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    Registered User peelsa's Avatar
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    Question Advice for Overcoming a Plateau?

    Hi all!

    Little backstory - I'm 23F, 5'2", and went from 150 lbs, 35% body fat to my current weight of 127 lbs, 23% body fat. The majority of the weight loss occurred within the last 14 weeks, where I went from 135 to 127. I went from 150-135 by yoyo-ing and not really being consistent with any one thing over the course of a year or so, but I'm taking it much more seriously now.

    I got to 127 from 135 by consistently eating 1500 calories on the dot every day, doing 3 full body workouts, and doing 2 glute days per week, as well as dancing twice a week, and doing 30 minutes of stretching 5x a week. Doing all that, I lost 1 lb per week up until the plateau, and I've been plateaued at 127 for 5 weeks now. This last week, I changed my workout plan to do an upper-lower split 6x per week, as I really have no desire to lower my calories, but I think I may have to as I'm still at 127.

    My goal is 120 lbs for now, and probably around 18% body fat. I've made really good strength gains and can deadlift 180 lbs and squat 200 lbs for 3 sets of 5, which I feel at my height and weight is pretty good and should probably burn enough for me to lose weight at 1400 calories, but that's unfortunately not happening anymore. I don't know if I should add on cardio, given that I already dance and want to also give my body time to recover. But it's either that or cutting calories. What do you advise? If I need to cut calories, how much should I cut it down? Or if not, does anyone have any other advice?

    Also: Please don't tell me I need to increase my calories to build muscle, I have fat covering the muscle I've built, and as I've been losing weight I've been able to see it better, so it's not a problem of not having muscle to show to begin with. And yes, I measure EVERYTHING that I eat with a scale, so there's definitely no error in the calorie counting part of it.

    Thanks in advance to everyone!
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  2. #2
    Registered User kauseemcee's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by peelsa View Post
    Hi all!

    Little backstory - I'm 23F, 5'2", and went from 150 lbs, 35% body fat to my current weight of 127 lbs, 23% body fat. The majority of the weight loss occurred within the last 14 weeks, where I went from 135 to 127. I went from 150-135 by yoyo-ing and not really being consistent with any one thing over the course of a year or so, but I'm taking it much more seriously now.

    I got to 127 from 135 by consistently eating 1500 calories on the dot every day, doing 3 full body workouts, and doing 2 glute days per week, as well as dancing twice a week, and doing 30 minutes of stretching 5x a week. Doing all that, I lost 1 lb per week up until the plateau, and I've been plateaued at 127 for 5 weeks now. This last week, I changed my workout plan to do an upper-lower split 6x per week, as I really have no desire to lower my calories, but I think I may have to as I'm still at 127.

    My goal is 120 lbs for now, and probably around 18% body fat. I've made really good strength gains and can deadlift 180 lbs and squat 200 lbs for 3 sets of 5, which I feel at my height and weight is pretty good and should probably burn enough for me to lose weight at 1400 calories, but that's unfortunately not happening anymore. I don't know if I should add on cardio, given that I already dance and want to also give my body time to recover. But it's either that or cutting calories. What do you advise? If I need to cut calories, how much should I cut it down? Or if not, does anyone have any other advice?

    Also: Please don't tell me I need to increase my calories to build muscle, I have fat covering the muscle I've built, and as I've been losing weight I've been able to see it better, so it's not a problem of not having muscle to show to begin with. And yes, I measure EVERYTHING that I eat with a scale, so there's definitely no error in the calorie counting part of it.

    Thanks in advance to everyone!
    I'd say your metabolism has slowed down and has adapted to the deficit. Have you had a diet break before?
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  3. #3
    Registered User peelsa's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kauseemcee View Post
    I'd say your metabolism has slowed down and has adapted to the deficit. Have you had a diet break before?
    No I haven't, my original plan was to be dieting down over the course of 13 weeks before I reached my goal (when I started taking it seriously), and then I would return to maintenance. I read that diet breaks can be utilized any time between 12-16 weeks, so didn't think it would be necessary for me.
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    Originally Posted by kauseemcee View Post
    I'd say your metabolism has slowed down and has adapted to the deficit. Have you had a diet break before?
    If I should do a diet break now, how many calories should I be eating during it and how long would you recommend? I read that when utilizing diet breaks in a fat loss phase, you bring it back up to maintenance...but I assume that 1500 calories would be considered my new maintenance?
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    Originally Posted by peelsa View Post
    If I should do a diet break now, how many calories should I be eating during it and how long would you recommend? I read that when utilizing diet breaks in a fat loss phase, you bring it back up to maintenance...but I assume that 1500 calories would be considered my new maintenance?
    It's a good idea to implement a refeed every week eating at maintenance for a day filling in the extra 500 calories with carbs. I'd start there if you don't want to take a full diet break.
    I would eat around 1900 calories and see if the weight shifts in the week after. Personally I have a 2-5 day diet break when I'm feeling run down. It keeps my metabolism going strong.
    I took my first diet break around a month into my cut. Everyone reacts differently to this sort of thing but I wouldn't be surprised if you dropped weight after only a day of maintenance.
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    Originally Posted by kauseemcee View Post
    I'd say your metabolism has slowed down and has adapted to the deficit. Have you had a diet break before?
    This is not a real thing. A deficit is a deficit, and as long as you remain in a deficit you will continue to lose weight.

    What you're referring to is metabolic slowdown, the physiological response where your body will tend to naturally move less while in a calorie deficit in an attempt to conserve energy and create an energy balance, which can slow weight loss. This can be overcome with consciously increasing your energy output throughout the day by moving more.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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    Registered User kauseemcee's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    This is not a real thing. A deficit is a deficit, and as long as you remain in a deficit you will continue to lose weight.

    What you're referring to is metabolic slowdown, the physiological response where your body will tend to naturally move less while in a calorie deficit in an attempt to conserve energy and create an energy balance, which can slow weight loss. This can be overcome with consciously increasing your energy output throughout the day by moving more.
    Thanks for the correction. So it's more her body has adapted to the deficit rather than the metabolism?
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    Registered User peelsa's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kauseemcee View Post
    It's a good idea to implement a refeed every week eating at maintenance for a day filling in the extra 500 calories with carbs. I'd start there if you don't want to take a full diet break.
    I would eat around 1900 calories and see if the weight shifts in the week after. Personally I have a 2-5 day diet break when I'm feeling run down. It keeps my metabolism going strong.
    I took my first diet break around a month into my cut. Everyone reacts differently to this sort of thing but I wouldn't be surprised if you dropped weight after only a day of maintenance.
    Okay thanks! I had no idea diet breaks were utilized that way. I'll give it a go this week, how could I say no to extra carbs?
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    Registered User peelsa's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    This is not a real thing. A deficit is a deficit, and as long as you remain in a deficit you will continue to lose weight.

    What you're referring to is metabolic slowdown, the physiological response where your body will tend to naturally move less while in a calorie deficit in an attempt to conserve energy and create an energy balance, which can slow weight loss. This can be overcome with consciously increasing your energy output throughout the day by moving more.
    So just walking more, or something more intensive (biking, more dancing)?
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    Originally Posted by kauseemcee View Post
    Thanks for the correction. So it's more her body has adapted to the deficit rather than the metabolism?
    Basically. In a prolonged deficit people will tend to become more sedentary, fidget less, and have an overall reduction of their NEAT. This in turns burns less calories and brings the person close to a caloric maintenance level, resulting in slow down/stoppage of weight loss.

    If you're conscious of this effect you can do things like taking an extra long walk each day the deeper/longer your diet goes, or doing something else to increase your daily output.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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  11. #11
    Registered User kauseemcee's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    Basically. In a prolonged deficit people will tend to become more sedentary, fidget less, and have an overall reduction of their NEAT. This in turns burns less calories and brings the person close to a caloric maintenance level, resulting in slow down/stoppage of weight loss.

    If you're conscious of this effect you can do things like taking an extra long walk each day the deeper/longer your diet goes, or doing something else to increase your daily output.
    Wow, I didn't realize it made THAT much of a difference! There you go OP. Try this first and maybe take that diet break if you feel like you need it mentally. God knows I would need it
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    Originally Posted by kauseemcee View Post
    Wow, I didn't realize it made THAT much of a difference! There you go OP. Try this first and maybe take that diet break if you feel like you need it mentally. God knows I would need it
    Think about it like this. A person burns the majority of their weekly calories outside of the gym. If you're getting in 5 workouts a week, for lets say an hour or an hour and a half, that's only about 7.5 hrs of gym activity time, that leaves 160.5 hours of that week for someone to not do a whole lot and be very sedentary.

    Mentally diet breaks can be a boost, especially for those dieting for longer than 3-4 months. Unfortunately a lot of times when people hear the word "break" they immediately start shoveling all types of food down their throat instead of just raising their calories up a little bit for a week or two, and so the "break" can quickly sabotage you if you're not careful.

    OP if your weight loss is plateaued you can add in some daily activity (low intensity is fine) and or slightly drop your calories (or a combination of the two).
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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