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Old 12-16-2010, 11:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Give me tips for breaking plateau

So i just started a semi crash diet. My weight was getting pretty bad as i was up to 300lbs. I dropped down to 1200 calories a day(mostly fruits and vegetables) and im on day 4 with 5lbs lost. I'm predicting that at some point i will hit a plateau due to the metabolism shift but i must sheds some weight otherwise exercise itself will be somewhat damaging. I would love to hear your hints on how to break the plateau or reset the weight lose if you have any.

On disclaimer: yes i am aware that there are many people who say that a deep diet is "bad" and that you will put the weight back on so before anyone pipes in with that little gem i would ask that you please explain why that is. For example, i understand that I'm shorting myself on nutritional needs but frankly i think being this heavy is pretty damaging itself so for me it's a trade off. Other than nutrition, i would love to hear other reasons why it could be unhealthy.

I also understand that my metabolism will slow and and muscle could be consumed thus reducing my calorie maintenance. Aside from the that, what are the reasons that the weight goes back on? is it psychological or just habitual?

My plan is to drop 10 and start run/walking. Then at 20, i plan to hit the free weights. I want to wait as long as a can for the weights because i think it might warp my persecption of pounds lost.

That's it. Sorry for the diatribe. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know if this will help or not, but I heard that calorie "cycling" can help overcome plateaus. The idea is to eat 1500 kcal one day, then 1000 the next, then 600 the next day and then back up to 1200 of primarily lean protein, and fresh veg & fruits.
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Old 12-17-2010, 12:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I second the calorie cycling, though those numbers from the post above aren't set in stone. I used this site to figure out my recommended calories per day; click on the 7-day cycle link:

Calorie Calculator - Daily Caloric Needs

The idea behind not going too low is the notion that the body will go into starvation mode and actually cause you to burn fewer calories in an attempt to hold onto its reserves. It also supposedly gets used to burning fewer calories so that when you are at your desired weight and go up to eating a normal calorie load again, your metabolism is slowed down enough that you put weight on very easily.

The most important thing is to know your own body. Many on here have experienced not being able to lose below a certain amount of calories; many have done lower calorie diets with success. Everyone is different. I had always believed that lower calories was better, but when I started FitDay and did the calculations of still being able to lose while eating more calories, that was the only time I ever had success. I can't lose a darn thing on 1000 calories a day, but I lost great on 1250-1350. But that is just how it works for me and my metabolism.

Generally, my premise is, if it works for you, do it; if it doesn't work for you, don't do it. Just giving you the rationale as you asked. Good luck in your journey and don't be afraid to experiment with different things to find out what's best for you
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Old 12-17-2010, 01:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default wow. awesome

that is truley useful information. The maintenance calories shown for me by that site are much lower than i thought which may be part of my original problem. ZigZagging is a great idea. thanks.
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Old 12-17-2010, 03:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dggriffi View Post
I also understand that my metabolism will slow and and muscle could be consumed thus reducing my calorie maintenance. Aside from the that, what are the reasons that the weight goes back on? is it psychological or just habitual?
When people approach weight loss as a short term 'diet' rather than a longterm lifestyle change many people have the weight come right back when they stop 'dieting' and return to their old habits. This is the definition of YO-YO dieting and why so many fail to keep the weight off. Lets look at the cycle:
*People eat too many calories and excercise too little creating a calorie surplus. They gain weight.
*They decide they need to lose weight.
*They restrict their foods and add activities to create a calorie deficit.
*They lose weight with the mindset that the diet is only temporary.
*They hit their goal weight or can no longer live with the restrictions of their diet.
*They return to their old habits, eating too many, and the wrong type, of calories and not getting enough exercise.
*Surprise!!!! The weight starts coming back.

I believe this is because they never changed their habits and thinking. They saw the diet as something they only had to do attain their goals. I would advocate that you develop a mindset that you are changing your lifestyle to eat healthier and exercise more for your longterm health and well being. I (and many others who have had success here on Fitday) have come to the realization that I must change my habits (the holiday season has reinforced this) or the weight will return.

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My plan is to drop 10 and start run/walking. Then at 20, i plan to hit the free weights. I want to wait as long as a can for the weights because i think it might warp my persecption of pounds lost.
If you diet without exercise 50-75% of your weight loss could come from muscle! I personally would not wait to start lifting. While the weight might come off slower you will be losing more fat by incorporating lifting. So the question becomes do you want to lose fat or just weight?
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Old 12-17-2010, 04:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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For one thing you cannot really increase your metabolism, it goes up for that particular day if you do exercise do to the calorie cost of the exercise. If you gain significant muscle it would increase only slightly. It should be thought of as the calorie cost to keep your cells functioning, dropping below this number completely for days on end can potentially lower it long term. After your crash diet when you resume normal eating with a reduced metabolic rate, weight gain can be quicker than it was before.

You are better off just reducing your intake by 10-25% and reducing your weight slowly.
Also exercise is not the best way to lose fat, its only a necessary component to retain your lean mass while you lose weight. It is possible to build small amounts of muscle on a calorie deficit but not as much as you might think.

Contrary to popular beliefs exercising itself won't make you lose weight. Think about this one: have you ever gone to the gym for a long period of time, say a few months and you see the same people there day in and day out, making no changes to their body. Well is exercise helping them lose weight? It would not appear so. The harder work comes in the kitchen, sticking to a plan of making healthier food choices and eating less along with the exercise is how you make those changes.

In short eat better, eat less, lastly move more. Each of these three are all integral to making a body transformation.

Crash diets are set up to crash and burn imo. I lost the weight slow but if you asked me if it took a long time I would tell you it was probably the fastest 5 months of my life.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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....dropping below this number completely for days on end can potentially lower it long term. After your crash diet when you resume normal eating with a reduced metabolic rate, weight gain can be quicker than it was before.
This is exactly this concept that i was interested in finding more about. I have heard this from some folks but i, trying to find either some justification for long term metabolic reduction.

I can see very clearly how a dieters perception of "normal" eating could lead to the rebound but Im wondering if you know of any further information regarding long term reductions in metabolism. This is a prospect that i have had trouble finding further support for in my diet reading.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you gain significant muscle it would increase only slightly.
Also, this is new to me. My understanding was that our Basal metabolic rate was almost completley dependent on lean muscle mass.

Do you currently lift weights, do aerobics or both?

Basal metabolic rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 12-18-2010, 01:36 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi dggriffi,
Maybe I can clear up what j is trying to say. I *think* he's referring to the effect that extreme caloric deficits have on your resting metabolic rate (RMR). In the most basic terms, your RMR is the number of calories your body needs to sustain itself while sitting on the couch (in other words, without any activity). The amount of lean muscle you have determines your RMR -- those with more muscle need more calories to sustain it. On a typical low calorie diet, you lose "weight", which consists of both lean muscle mass and body fat. As you lose that muscle mass, you also lower your RMR.

For example (and I'm totally making this up just to illustrate the point), my RMR right now is about 1500 calories. If I go on a diet and lose a bunch of weight, it might drop to 1350 because I've lost muscle mass and no longer require so many calories to sustain it.

This is the reason why many people who go on diets gain it all back more easily after they've lost the weight. As you get smaller (regardless of loss of muscle mass), your calorie requirements will also become less and less. If you lose muscle in addition to body fat, this is exacerbated. Losing muscle is like losing your body’s furnace-like ability to burn, baby, burn!

Further complicating this issue is the thermic effect of food/feeding (TEF). This is a whole 'nother can of worms. Basically, when you eat more food your metabolism increases (a little, but the effect is still there). When you starve yourself (which any calorie-restricted diet does to a certain degree), you run the risk of lowering your metabolism slightly.

Hopefully this helps a little!
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I recently got kinda stuck on my weight loss (after dropping from 305 to about 273), despite only eating about 1600 calories a day on average. So I started some mild strength training (just pushups, situps, squats) and ate more calories (about 2200 on average) for a couple weeks. I only lost 1lb those first couple weeks but my clothes got noticeably looser.

The past couple weeks I have gone back down to around 1700 calories per day and continuing the strength training, and the pounds have been melting off (about 6lbs in under 2 weeks, which probably isn't all "real" but still)

So IMO I would say go for weights as early as possible. At least it seemed to work for me a lot better than just cardio (don't forget strength training is great for cardio too if you do it long enough).



Quote:
Originally Posted by dggriffi View Post
that is truley useful information. The maintenance calories shown for me by that site are much lower than i thought which may be part of my original problem. ZigZagging is a great idea. thanks.
Yeah those online calculators can vary wildy, so I tend to go with the lowest one possible (which is that one and also mayo clinic's). I need about 2600 according to those, but I've had others tell me over 3500!

Last edited by travbrad; 12-20-2010 at 07:54 AM.
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