I lost some weight at first, but now I can’t lose any more. What am I doing wrong?
This is a very common problem, because people think that if they eat less food (calories), they will lose “weight”. The biggest problem with this strategy is that it actually works, at first! This is a problem because the “weight” that is lost is always more muscle than fat.
The reason for this is the fact that you have what is called a “Basal Metabolic Rate”, or BMR. Your BMR also has to be added to variables like age, activity level, body fat level, muscle mass, and of course, your goals. After determining these, we can then figure out how many calories that you should consume per day, in order to keep your muscle, feel healthy, energetic and alert, and lose fat, all at the same time.
If you only eat once, twice, or even three times per day, you are not eating enough calories, and you are also continually in “fast state” (See “The Importance of Protein in Your Diet” article).
So, at the same time that you are losing muscle mass (that is the “weight” that you lose in the beginning), you are storing the calories your metabolism isn’t burning as your body’s emergency fuel reserve; body fat (A.K.A love handles, thunder thighs, saddle bags, etc…)!!
The reason that losing “weight” is a problem lies in the fact that muscle mass is the ONLY THING THAT BURNS CALORIES! Obviously, if muscle is the only thing that burns calories, than you don’t want to lose it. In fact, you probably want to add a little more, right?
Dieticians claim that you will burn 50 more calories PER DAY for every pound of muscle put on. This is only at rest, so imagine if you were a little more active? You could turn that into 150 calories easy!
On the other hand, what if you lost that pound of muscle? Now you burn at least 50 fewer calories per day than you used to. So, now you can see why losing “weight” is not good at all. What you really want to lose is “body fat”, right?
Tighter skin, more definition, no sagging body parts, firm arms, firm thighs, etc… These all come from maintaining and gaining muscle mass and losing body fat, not just “weight.
Now you’re probably asking yourself “How do I know if what I’m losing is fat or muscle?” The way to do this is to weigh yourself consistently on the same scale, have you’re body fat measured on a weekly basis, and see how your clothes fit. This is usually the best way, because it is very motivating to drop a pants size or belt notch, even if your overall “weight” hasn’t changed much. We offer all of these services at NutriShop Chico, so that we can accurately follow your progress to make sure that you are on the right track.
By getting these measurements on a weekly basis, we can adjust your caloric intake and supplements as needed to avoid getting stuck at plateaus.
For example, if you started at 190 pounds and 20% body fat, you would have 38 pounds of fat and 152 pounds of lean mass. If you only ate twice a day for a month and dropped to 175 pounds, that’s 15 pounds of “weight” lost! Hooray! Except that now another month and a half has gone by, and you haven’t lost any more weight.
Now you’ve hit a plateau. So you come in to get measured and we find that you are only 175 pounds, but your body fat went up to 25%! You are now at 131.25 pounds of lean mass and 43.75 pounds of fat mass! You LOST 21.75 pounds of MUSCLE and GAINED 5.75 pounds of FAT!!!
You are now even fatter than when you started. Obviously, this is not good, since your metabolism is even slower now and you have gained more fat.
This is what normally happens to those of us who begin the journey to a better-looking and healthier body.
Unfortunately, most of us get so frustrated at this point that we quit trying because we figure that there is no way that we can eat any less than we already are, so it might be a “hormone problem” or something. Or we blame the fat burner, because after we got off it we gained all the fat back.
For most of us, the initial loss was all gained back after a while, and often even more weight than before. This is because of the loss in muscle that occurs when we eat BELOW the calories that our bodies require to maintain muscle tissue. When muscle is lost because of a caloric deficit, our overall metabolism drops in order to compensate for that deficit.
This means that when you get frustrated and go back to eating “normally”, your metabolism is even less effective now than it was before, so you are more likely to gain the fat back, plus some extra. Consider it interest on your withdrawal.
The good news that comes from all of this is the fact that you have to eat MORE often, NOT LESS!! Eating 5-6 times per day will be much more effective than 2-3. You will have more energy, feel less tired, lose more fat and sleep much better. This can all be achieved by simply taking in enough calories at the right times (every 3-4 hours). Doing this is very easy when you replace 2-3 of those meals with a Pro 5 shake. Stop by today to get a free sample and free shaker cup.