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  1. #1
    Cayenne is offline Senior Member
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    Default "Re: Monthly Progress: the dreaded plateau..." Why ?

    In a thread below, Comrades Tim & Robert mentioned weight loss plateaus. I'd be interested to hear a technical explanation / theory as to why this is so from any knowledgable comrades. That is, why isn't the weight loss steady as long as the caloric reduction / expenditure numbers create a deficit ? What happens physiologically ?

    After reading Tim's past posts and some posts about Vic's "The Last 10 Pounds", the centerpiece of which I understood to be counting calories, I began using Diet Power on 4/14/04. I've never tried simply counting calories as, admitedly, I've always been excessively influenced by the "Diet of the Month" culture. (ie; It's not calories, it's carb grams, etc.) I am finding DP to be an excellent tool, ( although I confess to "eyeballing" portion sizes, I try to estimate conservatively.) It has helped me control indiscriminate eating. Being "accountable" that is, knowing I "have to" write down / report everything, makes it easier to "just say no."

    Thanks

    Eddie

  2. #2
    David Whitley, RKC Guest

    Default Re:Why ?

    I don't know the Physiology behind it all, but the body's built in survival mechanism wants to hang on to fat as you lose it. The more you shed, the more the body tries to hang on to it. Calorie monitoring and reduction/expenditure adjustments become more & more vital to continue getting leaner.

  3. #3
    HITJedi is offline Senior Member
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    Default "Re: Monthly Progress: the dreaded plateau..." Why ?

    I don't think it is possible to not lose weight if the caloric reduction / expenditure numbers create a deficit.

    There are, however a few reasons why you might think you are in a deficit situation without actually being in one.

    1. Simple non-compliance: I see this one a lot, sometimes when the diet is going well and the weight is coming off people rationalize that a bit of cheating won't hurt them, they may even convince themselves that this will help them to stick to their diet more consistently. Those extra calories can add up and take the dieter out of a deficit situation if they are not careful.

    2 Failure to adapt to reduced calorie requirements: As you lose weight - i.e. get smaller - your requirement for energy goes down as well. If you don't take this into account you will eventually stall. I like to think of it like this; everyone has a calorie level where they will neither gain nor lose weight, their maintenence level. When you reduce the amount of calories you ingest you are effectively eating an amount of food that is the maintenence level for a smaller/lighter you. When you hit that weight you will stabilze and as long as nothing changes neither gain nor lose weight. If you want to lose more weight at this point you need to further ruduce your calories or up your activity levels.

    2. Survival mechanism; Not absolutely convinced about this but some maintain that he body adapts to a reduced calorie situation by becoming more efficient in the use of energy. This could possibly result in what was a calorie deficit becoming maintenence level or maybe even an excess stalling or even reversing progress.

    Hope this helps

    Mel Evenson

  4. #4
    dkaler is offline Senior Member
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    Default "Re: Monthly Progress: the dreaded plateau..." Why ?

    I've read different "theories" on this - mostly anecdotal.

    One is that your body simplyh gets used to the diet routine you're following, so the fat loss slows down or halts. This is supposed to be analagous to your body getting used to a certain workout routine. You have to change things up a bit to stimulate it so you start making gains again in your progress. Following that line of thought, you could change the types of food you're eating, tweak the cals. up or down, maybe change the times that you eat, or the meals at which you consume most of your cals.

    Another, which is probably more scientifically based (although I don't know for sure), is the situation where you decrease cals and or exercise too much. You end up lowering your metabolism or stressing your body to the point that it hangs onto the fat in an effort to compensate - i.e. it "thinks" it will need the fat reserves because of what your putting it through, so it holds onto them.

    I just recently hit a plateau myself, so I'm going to try changing things up a little & see what happens. I was consuming about 12x body weight (lbs). in cals during the week, giving myself some leeway on the weekend with a free meal or two. I'm going to try upping the cals just a little and changing my workout routine a little to see what happens. Trial and error (sums up most of my learning experiences ).

  5. #5
    seeahill is offline Senior Member
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    Default My take on the dreaded plateau (long)...

    My experience, and all anecdotal:

    DietPower charts your weight. I see that I stall at the weight that I have held for some time. For example: I decided to do something when I got up over 230. Stalled for a month at 220, a weight I'd held for a decade or so. Now I'm stalled at 200, which was a weight I'd held for even longer.

    And here's something I believe about weight loss: rationally, you'd expect to restrict calories and burn more and that then you'd have a perfectly level chart showing smooth weight loss, with no up or downs. In fact, the chart jumps up and down hysterically. The general direction, however, is down.

    For me, the main thing is simply keeping with the program. I goes in fits and starts, stalls and drops. I think I can even feel the drop coming. One night I'll go to bed feeling really hungry. The urge get up and eat is almost overwhelming. And yet ... the next morning I find I've shed a few pounds.

    Having the chart to see how far I've come gets me through the stall. Also, I've put together a "diet" that I find satisfying and healthful. No problem eating that way even if I'm not losing weight. But, of course, I think I will lose more.

    I will continue to report monthly to see if my progress bears out my thinking on this matter.

    Oh, and one mistake I made: my goal on Dec. 2 was 199 by August 1. I was very close to it last month and revised the goal to 189. It would have been better to stick with the plan. I'm absolutely certain I'll be at 199 soon enough. Don't know if I'll get the 189.

    It's probably not a good idea to set yourself up for failure in the midst of success.

    Tim

  6. #6
    seeahill is offline Senior Member
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    Default Another "motivating" way to look at it...

    (which I read in some diet book) is that the plateau is a "front loaded stall." That is I lost 30 pounds in 16 weeks. No loss for a month. So I lost 30 pounds in 20 weeks. That's still 1.5 pounds per week which is right about on the money and no reason to quit a successful program.
    Tim

  7. #7
    Ross Hunt is offline Senior Member
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    Default Yes; and to expand this in the exercise direction-

    I've often read in t-mag.com articles that long slow cardio in what most spandex-wearing types call the 'fat-burning zone' (i.e. jogging, treadmill, spinning, etc.) is especially guilty of making the body efficient at storing fat. This is an argument against LSD (Long Slow Distance) cardio and for short, high-intensity cardio (Tabata sprints, KBs, etc.). To paraphrase something Dan John said: 'Be like a bear; burn fat while you sleep.' In other words, burn calories by stimulating your metabolism rather than by doing a lot of work in a workout.

    Ross Hunt

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