Well, yes and no. I found out what was going on with my previous plateau and indeed broke through it, dropping 4 lbs almost overnight as I flushed out excessive salt. But, I am still on a plateau of sorts– a plateau that I didn’t understand…. until this morning. My BMR calculation showed a steady, ~2400 calories/day as my maintenance level. That is, the level at which, if I ate that many calories every day, I would maintain my weight. But, my resting heart rate, which dropped from 75 when I started this weight loss plan, to its current 50. That’s a 33% drop! Yet, the clue was that my Calories3 spreadsheet showed that the BMR had hardly changed. So, I investigated.
I had been averaging the results over the entire 3 months during which I had been on my plan. So, I changed the algorithm to average the most recent week’s worth of eating and weight loss vs the previous week’s, and was amazed (though not surprised) at what I had discovered. My BMR had dropped down to 1600 calories/day! That means that my 1250 calories or so that I have been eating daily only result in about a 350 calorie/day deficit. This means that it will take 10 days to lose a single pound, or a loss of only 3 lbs per month instead of 3 pounds per week. Wow! I’ve replaced the Calories3 spreadsheet on my website, WeightAgency.com, to reflect the more meaningful calculation.
So, what are my options? I want to lose closer to 3 lbs/week, not 3 lbs/month, so I must increase my calorie deficit. With my appetite under control, I can reduce my daily intake to about 900 calories, but this is pretty much rock-bottom as it becomes almost impossible to eat sufficient amounts of protein and nutrients and still keep the calorie count low. But, I know I can do 900 calories. This will increase my deficit to 700 calories/day or 2 lbs every 10 days. I need to do more. So, my only choice is the dreaded ‘E’-word– Exercise. I must do more exercise to not only burn more calories, but to build and maintain muscle to keep the calories burning.
Mystery solved! It is nice to understand exactly what is going on instead of feeling helpless by remaining in the dark. I can hear the echos of voices saying, “but I am dieting and not losing any weight”. Well, our bodies do not like to lose weight– evolutionarily-speaking, our bodies believe we are starving and slow our metabolism to compensate. In an actual famine, this would keep us alive longer, but it works against those of us who want to lose weight. And, while we have all heard how our metabolism slows down when dieting, few actually realize how much. So far, 33% for me. Wow!