Have you ever started a new weight loss program that was great for the first two weeks and then nothing? These are called weight loss plateaus and they can be frustrating enough that many people give up, blaming the weight loss program for their lack of progress. In reality, it is your own body that has established a new body weight set point.
The human body is a very efficient machine and once it has established a certain weight as a set point or standard operating weight, it will do everything it can to keep it there. Your body makes adjustments to metabolism and fat storage (among others) to maintain its set point, and it seems that no matter what you do, you just can’t lose any more. This process is known as adaptive thermogenesis.
To get past these weight loss plateaus, you need to break the body’s set point and essentially shift it to a new body weight set point. The best place to start is with a better understanding of the processes you are trying to change, which is the process of adaptive thermogenesis. This is actually the body’s way of automatically reducing energy production when you decrease intake through diet to maintain body weight set point.
Take a diet example to help explain the process. You decide that if you can cut at least 500 calories from your diet, then weight loss should be a no-brainer, so you go ahead and do the 500-calorie cut, but nothing happens. Your body has adjusted its energy needs to a level that is now 500 calories less than it used to be, so your weight remains stable. You get desperate and lose another 500 calories from your normal intake, thinking that 500 was not enough, so 1000 calories should be enough, but again, nothing happens. Adaptive thermogenesis has again adjusted the body’s need for energy to accommodate the new level of caloric intake, and the weight remains stable, even though the calorie reduction was extreme.
Not having any luck fighting yourself? No, of course not, but it will take more than just dieting to prevent adaptive thermogenesis, continue to lose weight, and reach a new body weight set point.
What is the magical secret of all this? Ok, there is no magic secret, but it takes a combination of diet and exercise to do the trick, but not just any old diet and exercise program will always do the trick. Intense metabolic resistance training is the key to breaking down adaptive thermogenesis and resetting the bodyweight set point.
Metabolic resistance training is a series of compound exercises with very short rests between sets that is designed to literally jolt the system into compliance. Combined with a serious weight loss diet, this technique will generally drive the body’s adaptive thermogenesis reaction to reduce your weight to the next body weight set point.
What you want to do now is continue your program in maintenance mode to reset your system and think that your new (and lower) weight is where it’s supposed to be. Maintain this new weight for at least the next 4 weeks before trying to lose more weight. Now, when you restart your weight loss efforts, you’re starting at a new, lower normal body weight level. Use this step loss method when you’ve hit that plateau and can’t seem to lose any more weight. This is very effective in overcoming adaptive thermogenesis and establishing a new body weight set point.