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Plateau:

Weight loss plateau 1  Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition.www.caasn.com

A very common problem during weight loss is that the weight does not go down anymore; progression comes to a halt, and the scale stops budging! Weight loss clients hate to see not losing weight anymore despite following their dietary plans and exercise programs meticulously. Majority of weight loss seekers experience plateau during weight loss process at some point.

There is no universal agreement about the definition of weight loss plateau. The Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition defines weight loss plateau in gym goers and non – gym goers based on the following criteria:

Non – Gym Goers:

Initial weight loss followed by failure to lose weight for 3 weeks or more despite following nutritional advices is called “weight loss plateau”. Basically, this definition applies to people who follow a diet only and do not exercise.

Criteria for non – gym goers:

  1. Initial weight loss.
  2. Weight loss cessation for 3 weeks or more while being on a specific diet.

Gym Goers:

Losing weight and dropping body fat at the beginning followed by failing to lose weight and drop body fat for 3 weeks or more despite following exercise routines and nutritional advices is called “weight loss plateau”.

Criteria for gym goers:

  1. Initial weight loss.
  2. Initial drop in body fat.
  3. Weight loss cessation for 3 weeks or more despite exercising and following a diet together.
  4. A halt in body fat drop for 3 weeks or more despite exercising and following a diet together.

Among gym goers, a plateau is when both body weight and body fat stop declining. If you are exercising and your body fat is dropping without any changes in your weight, this is not considered a plateau. It is because when you exercise, you burn fat and replace it with muscle. This is why your body fat goes down but the weight does not change.

Keep in mind that as long as your body fat is dropping, you have not hit the plateau! It is highly Weight loss plateau 2  Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition.www.caasn.comrecommended that weight and body fat be checked regularly with the same scale and technique respectively. If you check your weight with different scales and measure your body fat with different techniques, you will get different results which will certainly confuse you to see whether you have plateaued or not.

When trying to lose weight, if you do not lose any weight at all at the beginning for days or weeks, it is not a plateau! To claim that someone has hit the plateau, it is mandatory that non-gym goers have the two criteria both, and gym goers have all of the four criteria. Even if one criterion does not exist, the claim is out of question. When managing plateau, always look for causes of plateau.

Predictability of Plateau:

There are no specific signs or findings based upon to predict if someone would hit the plateau. However, you may be able to predict the possibility of ending up with plateau by using Abazar`s formula. The higher the amount of weight you want to lose, the higher the chance you would hit plateau.

 Abazar`s Formula to Calculate the Risk of Plateau:

The following formula developed by Abazar Habibinia would assist you with predicting the possibility and risk of plateau during a weight loss process:

 

% of Plateau = Desired Weight Loss (Ibs) X 2 X Abazar`s Factor(s).

 

 Weight loss plateau 3  Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition.www.caasn.com

Abazar`s Factors to Calculate the Risk of Plateau:

Age (years):

 

10 – 20  

1.0

20 – 40  

1.1

40 – 60  

1.2

Over 60  

1.3

Gender:

 

Male

1.0

Female

1.2

Lifestyle:  

 

Active

0.8

Sedentary  

1.2

Medical Conditions:

 

Diabetes  

1.1

Kidney disease

1.1

Hypothyroidism  

1.2

Polycystic ovarian syndrome

1.2

Cushing syndrome/disease

1.2

Depression  

1.2

Insomnia  

1.2

Liver disease  

1.3

Medications:

 

Birth control pills

1.1

Antihistamines  

1.1

Antipsychotics  

1.1

Anti-diabetes

1.1

Antidepressants/Anti-anxieties

1.2

Sedatives/tranquilizers  

1.2

Tagamet/Zantac

1.2

Beta-Blockers

1.3

Calcium channel blockers

1.3

Corticosteroids  

1.3

 

 

 Two examples as to how to calculate the risk of plateau:

 

Example 1:

You are a 29 years old female. Your current weight is 145 Ibs and you want to lose 25 Ibs. You have been diagnosed with low function thyroid 3 years ago and you are taking synthyroid medication and birth control pill. Exercise is not a part of your lifestyle. How much is the risk of plateau?

Age: 29…….1.1

Female:…….1.2

Low function thyroid….1.2

Birth control pill……1.1Weight loss plateau 4  Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition.www.caasn.com

Desired weight loss…..25

% of plateau = 2 X 25 X 1.1 X 1.2 X 1.2 X 1.1

% of plateau = 87.12%

Example 2:

You are a 56 years old man with diabetes who takes 3 tablets of metformin a day. Your current weight is 202 Ibs and you want to lose about 30 Ibs. You also have high blood pressure for which you take Atenolol. You exercise 3 times a week. How much is the risk of plateau?

 

Age: 56…….1.2

Male: ………1.0

Diabetes…….1.1

Anti – diabetic medication (Metformin)……1.1

Atenolol (a beta – blocker)…………………1.3

Active lifestyle (3 workouts a week)……..0.8

Desired weight loss………30

% of plateau = 2 x 30 X 1.2 X 1.0 X 1.1 X 1.1 X 1.3 X 0.8

% of plateau = 90.60%