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Break A Weight Loss Plateau

by Dave on July 7, 2009

Is It A Weight Loss Plateau ?

Weight Loss Plateau

Is It A Plateau ?

As I mentioned last week, I have now hit my first  weight loss plateau. It has taken 6 months, but now, with only around 11lbs left to lose, my body seems to be saying no more !.

A weight loss plateau is not unusual when you decide to lose weight. The fact it has taken almost 6 months before I have hit one shows how affective intermittent fasting for weight loss has been for me.

Weight Loss Plateau –  What To Do Next

In order to move past this block, I need to make some changes, but I also need to be sure that the weight loss plateau is not just caused by simply eating more calories than I need. Many times a weight loss plateau is no more than you eating too many calories for losing weight.

To be sure my weight loss plateau is not because of a problem in my diet, I first have to monitor my calories to ensure I am still in a calorie defecit for losing weight.

As I have lost 46lbs ( 21 kilos) I no longer need the same amount of calories I did 6 months ago.  At the start of the year when I weighed 231lbs ( 105 kilos)  my maintainence calories would be around 3,200 calories per day. Today at 185 lbs ( 84 kilos) and my current activity leval that  number is now around 2600, so 600 calories a day less.

My target now is only to lose 1lb a week, and when you realise that just to maintain the weight I am now I would need to be eating 600 calories a day less than 6 months ago, it is a unrealistic to expect to lose much more. This a good example of why my weight loss goes from 2lb per week, down to 1lb. The number of calories we need does not remain static, it moves along with our weight.

If you are looking to lose weight yourself, please remember that 1lb ( approx 0.5 kilos) per week is a healthy and realistic target. When I started using intermittent fasting, I had a large amount of weight to lose, and the first few weeks the weight came off quickly but I always knew it would change, that is why I set 52 weeks to lose 56lbs, it is realistic.

I now know a  20% reduction in calories from that total  ( 2600 calories) would give me a 1lb per week weight loss.  It also means that my current calorie intake to achieve this should be around 1850 per day ( 185 llb x 10 cals per lb ).

So with this figure as my benchmark, the next thing I had to do was to look at the actual calories I am eating. To do this I simply keep a food diary, and write down everything I eat and drink . I have done this for the last 14 days  This has shown I am not going over the 1850 per day average. On weekends my intake is higher, but weekdays when using Intermittent Fasting and a condensed eating window my calorie intake is lower with an avg of 1500. So now that I know it is not too many calories that are causing the weight loss plateau, I can now look into how I am going to beat it.

In case you are wondering what these figures I am quoting are based on, I take them from Lyle Mcdonald at Lyle is an expert in his field, and one of only a few people who’s advice  I respect in terms of losing body fat. Lyle has also written a number of books on the subject which you can find on his. website here

So How to Break A Weight Loss Plateau ?

Well once you have established that the plateau is not because you are eating too many calories, you have to look at what else can be a problem.  Since the end of February of this year I have  used a condensed eating window during the week, and then eaten normally on a weekend. This fits my lifestyle and has been very successful for me, but I think my body has  now got used to the routine. It is time to shake things up.

Since Friday I have taken a break from fasting, but have still monitored my calories to ensure I am at maintenance. My next fast will be from Sunday evening 12th of July to Monday 13th July. [ Update ] I did not do this fast due to a party

From an exercise point of view, I have altered my body weight exercise routine and made it harder. If I am honest, I have not changed it enough in recent weeks. One of the drawbacks of bodyweight exercises is , they get easier to do as you lose fat !.  Take a regular push up for example, I am now pushing up 46 lbs less than I was 6 months ago, but I am fitter and stronger than when I started. When you use weights, it is a progression, you increase the weights you use as you get stronger , but when using your own body weight , it is the opposite.

The way to ensure this is not a problem is to make the exercise more difficult, for example a one arm push up, or doing the push up on a decline etc.

I also have purchased some suspension straps. I can use them in the local park, and it is far cheaper and easier than a gym membership. At this time of year I enjoy doing my workout outdoors.

I use this book for my body weight exercises. I only do about 20 minutes 3 times per week to maintain muscle .

So this is my plan to break my weight loss plateau. This is the first time in 6 months I have looked at the amount of calories I am eating. The reason for doing so, was to be certain I was not eating more calories than I thought, even when using Intermittent Fasting it is possible to gain weight. As a retired dieter I don’t intend to spend the rest of my days counting calories. This exercise was neccasery to confirm my regular meals are not the cause of the wieght loss plateau.  If you have been using intermittent fasting and are not losing weight, or even gaining weight, then you are consuming more calories than you need on your eating days, and you need to look at ways to reduce this.

For me intermittent fasting is the perfect way to control my calorie intake, but with still wanting to lose 11 more lbs I need to alter my current routine a little to get the results I want. What I won’t be doing is restricting any foods I like. I am still, and always will be a retired dieter !.

I expect to remain the same weight for another 2 weeks and then see the final few lbs start to melt away… at least that is the plan, only time will tell, either way I will post the results.

Update Jan 2010

I did reach my weight loss target in Oct 2009 It took me 41 weeks to lose the 56lbs of fat. You can see my weight loss transformation pictures here

The weight loss plateau lasted for a little over 2 months. It was the toughest part of my weight loss journey, but my advice now looking back is to stick with what has worked, and be patient.

You also need to get an understanding of your current RMR ( Resting Metabolic Rate ) You can use my BMR/RMR Calculator here

Often what you think is a weight loss plateau is nothing more than your lifestyle catching up with the new you. Understand the changes you have made, and chances are this will be the last you see of  your weight loss plateau

Update Feb 2011

Another year on and I have maintained my weight loss. I now find I go between 163 and 166lbs . Since writing this post, the things I believe are important in acheiving weight loss are now covered in the anything goes diet.

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