It is inevitable that following the same diet will eventually cause you to plateau. In this case you’ll need to make a diet adjustment to help you continue making progress to reach your goals. Here are 3 signs to look out for so you know if you need to make a diet tweak.
Low Daily Energy
Your daily energy is usually pretty quick to go when you hit a wall. Day-to-day tasks seem to take longer and general activities get done a lot slower. Take this as a sign. You might be exercising too much, eating too little or not getting enough rest. If you’re experiencing this then give yourself a ‘cheat meal’; a meal that you enjoy out at a restaurant or cook yourself that is untracked. It can be whatever you fancy! Otherwise the more structured approach, have a refeed day where you consume 1.5g x daily carb intake across the day. Both these methods can help boost your daily energy, improve your mood and help you sustain your diet. Try to limit these to once a week and only have them if you’re feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom.
Your bodyweight or fat loss is likely to plateau as a result of dieting for long periods of time. In this case you need to create a bigger caloric deficit by either eating a little less (100-150kcals/day/week reduction), by increasing your cardio exercise (burning 300-500kcals extra per week) or you can do a combination of both. Plateaus in bodyweight is likely to happen once your metabolism slows and your body fat levels are significantly lower than your starting point. Don’t stress or get upset, this is completely normal and something everyone has to deal with. Just make that small tweak and then re-assess the situation the following week. If you don’t see any changes again then you didn’t make a big enough change to your deficit. My advice, cut a little more calories or do a little more cardio to dip into a lower energy deficit.
Strength drops in the gym are normal as you get deeper into a diet. When your calories are lowered, strength and energy can suffer too. The best way to avoid experiencing this is by keeping your training progressive and focusing on strength cycles of training to maintain your starting strength. If you switch to low weights and higher reps your strength will drop significantly quicker so keep the intensity high by lifting heavy and pushing your muscles to maintain the strength. If your strength drops quickly then you probably made too big of a calorie deficit in your diet to begin with. Try bringing your calories up slightly or include a refeed day to help restore those glycogen stores to fuel the workouts to follow.