The Plain Truth About Weight Loss and Plateaus

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Let's face it; your body is not designed to LOSE weight. Your body's purpose is to take care of you and keep you alive. If we compared the human body to a car, calories would be gasoline you need to function properly. Every bodily movement (internal and external) requires calories. Whether you close and open your eyelids, talk, write an email or text, calories are being used to complete these functions. Just to keep you alive and stay healthy, the body needs calories. The body feels "safe" at a particular weight, not because it wants you to be an obese slob, but it's always in fear it's not going to have enough calories to survive. Can you blame it?

When man were hunters, some days we were lucky to find meat to cook. When climate changes took place, we had to migrate to other areas to look for vegetation. During times of famine, our bodies evolved to store food in case it was needed in the future. This is similar to the way a bear's body fat percentage is so high. When bears hibernate, the body has enough stored energy or food to feed the bear. So it's a part of our make up as human beings to hold a certain percentage of body fat. Blame some of this on genetics. So when you lose weight especially at a fast rate, you body is more concerned with the fact that it's not getting the same amount of vitamins and mineral that it once received.

So the body will slow down the amount of calories being used and FORCE you to oveat until it gets back to its "safe" weight and sometimes even more weight. So you may be thinking, "How am I going to lose weight if the body wants to hold onto fat?" The answer lies in making SLOW changes and knowing how many calories your body burns on average every day. This is known as BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate. Your basal metabolic rate or BMR is the amount of calories your body burns and what you need to eat to MAINTAIN your current weight. Now genetics, the amount of body fat vs. Lean muscle, water level and bone density all affects the BMR. To keep it simple, we are going to prepare the average BMR is 2,000 calories a day. This means if you eat the average of 2000 calories a day you will maintain your current weight.

If you consume 2010 calories, your body takes that extra 10 calories and stores it as fat for later use. Studies show that an extra 10 calories a say could add up to 15lbs a year. Say that you're ready to LOSE weight. Nutritionist suggests you to Lose between 1-3lbs a week. If you subtract 500 calories a day from your diet for seven days, your body can burn 3500 of stored calories and that equals 1lb of FAT. Because your body is expecting 2000 calories but you only consume 1500, your body recognizes that 500 calories is missing and has no choice but to reach into stored fat and use that to make up the 500 calories.

This is called a caloric deficiency (Dropping your calories below 1800 for men or 1200 for women can scare the body due to the large amount of calories and nutrients missing from your diet). So your body will slow your Metabolism in fear of not being able to function properly. This is when your involuntary systems will fight you with your weight loss goal and the sign is usually your weight fluctuates up and down but hardly ever below your current weight. So how to eliminate this, here is a few tips.

1. Let's find out what your BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is:

Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in year)

Ex. = 655 + (4.35 x 170) + (4.7 x 65) – (4.7×30) = 655+ 739.5 + 305.5 – 141 = 1559 calories

2. Now if you are going to live an active life by exercising or playing sports you need to add in additional calories. This will give you what is called "Daily Calorie Needs".

To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
If you are sedentary (little or no exercise): Calorie-Calculation =

• Sedentary BMR x 1.2

• light exercise / sports 1-3 days / week BMR x 1.375

• moderate exercise / sports 3-5 days / week BMR x 1.55

• hard exercise / sports 6-7 days a week BMR x 1.725

• very hard exercise / sports & physical job or 2x training BMR x 1.9

Ex. BMR (1559) x Light exercise (1.375) = 2144 (Daily calorie needs)

3. Now you should subtract 250-500 calories from your Daily Calorie Needs and this will give you the amount of calories you need to lose weight.

Ex. 2144 (Daily Calorie Needs) -500 (from Daily Calorie Needs) = 1644 (calories needed to lose weight)

4. The next step is to give yourself a macronutrient breakdown which gives you a percentage of how much Fats, Carbs and protein you need to consume. I personally like the 30% / 30% / 40% (fats / carbs / protein) or the 20% / 40% / 40% (fats / carbs / protein).

Ex. 1644 calories (30% / 30% / 40%)
Fat 1644 x.30 = 493 calories / 9 grams (per 1 fat calorie) = 55 grams per day
Carbs 1644 x.30 = 493 calories / 4 grams (per 1 carb calorie) = 123 grams per day
Protein 1644 x.40 = 658 calories / 4 grams (per 1 protein calorie) = 164 grams per day

So why do our bodies feel the need to hit a plateau

Let's start with a few scenarios I normally encounter when working with clients

1. Let's continue with the BMR of 1559. So from the examples above you determined you needed to lose a few pounds so you subtract 500 from the 1559 which leaves you with 1059 calories you are going to consume daily. You start working out and burn an additional 400 calories which is a total of 900 calories that your body is losing which means your body is only retaining 659 calories which is TOO LOW for your body. In Fear of you reaching malnourishment, your body will start burning calories at a lower rate. Once this happens, the BIGGEST mistake you can make is to continue subtracting calories from your diet or exercise longer in hopes that it will start the weight process again. And it may but you will be in the same predicament again.

2. FAD Diets, psychological and biological urges- Most fad will diets will help you lose weight The question should be how long you can eat a fad diet. Many fad diets that restrict you from eating certain foods, makes it very hard to lose weight and live a normal life. Psychological urges to lose weight will have us try multiple different diets plans even if the first few we tried FAILED. Getting tired and frustrated from the lack of calories and limited selection, your biological urge to eat will override your psychological urges and you will start to eat normally again and pack the weight back on (and maybe more). This will start to affect your emotions and self esteem because you are back where you started from.

Another factor that will take place is if your calories are extremely low or a low carb diet plan, your body starts to use your muscle as a source of energy. Losing muscle means a slower metabolism. This typically makes weight lose faster than it should be which leads to loose skin for some. This can also affect the self esteem and the only resort will be surgery.

3. If you started a workout regimen, you're controlling your calories and you're losing weight the right way, your body will adjust to a new BMR so you will have to make some minor adjustments. This can be in the form of recalculating your current BMR, subtract a few more calories from your BMR or maybe add an additional day into your workout plan. By this time, you may have put on a few extra pounds of muscle which can help you burn up to an additional 50 calories per hour per pound of muscle. This may mean you have to eat a little more because you are burning more at your maintenance level or BMR.

Weight loss typically starts fast and slows down as you continue working towards your goal. The best thing to do is start slow; work on losing between 1-3 pounds a week and make minor adjustments with your calories and workout routine when hit a plateau. However restricting your calories extremely low or working out hours daily daily is NOT the answer to healthy weight loss. So understand that proper eating and staying active has to be continued the rest of your life if you want to stay at your new weight.

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Source by Jameel McGregor