Counterintuitive Stall Buster

You know, I tend to think of myself as a pretty bright guy. I like to utilize logic in many situations.

But here is one that I am having trouble with.

(If you haven’t been watching my weigh in videos then you might not be up to speed…so go back and check em out if you haven’t yet…)

I have reached this point where I am not really losing any significant amount of weight on a weekly basis, but I have not really changed anything from the weeks that I have been losing enough to be proud.  I have at least 25-30 more pounds that I want to shed. Logic tells me to eat less and workout more. So that is what I do. But alas, it doesn’t seem to be working anymore.

What gives?

So here is what I am figuring out. I weigh 85 pounds less than I was 40 weeks ago. My body is very happy that I have lost so much weight, but now it is trying to tell me something. I THINK that it is trying to tell me that I need to eat more, and quite possibly workout less.


Yes. I know. That makes no sense what-so-ever. It is completely counterintuitive.

But let’s think about this for a second. I am supposed to be eating 1800 calories per day. That is a restriction that I have self imposed with NO advice from any professional nutritionist or anything.  There are more days than not that I am not even eating that many calories. Is that sentence a double negative?  I usually workout 5 or 6 days per week and I usually burn between 700-900 calories according to my Polar FT60 heart rate monitor.  In the beginning of my weight loss this was working. But 85 pounds later there is something amiss. Seriously Einstein? You are only effectively eating 1000 or less calories per day! Oy vey… I need to eat more! (More good calories. More veggies and lean meats. More of the good stuff.) And I possibly need to workout less. (Not less per week, but for a shorter period of time per day. Maybe like cutting back to 45 minutes instead of 50-60.) Crazy talk!

In my last weigh in post, I made mention of a guy called Alfonso, the Angry Trainer and the post he had written about the subject. When I gave him a heads up that he was mentioned in my video he wrote back and told me that I was starving myself. We have a dialogue opened now and I think he is going to monitor me over the next several weeks to make sure I am eating enough!

So that you have it folks. How weird is it that I am in a position where I actually need to EAT MORE?

I am going to up my calories to 2000 over the next couple of weeks and I am going to make sure that I am resting thoroughly between workouts.  We shall see what will happen. We shall see.

Until then…


(***Let me once again reiterate that THIS IS NOT an excuse to eat more junk or be lazy. I want to make sure that those who are out there who are battling obesity understand that the formula that says eat less and exercise more is still the right one. I have just put myself into a position where I am eating SO much less than I should be. Please, for the love of all that is good, keep up the hard work those of you who are losing and doing it the right way!)


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9 comments to Counterintuitive Stall Buster

  • Mission Meltdown (Dre)

    It’s so funny how posts from different bloggers fall so closely together. The calorie count is such a struggle or me right now. Hope it all works for you. I imagine you will see good results by increasing a little. You’ll probably add more muscle, perhaps?

  • Janice - The Fitness Cheerleader
    Twitter: fitcheerldr

    Makes perfect sense to me – you could also try changing what you do when you workout to help break the plateau. Good luck & I can’t wait to hear your progress.

  • Jan

    This is an interesting theory that seems (in my non-expert opinion) valid. When I read that you were only effectively consuming 1000 calories a day, my draw dropped. That definitely seems to me to be way too little.

    I’ve been teaching a course this semester to undergrads which has a fancy name (Language of Health and Disease), but basically boils down to Anatomy, Physiology, and Pathophysiology for non-majors. While my scientific field of expertise is far from physiology (don’t tell my students that), I’ve had the pleasure of learning a lot more about the human body. The overriding theme of how our bodies work is to achieve a goal of homeostasis, that is, where you’re body maintains a consistency in everything (ie temperature, digestion, absorption, burning of calorie stores, etc). With such a drastic change from where you were last year, I can’t help but wonder if you body really is freaking out and thinking it is starving. The natural reaction is for a the endocrine system (ie all you hormones) to sense this deprivation and compensate (i.e., decrease metabolism).

    Good luck with the increase in the good foods, and I’m sure you’re body will be happy that you did!

  • Alfonso
    Twitter: angrytrainerfit

    Don’t worry Hank, I’m going to help you and share some tips. You’ll drop those next 25 pounds in a flash! Guaranteed!

  • Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not
    Twitter: Jodeexi

    I hit the same problem. After I lost 50 pounds, dropping pounds just seemed so much harder. The things I was always doing stopped working for me…until I started eating more (and eating better) and then I began to lose weight again. Weight loss stalls are so frustrating – good luck!

  • Deb
    Twitter: debslosingit

    Hank, this is where I am, though I haven;t lost anywhere near as much as you yet.

    As soon as I started working out, I stopped losing weight. Like completely. I am doing WW Points, but stopped to re-figure things, and if my Polar is to be believed for my calorie burn, I’m only getting in 900 to 1100 calories a day at the end of it all.

    The BMR calculators I used said I need about 1850 calories a day to maintain. I’m going to shoot for between 1300 and 1500 a day and see where that leaves me.

  • Go ahead and invest in yourself, spend $100 and speak with a Registered Dietitian. Remember, you and I are of similar stats …my RD has me eating 2200. Regarding changing up your workouts, think of ways to increase intensity, which does not mean longer sessions.

    Above all, make small changes and give them time to have an effect before making more changes. Patience is key in this life-long journey.

    Now, I’m done reminding you of the things you already know. Good work, buddy.

  • Was reading Scooby’s site again, playing with this calculator and thought of you…

  • […] Day 121 » Day 122 After doing some poking around the internet, reading this post, and talking to my friend Mike, I’m pretty sure the thing to do is go back to just counting […]

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