What is the worst thing that could happen to a person who has set a goal, someone who has outlined a plan how to achieve it and works hard for it? The worst thing is to reach a plateau. A plateau that makes him feel stuck.
I am sure that it has happened to you. You follow a nutrition plan, you work out and at the beginning you have progress. Suddenly your progress stops. You feel as if you are stuck in a dead end street. Day after day you work hard, you give your best effort and nothing happens, nothing is changing. You do everything properly and the results aren’t there. There isn’t anything more discouraging than knowing that you are giving your best and things are not working the way you wish them to be. In such moments you feel as if there isn’t a way to achieve your goals.
That’s why today I will explain you what is hidden behind plateau. I will explain you the process that takes place in the body, because our appearance is a result of what happens inside of us. I will try to give you directions about what you should do when this happens, so you don’t lose hope and so you can keep up with your new habits.
If you’ve already gone through this stage, you probably know that the following takes place:
You start working out and eating healthy – you have progress. Then, there comes a plateau and for the next 2-3 weeks you don’t notice any progress. Still, you do not quit and you keep on doing what you do. After 3 weeks, suddenly your progress is back and you are noticing tremendous improvement.
Why does it happen like this?
The reason is in the so called omental fat. The fat that we store could be divided in the fat beneath the skin (the one that you can pinch) and the fat around the organs (visceral fat).
Visceral fat and its quantity is what should bother us.
Why is visceral fat dangerous and what is it?
Visceral fat is being stored in between organs. It has a yellowish color and it is an unhealthy type of fat. It promotes inflammation and it is associated with inflammatory markers like the presence of cytokines, insulin resistance and so forth. Its presence is a sign that there is a metabolic disturbance.
What happens when we eat?
The first place where fat goes, after we eat it is in the gut. From there, gut cells absorb fats and they should transport them to the liver, where they are supposed to be backed and send to the body for usage. If this process is disrupted, then fats can’t go through the first level – to the liver and they are left where they are. Thus they pile up around organs. This add on of fats has to do with the increased consumption of trans fats and carbs. Trans fats are an abnormal formation of fatty acids. Trans fats are fats that do not exist in nature. When enzymes that metabolize fats take up this molecule, they can’t get rid of it. For every molecule of trans fats, the body is trying to get rid of it, but it can’t and then it stays there and adds up. The more trans fats we eat, the more visceral fat adds up and the harder it is to get rid of it, because we do not have metabolic enzymes that could burn it as energy.
What happens in this case?
The body should be in a state, where it could allow apoptosis (a fancy word about the process when a cell in the body decides to disappear and kill themselves).
How does this has to do with the body?
When there is a lot of trans fats piled up around the belly, there should be enough nutrients, that could allow the apoptosis, so the cell could make a suicide. In fact, these fats are not being burned, but the cells reassemble; new enzymes are being created. For this to happen, there should be enough nutrients in the body.
During the plateau, what happens is that the body is partially getting rid of visceral fat. If you are one of the people who have more weight to lose, you will notice that you start losing belly fat and fat from the chin.
What should you do when you reach a plateau?
This is the moment when a lot of people break down and quit. When you really change your habits, when you train and eat properly, such a plateau is not due to the fact that you are not doing enough. This is the moment when in your body is happening what you aim for and it is just a matter of some patience, so you can see visible change.
In THIS post I explained you about women and lifting weights and why when you start lifting you might notice that you are getting bigger. But this is just a stage, then everything happens the way you expect it. I think that this is the moment when the body is trying to get rid of visceral fat.
Muscles are made faster than fat is being burned. So, initially you will notice that your body is changing its shape, but you will still have excess fat. That is the moment when you shouldn’t quit and you should keep on eating healthy and working out. Focus on what you do and not just the way you look. Be more patient and while you are giving your best effort, your body will literally remodel itself.
Here is the moment to remind you that what gets measured, gets accomplished. In other words it is important to follow your progress. Still, measuring yourself on a daily basis is not the way. No matter how bad you want it, progress doesn’t happen every day. It happens in stages. If you measure yourself on a daily basis, you might get discouraged and quit. That’s why I encourage you to measure yourself every 3 weeks. Thus, you will give yourself enough time, so the efforts you make could lead to visible results.
As it is true for everything else in life it is true for working out and nutrition as well – a person is closest to his goal, right when he is about to quit. Just when you think that you have a plateau and that you are not doing things properly, is the moment when you should give yourself some time. Good results don’t come for a day and they do not come quickly. They happen gradually, but they stay in the long term.