Is a 3-day plateau diet enough to kickstart your halted weight loss? In the fitness world, a weight loss plateau is a common occurrence that many are aware of and try to avoid as much as possible– with varying levels of success. In today’s article, we are going to do a deep dive into weight loss plateaus including how to recognize signs of weight loss plateau, what to do to overcome this, and if a 3-day green and meat plateau buster diet is the key to quickly getting over this phase of your fitness journey.
What Is A Weight Loss Plateau?
The first and most important thing to know is that the plateau is not your fault. This is a frustrating phase in your fitness or weight loss journey where you suddenly stop losing weight despite consistently following the same diet plan and exercise routine that had been working seamlessly before.
In fact, according to a study published in 2014 by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, plateaus tend to happen any time after the sixth month of a low-calorie diet (4).
So what causes a weight loss plateau? Believe it or not, the main culprit behind this situation is your metabolism. It is no secret that a regular exercise plan and a caloric deficit plan are the two best ways to achieve weight loss. In fact, these two factors are what cause the initial weight loss streak that you have been enjoying for quite some time before realizing that you had plateaued.
Over time, however, as you continue to exercise, eat healthier, build muscle, and lose weight, your body gets used to all this and the metabolism slows down. In this “new normal” state of the body, you end up burning fewer calories despite doing the very same things that you had been doing in the beginning and, thus, you plateau.
What Are The Signs Of A Weight Loss Plateau?
If you suspect that you are headed for or are currently on a plateau, some signs to look out for include:
- Tiredness. If you are constantly exhausted, so much so that neither sleep nor the endorphins released after a workout can help, then you might just be plateaued.
- No more weight loss. Of all the signs of weight loss plateau, this is the most obvious one. According to the CDC, healthy and sustainable weight loss is one where you lose a pound or two a week. If you weigh yourself after a couple of weeks and realize that your weight isn’t going down or it has but by a much smaller number than expected, then you should start looking for ways to kickstart the process again.
- Your workouts seem too easy. As stated above, after some time your body finds a new normal where it adapts to your workout routine. If you find that the workouts that had been having you drenched in sweat and shaking at the end of the set now feel like a piece of cake, it’s time for you to find something more challenging or change up your routine.
- Your diet has changed. One of the other causes of this plateaued state is food. If your diet is too restrictive, it may be impossible for you to realistically stick to. Make sure you are eating enough, eating a wide variety of foods, and that you are satisfied.
- Muscle loss. Are you not as cut as before? Are your muscles not as defined as before? If so, then it is time to make some changes to avoid or get out of this state.
- You are extra stressed. Sadly, stress is a part of everyday life. However, if you are more stressed than normal, we suggest finding ways to reduce your stress levels. After all, increased stress levels mean increased cortisol secretion in the body– a hormone known to hinder fat burning and increase belly fat.
- Lack of sleep. You actually need rest or sleep to build muscle and burn fat. Your muscles build and repair when you are resting. Lack of sleep also leads to increased cortisol levels in the body.
Please note that the signs for male and female weight loss plateau are the same.
Should I Try The 3-Day Green And Meat Plateau Buster Diet For Better And Faster Weight Loss?
The 3-day greens and meat plateau buster diet is an eating plan that calls for the consumption of red meats, greens, and one piece of fruit a day.
Please note that this meal plan is not to be confused with the 3-day military diet, the carnivore diet– which only allows the consumption of meat, fish, and other animal foods like eggs and certain dairy products while excluding all plant-based foods, or the 3-day cardiac diet.
Like the above-mentioned diets, the 3-day greens and meat plateau buster diet is purported to lead to drastic weight loss. In fact, according to an article posted on Medium, one person lost 9 lbs (about 4 kilograms) in just 4 days after following this diet (2).
But, should you try this eating plan to help you get over a weight loss plateau?
Despite the results claimed above, we would highly discourage anyone from following such a weight loss plan for the following reasons:
- It is extremely low in calories. While going on a modest calorie deficit diet is good for weight loss, reducing your food energy intake too much can cause more problems than benefits. Some issues caused by low and very low-calorie diets (800 to 1200 kcal a day or lower) include dizziness, extreme hunger, nausea, micronutrient deficiencies, fatigue, headaches, and gallstones (3, 5).
- Weight loss. While we do not disagree that you will lose weight in the three days that you choose to follow such a meal plan, the truth is that this weight loss is not sustainable in the long term. A 3-day plateau diet, such as this green and meat diet, is a short-term plan. Once you are off such a diet, chances are that all your lost weight will come back, taking you back to square one.
Another thing that many fail to realize is that the weight lost during this time is probably water weight and not fat. Thus, even if the scale is going down as you’d hoped, you are not in fact losing any stored fat but just the water that had been stored in your body. Instead of doing this, we suggest that you find a more healthy, sustainable, and long-term solution to this and any future weight loss plateaus (6).
- Nutritional deficiencies. You need a balanced diet for your body to function as well as possible. A diet made up of greens and red meat will not provide all the nutrients that you need. While malnutrition may not occur in just three days it is better to err on the side of caution. Remember that nutritional deficiencies can lead to lowered immunity, concentration problems, as well as long-term health problems like eye problems, diabetes, and heart problems (1).
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Will I Lose Weight If I Stop Eating For 3 Days?
Yes, you probably will, but it is not recommended. Once again, anything lost will not be fat loss but water weight loss instead. As soon as you drink some water, or have a meal, the scale is bound to go back to where it was before– if not above the initial mark.
But this is not the only reason why you should not be doing this. Going for three days without food is not a weight-loss hack but a quick way to starve yourself. According to Healthline, it takes about eight hours without food for your body to start behaving differently.
Once you hit the 8-hour mark (12 hours at most) without ingesting anything, your body stops using glucose as its source of energy, since by now glucose has been depleted and it turns to attacking your muscles turning them into glucose and also getting glycogen from your liver using that as an energy source.
Once glucose and glycogen are depleted, the body then starts using amino acids as an energy source. This whole process is said to sustain you for about three days of starving yourself. Any longer than this leads to effective muscle loss, fat loss, metabolic damage, lowered immunity, and much more damage.
How Can I Drastically Lose Weight In 3 Days?
The most common answer to this would be suggestions to try any 3-day diet such as the 3-day plateau diet, a military diet, or some other kind of eating plan that mirrors this. However, as stated above, such eating plans are not good for you. Not only are they not sustainable in the long run, but they also give you little to no nutrients. Since they allow such little food, they provide you with no energy to get you through the day.
Losing weight drastically in three days (or even a month) is a horrible plan. Remember that weight loss is a life-long goal and process, not something that you can get rid of like a small season of your life. Instead of this, try something healthier and more sustainable that includes a healthy meal plan, a sustainable calorie deficit, and an exercise regimen that includes cardio and weight lifting.
Weight Loss Plateau Bodybuilding: Does It Occur?
Yes, it does. This phenomenon is not limited to overweight people only. In the bodybuilding circuit, cutting is very common. This is a practice where fitness enthusiasts, but mostly bodybuilders, reduce their calorie intake and increase their weights to ensure that they lose as much body fat as possible while maintaining as much muscle mass as possible– making them very lean. Plateauing can be experienced by these people too and they too have to find ways to get over this hurdle.
How To Break Through A Weight Loss Plateau?
The good thing about plateaus is that they are not permanent. By making a few changes to your lifestyle, eating habits, and fitness routine, you will be back to losing weight as normal in no time.
Here are some tips to help you accomplish this:
- Change up your fitness routine. As previously mentioned, a plateau may happen in part because your body has now adjusted to your workout plan. Switch things up and challenge yourself. Do this by adding more reps or sets, trying a new form of workout, adding more cardio or weight to your routine, etc.
- Build more muscle. We all know that muscle burns more calories than fat. Do more muscle-building exercises with the use of body weight, resistance bands, free weights, or even stationary gym machines. Don’t forget to feed your body protein as well – it needs those building blocks to add muscle tissue.
- Watch what you eat. Plateaus can be caused by either eating too much or too little. If your calorie intake has been at around 1200 calories or lower, then you certainly need to eat more– just be sure to work out to balance the scale between food energy intake and use. If you have been eating way more than usual, cut back and concentrate on healthier food options that satisfy you. To know how much you should be eating even while working out, we suggest using a reputable calorie tracking app to help you out.
- Increase your protein and fiber intake. When it comes to the question, “what should I eat when I plateau?” protein and fiber are your best friends in this case. Not only do they keep you fuller for longer, preventing unnecessary snacking, but they, especially protein, require more energy to break down, which automatically boosts your metabolic rate.
- Manage stress and sleep more. These two factors ensure that your body does not produce the hormone cortisol, which hinders fat burning. Being well-rested also enables you to do your workouts well and to the fullest of your ability.
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The Bottom Line: Is A 3-Day Plateau Diet Good?
No, it is not. As seen above, weight loss plateaus are caused by more than your food intake– yes, food is a factor, but it is not the only one. The other thing is that 3-day diets are just fad diets that make empty promises. Not only are they incredibly unhealthy, but also any weight lost during this time is quickly gained back as soon as one stops this diet.
Instead of hinging your hopes on the 3-day plateau diet, we suggest using the above-mentioned tips, which are not only healthy for you but are also sustainable in the long run. They might take longer, but they work and the results stick.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 6 Signs of Nutrient Deficiency (n.d., rush.edu)
- Day 1–3: The Cleanse (aka Delicious Red Meats & Greens that Leave a Film on Your Teeth) (2015, medium.com)
- Dietary Treatment of Obesity (2015, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effect of dietary adherence on the body weight plateau: a mathematical model incorporating intermittent compliance with energy intake prescription1,2,3 (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Formula food-reducing diets:A new evidence-based addition to the weight management tool box (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Losing Weight (2020, cdc.gov)