think that every person who goes through the long, arduous process of
losing a gang of weight deals with this, eventually, and it’s usually at
the point where you’re within the final stretch of achieving your
goals. It may not have a finite number on it but there’s a point where,
if you’ve lost a slew of weight already, you’ll start feeling like your
process as come to a grinding halt. And, while I’ve said it before, it still bears repeating: whenever you experience that plateau, it’s time to regroup.
…but that regroup is harder if you’re coming down from a long journey into those final pounds. Here’s five reasons why:
1) Calories count even more, now. Let’s get over the idea that calories don’t matter. They do. Now, as a very basic example, let’s take a 33 year old woman who is 5’4 and 250lbs,
who is now down to about 150lbs. At 5’4″ and 250lbs, she need to eat
somewhere around 2,400 calories to maintain her 250lb weight. Now that
she’s lost 105lbs and is now down to 145, and has a body fat percentage
of about 30%, she can do some more rough calculations for how to
maintain her current size which will bring her to 1,352 calories. If she
wants to go even smaller? She’d need to be mindful of her caloric
intake, again, in ways that allot for the fact that 1,352 calories
doesn’t have the same kind of “room for pleasure” that 2,400 calories
had. It’s easy to create a caloric deficit when you’re starting at 2,400
calories. You can add an extra piece of chicken or another bowl of soup
and be alright. If you’re at 145lbs? It’s a bit more of a challenge,
which is why…
2) Exercise becomes far more vital.
You, eventually, start getting into strange territory when you’re
caloric intake is at 1,300 and you’re still talking about cutting
calories in order to create a caloric deficit. It’s much easier – and,
in some cases, safer – to simply exercise to burn off the calories you
need. Because, quite frankly…
3) It messes with your head comparing the amount of food you used to eat with the amount of food you eat now.
Now, granted, if you’re eating healthy bowls full of veggies, this
might not mean much to you… but snacking, second helpings, and doggie
bags start to look a little less sensible. You have to constantly check
yourself to make sure that you’re not slipping back into habits that you
enjoyed better with more weight. And just like you learned,
subconsciously, what a “sensible plate” was at 250lbs, you’ll learn what
a “sensible plate” looks like for someone who weighs your goal weight.
This can be a challenge, because…
4) Habituation sets in over the course of losing that first 100 pounds that, though once acceptable, can run counter to your goals.
Take the six-meal-a-day structure, for example. While lots of people –
myself included – praise the six meals a day template for helping people
disassociate with the feeling of hunger pangs being the green light to
overeat, it becomes a problem as you shrink down. You can come down to
1800 calories and do okay on a 400-100-500-200-500-100 split. But if
your caloric intake for a day is only 1300 calories, are you really
going to live your life eating 200 calorie meals all day? Or, more
realistically, a 300 calorie breakfast, 100 calorie snack, 300 calorie
lunch, 100 calorie snack and a 400 calorie dinner? Even though it’s more
realistic, it’s still a modification of the plan. The point is that you
have to be more fluid – you have to be willing to assess and adapt to
your new “size,” and even be willing to change things that originally
didn’t need changing. Whereas you’d just eat a couple of apples at snack
time, you might decide it’s now time for only one apple.
5) The pounds start to come off much slower.
When you were 250lbs, you sassy 5’4″ lady, you… it was easy to burn
calories! That 20-minute cardio session was all you needed to git’er
done and see results. Running a 15-minute mile might’ve burned almost
200 calories for you at that size. At 145, though? You’ll be lucky if
you burn even 100 calories with that fifteen-minute mile (hopefully
you’re 15min-mile is looking more like an 11min mile at this point,
though!) and will need to go hard in the paint to get the same caloric
bang for your time buck. A 250lb body burns far more than a 145lb body
both in action and at rest – as evidenced by the different
maintenance levels quoted above – and the 145lb body would have to work
awfully hard to get the same benefit that the 250lb body would
experience. That Zumba class you loved at 250lbs might’ve been giving
you that 250-calorie burn, but at 145? It might give you 170.
Be aware. Look for more calorie-burning activities to get the most out
of your time. You might enjoy Zumba, but you may also try a kickboxing
Fight Club-style class too.
What’d I miss? Do you think I got anything wrong?