Why Do Stalls Happen Chapter 4: Body Weight Set Points, and the Attack of The Set Point Monster

Continued from Chapter 3

If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, or your weight loss has stalled  due to hitting a set point, then this next section will be of particular interest to you. Not only did I have to deal with the fact that I had lowered my BMI, due to loss of mass, but I was also battling a set point, and The Set Point Monster.

Note: I’m holding off on talking about starvation mode until Chapter 5. I’m separating the two because they I think each deserve special attention.

In simple terms, a set point is nothing more than a weight in which the body is comfortable being. Once we move out of that range, the body does everything it can to maintain that weight through a complex process of brain, nervous system, and fat cell interaction. It does all of this on an unconscious level. When we are trying to lose weight, this unconscious biological process can sabotage our weight loss efforts causing a weight loss plateau, or stall. I’ve come to calling this unconscious process “The Set Point Monster.” This monster can be a killer to any diet. It slows down the metabolism, zaps our energy and motivation, and can drive us crazy with hunger and cravings.

Before I explain set points in more detail, let me explain a little bit about the way hunger is supposed to work. Hunger is the body’s way of getting us to:

  • Consume more calories and nutrients
  • Replenish our energy supply
  • Regulate weight

If I were at my ideal weight, and had a healthy metabolism, on the days I burned off more calories I should be hungrier than on the days I did nothing. This seems obvious, and it explains why, on some days, after you have worked out, or had a particularly grueling day, you often feel ravenous. You have used up more of your body’s energy supply, and the body is desperately trying to replace those supplies. More

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Why Do Stalls Happen Part 3: Lowered Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), Destroyed my Metabolism

How dieting destroyed my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), and contributed to my weight loss stall, or plateau.

Continued from chapter 2

My next question was; why am I eating the same foods I was in beginning of my diet, but not losing weight now? Did something happen to my metabolism, did it slow down, and if so, why?

BMR: Quick facts.

The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the rate at which your body consumes calories for basic metabolic functions at rest. Including:

  • Internal temperature
  • Repairing cells
  • Pumping blood
  • Digestion
  • Breathing
  • Other functions

BMR doesn’t take into account exercise or calories burned through other activities. Your BMR’s affected by the amount of muscle mass you have. The more muscle fiber, the higher your Body Mass Index (BMI) will be. Muscle, even at rest, burns more calories than fat and other tissues.

Note: This is why strength training is so important, the more muscle you have, the higher your BMI, and the higher your BMR is going to be.

You can use this calculator to calculate your own BMR. Calculator. More

Why Do Stalls Happen Part 2: Introduction: Plateaus Defined, and The Truth about Ketosis

What you are about to read is my quest for understanding of why stalls happen. While most of this topic will be referring to the Atkins Diet. that I have been on, it is still relevant to anybody on any diet. When I first started Atkins, I was quite successful, I lost 70 lbs the first 8 months on the plan, but then the weight loss stalled for the next 8 months. During this time I didn’t lose any weight, and would go up and down the same 5 lbs. This became very frustrating, and I was on the verge of quitting. However, I was lucky, I had the Atkins forum members, my support system, who refused to let me quit. In addition, Colette Heimowitz, Atkins nutritionist, helped save me from myself. She helped me come up with a plan, tweak my program, and explained to me about stalls, plateaus, and set points. With her guidance, I was soon losing again, but I wasn’t satisfied with knowing how to make changes, I wanted to know why stalls happen. Thus, the journey began. I spent several weeks pouring through books, and countless web pages on this subject; the problem was I could never find a definitive answer in one place. Therefore, I had to piece the puzzle together, and as I did, I gained a clearer understanding about why the body eventually refuses to let the weight go, and how to get things moving again. This puzzle is by no means complete; there are numerous medical reasons for a weight loss stall that I won’t be going into.  Instead, I will be focusing on how set points affect us mentally and physically. In addition, I’ll be talking about the importance of knowing your Basal Metabolic Rate, (BMR), and the role these numbers play in helping reach your goals. Also, I’ll be talking a lot about starvation mode on the body, and why eating less is not always the right solution when it comes to losing weight. In addition, I’ll show how hunger and compensatory behaviors sabotage our diet. Finally, I’ll provide 25 tips and strategies that I used to help break my stall. More

I Lost it My Way

I Lost It My Way

Sing to the tune  My Way, by Sinatra.

And now inductions near
And so I face the final muffin
My friend I’ll say it clear
I’ll lose my weight, this much I’m certain.

I ate, till way past full
I’ve shoveled in each and every Carbohydrate
And more, much more than this
I ate it my way.
Florets, I’ve had a few
But then again to few to mention.

I ate what I wanted to
And saw my butt had grew
without Intention. More

Man Bits

There I stood, a pair of shrink to fit  faded-blue-sexy Levis in hand.  Hoping I could get them on, even if only part of the way.  I remembered how good they felt on my body many pounds ago. In my heart, I knew they wouldn’t fit, but that wasn’t the point.  I wanted to see how far I could get them up.  Since starting my weight loss journey on the Atkins diet plan, I had dropped several pants sizes already.  I started in a forty-two.  Now, with a pair of thirty-six in hand,  I was about to begin such a horrific ordeal that when I think of  it my teeth begin to quiver. More

Fat, Bloated and Ugly: Maybe Not

I read a story about a woman, on the Atkins forum, whose weight loss was slow.  This woman mistakenly believed nothing was changing about her body.  However, when she tried on a dress that recently didn’t fit, she discovered that even though she hadn’t lost weight she had lost inches, and the dress fit beautifully.  This got me thinking of how we sometimes mistakenly believe one thing about ourselves when in reality who we are and what we look like is much different. More

She Loves Me

I stepped out of the shower, and she wasn’t there. Still dripping wet, I grabbed my robe, and went searching. The house was silent and still—I knew we must be alone. I found her in the kitchen. She had been waiting for me.  I rushed to her, picked her up in my arms, and wiped the slightest smudge of jam from her beautiful face.

She was cold to the touch, but soon, I would remedy that. I thought about doing it right there in the kitchen, but I knew a better place, a  private place, one in which we wouldn’t be disturbed. I carried her gingerly through the house, past the dining room, where we had done it once or twice before;  past the living room, where the sofa was in the way the last time, and I even thought about stopping in the hallway, just for a quickie, but it was in the bedroom where we have had the most fun.

She didn’t speak, she didn’t have to, I could see it in her eye—she wanted this as much as I did. I gave her a gentle kiss, and placed her body, ever so delicate, on the floor. My body shivered in anticipation at what was about to happen. I dropped my robe and mounted her, and I could feel the warmth from my body enter hers. I waited for a moment before I looked at her, and before I knew it—it was over.

As she spoke to me with lust still in her eye I let out a scream of ecstasy and delight. “Yes, yes, yes!” I knew then that things between us would never be the same. I knew  that she loved me. On this day, she proved that love by telling me what I had longed to hear—you are you now 220 lbs.

I love my scale.

Terry Elkins (whyguy)

Update: I’ve now down to 168  lbs, and only 8 lbs from my goal.  She still loves me. And I’m still loving Atkins.

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