While this can be frustrating, it is actually quite common! Especially for individuals who have had previous dieting histories. I see this scenario with clients all the time and it’s not for a lack of effort or them doing anything inherently wrong. Let’s go over a few of the main reasons why you may not be having a smooth start to your fat loss phase, even after setting yourself up for success in a non-dieting period. Adaptive metabolisms Individuals with more adaptive metabolisms are able to maintain their body’s set point through a wide range of calories. This is impart due to genetics, but previous dieting history can have a major impact on this as well. Diet history How might your dieting history play a role in your ability to lose body fat down the line? Depending on the frequency and severity of your previous dieting attempts, this can have a long term impact on its ability to adjust to higher or lower intakes. Every time you diet, your metabolic rate slows down to adjust to your new energy availability. If severe enough, these instances can change your “maintenance” metabolic rate, making it harder to lose weight on higher calories down the line. Body type differences Individuals who have an easier time putting on muscle, will likely have a harder time losing body fat. These individuals will typically need to get more aggressive with their fat loss phases to see drastic change. However, the bright side is that these individuals are much more resilient toward muscle loss during a fat loss phase as well. Thresholds for fat loss It has been my experience that clients need to reach specific caloric thresholds, before seeing significant changes on the scale. Changes may not happen after the 1st few calorie adjustments, and then once calories get past a specific threshold, we won’t need to make changes for many weeks in a row! Oftentimes, this caloric threshold can be consistent across dieting phases within each client. There are many factors that go into why you might have a hard time losing weight while being adherent at any point in the diet, but these are the most common causes for why most individuals won’t see fat loss right from the get-go. All in all, it is likely that the first calorie cut is not aggressive enough for the individual even if it is the perfect equation of -500 calories per day. Can this be disheartening? Absolutely. But this isn’t the time to mentally beat yourself up, feel like a failure or go off plan. This is fairly normal so your body is not “broken” for not responding right away. When you take these factors into consideration, plus work in some additional patience with the right program for your body, you will see the changes you’re working towards. The timeline just might look a bit different than you had envisioned.
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