Ugh, plateaus!

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    Aug 19, 2009 2:27 PM GMT
    Two weeks, strict dieting, lots of cardio, but no budging on the scale. I hate that part of it. I know it's just part of the cycle and if I stay consistent, it'll move, but it's a drag. By the end of the plateau, which usually lasts 7-10 days, I'm wanting to fast just to get something to happen, but I don't, of course, and then there's the whole mental aspect: am I eating enough? am I eating too much? do I need to have a cheat day? or is that cheat day last Sunday the reason everything has stalled?

    I'm always a little amazed at guys who drop the weight at a consistent rate. When not on a plateau, the weight loss is always so choppy---lose three pounds, then nothing for 4-5 days, then lose three pounds.

    Anyway, the scale budged this morning, though I really didn't change anything about my diet or workouts (except to add some interval training to my biking in the past week, kick up the intensity). I'm down to 230, from 249 on July 1, and have another 30 to go, ideally....
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    Aug 19, 2009 6:07 PM GMT
    Hey rob,

    I am having the exact same problem. I am down to 225-230 on a 6'1" muscular frame I am working at getting down to 195. I hit a major plateau around 245 and now I have been hovering between 225-230 for about 3 weeks (im down from 380lbs 6 years ago, and 312 8 months ago). I have only been consuming 1800-2000 calories a day (~45% protein ~20%fat ~35%carb) and have been lifting 5 days a week and doing cardio 30minutes-1.5 hours 5 days a week generally running 3 to 7.5 miles in a single stretch. I am not sure why the scale isnt moving for me either. I think plateaus are just one of those things you hit really often especially when you are nearer your ideal weight. I have been noticing a difference in my body but just not on the scale. I think for me I may just be bulking up with muscle and losing fat at about the same rate.

    If for some reason you discover some miracle plateau buster please share.

    one thing I am thinking of is breakign from my typical exercise routine... maybe work out in the morning for a week instead of the evening.

    Good luckon getting through your plateau! just keep up the good work and no matter what happens dont get discouraged. I know when I see the number on the scale go up despite all my hard work all I want to do is get a Large angry whopper value meal and peanutbutter and chocolate milkshake! but then Id just feel like crap and terribly guilty!

    stay on track... dont be derailed... something will eventually have to give... thats how I feel anyway.

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    Aug 19, 2009 6:36 PM GMT
    Are you incorporating resistance training as well? You need to build muscle....Think about it this way...

    Muscle is, metabolically, the most calorie hungry organ in your body...So it's safe to say that the more muscle (lean body mass you have) the faster your metabolism (or metabolic rate).

    Cardio and dieting will make you "skinny fat"...I see it all the time at the gym...Women who come into the gym and all they do is the treadmill and the ab machines..They wave goodbye to their friend and their underarm waves

    Bottom line..Do the weights!
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    Aug 19, 2009 6:53 PM GMT
    Thanks for sharing your experience, Josh. Plateaus, almost by definition, are a phenomenon of adaptation, so the only real thing I have found to work is to do what you suggest and "change it up," either in the activity realm or the diet realm. Doing a few days of interval drills on the bike feels like it kicks the metabolism up for me, I can usually feel it in the sense of being more energized, flushed, or hot, which is a sign I'm in "fat-burning" mode. Or I'll add an extra hour of walking (I walk 4 miles to work twice a week anyway) or switch from strength training to toning sets on the weights.

    Likewise, rather than change overall calories, I'll change the composition of my diet for three to four days--increase fiber, eliminate or add soy protein sources, dairy, eggs, fruit, depending on what I have been eating or not eating, essentially just get myself out of the rut. Also try to increase my water intake as well.

    As for the muscle/fat comp issue, it is theoretically possible I suppose that a "plateau" on the scale might actually represent an equivalence of bodyfat-lost/muscle-gained, but I know, at age 51, that I'm not adding that much lean muscle that quickly (I used to, but those days are long gone.) Besides, when I'm actually losing body fat, my pants and shirts are getting looser fairly quickly in a way that's noticeable, so when that is NOT happening AND the scale isn't moving, I know I'm on a plateau. I actually pay more attention to my belt loops than the scale, for the reason you are talking about.

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    Aug 21, 2009 6:02 PM GMT
    Well, here's the secret: you post here about your plateau and posting about it finally makes you metabolism kick in! lol After two weeks of nothing, dropped two pounds this week and can definitely feel the metab shift into fat-burning--not hungry at all, feel energetic and a little flushed. That's the glad I discovered