Whenever I do a Q&A on this page there are invariably at least a few questions where the person suggests that they are “stuck” with regards to their fat loss progress.
More often than not, the person continues on to say that they are eating an intake that represents too few calories for their body weight, lifting 4-5 times per week, and doing an hour of cardio 5-6 days per week, but still not making progress.
If this happens to be the case for you, the problem is not that you are doing too little… it is that you are doing too much.
What this means is that, rather than adding more activity or eating less food, I’m actually suggesting that you specifically take a period with LESS activity and MORE food.
Basically, I’m talking about cutting out the cardio and bringing up your calorie intake to a maintenance level (working your way up to about 15-15.5 X BW for most people).
Of course, some people think this means that I’m saying they will immediately start losing weight again, but that is not at all what I’m saying. In fact, it wouldn’t be totally unusual to actually gain a small amount of weight during this period. (Yes, this sucks. I know.)
However, if you’ve been taking extreme measures in an attempt to diet yourself down, eventually your metabolism will also decrease to the point where you can no longer make forward progress.
You could drop calories lower, but it won’t be long before your metabolism catches up again and when you finally give in to the frustration of not being able to make progress and start eating again, the weight gained will be disproportionate to the amount you are eating (i.e., it will come back on fast and furious).
If you take a maintenance period you won’t necessarily be advancing forward during that time, but you WILL be allowing your metabolism to rise to meet your new intake and setting yourself up to be able to make progress again in the future.
If you’ve been putting in a lot of work and only a little food but you’re still stuck, it is likely that you need to take a break from dieting.
You can try to reduce intake and exercise more, but that is eventually going to prove to be a bad idea.