T Nation

Weight loss plateaus

Ok guys, I’m kinda clueless on this one. I’ve been dieting for a while now and I don’t work out. I’ve just been restricting my calorie intake (low fat/high protein/moderate-low carb) as a means to weight loss. I also take a multi vitamin/mineral supplment w/ calcium and an anti-oxidant in the morning. Anyways one of the things I’ve noticed is that my weight remains steady for like a month and after a month or so passes, I drop like 10 pounds in 3-6 days. Knowing a bit about how the metabolism works, I’d know losing that amount of weight unless I were a giant which I’m not (just 5’7 currently 170/150 is my ideal), my brain would fry and I’d be dead. So I guess what I’m trying to understand here is why does this happen? What is the biological or chemical deal going on in my body that does this? Does my body lose the fat but retain more water prior to breaking a plateau as a survival mechanism? I mean, what exactly is the science to this because it makes no sense. Is there anyway I can break the plateau quicker? Or just see the weight loss gradually without waiting for the plateau to break? Thanks.

Of course you’re going to hit a plateau with weight loss if you only cut calories or change your diet. You said you don’t work out! Well, start working out! If you want to get past the plateau, then you need some exercise. Try weight training three days a week followed by 30 minutes of cardio. And if you want to lose more, add cardio to 2-3 of your off days from the gym. There is a wealth of information about this stuff in recent issues of T-mag. Check it out.

I understand if excercise is not on your agenda, It mays simply not be the body composition you seek. The reasoning behind your stagnant results is more inter-related with the efficiency of your body; point being, your body has discovered how to operate at normal efficiency under a caloric deficit. It happens to everyone, even those of us who spend days on treadmills. there are several solutions to your lack of progress: as aformentioned by my prior t-brethren you could incorperate excersise into the equation, or you could alter your diet periodically to avoid becoming too accostumed to it. simple alterations such as calorie intake, and macronutrient breakdown of your diet can be altered to fullfill this. I do suggest you train (of course I am sure you anticipated that response by posting on a bodybuilding forum) but that is up to you, remember you will get out of it, what you put into it…

i have experienced just what you are talking about myself. i remember times during my initial escape from couch-potatoism (after i had nailed down my maintenance calorie requirement) where my caloric intake was extremely strict as was my weight training and daily cardio sessions. and by the numbers i should have been losing anywhere from 2 to 3 lbs per week. doing the exact same routine day in and day out you would expect for the fat to come off at a specific amount per day, right? well, for some reason not known to me that’s not how it works. i would go through several days at a time (never more than a week) where i would hold steady on the scale and not lose a single pound and then all of the sudden in a matter of a couple of days i would drop the weight. what’s up with that? surely the body doesn’t save up the caloric deficit for a week and finally say, “ok, it’s time to dump the fat.” this didn’t make any sense to me, but when i looked back at the entire 6 month process after i lost all the fat i wanted i averaged between 2 to 3 lbs. of fat per week just like my calculations had worked out. i have no idea T-bro. but i can say that you are not going crazy. that’s just how it seems to work. kevo

I’ve noticed when what you describe happens it seems that person loses a lot of muscle. I know a guy now who’s preparing for the body for life contest and he won’t listen to what i tell him to do. He’s gone from a fat 260 to a skinny-fat 225 and he describes the same thing as you…the scale stays the same for a week or 10 days and then all the sudden there goes 5 lbs. I notice everytime he says this it looks like his arm measurements decrease by another inch so most of the loss is probably muscle.

interesting point about the muscle loss… although that was not the case with me. my lbm stayed pretty much constant throught the entire 6 month period. the fat mass that i lost was within 2 lbs. of the total weight loss over this period. i think it might be some sort of water shedding or purging going on. what we need is an expert…Mr. Berardi? any ideas?