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

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

Atkins: 100 Tips to Success

This is a list I put together with help from my friends on the Atkins forum. It’s a great list, but not to meant to be all inclusive.  There are also several repeats on this list, but I prefer to think of them as re-enforcers.  🙂 More