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Stopped Losing Weight? Here’s Why (and How to Fix It)

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Stopped Losing Weight? Here’s Why (and How to Fix It)

If your weight loss has stalled and you want to know how to healthily get the scale moving again, this article is for you.

 

You step on the scale, look down, and your heart sinks.

It’s that same damn number staring back at you again. Taunting you. Mocking you.

Why? Why won’t it budge? Why doesn’t it reward you for your hard work anymore?

Maybe this is it, you despair. The ride is over. Your imagination was bigger than your metabolism. Your eyes too demanding of your genetics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Not by a long shot. In fact, I hear from–and help–hundreds of people just like you every month.

Fortunately, the reasons you’ve stopped losing weight are likely very simple. The solutions are equally simple as well.

Before we get into the technicalities, you should know that weight loss isn’t always a linear process.

That is, you don’t always lose weight in a consistent, predictable way. You may lose a pound one week, lose nothing over the next two weeks, suddenly lose three pounds the following week, gain a pound back, lose it a few days later, and so forth.

This is why I recommend people weigh themselves daily and take an average every 7 to 10 days. This way you can stop worrying about the daily weigh-ins and watch just the averages. If they’re moving down, all is good.

You can run into problems that you can’t solve, though. For example, just because your weight hasn’t changed in a week or two doesn’t mean you haven’t lost fat. In fact, it’s common for women in particular to lose fat steadily but fail to see any change on the scale for several weeks. There are simple, scientific reasons for these “oddities,” of course, which we’ll get into in a minute.

Before we do, however, let’s talk about the more common scenario–the one that inspired this article: your fat loss has completely stalled for 10+ days. (No discernible changes in body fat percentage in 10+ days.)

The good news here is this is completely normal.

In fact, you should expect and even plan to hit weight loss plateaus, and especially if you’re looking to lose a lot of fat or get really lean (sub-10% for men and sub-20% for women).

Contrary to popular belief, these “sticking points” aren’t barricaded road blocks that put an end to all the fun. They’re just speed bumps you roll over almost without noticing.

So, now that you’re in the right frame of mind, let’s talk about why you stop losing weight and then what you should do about it.

Why You’ve Stopped Losing Weight

When you’re dieting for fat loss and the scale hasn’t changed in a couple of weeks, it’s for one of two reasons:

  1. You haven’t lost any fat (at least you haven’t gained any though!).
  2. You have lost fat but you don’t see it on the scale.

Breaking down number one is going to take longer than number two, so let’s start with the short and sweet.

How to Lose Fat But Not Weight

The most common reason people lose fat and not weight is fluid retention.

This is particularly true for women, who are hormonally inclined to retain fluids and who also have to deal with large fluctuations due to menstrual cycles.

What happens is very simple: you lose a pound of fat in a week but you “pick up” an additional pound of water along the way. Obviously it’s not always 1:1 so, when it comes time to weigh in, it can look like you only lost a negligible amount of fat that week or even gained some.

If you want to see how much water retention can affect your weight, double your sodium intake for a few days and watch the scale. You can easily gain 1 to 2 pounds per day for several days.

Fortunately, water retention issues are fairly easy to fix. It usually requires little more than balancing sodium and potassium intake, drinking enough water every day, and keeping your cortisol levels under control.

Once these things are in–when your electrolytes are balanced, you’re properly hydrated, and your cortisol levels are normal…and you’re not about to get your period…you can rest assured that your fluid retention levels are stable.

Another common reason why people lose fat but not weight is they’re new to weightlifting.

This matters because when you’re new, you can build muscle and lose fat at the same time, and building muscle means adding weight, of course.

Furthermore, when you first start training your muscles intensively, they soak up and hold quite a bit of additional glycogen and water. This too adds weight.

These “newbie gains” are so predictable that I often tell people new to weightlifting and proper dieting to expect not to lose weight for their first 3 to 6 weeks.

Sure, keep track of your weight, but your waist measurement is a more reliable indicator of fat loss progress during this period. If your waist is shrinking, you’re losing fat regardless of what the scale says.

Now, if you have any real amount of fat to lose, you eventually need to see your weight go down. Unfortunately the joyride does come to an end and your body simply can’t continue building muscle as quickly as it can lose fat (and eventually you can only do one or the other).

That said, I have seen people properly train and diet for 2 to 3 months and come out only ~5 to 6 pounds lighter but with dramatically improved physiques. Depending on your genetics and compliance to your exercise and diet programs, you can build quite a bit of muscle and lose quite a bit of fat in the beginning.

Alright, now that we have the “low-hanging fruit” out of the way, let’s tackle the trickier reason why people have stopped losing weight.

When You’ve Stopped Losing Fat

A true fat loss plateau is no fat lost for 10+ days. This can be seen in the mirror and scale and with a caliper and waist measurement.

This baffles many people because there they were, following their nice little meal plan, patiently chipping away at their fat stores, and then…the brakes locked down for no damn reason.

What the hell? How can something working so well suddenly go to complete shit? And how do you get the train back on the rails?

Well, it’s quite a bit simpler than many people think. And it starts with this…

If you’ve stopped losing fat, it’s because you’re no longer in a large enough calorie deficit.

This is what it all boils down to.

The only way to reduce total fat mass is to burn more energy than you eat, and once that falls apart–once your energy intake is equal to or greater than expenditure–nothing you do will move the needle until you fix it.

Basically, you’ve stopped losing weight because you’re eating too much food and/or moving your body too little. That said, just eating less and moving more isn’t necessarily the answer. In fact, doing this may cause a whole new host of problems like muscle loss, overtraining, hormonal disruptions, and, well, just generally feeling like shit. I know that sounds paradoxical, but I’ll explain myself in a minute.

Now, I’ve written extensively on why energy balance is the cornerstone of all weight loss and how to use this knowledge to safely and healthily lose fat and not muscle, so I won’t regurgitate the details here.

If you’re not so sure about those “claims”–if you think calorie counting doesn’t work, that losing fat is more about “eating clean” or “unclogging hormones,” or anything else besides regulating calorie intake and expenditure and balancing macronutrients, take a break from this article, read the following, and come back:

How to Count Calories Correctly for Effortless Weight Loss

3 Calorie Counting “Secrets” Every Dieter Should Know

Why “Clean Eating” Isn’t the Key to Weight Loss or Muscle Growth

How to Lose Body Fat and Not Muscle

Okay, now that we’re on the same page regarding the fundamentals of weight loss, let’s get to the nitty gritty of why you can “inexplicably” stop losing weight despite changing nothing in your diet and exercise routine.

Again, let’s start with the easy stuff.

You’re Being Sloppy With Your Food Intake

If you’re not accurately planning or tracking your food intake every day, you’re only going to get so far with losing fat.

The reason for this is simple: if left to its own devices, your appetite is going to do its best to keep you a state of neutral energy balance. This is physiological homeostasis in action. Your body doesn’t want to gain or lose weight. It wants to remain exactly as it currently is.

Remember that when you restrict your calories to lose fat, you’re subjecting your body to a mild form of starvation.

When done right, it’s not unhealthy, but that doesn’t mean your body likes it and won’t fight back. In a primitive, alarmist sense, a negative energy balance is dangerous because if it continues too long, you’ll die.

Thus, your body sure as hell doesn’t like you underfeeding it and will take measures to close the gap between energy in and energy out and thus stop the weight loss.

One of those measures is using hormones that regulate hunger and appetite to coax you eat more.

People with a lot of weight to lose and poor dietary habits can start shedding pounds by just “cleaning up” their diets, but eventually eating by instinct will fail to produce meaningful weight loss. Our bodies want to reach and maintain a certain “set point,” and, alas, this is usually fatter than we’d like to be.

The easiest way to neutralize this defense mechanism is to follow a meal planThis allows you to eat foods you like while also keeping your calorie intake tightly regulated.

Another common mistake people make with food intake is the coveted “cheat” meals and, worse, days.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with “cheating” on your diet…if you do it correctly. In fact, I recommend it.

The problem many people don’t do it correctly. Moderation goes out the window and what starts with “just a few bites” of something delicious devolves into a gut-busting binge.

A day of “cheating,” especially when it involves alcohol and fatty foods, can easily undo a week’s worth of fat loss. That is, thousands of excess calories from dietary fat plus alcohol is a recipe for rapid fat gain.

You’re Not Exercising Enough

No, you don’t have to exercise to lose weight, but you do if you want to lose fat and not muscle and want to lose it as quickly and healthily as possible.

You see, research clearly shows that the most effective way to burn fat and preserve, or even build, muscle is to restrict calories and engage in regular resistance training and aerobic exercise.

Where the literature isn’t so clear, however, is how much exercise you can do while dieting before it becomes unhealthy and counter-productive.

Well, I’d like to offer something of an answer based on my research and experience working with thousands of people of all ages and circumstances:

Most people will find that 4 to 5 hours of weightlifting and 1.5 to 2 hours of high-intensity cardio per week is ideal for maximizing fat loss and minimizing muscle loss and other negative effects of calorie restriction.

That’s quite a bit more exercise than many people struggling to lose weight do. When that’s the case, increasing total weekly exercise time is all it takes to start losing fat again. (And increasing exercise is always preferred over reducing calorie intake.)

What happens when you exceed those numbers, you wonder?

Well, some people’s bodies are particularly resilient and they do fine with more weekly exercise, but in my experience, most don’t. Hunger and cravings kick into overdrive. Sleep quality declines. Energy levels plummet and mood sours.

If your weight is stuck and you’re currently exercising less than I prescribe above, I recommend you make that change before anything else. Don’t be surprised if you can get another 4 to 6 weeks of steady fat loss out of it before having to make another adjustment.

So, those are the simple fixes.

What about the people that have stopped losing weight despite meticulously planning and tracking intake and doing as much exercise as their bodies will allow? What’s happening to them and what can they do?

Read on. 🙂

You’re Burning Less Energy and Need to Adjust

We’ve now come to the big payoff of the article…the answer to the “great mystery” of weight loss that frustrates so many people, even those relatively well informed. And it’s simple:

As you reduce your body weight, you burn less and less energy. Eventually this erases your calorie deficit and necessitates adjustment.

What this means is even when you have everything with your diet and training on point, eventually you’re going to stop losing fat. Guaranteed. The question isn’t if but when. Some people’s metabolisms “hold up” longer than others’ and some people are genetically wired to burn more energy on a daily basis, but everyone hits a wall at some point.

Here’s why:

1. When you restrict your calories and feed your body less energy than it burns, your metabolism naturally begins slowing down (burning less energy).

And the more you restrict your calories, the faster and greater the down-regulation.

2. Dieting also reduces the amount of spontaneous activity you naturally engage in, which can result in a marked reduction in total energy expenditure.

This activity is known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, and research shows that it can vary by up to 2,000 calories per day among many individuals.

These two mechanisms allow your body to slowly undermine your calorie deficit without you even realizing it until, eventually, it’s completely negated. The solution is simple, however, and goes back to the beginning of this article: you need to widen the gap between energy in and energy out.

You now know how to use exercise to help do this, but you also know you can only take that so far and it may or may not be enough to get you to your ultimate goal.

Once you’ve “maxed out” on exercise, the next tool for kickstarting your fat loss is further calorie reduction.

Yeah, we had to go there. There is a point where you just have to start eating less because what was once a 20 to 25% calorie deficit (where you want to start when you want to lose fat) becomes something closer to maintenance calories.

That said, I always save this for last. I would rather exercise more and use effective fat loss supplements before reducing my food intake. But eventually it’s all that’s left. And, like just about everything health and fitness, there are right and wrong ways to go about cutting calories.

The wrong way is drastically reducing your intake to the level of a starvation diet. This is how you wreck your metabolism and lose muscle. Instead, you want to gradually reduce your calories over time.

And to be clear, I’m not advocating “slow cutting” here. When you start dieting for fat loss, you want your initial calorie reduction to be significant–again, about 75 to 80% of your total daily energy expenditure. Any further reductions should be small and gradual.

When I need to further reduce my daily calories, I cut them by 100 to 150 calories (and pull all from my carbs), which usually “buys” me renewed fat loss for about a week. Then, a week later, I reduce my total daily intake again by the same amount, which again keeps the fat loss going for about a week (and again, all these calories come from my carbs–I don’t touch my protein or fat intake). I repeat this process weekly.

How long can you continue cutting calories, you wonder?

As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to drop your intake below your basal metabolic rate (BMR). I may drop 5 to 10% lower on my last week of cutting but I don’t go lower and I don’t maintain this intake for long periods of time.

And what do you do if you reach your BMR but haven’t reached your desired weight/body fat percentage yet?

You reverse diet to speed your metabolism back up, which when done properly results in little-to-no fat gained, and then go back into a calorie deficit to continue losing the fat you haven’t gotten rid of yet.

The Bottom Line on Why You Stop Losing Fat and What to Do About it

You now have all the insight necessary to lose as much fat as you’d like as painlessly and quickly as possible.

To recap:

  • When you want to lose weight, start in a 20 to 25% calorie deficit.
  • Just because your weight isn’t changing doesn’t mean you’re not losing fat. 

You may be replacing the weight of the fat you’re losing with muscle, glycogen, or water, or a combination of the three. This is especially true, and even likely, if you’re new to weightlifting.

  • You can expect to hit real weight loss plateaus where you’re no longer losing fat or weight. 

This is completely normal and not a reason for worry or despair. It simply means it’s time to exercise more, eat less, or reverse diet (if you can’t move more without overtraining or eat less without dropping below your BMR).

  • If you can move more or add effective fat loss supplements to your regimen, do that before cutting calorie intake.
  • When you cut calorie intake, reduce gradually. Don’t get impatient and starve yourself.

I hope this helps clarify why weight loss grinds to a halt and what to do about it. Happy shredding. 🙂 (HATE that word…)

What are your thoughts on why people stop losing weight? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Pingback: Stopped Losing Weight? Here’s Why (and How to Fix It) | georgeherman205()

  • Clint

    Thanks for the article Mike. With regards to BMR would you take the figure that you originally calculated before starting your cut or use a recalculated figure from where you are now? I’m sorry if its a dumb question and to be honest I’ve not reached the plateau yet but I just wanted to be prepared for when that day comes!

    • Juan

      You would start your cut from where you currently are at now. Mike did an excellent podcast about that here: http://www.muscleforlife.com/calories-when-cutting/

      Good luck!

      • Clint

        Thanks Juan I’m on my eighth week cutting and I’ve lost 9lbs! I listened to the podcast but I got it into my head that I should stick with my original BMR as I didn’t want to lose the muscle is built. I’m right in thinking that I should keep my macros the same when I come back from my week off right and adjust from there when needed.

        • Juan

          Awesome job! Yeah I thought the same thing. But, it does make sense to start from your current calories.

          Yes, keep your ‘cutting’ macros the same on rest weeks and gym days. 1 important thing to remember is not to mess with your protein intake so you can retain your muscle.

          • Clint

            Thanks for clearing that up mate. I’m really enjoying my new lease of life with BLS! Good look to you too and thanks again.

          • Thanks man! Really glad to hear it!

        • By starting with your current cals you may be able to “buy” yourself a few more weeks of cutting before you have to stop reducing cals, that’s all.

      • What Juan said. 🙂

  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

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  • Rich

    Hi Mike, i was wondering how potassium affects fat loss. You said that you need to balance potassium and sodium intake but does potassium help or hinder it? How much potassium should you take as a guide?

    Thanks

  • Matt N Julie Craig

    What about refeeds?!

  • Tom

    Hi Mike,

    Great article… need some advice please!

    I’m currently at 81kg, 14% body fat – height 5ft 10. I’ve been cutting for about 6 weeks. My BMR is about 1850 per day, but I’ve currently reached 1750 for daily intake and now struggling to lose fat. I’m only able to make the gym 3 times a week and doing weight training, chest/shoulders, back, legs. So increasing the exercise is an issue at the moment due to work – i’m not keen on reducing my cals just yet. Your fat burner looks great but getting here in the UK is an issue for the price! Would you recommend reverse dieting or can you suggest some fat burners which I should be able to get in the UK, so I can try this first?

  • Poppy

    This backs up my recent experience, I was wondering what was going on. I am going to try more potassium and measure sodium. Thanks Mike.

  • Yash

    Hey mike really good article. I need bit of your guidance on how to cut last layer of tummy fat. I dont wanna lose wait just want to cut tummy fat. Please give ur guidance on reducing tummy fat And i also need guidance on excercise schedule. Plz help.

  • Tamara

    3 years ago I had a linear weight loss of 65 pounds. I maintained a lower weight of 105 for three years with a low intake of 1600 (ate only when hungry) and did Pilates 3x week with daily activity. I was told I had an ED because I had 7-10 bf perecent. Fora year now I’ve been consuming 1800 to 2100 and gained body fat. I’m in active besides weights 4-5 times a week and HIIT 2x week. I don’t know what the hell is going on and I’m never hungry! Now I weight 143. I’m so confused

  • Amanda

    Another class article Mike, many thanks from the UK 🙂 x

  • God Hand

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/99/Huns_by_Rochegrosse.jpg

    You have to be pretty ruthless to lose a lot of weight. If its just 5 or 10 pounds. You can be pretty casual about it. I also notice I can lose a fair amount of weight in one day. But its quite possible its simply dehydration and no real fat was actually lost during the dieting process.

  • Brian Giffin

    Mike my wife is having issues loosing weight. She has always been a full figured gal and tried to loose weight but always seems to have issues. She’s not a big workout person prefers to get exercise outside. As this sounds like a no Brainer , get more exercise and check diet It’s still confusing because I never see her eat badly or a whole lot.
    She is now in her late 30’s, we have two children do you think it could be a thyroid condition or something?

    Not sure where to start.

  • Livo

    This article has answered my question YEAH.!!! I have not seen so big changes in my scale, but more in my waist, I was 72 and now I am 67, but I still have to lose weight and fat, oh yes!! my belly is not yet good. I am newbie weightlifting.!! I will keep working on it.!!

  • Pingback: The Definitive Guide to Why You're Not Losing Weight | Muscle For Life()

  • CC

    Hi Mike, I have to say that your videos and articles are very helpfull. On the other side I still don’t know what to do. It’s been 4 months I have been training almost everyday 1,5/2hours weightraining and cardio (maybe too much). I have been switching to more weightraining/less cardio, more hiit training, adding a day off, now yoga twice a week, adding a cheat meal etc. For my diet, my BMR = 1 450 kcal but I used to eat 1 360kcal (which might be not enough). I am gaining muscle but still, my waist is not dropping as I would like and my love handles are still here from 24% to 18% BF. I really don’t know what to do next as I stagnate for a month now. I would like to be more lean. Any advice?

  • CC

    Hi Mike, I have to say that your videos and articles are very helpfull. On the other side I still don’t know what to do. It’s been 4 months I have been training almost everyday 1,5/2hours weightraining and cardio (maybe too much). I have been switching to more weightraining/less cardio, more hiit training, adding a day off, now yoga twice a week, adding a cheat meal etc. For my diet, my BMR = 1 450 kcal but I used to eat 1 360kcal (which might be not enough). I am gaining muscle but still, my waist is not dropping as I would like and my love handles are still here from 24% to 18% BF. I really don’t know what to do next as I stagnate for a month now. I would like to be more lean. Any advice?

  • Sarah Cee

    Hey, Mike. I love your website and am on here daily. I am following your TLS book and The Year One Challenge. The Shredded Chef is helping me become more familiar with my kitchen so that’s been great too! I am at 21% BF currently. I’m 5’6″ and 122 lbs. I am completely OCD when it comes to my intake and have never gone over in my macronutrients. I go to the “uncomfortable section” of the gym 3x/wk and strain to bench press 35 lbs (it’s really quite embarrassing and funny at the same time and I’m sure the people at the gym feel the same way lol) but I do what I can. I do HIIT 2-3x/week. My calorie intake is around 1190-1270/day. Sometimes I feel low on energy and sleepy- especially around 5 pm, maybe it affects my workout but I push through. My issue is I have not lost any weight. Not even half a pound. My sister is doing this also and has lost like 7lbs. That B word. (I say that with love). So do I need to adjust my numbers? Or do you think I need to go to the gym more. Totally confused and about to throw my scale out the window and drive over it. I joke. Kinda. Please help. Thanks!!

  • Yan Izquierdo

    Hi Mike,

    Just got Bigger Leaner Stronger two days ago, it is quite a revealing book! The section on nutrition alone is priceless. I want to start right away but I have a question about calorie intake. The book does not address my question directly, and neither do any of the articles I found here.

    I weight 140 lb. and have a waist of 31 in, which is roughly 16% body fat percentage according to most calculators out there. Based on your recommendation and my own desire, I will start with a cutting phase down to 10%. Now, your macros for cutting have me at 1484 calories per day, but according to the BMR calculation formula written in the book, my BMR is 1522 calories. Since you recommend the caloric intake to not fall below this measure, should I start my caloric intake from my BMR then? Or just start a bulking phase instead?

    Thanks in advance for your reply!

  • Amazing article. Exactly what I experienced during my weight loss journey of 44 pounds.

  • emma

    My TDEE less 20% is below my BMR… and you suggest not to eat below the BMR. So what gives? I have been struggling with this for a long time. And I am always hungry, and irritated, and “reverse dieting” (even incredibly slowly) from my BMR just makes me gain weight. And I’m already overweight. I’m pretty sure I’m just screwed.

  • gerard

    Hi Mike

    I’ve plateaued. After 13 weeks of steady gains and 22 lbs of fat gone following BLS, I am stuck at 13-14% BF and 192 lbs. On your website I see about 3 different ways to get unstuck:

    1- lower my daily calorie intake by another 100-150 cals,
    2- reverse diet, or
    3- refeed.

    I’ve never done any of them. Is there a priority to these 3 methods for which to try?

    thanks
    gerard

    • Hey! Great job on the fat you’ve lost.

      First, let’s calculate your BMR:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/bmr-calculator/

      If you’re at or below BMR and not losing 1-2 pounds a week, it’s time to reverse diet.

      If you’re not at BMR, let’s reduce the cals by 100-150 and see how it goes. The goal is to lose 1-2 pounds a week.

      As a general note, while dieting for weight loss, I recommend you start doing a refeed once a week.

      Hope this helps! Talk soon!

  • Candeelyn

    I am a 48 yr old female. Last August I began exercising and eating healthy( cut bad carbs, no processed, sugar…)I lost 20 lbs. by October. But since that I’m stuck. Also 18 “! (Yay!)
    The only thing that changed was when I started I worked out in the morning. Due to work schedule I usually do evenings now. Would that change my progress? I’m faithful with workout and eating healthy. I read to change up my workout and I have but to no avail. Grrrr.. Frustrating! I’m happy to lose the twenty- I haven’t gained which is good but I really want/ need to lose more. What can I do??

  • Kati

    I am 33 years old started my journey on August 3 2015. I was 256 currently lost 75 lbs..For the last couple weeks I can’t seem to get past 183. I work out 5 days a week..I picked up running just ran my first 5 miles a few weeks ago. I do weight training. I have always eaten about the same amount of calories anywhere from 1200-1500.. The last month or 2 I would say closer to 1200. I eat a lot of protein and vegetables. People keep telling me I am on a plateau because I need to up my calories. Do you have any advice please!! I really want to lose 25 more lbs and I am feeling very discouraged with the sudden lack of movement on the scale..thanks!!

  • Christinep07

    This article is so helpful, it’s exactly where I’m stuck now.

    I’ve lost 15 pounds in the past year, started at 143 and am now 128, my body fat percentage dropped from 30% to 25%. I’m 5′-1″ so this had a significant impact for me. The past couple months my weight loss has slowed significantly. I am still losing inches (slowly) when I measure with the tape measure, but the scale is not moving. My strength is also increasing. This makes me think I am still losing fat, but the scale is just not showing it? It’s consistently been fluctuating within 127-129 for 2 months now. My goal is to get around 18-20% body fat.

    I’ve roughly been in a 700 calorie deficit since I started. About once a week I allow myself to cheat & not have a deficit. Your article made me realize that my metabolism might have adapted to the 1700 calories I usually eat, regardless of the deficit.

    Within the past couple weeks I’ve tried to cut more calories out and reduce that average to 1500. Before that, I even brought my calories up to maintenance for a week to try to reset my metabolism. Still, the scale is fluctuating, but no real weight loss aside for a 1/2″ loss in my waist for the month. Should I just ignore the scale for now? I’m also pretty impatient and weigh myself every day. Just want to make sure I’m on the right path.

    • Happy to hear it. Great job on the weight you have lost!

      Hmm. Sounds like you’re building muscle and losing fat! In that case, the scale isn’t a good indicator of progress. Instead, you should track your BF%:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/body-composition/

      Cool on the weekly refeeds.

      Let’s make sure your intake is correct using this:

      https://legionathletics.com/diet-meal-plans/

      From there, let’s track your progress for the next few weeks by tracking your composition and see how you do.

      Thoughts?

      • Christinep07

        Thanks!

        That’s what I was hoping it was! Do you think my progress is too slow though? Right now I’m losing about 1/4″-1/2″ per month telling from the tape measure.

        I have a Fitbit scale that calculates body fat & that’s how I’ve been tracking the decline of it. After reading that article I’ll buy a caliper though.

        I calculated that my BMR is 1306 & TDEE is 1894. Maybe my higher intake (2000-2200 calories) on the weekends is what’s making my weight fluctuate so much? During the week I eat around 1500 calories (800 cal deficit) everyday.

        • I think we could speed it up a little, yes, and the weekends most definitely slow things down.

          Ideally you would do one refeed per week per the article and really just keep your intake tight on the weekends while you’re cutting. Then when you’re done you can loosen up a bit.

  • mtbreide

    Thanks for the article, I think I am at my wits end! I am a 29yr old Female started at 152 in August of 2015 and now I am at 136.0 and cannot get any lower, I’m 5’1 and my goal is 127lbs. I work out with a trainer, but while I feel good about losing 16lbs, I think given that it is April my results have been really slow. I have been completely incapable of getting below 136 since January. I don’t drink alcohol, no coffee, no dairy, and I only eat carbs in the form of toast for breakfast i.e. no starchy vegetables. I have gotten much stronger, my resting heard rate is at 60. Any thoughts on why the terribly long stalemate. It seems longer than the times you talk about in the article of being stuck. What am I missing?

    • YW! Great job on the weight you’ve lost.

      I get where you’re at! Simply put, you’re eating more cals than you are burning.

      What does your weekly exercise look like? Also, what do your daily cals/macros look like?

      LMK on those, and I’ll help get your weight moving. 🙂

  • Emily

    Hi Mike, my question is should I do a cheat meal once a week? Or should I reverse diet and up calories by 100? Would I gain weight if I did both? Here is some backstory: I’m 5’3″ 31 years old and have always been 108 lbs even after 2 kids. I work out 4 days a week about 2 to 3 hrs of cardio and do weights 3 days/wk. I Had my 3rd baby one year ago. I feel desperate because I eat very healthy during the week -about 1000 calories and then like 1800 on Sat/ sun. This always worked for me in the past. But this time around the weight won’t budge! I stay between 118 and 120 lbs. Once I dropped to 116 then right up again to 120. What. The. Hell. I’ve always gotten down to 108. Is this water? I just stopped breastfeeding literally last week. Please help me know what to do: once a week re-feed, reverse diet, or both? Thanks!

  • Julia

    Hi Mike, this article is the hope I was looking for because
    I’m losing all hope. I am 23 and im 5’8 and
    since I was a teenager (15-16) I’ve weighed about 130-135 lbs. (I didn’t mind
    the fluctuations since I used to have a good appetite for food). I never really
    thought about diets and I barely used to exercise at the gym. I started going
    to the gym about two years ago as a new hobby. But since I joined I started
    gradually gaining weight (I thought it was all muscle gain… some was). At Christmas
    time this year I weighed myself and was shocked that I was at 154 lbs. the
    heaviest I have ever been. So I quickly started dieting by reducing calorie
    intake and eating clean and cutting down on carbs. The first two week I lost 6 lbs.
    and the next month 2 lbs. and since then only 1 lb. It’s been almost 6 weeks
    that I’ve been stuck at 145 lbs. I’ve been eating very clean except for some
    cheat meals during the weekend. I cut down all alcohol except for a glass or
    two of wine on Saturdays. I go to the gym 3-4 days a week depending on work. I do
    0.5hrs of cardio and an hour of weight lifting. But I cannot seem to lose a
    single pound and it’s really frustrating. Summer is here and I can’t seem to
    lose that belly pouch. What should I do? I want to lose another 7-10 lbs.
    without going all the way down to 130lbs. since I’ve now gained some nice
    muscle in my legs and arms.

    • Hey Julia! Happy to hear that. 🙂

      Thanks for all the info. Sorry to hear about the weight gain. Cool you started dieting and great job on the weight you’ve lost so far.

      To help keep the weight moving, take a look at this:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/not-losing-weight/

      Awesome you’ve been eating clean! Unfortunately, it doesn’t guarantee much in terms of results. Check this out:

      http://www.muscleforlife.com/clean-eating-and-weight-loss/

      Cool on the training you’re doing. Make sure you’re doing the weightlifting first.

      I hear you! Let’s get the weight moving. Check out that article and LMK what you think.

  • Taabeen

    I am 19years old (20 in October) I was 147lbs in February this year and I started dieting and exercising. Earlier I used to take more than 2000 calories per day but I dropped it to 300 calories a day. I walk a lot, more than 4 hours and cover at least 12 kms in a day and burn 500-600 calories. My weight dropped down to 114lbs. But my target weight is 100lbs. I am following the same diet regime and exercise in the Same way but my weight does not seem to drop. Reading this article made me realise that I’ve killed my metabolism. How do I get back on track with and follow a healthy diet? I don’t want to gain this weight back while fixing my metabolism. How long will it take for thus plateau to break down.

  • Carole

    I am 65 female go to gym 4 x a week each session 35 mins cardio 20 mins resistantance and floor exercises.
    Under 1500 calories per day.
    No carbs lean meat veg some fruit i weigh 92 kg
    Help
    I have stopped losing weight
    On 5th week now

  • TunaFish

    Don’t you think 4-5 hours of weightlifting recommendation a bit too high? Most weight training gurus will advise you to stretch your weight training sessions not more than 45-60 minutes each day for 3 days a week. Keeping it short and intense should be the way to go. So there’s no practical way to reach 4-5 hours without over-training it seems. What’s your take?

  • Sebastian Gomis

    Hey Mike, I have a question to which I can’t find a definitive answer no matter how much googling and research I do, when does a person need to stop focusing on losing weight and start focusing on gaining muscle?

    Great article by the way, the best I’ve found out there 🙂 Just purchased your book btw. Thanks!

    • I recommend cutting to 10% (or less) and bulking til 15-17%.

  • Jonatas

    Wow! THANKS! Amazing content! You answered tons os questions I had and now I have new ones haha, but I’ll read more! Very nice!

    • YW! Glad it helped and got you thinking. Read more, and feel free to ask questions. I’m happy to help.

      • Jonatas

        I started in March, 26 with 85 kg and 105 cm of waist (I have 169 cm height).

        I didn’t track my calories nor weight traning, I just started!

        I lost 1 cm of waist per week, and ganined muscle by eating more proteins, lifting weights 6 days/week and doing 40 minutes of treadmil after workout (on those 6 days)

        Then I started to lose 0.5 cm per week until I get to 0 cm per week (that’s how I’ve found you and your blog post). I definetly reached my plateu after waiting for 15+ days and didn’t see any new result.

        In June 26, I was 5kg lighter and 10cm thinner (and bigger) 😀

        After reading your post, I think I did two mistakes:

        1 – Too much exercise
        2 – I reversed my diet after June 26

        Questions:

        1 – What the best daily calorie expenditure calculator? I used http://www.iifym.com/tdee-calculator/ Do you recommend a better one? Can I trust their numbers?

        2 – Im planning to keep this diet + 6 day workouts (as I did during those past 3 months) and wait to reach the plateu again. After that I’ll try to improve exercises and keep the diet. What you think?

        I just bought your book!
        I’ll read it and post the feedback.

        Thanks again!

  • Nat

    Hey there

    Just out of curiosity, what happens when you drop calories intake below BMR while cutting? And for how long can you sustain it in order to keep losing fat?

    – Nat

    • Hey Nat, within two weeks: mentally you’ll feel like you’re in a fog like you haven’t slept enough. (Your sleep will be suffering anyway.) Workouts will suck, and you’ll lose drive and motivation. Energy level plummets, and so does libido. Not sustainable and will not give you good results.

      • Nat

        Good to know and thanks a lot. I did experience a couple of the symptoms you mentioned: tiredness all day even though I was sleeping about 8hrs a day, and poor energy levels.

        – Nat

      • Jonatas

        Good to know!

        • Glad I could help! Hope you were able to experience it vicariously through my description and learn from my past mistake lol

          • Jonatas

            hah
            Yeah! Actually I felt 1 or 2 of those feelings you described, but I didn’t know why. Now I know.

          • Sweet. That’s good you can avoid it now 🙂

  • MDells

    I don’t know what to do, I am weighing everything that enters my mouth – every last spinach leaf, every little ml of oil I use, every drop of soya milk I have…everything…so I am not underestimating my calorie intake.

    I started a low-carb diet (10,000 steps every day – but my weight hasn’t budged for 10 DAYS!!!

    I can’t cut my calories below 1300Kcal?

    Even bought a fitbit, according to this (no idea of accuracy):

    Tue 19th – 2,613 calories burned

    Mon 18th 2,380 calories burned

    Sun 17th 2592 calories burned…

    So suspodely over 1000Kcal calorie deficit???

    yet no weight loss for 10 days – ARGHHH

    usual blog posts aren’t helping…the usual you’re eating too much blah blah…I literally weigh every last lettuce leaf! Last night at crossfit in the boiling heat, I was the only person to turn down an ice-lolly. I haven’t had alcohol since starting.

    Even after a bout of severe E-coli /food posioning at weekend, I lost 2Ibs, only to put them back on the next day, despite eating less whilst ill?

    PLEASE PLEASE advise – I’m going crazy!

  • MDells

    I guess no one can help me then :/
    I’ve bought the book and read a third of it last night, but so far its just gone over everything I am already doing and know.

    I did a very sensible-controlled carb refeed day on Friday, and the scales haven’t changed now for 15 days, I’m not sure when you would expect to see the effects? My weight and body fat have increased marginally but nothing significant

    I have the book, I’m following it so far (1/3rd of the book read) but if anyone can reply to my post below that would help…

  • Rodrigo

    Mike,

    How do you adjust your deficits in the cutting phase?

    1- First you do the 20-25% deficit exclusively of food?

    2 -Then, you add activities (HIIT) until complete the maximum os 6-7 hours, right? How do you add the cardio? What I mean is, what change is suficient to maintain the weight loss? You begin with 2 session of 25 min (finishing the bulking phase) and include 1 day of 25 min HIIT per week every week until reach 4 session of 25 min and so finally add 5min in all HIIT days in a week? Or would be best (easily to track) add all in once change?

    3 – After reach the maximum of activity hours, you said that you go cutting 100-150kcal/week, until reach BMR and reverse diet, right?

    I’m so glad that you and RogerT answer all the question of everybody! At least for me, your site is GOLDEN information about natural bodybuilding!!

    • Check this out:

      https://legionathletics.com/diet-meal-plans/
      https://legionathletics.com/how-to-calculate-body-fat/

      First, input your body weight and body fat %. Then, plan out your exercise and activities (including HIIT) and use the appropriate activity multiplier. This gives you your TDEE, and you take 20-25% off for the deficit.

      Glad to hear you’re getting so much from the web content!

      • Rodrigo

        I already check these articles, but my doubt is about how would be the best way to go adjusting. You advise begin with a 20-25% deficit, training 4-5x/week and do some HIIT.

        1 – In this case, in the beginning, how much HIIT should I do? You begin your cut with 2 days of 20min, 3 days of 25min? Or would be best let to include all the HIIT after reach 10%BF? Because if I begin with 4 days of 30min, after metabolic adaptation, I will not have option, only cutting kcal again.

        2 – How do you add HIIT to do an adjustment? After metabolic adaptation, you add 5min of HIIT in all days of HIIT per week, or you add one day of 25min and check one week after? 5 min would be suficient to get back the loss of fat?

        3 – Do you have an estimation of how much kcal 5min of HIIT burns (some equation that relates body weight or muscle mass with the time of exercise)

        • 1. Jump right into it with 3-4x HIIT. There is no “metabolic adaptation” that occurs to prevent you from making fat gains later on if you do it. The more activity the better, and the faster you will see results.

          2. You can increase activity by increasing the number of HIIT sessions or increasing HIIT duration. Say you have 3 sessions and you increase each of them by 7 min. That’s an extra 21 minutes of HIIT that week, or a “4th session”!

          3. I’m sure there’s a more specific activity calculator online but we don’t have that, sorry!

          • Rodrigo

            Perfect! My last doubt, to conclude:

            If I begin with 3 days os HIIT, I’ll have one day more to include (4 days maximum) But if I begin with 4 days of 25min or 30min and 25% deficit of TDEE, after several weeks of cutting, excluding suplements to fat loss (I will not use for option), the only way to do an adjustment to get back the weight loss target will be cutting calories (100-150kcal) until reach BMR, right? Won’t be so little options?

          • Rodrigo

            Or would be best begin with 4 days of HIIT with 20min and after adding 5min each session (so we have 2 options for adjustment: add 5min and after add 5min until reach 4x HITT with 30min), for example? I’m having problem with this initial plan of HIIT.

          • Rodrigo

            Ahhh! I forgot! When you say 30 min maximum of HIIT per session, you include warm up and warm down or 30min of HIIT plus warm up and warm down?
            Sorry for all question!

          • Correct, it includes a warm-up and a warm-down:

            https://legionathletics.com/high-intensity-interval-training/

          • Rodrigo

            Col! Thanks!

          • Say you start with 4 days HIIT at 25min each. If your weight loss stalls, you can increase the HIIT sessions by 6 minutes each, giving you a “5th session”. You also have the option of cutting your calories.

            It is a self-defeating plan to limit yourself on your activity when you are planning to cut. “Saving up” the effort for later adjustment will do nothing for you except deliver a sub-optimal result.

          • Rodrigo

            Perfect! Thank you so much, Mike!

          • No problem! I hope this clears it up.

  • Sobaka U

    Hi Mike, I was hoping you could clarify – when you’ve been cutting for a little while, obviously your metabolism slows down, and eventually you may have to further reduce calorie intake to keep losing fat. When you do so, to avoid dropping your calories below BMR, is that your BMR when you started the cut, or do you try and figure out the new BMR of your slowed metabolism and calculate from there?
    Thanks

    • Great question. Same BMR as when you started the cut.

      • Sobaka U

        Thanks for taking the time to reply Mike, really appreciate your work.

  • Jonatas

    Mike, when I was fat and hopeless (good to say this hah)
    I spent 60 minutes on treadmill and sweat a LOT. My shirt was like 95% wet!
    These days I spent the same 60 minutes and I don’t sweat a lot anymore. Just a little.
    My shirt gets 10% wet.
    Am I burning the same amount of calories I was burning before?
    I also increased the speed.

  • Luisa Rodriguez

    Mike,

    I’ve been working out for 3 months, joined a bootcamp program do it 4x a week + treadmill 1x week 1hr Incline 15%, speed 3.5 w ankle weights &weighed vest. I am 5’6″, initial weight was 136, BFP 30.1. Month 2, 136.1lbs, BFP 29. Month 3, 140lbs, BFP 30.1. I eat every 3 hrs, eat lean meats, veggies, fruits, low on carbs, take supplements (CLA, CARNITINE, BCAA, FISH OIL, RASPBERRY KETONES). Why am I GAINING that much weight and BODY FAAAAT??!!! I’m so frustrated!!! I am working really hard, and absolutely NO improvements.

  • Brandon

    @michael_matthews:disqus, thanks for all the great info you’re putting out there. Will you or @RogerMFL:disqus let me know if substituting a day with an extended fasting period would be a good idea?

    I’m following your guidelines for fasted workouts in the morning and afternoon. Getting most my cals with dinner. Weight loss hasn’t stalled but is fluctuating above my start weight a tiny bit. I suspect I’m not being accurate enough with my food measurements but I was wondering if I doing a longer fasting period, say sat dinner to sun dinner, would be a easy way to offset any extra cals I picked up for the week?

    Male/34/6’1″/205/25%
    P245/C100/F71/2019cals

    • Hey! There’s really no need for extended fasting. Simply increase your exercise activity and/or drop 100 cals from your daily intake. If you still plan on fasting that long, I recommend taking HMB, Leucine, or BCAAs to prevent muscle loss.

  • Jason

    Hey Mike – since Phoenix raises your BMR, if I slowly decrease my calories down to my calculated BMR during a cut and I’m taking Phoenix, will my body think I’m below my BMR and be more likely to lose some muscle since Phoenix isn’t taken into the BMR calculations?

  • Hey Mike and gang,

    My situation is that I’m plateauing after two months of cutting. When I started cutting, I went down to 75% of my calorie intake and have gone from 15% to about 12-12.5% body fat. But over the last few weeks, that’s stalled. My BMR is 1675 (according to your calculator), and I’m currently eating 2100. My TDEE is about 2500 calories and my bulking intake is 2800 calories.

    I do 5 hours of resistance training per week (as prescribed in your 1 Year Challenge for Men book) and about 2-3 hours of cardio in the form of walking. (I used to do a half hour of HIIT, which you recommended cutting down to on a previous post, but I suspect it was erasing too much of my muscle growth, so I dropped it–I might be one of those rare individuals who doesn’t need cardio? Or maybe I’m deluding myself.) What would you say is the best plateau breaker in my case: (1) dropping another 100-150 calories per week until I hit my goal of 10%, (2) reintroducing HIIT cardio (since it’s winter and I’m stuck indoors for cardio, I do 13 cycles of burpees for high-intensity and walking for low-intensity for my HIIT), or (3) reverse dieting and then dropping that 25% again? If reverse dieting, should I go back up to my TDEE (2500) or to my bulking (2800) and then drop down? If so, how many weeks should I hold it at the top before dropping back down, and should I drop 25% from my TDEE or my bulking intake?

    Another detail is I just came off a deload week, so I had a smaller gap for my CICO this past week. Should I wait a week and see if my results shift since my CICO gap is larger (and my metabolism isn’t prepared for that) before trying any plateau breakers?

    I also read in another book (not yours) that a strategy is to jump back up to TDEE for a week. Yes, you gain fat and take a step back. But once that week is over and you cut the calories back out, your plateau should be broken. I used this when initially starting out on becoming healthier, and it worked for me, but I had much more body fat to shed (about 30%) and, therefore, I had a larger CICO gap and the fat was easier to shed. Would you think this is a good strategy? It seems like it would take less time in the long run than RDing, but I don’t want to ruin anything and set myself back.

    Sorry. So many questions.

    • Let’s drop the cals by 100 to 2000cals/day. That’ll be a 20% deficit (2500*.8). Have you been at 2100 the whole time? I’d also reintroduce HIIT cardio. This way we’ll wrap up that cut ASAP so you can RD and bulk again.

      No need to jump back up to TDEE for a week. With two months of cutting, you can keep going without interruption and still make steady progress.

      • Thanks for the info! I did just that. Brought myself to 2000 and added HIIT. In fact, did my HIIT today. Let’s see how this works. If I mathed it out properly and my fat loss rate is the same as when I started my cut, I should have only 3-4 weeks left. And then I can RD.

  • Sebastian Gomis

    Hi Mike, 7 months ago I asked you what was your recommendation on what would be the ideal goal of body fat percentage to achieve when cutting. Your answer was 10% or less. So according to my caliper I’m now down to 11% body fat percentage. I’m going to continue for some time until my abs are more visible though. In a relaxed status I can barely see a 4 pack right now and I would like to improve that.

    To achieve this I followed the nutrition information in your book, I basically counted calories of all my meals except for two meals a week, kept my protein intake adecuate to my weight and worked out 3 to 5 times a week. I followed a bodyweight routine together with some basic HIIT wokouts and some cardio.

    I would be really interested to know what is your opinion on gaining muscle with bodyweight exercises only. Pull ups, chin ups, one arm pushups, weighted leg lifts … etc. The thing is, I found it very difficult to find serious theories on this out there, there are very contradicting opinions. Do you think that if the exercises are hard enough and your nutrition is spot on, you can gain serious musle?

    I obviously gained some musle on the way, but I lost fat more than anything.

    Thank you very much in advance.

  • Sebastian Gomis

    Hi Mike, many thanks for your help so far! Just one more question 🙂 I finally reached my 10% bf goal, but I barely see my abs in relaxed state. Do you think it’s worth to continue in calorie deficit for a few more months, or just switch to reverse dieting to eventually start bulking? I was hoping that by now my abs would be more visible and I’m afraid that I will never be lean enough if I start bulking. Thanks!

    • Awesome! You can start the reverse diet now at 10% before bulking to 15%, unless you want to cut into the single digits. Abs will be less and less visible as you bulk to 15% anyway.

      • Sebastian Gomis

        Hey, just wanned to say thanks for the info so far Mike, it’s been really helpful 🙂

  • dea kotorashvili

    hi Mike, i am 18 years old, i’ve always weighed not more than 46 kgs but after summer i gained 4 kgs. i try to eat less and healthy also i workout for one hour three times a week but i can’t lose weight, but even if i eat a lot i don’t gain any weight, so please help me to understand why i’m stopped on the same weight

    • Hey, that’s cool you’re looking to lose some weight. But, one hour for three times a week is nowhere near enough exercise. You have to do more. I suggest 4-5 days of weight lifting and 4 HIIT cardio sessions in addition to any other physical activity.

  • Leo Davis

    Ok I probably should of type this weeks ago. But beter late than never.

    First I’d like to say thanks to Mike and the legion team for being such a great resource. Between the book, the website, the app and the supps, this the hands down the most comprehensive program I’ve ever done and the results have come the fastest. Also the way you guys take the time out to answer every question is unprecendented and should be commended.

    Anyway. I started my cut at the start of the year following the advice of the book. I do the BLS 5 day split and was doing HIIT about 2 times a week when time permitted. I started the year at a weight of 203 and body fat of 18% (I’m about 6’2″). I was defintely making good progress. With the help of some fasted training and Forge and Phoenix I was losing about 1.5 to 2 lbs per week.

    Then life kinda happened. My 30 weeks pregnant wife’s water broke early and she had to be on bedrest in the hospital. Undeterred I still did my best to stick to my macros and make it to the gym. Then another surprise hit us, our 2nd son was born 8 weeks early. But even with all that going on I still went on to finish the 1st phase of BLS. And I was down to about 185lbs/15% body fat.

    Then the real problems started. I got sick with flu like symptoms which doctors think eventually prgrossed into pneumonia. During that time I definitely wasn’t eating enough and dropped down to about 176 lbs. After being sick on and off for a few weeks I was finally back to normal and I restarted phase 2 of the program.

    Fast forward to now. My weight is at about 177 and BF about 12% (according to a omron handheld and the accumeasure caliper). I’m in week 3 of phase 2 of BLS and still in a calorie deficit eating 2170 calories per day.

    The question is, should I just have jumped right back into the program and the restricted calories like I did, or should I have reversed dieted or something? The goal is to about 8-9% BF for the summer and then start bulking.

    Sorry for the long note. But I’d really like to get you guys input. Thanks

    • Thanks! I really appreciate that.

      Nice work with your cut and managing it all with your son being born (Congrats, by the way!) and pneumonia. A quick reverse diet when you had pneumonia would have been helpful, but it’s no big deal. Keep up the deficit and continue the program. 🙂

  • Whataname

    Hey!
    Last year i lost 12kilos by undereating and exercising in 2 months. Gained more back after i stopped exercising. Then i cut down to 700cal for 5 months and exercising. No change. I even gained. And now i did the reverse diet, went up to 1800 cal and stayed on that for 2 weeks. Not long ago, i dropped it down to 1500 calories and i exercise 6 times a week. I do hiit and cardio, depending on my days. During the reverse dieting i gained kilos- i knew it would happen and since i started this again, i only.Lost 3kilos of water weight. I haven’t lost any weight for the past 3 weeks of cutting.
    Wondering what your opinion and suggestion are? I am aware of the mistakes i made.
    I also thought about 5:2 diet- IF.
    Would that work? Im 5’4 and female.
    Thank you.

  • midniteblu82

    Hi Mike,

    Great article, that being said…please shed some light on this for me.
    Over a year ago I lost about 15 lbs over 6 months out of nowhere. It was a time of extreme stress and it was not comfortable (I had a fast heart rate and low appetite) although I do enjoy the results.
    At this juncture I am now gaining. My problem? I am eating barely 1200 cal (still have low appetite) and do 20 min HIIT and 20 min weights 5x week. I can’t afford a calorie deficit without reducing my metabolism I worry. I am 148 lbs and 5’5. How do I normalize my metabolism and what’s a healthy intake?? What’s happening!!!!!

  • Wilby Gold

    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for all of the amazing knowledge you share!
    I hope that you can help me. I am soon to be 44. Female, with about 14-20lbs to lose. I am 5 foot 4 and weigh 140lbs exactly. I have lost 35lbs since February where I gained lots of weight from November last year to the New year by letting my usual sensible diet go totally out of the window! So I piled on the pounds, but lost 35lbs quite quickly.

    I know I am still over weight, BUT… My weight has just stuck on 140lbs!!? I lost weight by intermittent fasting. Now this isn’t working for me. I restricted my calories to around 700 – 800 a day and this worked well. But no longer has the same effect. Exercise is hard for me because I have damaged my left knee. My ideal weight sits between 122 to 126lbs. I am desperate to lose this 14-20lbs FAST!! I hope that you can help me, thank you. Ps I have no other health problems at all just left knee damage.

  • Ethan

    One of my favorite strategies of yours for negating the effects of binging is reducing carb intake for the next day or two. Is it OK to eat less than your BMR for just a day or two to negate the effects?

    • Hey Ethan, you probably wont do any harm if it’s a day or two, but I generally advise against going below BMR. It’s much better to avoid bingeing than to “crash diet” the following day. Another trick is to “save up” your calories if you’re planning a cheat meal, and just eat mostly protein earlier in the day. Check this out: https://www.muscleforlife.com/cheat-meal/

  • Sarthak

    Hey mike… I have one question, my bmr is 1900 but my maintenance calories turn out to be around 2000. So i eat 1500 cal every day (500 deficit). Is it safe to diet like that?

    • I wouldn’t recommend eating below your BMR. I suggest increasing your activity level so that your maintenance/TDEE is higher, and then cut from there. I hope this helps!

      • Sarthak

        I can’t be more active due to my job. Any other way to increase maintenance calories??

        • Does your job prevent you from exercising later in the day?

          Maintenance calories is how much energy you burn each day. You will have to increase activity if you want to raise that amount. There’s no way around that one, unfortunately. Having a more muscular physique will burn more energy at rest, but you’ll have to put in the work to reach that point 🙂

  • Malika S

    Hello
    I have a big problem. After 6 months of diet, my calories intake is now 900 as I am not hungry . My non diet calories intake should be 1600. But now, I am not hungry anymore even with 900 ! If I reduce and take 800, to lose weight, after some time, my body will adjust and I will still have to reduce again to lose weight? What is the minimum of calories I can eat if I am not hungry ? I am really not hungry all day long as my body has adjusted but I wonder what is healthy minimum calories intake if I am not hungry.
    Thanks

  • betty maye

    Why is it that every health/fitness article I read has profanity in it?! Have we fallen so low in this nation that a journalist can not get through an article without relying on profanity and slang? Disgusting!

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