2

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Thought regarding weight loss plateaus

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 18, 2011 at 7:30 PM

I recently read an article that touched on the fact that as one loses weight, their average caloric requirement will gradually decrease. Assuming this holds true, if the person maintains a constant range of calories, say 2400 per day, but their daily requirement decreases, could this explain why some people reach plateaus? How often should people be assessing / re-evaluating their daily caloric needs?

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 19, 2011
at 04:39 PM

Thanks, Chris. I'll have to re-evaluate my ratios and see where I'm at.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 19, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Nice! I probably should drop my carbs more, but sticking around 75 grams is so EASY and less would take more thought. I'm so glad you saw some improvement so quickly!

Medium avatar

(3259)

on January 19, 2011
at 04:02 PM

This is all quite rough, but I shoot for 65% Fat, 25% Pro, 10% Carb on anywhere from 1600 to 2000 cals per day. I don't restrict calories, necessarily, but just find it tough to both listen to my hunger AND eat enough. I've been using IF 14 - 16 hours a day (skip bfast) and I like how I feel.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 19, 2011
at 02:37 PM

That is awesome, Chris! What ratio worked for you?

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 18, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Are you adding more protein, or substituting protein with more fat?

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 18, 2011
at 08:58 PM

@Travis - Do you have a good resource on the insulinogenic values or properties of various types of food?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:41 PM

I'm not discounting the study. Just saying in a paleo sense it offers no benefit to us as we aren't "starving" ;)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:40 PM

My personal opinion on stalls is a mix between set point and gut bacteria. Set point moves well with regular high intensity exercise. Especially when training fasted.

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:39 PM

@Stephen: If one manages to drop weight following a calorically restricted version of SAD, because the hormonal milieu would be so catabolic I could see a negative correlation between weight loss and BMR emerging. So, if the studies that informed Todd's reasoning come from people on versions of SAD, I could see it being appropriate reasoning in that context.

F3951b3141a6ab7036b33e70b4bfad71

(269)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:39 PM

I am interested in this too, as well as the caloric requirements, I have always heard that as you lose weight it gets harder and harder to do so because of your bodies resistance to state changes if you have been overweight for a long period of time...basically a protection response to a big change. Anyone experience this plateau even when also reducing calories?

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Touche'.. lol :)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:36 PM

SAD= Standard American Diet, not insulting, lol :)

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7 Answers

4
Medium avatar

(3259)

on January 19, 2011
at 01:56 PM

In a recent post (Tenacious Insulin Bump) I talked about the plateau I had hit and where the fat was "sticky" - around the navel area. Some of the people above suggested tweaking protein and fat ratios, which I did (decreased protein, increased fat, stabilized carbs and calories) and introducing IF through the week. I can tell you it looks like it worked...and FAST! In a week, I busted through the plateau and dropped about a half-inch from my belly measurement. Might be a coincidence, but I'd recommend trying it at least.

Thanks for the great mix of advice, all.

Chris

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 19, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Nice! I probably should drop my carbs more, but sticking around 75 grams is so EASY and less would take more thought. I'm so glad you saw some improvement so quickly!

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 19, 2011
at 04:39 PM

Thanks, Chris. I'll have to re-evaluate my ratios and see where I'm at.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on January 19, 2011
at 02:37 PM

That is awesome, Chris! What ratio worked for you?

Medium avatar

(3259)

on January 19, 2011
at 04:02 PM

This is all quite rough, but I shoot for 65% Fat, 25% Pro, 10% Carb on anywhere from 1600 to 2000 cals per day. I don't restrict calories, necessarily, but just find it tough to both listen to my hunger AND eat enough. I've been using IF 14 - 16 hours a day (skip bfast) and I like how I feel.

2
D31a2a2d43191b15ca4a1c7ec7d03038

on January 18, 2011
at 07:41 PM

Smaller bodies usually need less food than larger ones.

How often should people...?

As there is no such thing as one size fits all, there is no honest answer to this.

How often should you do something? Only you can decide that.

Constancy in calorie intake and monitoring one's calories is not an approach which is viewed by many as part of the Paleo approach to eating.

ETA: I apologize, I neglected to post a good source of information about eating from a Paleo perspective. Dr. Kurt Harris', PaleoNu, is an excellent reference site. His "Get Started" page and the explanations will answer many questions about how the body uses fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, what happens to calories, and why certain foods are more nourishing than others. (And many other subjects.)

Here is the link:

http://www.paleonu.com/get-started/

2
4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Doesn't it depend on what tissue they're losing? If one looses primarily fat, then I would expect the metabolic changes due to weight loss to be minimal. On the other hand, I would expect ones BMR to drop a lot if they lost much muscle mass.

You bring up a good point. A plateau may be because someone is now eating too much relative to their current BMR.

1
7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

on January 18, 2011
at 08:02 PM

I lost weight for 5 years on a SAD diet, eating 1200 calories most of the time, occasionally cycling them higher on weekends. When I hit plateaus, changing my fat/protein/carb ratios helped, rather than lowering my calories. Also, changing my exercise busted a plateau or two.

Now that I am done losing and in a maintenance phase, I have raised my calories to 1500 per day and I seem to be doing great. No weight gain at all.

So, my n=1 experience is that as I lost weight my caloric requirement did not shift.

1
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on January 18, 2011
at 07:36 PM

That SAD simplistic reasoning. It's accurate only in the context of starvation diets and doesn't hold true for the hormonal changes that happen due to paleo.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:37 PM

Touche'.. lol :)

4e40d2b9e1a762949a25b958762aa10d

(762)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:39 PM

@Stephen: If one manages to drop weight following a calorically restricted version of SAD, because the hormonal milieu would be so catabolic I could see a negative correlation between weight loss and BMR emerging. So, if the studies that informed Todd's reasoning come from people on versions of SAD, I could see it being appropriate reasoning in that context.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:36 PM

SAD= Standard American Diet, not insulting, lol :)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:41 PM

I'm not discounting the study. Just saying in a paleo sense it offers no benefit to us as we aren't "starving" ;)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:40 PM

My personal opinion on stalls is a mix between set point and gut bacteria. Set point moves well with regular high intensity exercise. Especially when training fasted.

0
Medium avatar

on January 18, 2011
at 08:01 PM

I'm of the opinion that, outside of starvation, each bodyfat% corresponds to a particular amount and type of carbohydrate intake, as well as perhaps non-carbohydrate insulinogenic foods. Those who immediately ratchet it all the way down should not hit plateaux.

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 18, 2011
at 08:58 PM

@Travis - Do you have a good resource on the insulinogenic values or properties of various types of food?

0
07154e6d8e42065f230d06249700fe5b

(2057)

on January 18, 2011
at 07:56 PM

I would say it would be more productive to alter protein intake based on weight or lean tissue and then adding fat based on energy requirements. That's what I'm doing anyway, and I haven't hit any plateaus lasting more than a week (which I think is more to do with hormones and such).

50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on January 18, 2011
at 09:00 PM

Are you adding more protein, or substituting protein with more fat?

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