What To Consider Once You Stop Losing Weight
The four points this post examines are:
- Percentage: Only 10-30% of what you eat is used for physical activity.
- Priority: Your fat is only used after you have exhausted your sugar.
- Precision: When you consume your calories is just as important as what your calories consist of.
- Set Point: Your metabolism can decrease once your bodyfat falls below your set point.
Why Exercise Stops Working
After completing an intense workout you keep a record of your calories burned. Let's imagine that you have burned 400 calories in one hour and you feel great. You enter your 400 calorie burn in your calorie tracker and think, "I've just burned 400 calories of fat." Not so fast.
Only 10-30% of the calories we consume are used for physical activity. That means that for every 100 calories you consume, at best, you can exercise only 30 of those calories off. The remaining 70 calories get dumped onto your metabolism. Any calories that are not immediately used after absorption will be stored as fat. Therefore the rate of your metabolism at rest is the most significant factor determing your weigh.
We sometimes think that by exercising we are creating room for additional calories. We say to ourselves, "I worked out hard today. I can afford this [fill in your cheat meal of choice here]."
The math however doesn't support this type of thinking. Our bodies overall metabolism will determine the fate of 70-90% of our total caloric intake. What's more important is that once calories are stored as fat, we do not have immediate access to burn them.
Your Fat is Behind a Wall of Sugar
A common misconception regarding weight loss is that we have immediate access to our fat. We exercise, look down at our calorie monitors, and may assume that the calories we just burned is coming directly from the fat we would like to lose.
Your body has mulitple sources of energy and you use that energy in a specific order.
|1||Immediate||Muscle Sugar (glucose)|
|2||Easily Accessed||Saved Energy (glycogen)|
|3||Time Dependent||Stored Energy (triglycerides)|
The Role of Meal Frequency and Fat Loss
To lose weigh through creating a caloric deficit you consume less calories then you burn. With regards to weight loss, is there a difference between:
- Eating All Of Your Calories at Once
- Spacing Your Meals Out
- Eating Every Hour
Weight gain and weight loss are time dependent. Your timing between meals is just as, if not even more important then total calories consumed. Knowing how to manipulate the timing of your meal intake can help with overcoming weight loss resistance.
Your Metabolism is Not a Fixed Number
Think about your body temperature. Whether you are standing in a freezer or sitting in a sauna your body regulates your temperature at 98 degrees.
Your body fat works the same way. Your body regulates your body fat by increasing or decreasing your metabolism accordingly.
As we discussed in point one, 70-90% of the calories you consume are used by your resting metabolism.
Because the majority of your calories are used by your metabolism which can be lowered in a response to reducing calories consume, then you can see why your weight would eventualy plateau.
If we had direct control over our metabolism then we would have to eat very consistently in order to maintain our weight versus our current experience of reducing our calories, exercising more, and manipulating our meal frequency only to find ourselves stuck at a specific weight.
Your Main Takeaway
Think of weight loss in terms of levels. Creating a caloric deficit to lose weight will be level 1. Once your weight loss has stalled you move up to the next level which is increasing your metabolic rate. Inceasing your metabolic rate will include meal timing, increasing your calorie burn at rest through exercise, and most importantly reducing inflammation through strategic meal planning.