiencies.
What to do to get out of the plateau effect
If there is difficulty in losing weight, it is important to consult the endocrinologist so that tests are carried out in order to verify if the difficulty in losing weight is due to hormonal changes or if it is a consequence of day-to-day situations, being confirmed in this case the plateau effect.
To get out of the plateau effect, it is important to adopt new habits in everyday life, such as:
1. Changing eating habits
Changing eating habits is important to get out and avoid the plateau effect, because when you follow the same diet for a long time, the body gets used to the amount of calories and nutrients that will be consumed daily and to that there are no changes in metabolic processes, it adapts, with a decrease in energy expenditure to maintain the proper functioning of the body and slowing down the process of burning fat and weight.
In this way, by periodically changing eating habits with the guidance of a nutritionist, it is possible to avoid this physiological adaptation of the body and adopt new strategies for weight loss.
2. Change training type and intensity
By changing the type and intensity of training, it is possible to stimulate the body to spend more energy, avoiding the plateau effect and favoring weight loss and muscle mass gain. In some situations, it may be interesting to have the follow-up of a physical education professional so that a training plan can be established according to the objective in order to promote different stimuli for the body.
3. Drinking water during the day
Water is essential for the proper functioning of the body, that is, for the metabolic processes to take place. In the absence or low amount of water, the body starts to save energy to carry out the metabolism, interfering in the weight loss process and favoring the plateau effect.Therefore, it is recommended to drink at least 2 liters of water a day, even during exercise.
By resting it is possible to promote muscle regeneration, which allows for the gain of muscle mass, which is essential for increasing metabolism and burning fat. In addition, sleeping well helps in the regulation of hormones related to hunger, which are ghrelin and leptin, thus having positive effects on weight loss.
5. Avoid restrictive diets
It is also recommended not to go on restricted diets for a long period and without nutritional guidance, as in addition to being able to result in nutrient deficiency and favoring the plateau effect, it can result in eating disorders, such as compulsion, for example, and the accordion effect, in which after weight loss, the person regains the initial weight or more.