Weight loss plateau
Hi Fitday. I read some of your posts and there are some very knowledgeable posters on this forum :D
Would like some help. I started trying to lose weight 1.5 months ago but I'm stalling. Not sure if it's because I'm checking it every day and the fluctuations are making me edgy - would like some objective critique to my approach please :D
Baseline weight: 154lb.
Exercise: 750kcal (1hr running at 6miles/hr per day).
So I started doing this in July - initially I couldn't sustain the 6miles/hr for 1hr per day, so I started at the same speed and improved my fitness, until late July, when I was able to clock 1hr flat at 6miles per hour. Now I break it down to 2x 30min exercise sessions.
So when I was able to hit the 750kcal exercise target in late July, I noticed my weight started peeling off. I'm down to 144 pounds now, so I dropped 10 pounds in total?
However, since then I seem to be stuck on around 144 pounds for a week or more now. I'm not sure whether it is just the fluid retention fluctuations because I check in everyday and it's stressing me out :D
But scales aside, I lost half my beer gut, shaved off my double chin, half of my chubby cheeks, and can fit a size smaller. So I am sure I've definitely lost weight, I'm just concerned if the weight doesn't keep going down will I keep progressing? My target weight is 57kg, now I'm 65 (from 70).
First, congrats on losing the weight you have already lost....for your starting weight 10+lbs is nothing to sneeze at.
I have a question for you...how did you determine your goal weight? 57kg is about 125lb...what is your age/height/sex? I would suggest getting your body fat measured and confirming the weight you are shooting for is healthy and realistic.
I don't know if you have taken this into account, but the same running you are doing now is burning fewer calories than when you started. 1. You are propelling less weight down the road and 2. You body has become more efficient...especially since you are doing the same exercise repeatedly. Also, as you have lost weight your BMR is lower. This all means that the same caloric intake that allowed weight loss in the beginning is now all you need to sustain.
Another possible cause of the plateau is that you have lost some muscle mass along the way...which will also decrease your BMR.
My suggestions...for what they are worth...
1. If you have not already, Get your body fat composition measured to determine a good, healthy goal weight. I have used 'Bodpod' but there are plenty of options.
2. Add in some weight training. Maintaining your lean muscle mass while losing weight is key to keeping that BMR working for you. The bigger the muscles, the more calories they burn.
3. Mix in some different exercise. Doing the same thing trains the body to be super efficient...great for performance but not so much if the goal is to burn calories. As a bonus, changing up your activities reduces the risk of injuries. For me, switching up my exercise is much more fun than doing the same thing everyday and has made it a lot easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I don't understand what 'TEE:3000kcal' means? If your BMR is 1600 and your exercise is 750 kcal then you are burning 2350 kcal daily. You state your food is 2000 kcal so you are burning (deficit) is only 350 kcal/day. Since 1 pound of body weight equates to apprx. 3500 kcal you will only be losing about .7 pounds/week (350 x 7days= 2450kcal/week, 2450/3500= .7). This is hard to see on a daily basis (sometimes even on a weekly basis) depending on your waste/water retention. You can speed this up by eating less calories. If you are okay with this rate then just continue.
There could be some other factors at play that you may want to look at. As Clarkslp said your body has become more efficient, Our bodies adapt quickly to become efficient at performing what we have asked. That is why you need to look into some different forms of exercise or even just incorporating HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) into your running. HIIT consists of a short period of High intensity (think of sprinting) followed by a period of lower intensity activity (like walking or jogging). A High/Low ratio of 1:2 has been shown to be the most effective. I personally do 20 seconds and 40 seconds (1:2).
I am also a big proponent of weight training, and the effect it can have on reshaping your body. With out weight training all that running can actually decrease your muscle mass and thus decrease your BMR. Weight training forces your body to better use your fat stores instead of burning off the desireable muscle. Weight training can help you look better and be more fit at a higher weight.
Now lets talk about nutrition and your macros. I find that my protein intake needs to be apprx. 30% of my calories for me to lose the best. Protein is the only macro that can repair and build muscle. If you aren't getting enough your body will lose muscle mass. A general rule is .5 to 1.0 gram per pound of lean (not total) body weight.
Congratulations on your success so far.
Keep running, it works. I would suggest the intervals twice a week. I am not as fast as you. I do about 11:30 mile pace, but I run hard for a minute and walk for a minute most of the time. I am doing a pretty strict 1800/day diet. I only think I've gone over that two days since April 12, and even then, not by a lot. The weight is falling off of me (300 lbs. to 222 lbs in just over 4 months).
I am coaching cross country and that makes it easy for me to run. Those guys and girls come out thin and they all show off how loose their jeans have become at the end of the season and I watch them eat 4000-5000 calories a day. They run long distances (5-10 miles) 5 days a week and do the intervals twice a week. Of course, they do them much more intensely than I do, but after three months of cross country there's not a muffin top, or a hint of cellulite on any of them. I'd bet the body fat numbers are ridiculously low. Heck, we're one of the worst teams in our area.
I think what you're doing will work. Stick with it, add the intervals, maybe. One thing is you're probably getting more solid. You slim down a lot running, but your body needs muscle to run so what you've got becomes muscle. Once again, using our runners as examples, they're all amazed how they end up with six pack abs and super defined muscles and legs after just three months of cross country. Frankly, they're a little conceited about it.
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