Working on weight loss can be a very frustrating journey to undertake. One common frustration is when your scale refuses to budge, despite using every trick in the book to keep your weight at bay. This includes exercising, eating healthy meals, reducing calorie intake, and even switching up your exercise routines to prevent plateauing. Sometimes despite these efforts, the scale does not tip in your favor. This summarizes our focus for today, the weight loss resistance concept. Stick around to determine what this is, why it happens, and how to overcome it.
What Is Weight Loss Resistance?
As mentioned earlier, there comes a time when you hit a roadblock in your weight loss journey. No matter how many hours you spend in the gym or even your efforts to try intermittent fasting, the scale seems stuck at one reading.
In most cases, people believe they hit a weight loss plateau. A weight-loss plateau refers to a point where an individual stops losing weight, despite dieting and exercising (6). Although doctors are not sure about the causes of such a plateau, several theories have been developed about its existence (6):
- The body has adapted to shedding pounds and is defending itself against further weight loss.
- Your metabolism is slowing down mainly because of rapid weight loss.
- You have stopped following a highly restrictive diet after several months.
That said, researchers have yet to validate the truth behind these theories. Overcoming a weight loss plateau requires first figuring out why you’ve hit the plateau, which isn’t always easy or simple.
For example, if you think it is happening because you have been following the same routine for months, then you may want to change it. Sometimes changing the routine does not make your scale budge, even a bit. In this case, you can be said to have hit the weight loss resistance point.
Causes Of Weight Loss Resistance
Experts think that your hormones can contribute to this situation. One of the hormones that are highly linked to weight matters is insulin.
This hormone is produced by the pancreas and is used to control your blood sugar or glucose levels (2). Insulin also makes your body store fat if there is excess glucose around (2). You may be telling yourself that you are not losing weight because you are not exercising enough.
As a result, you may change your workout schedule and start exercising daily for a longer duration. Likewise, you may think you are not shedding pounds because you eat high in fat or calorie content.
Consequently, you may turn to more restrictive diets like the very low-calorie diet (VLCD) to help with weight loss. Yet, you may not notice any weight loss. This could be because of your hormones, particularly insulin.
Instead of weight loss, you may even notice you are adding pounds. This sometimes goes hand in hand with insulin resistance, also known as syndrome X or metabolic syndrome (7). This is a cluster of health conditions believed to be rooted in insulin resistance where the hormones that control your metabolism don’t work as well (7).
This is linked to numerous health problems, which is why you need to talk to your doctor if you suspect something isn’t right (2).
Overcoming Weight Loss Resistance
Most people hold the assumption that this exercise program is only good for building muscle. However, it can also fight weight loss resistance and promote weight loss because it torches more calories and helps you lose fat and build muscle (4).
Remember that resistance training also increases your resting metabolic rate. This rate increases the number of calories you are burning even at rest (4). Although genetics have a profound impact on this rate, building muscle can help boost it to a small extent (4).
What Are The Best Resistance Exercises For Weight loss?
The list of resistance exercises to perform for weight loss is endless. Some workouts will use gym weights, your body weight, or simple things like resistance bands. Many people are fooled into thinking that bodyweight and resistance band exercises are less effective.
As such they glorify gym exercises. But, in reality all these exercises are good for building resistance and muscle, losing weight, and improving your overall health (5). Even more, these ‘undervalued’ activities have additional benefits.
For example, bodyweight strength training exercises can be performed anywhere as they do not require any equipment. The resistance band benefits for weight loss include strengthening your core and burning more calories, especially in your abdomen.
Let us look at some of the best exercises for resistance training for weight loss.
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Bodyweight Resistance Training Exercises For Weight Loss
As mentioned above, these exercises do not require any equipment as they use your body weight. Some of the best of such workouts to perform for weight loss include air or bodyweight squats, lunges, pushups, planks, burpees, and squat jumps (5).
Although they look so easy to perform, you can be injured if not done in the correct form. With that in mind, maintain the proper form of the exercise and seek help from your trainer to determine the best flow of these exercises in your workout plan.
Resistance Band Exercises For Weight Loss
As the name implies, these exercises will require you to have a resistance band to perform them. Now, resistance bands tend to be of different intensities. For example, there are those of low, medium, and high intensity.
You have to match your resistance band to your fitness capacity. Otherwise, picking blindly may cause you to bite more than you can chew. In other words, if you are a beginner choose the resistance band with low intensity.
There are so many resistance band exercises you can perform to shed pounds. The most recommended ones are the sumo squat, lateral raises, bicep curls, overhead press, glute bridge, clam, and donkey kicks (5).
Gym Exercises For Weight Loss
Most of these exercises will have you using gym equipment and machines. However, before we go further, let us remind you to talk to your doctor and trainer before trying these exercises (5). These have a higher injury risk than the bodyweight and resistance band exercises.
Likewise, they may not be suitable for everyone, for example, individuals with weak knees or a condition like osteoporosis (5). First, get the green light from these professionals. Then you can consider exercises like deadlifts, bent-over rows, barbell bench press, barbell lunges, renegade row, dumbbell rows, and barbell hip thrusts.
It would help if you worked with a trainer for the first few months or weeks to avoid injuring yourself. With time, you will learn the correct form and how to handle the machines, and then you can proceed to work out by yourself.
How Often Should You Exercise For Weight loss?
You can ask your doctor to recommend a safe timeline for following your strength training program under this consultation. Remember that you do not want to stay so long with the same workout plan as it may lead to a plateau.
You can follow the routine for a specified duration before switching up things to challenge your muscles further to torch more calories. Again, you have to properly schedule your workouts to avoid overworking your muscles.
Remember that you need rest days to help your muscles grow, repair, and recover. How often should you work out for weight loss using a strength training program? This varies depending on your weight loss goals. The CDC recommends that most adults should do strength training exercises two or more times per week, plus 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) each week.
Some individuals aim for rapid weight loss, so they give in to fad diets and other desperate weight loss techniques.
The aftermath could be a string of health conditions like malnutrition and gallstones because rapid weight loss is never deemed safe (3). With this in mind, stick to a slow and steady pace to avoid injury risk and other related problems.
What Can You Do About Extreme Weight Loss Resistance?
In such a case, you may need to implement additional strategies on top of performing resistance training programs. Experts recommend doing the following:
Practice Healthy Eating Patterns
Eating healthy meals and cutting on added sugar and processed foods is a good place to start. You should also concentrate on adopting healthy eating behaviors like eating mindfully. Eating mindfully entails chewing food slowly and thoroughly and knowing what, where, and when you eat (1).
Do away with distractions like your phone or laptop when you are eating. This is because they affect your food ratios because you are distracted and often end up overeating (1).
If you have your meals in the living area, you end up being distracted by the television, and once again, you overeat. Knowing this, try to take at least twenty minutes for your meals, in the dining area, and without any distractions.
Besides enjoying the food and being aware of what you are eating, your body will also more easily register satiety signs (1).
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You will most likely beat temptations, especially of giving in to unhealthy meals when you plan. Stock your kitchen with healthy ingredients, and if possible, meal prep to avoid snacking on unhealthy foods when you are super hungry (1).
Still, on planning, make sure you plan your day to avoid skipping your workouts. Many use their busy schedules as an excuse to miss their workouts. Remember that you are the one on the losing end.
Take time to plan for your meals and daily activities. It would be best if you talked to your nutritionist to help you develop a meal plan. Working with a meal plan is more manageable than fishing out meal ideas from your brain every other minute (1).
Sometimes all you need is a team of supportive friends or family members to keep you rooted on your weight loss journey. Look for a supportive team that will provide positive reinforcement and require accountability. You can also seek group or individual counselling support, a positive online social network, or exercise clubs’ support (1).
The Bottom Line
Weight loss resistance occurs not because you are not putting in the work but sometimes because of your hormones or some other natural reaction by your body to weight loss. Experts recommend performing a resistance training program to fight this. You are also advised to implement better eating patterns, seek support, and plan.
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 for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 10 tips for successful weight loss (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Diabetes (2021, medlineplus.gov)
- Rapid Weight Loss (2021, webmd.com)
- What are the best exercises for weight loss? (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What Is a Good Strength Training Program? (2021, medicinenet.com)
- What to do about a weight loss plateau (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why Aren’t You Losing Weight? (2004, webmd.com)