My first month of weight loss was amazing. I lost 20 lbs, and I felt great. I was eating delicious food, I never felt hungry or needed snacks, and I lost weight without suffering. Then, the rate of loss slowed to 10 lbs/month for the next 11 months. And then… the plateau. I had changed nothing: I was eating the same foods, the same portion sizes, and doing all the right things, yet my weight loss stopped. What happened?
A few things. First, from the most basic level, the amount of calories I was taking in equaled the amount of calories my body was expending. Calories In/Calories Out (CICO) is, on the surface, a solid diet. However, it fails to take into account the quality of the calories, and the makeup of those calories. A 100 calorie apple is FAR better for you and processed differently than a 100 calorie Snickers bar.
Second, your body adjusts and becomes accustomed to the quality calories. It burns leaner, and starts processing the food you eat more efficiently which causes it to use fewer calories to process the food you’re eating. Believe it or not, there’s a big difference between gross and net calories. Taking the example above, the net calories from a 100 calorie apple is far less than the net calories from that Snicker’s bar because the body can much more easily process the Snickers bar to extract the sugar and calories from it.
Third, there’s less of you. When I lost 100 lbs, I had lost nearly 1/3 of my body weight at that point. The means that the number of calories it took for me to exist was also reduced. While 2600 calories a day was what it took for my marbled body to maintain that weight, at 195 lbs, that number had reduced to around 1800 calories a day. Now at 170 lbs, I’m down to 1600 calories a day to maintain this weight.
My current goal is to get to 165 lbs. I find it difficult to get there because I need to eat smaller portions. The quality of my food is good, and I don’t snack. I get a lot of sleep, I stay hydrated, and I exercise regularly. The only variable I know is not right is the size of my portions: I love to eat. And that goes back to the source of my problem with food: I love to eat. I know, everyone loves food, but that’s not what I’m talking about. My problem with food is that I love eating.
I struggle with the last 10 lbs, and I know many others do, too. Find what is holding you back, and then decide: is losing that last 10 lbs really necessary? Is it worth the change in lifestyle or comfort to achieve? Is reaching that goal sustainable in the long run? I’m starting to think that maybe staying in the low 170’s is more sustainable for me long-term, and I’m also starting to think that I’m okay with that.