Have you ever started a new weight loss program that went fantastic for the first couple weeks and then nothing? These are called weight loss plateaus and can be frustrating enough for many people to just quit, blaming the weight loss program for their lack of progress. Actually, it is your own body that has set a new body set point for weight.
The human body is a very efficient machine and once it has established a certain weight as the set point or standard operating weight, it will do all it can to keep it there. Your body makes adjustments in metabolism and fat storage (among others) in order to maintain its set point and it seems that no matter what you do, you just can’t lose any more. This process is referred to as adaptive thermogenesis.
To get past these weight loss plateaus you need to break the body set point and essentially change it to a new body weight set point. The best place to start is to better understand the processes you are attempting to change, which is the process of adaptive thermogenesis. This is really the way the body will automatically reduce energy output when you lower intake through dieting in order to maintain the body weight set point.
Take a dieting example to help explain the process. You decide that if you can cut at least 500 calories out of your diet, then weight loss should be a no-brainer, so you go ahead and make the 500 calorie reduction 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 become desperate and drop another 500 calories from your normal intake, thinking that 500 wasn’t enough, so 1000 calories should do the trick, but again, nothing happens. Adaptive thermogenesis has again adjusted the body’s energy need to accommodate the new level of caloric intake and weight remains stable, even though the calorie reduction was extreme.
Are you out of luck battling against yourself? No, of course not, but it is going to take more than just dieting alone to prevent adaptive thermogenesis, keep losing weight and reach a new body weight set point.
What is the magical secret to all of this? Ok, there is no magical secret, but it does take both diet and exercise combined 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 adaptive thermogenesis and reestablishing the body weight set point.
Metabolic resistance training is a series of compound exercises with very short rest between sets that is designed to literally shock the system into compliance. Combined with a serious weight loss diet, this technique will usually push through the body’s adaptive thermogenesis reaction to bring your weight down to the next body weight set point.
What you want to do now is to continue your program in a maintenance mode to reset your system into thinking that your new (and lower) weight is where it is supposed to be. Keep this new weight for at least the next 4 weeks before you try losing more weight. Now when you restart your weight loss efforts you are beginning at a new and lower normal body weight level. Use this step loss method when you have reached that plateau and just can’t seem to lose any more weight. This is very effective at overcoming adaptive thermogenesis and setting a new body weight set point.