Monday, August 11, 2014

Causes of a weight loss Plateau part 2

 Decreases in activity

When our calories are low and we are losing weight at a steady pace our bodies eventually want to slow down that weight loss to ensure that we keep as much stored energy(fat) as possible in case of famine (going back to when our ancestors did not know when the next meal would be).  In order to conserve as much energy as possible we will subconsciously not fidget as much, walk around less, stand less, and reduce activity in general.  It may not sound like much but it can add up to several hundred calories per day. 

Solution:  Consciously make an effort to be more active and force yourself to expend calories.  Take the stairs, walk to the store, tap your foot, and just move around.  By being aware of the fact that your body is going to want to move less you can counter act this by increasing your activity on a conscious level.


The heavier the body is the more energy it requires to perform all activities.  When we lose weight the body has an easier time performing these activities so it does not require as many calories.  So, a person who weighed 250 lbs at the beginning of their weight loss journey may have needed 3000 calories per day to lose  1 lb per week due to his/her weight, but after he/she has lost 50 lbs the body may only need 2500 calories per day to perform the same amount of activity and lose 1 lb per week.  Therefore, the amount of calories this person was eating to lose weight at 250 lbs is now too much to lose weight at 200 lbs.

Solution: Adaptation is inevitable, but by decreasing calories 250-500 per day when your scale weight has not decreased at all over several weeks you should return to losing .5-1 lb per week.  Another option would be to simply increase exercise as this will burn more calories and allow you to eat the same amount of calories, but still continue weight loss.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Causes of a Weight Loss Plateau Part 1

Causes of a weight loss plateau Part 1

 Eating more than you think

It is only natural that when calories have been restricted we become more “heavy handed” with our servings and pretend that they are smaller.  This is known as under reporting, and it can throw off weight loss data.  This occurs because subconsciously our body wants more food for energy.  So instead of eating 2500 calories to lose weight we eat 3000 calories and maintain our weight or gain weight, but our records of what we eat still say 2500 calories.

Solution:  Self-discipline is key here because if we don’t give into our cravings and natural desires we can continue to eat the right amount of calories for weight loss.  To be as accurate as possible we can use food scales to weigh our food to ensure that we are not eating more than we are supposed to eat.

      Decreases in LBM(Lean Body Mass)

When we lose weight we inevitably lose LBM, which is metabolically active (requires calories to be maintained).  When this happens it drops our RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) which is how many calories we burn per day without doing a single thing and our TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) which is calories burned during exercise/daily activities plus RMR.  Therefore, as weight loss occurs we lose LBM and our caloric needs are reduced, which means we must drop calories further. 

Solution:  The best way to offset this loss in LBM is to engage in resistance training because it stimulates muscle protein synthesis (which tells the body to keep LBM instead of burning it for energy).  Furthermore, eating a diet high in protein (.55-.91g per lb. of body weight) can make losses in LBM less significant.