It's Time to Re-Evaluate
Often what you THINK you're doing during a diet phase isn't quite what's being carried out on a daily basis. Two examples:
1 – Measurement Error
At the beginning of a diet, it's easy. You've got plenty of excess body fat. That means you've also got significant room for error.
Eyeballing portions and "guesstimating" serving sizes works just fine at the start. But as your bodyweight begins to drop, you need to tighten things up more. It's time to break out the food log or tracking app.
Sometimes people will start out by weighing everything to the gram, but after a few weeks they get lazy and just guess. This is when that 200g chicken breast you thought you were having is actually 230g. And that teaspoon of peanut butter is more like a heaping tablespoon. These little things add up, especially when you're trying to push past a plateau.
2 – Reduced Activity Levels
Addressing the small additions in food intake will solve 50% of your issues. But a lesser-known piece of the puzzle is your activity level.
Dieting hard brings with it some lethargy and fatigue, especially as you get into the uncomfortable levels of bodyfat. When you're tired, it can become easy to avoid tracking your heart rate or RPM during your cardio sessions. You might think you're going at the same intensity, but you're actually producing less energy output, lessening your calorie deficit.
Also, keep an eye on your NEAT – non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or your daily general activity. As life gets busy and fatigue catches up with you, it becomes far more tempting to grab an Uber and take the elevator instead of walking.
One of the best ways to track NEAT is through step counts. During a fat loss diet, set step targets from anywhere between 8,000 and 20,000 a day, depending on your stage of the process. You can buy an inexpensive step counter or use an app. If for whatever reason you've only been averaging 8,000 steps when your goal was 10,000, that 2,000 difference may very well be the difference between calorie maintenance and deficit.
Most stalling issues can usually be solved by just tightening up your food intake and resetting your activity markers back to where they should be. Remember, small adjustments will have a big impact on fat loss. Give these changes a week or two to add up.