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DeadStarsStillBurn

Sudden stop in weight loss

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So I've been doing CR around 4 months and dropped about 39 pounds in that time. I am tracking intake with Cronometer. I have my activity listed as sedentary and am not tracking exercise so as to avoid eating back on calories I burn exercising.

I am being really careful to get just about 100% of all my micros every day and am following a balance of macros laid out in one of Dean's posts, typically aiming for 100-120g protein. I am eating at a deficit of 998 calories per day which should least to 2lb/week loss.

I'm exercising 5-6 days a week with a mix of running, Hatha yoga, and resistance/weight training.

We eat home cooked meals each day that consist of whole foods, primarily fruits and vegetables, with a little bit of nuts and seeds for selenium, magnesium, etc.

For the first 3.5 months I lost weight steadily and felt very encouraged as I'm someone who has never found success losing weight since adulthood.

But the last 1-2 weeks I've plateaued and am now *gaining* around 0.1-0.2 pounds per day.

The only thing I've been doing differently is eating *only* ~30g protein/meal. But this means I'm only getting 65-75g protein daily. I made the change because Fontana suggested that protein in excess of that is oxidized and contributes to ageing.

Would cessation and then reversal of weight loss potentially result from lower protein intake even with calorie restriction and regular intense exercise? It just seems to violate the laws of physics from my perspective, and as a physicist that distresses me ­čśź

I just want to get back on track, lose some weight, and not die in my 60s. I'm pretty bummed out and depressed that this seems to have stalled on me after being so reliable for a while.

Edited by DeadStarsStillBurn
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3 hours ago, DeadStarsStillBurn said:

I´╗┐ just´╗┐ want to get back on track, lose some weight, and not die in my 60s. I'm pretty bummed ´╗┐out and depressed that this seems to have stalled on me after being so reliable for a while.

It sounds like you are on track. Don't worry about short term plateaus in your weight. If you are exercising regularly and eating a whole food vegan diet primarily consisting of fruits and vegetables, then you are well on your way to not dying in your 60s, despite the extra weight you are currently carrying.

If you really are operating at a calorie deficit, your weight will eventually start to drop. If it doesn't you can always trying gradually reducing calories further, increasing exercise, and/or bumping your protein back up. Protein is the nutrient which is least efficiently converted into energy, so it is possible (although seemingly unlikely) that dropping your protein and increasing carbs and/or fat to compensate has left you with a surplus of calories. Or it could be your body has simply started to defend its weight in the face of a calorie deficit by e.g. reducing non-exercise energy expenditure. Or simply the fact that you are now lugging around 40 fewer pounds means that you are burning fewer calories during exercise and your daily activities, thereby reducing your calorie deficit. 

--Dean

 

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On 7/9/2021 at 9:56 AM, Dean Pomerleau said:

 

It sounds like you are on track. Don't worry about short term plateaus in your weight. If you are exercising regularly and eating a whole food vegan diet primarily consisting of fruits and vegetables, then you are well on your way to not dying in your 60s, despite the extra weight you are currently carrying.

If you really are operating at a calorie deficit, your weight will eventually start to drop. If it doesn't you can always trying gradually reducing calories further, increasing exercise, and/or bumping your protein back up. Protein is the nutrient which is least efficiently converted into energy, so it is possible (although seemingly unlikely) that dropping your protein and increasing carbs and/or fat to compensate has left you with a surplus of calories. Or it could be your body has simply started to defend its weight in the face of a calorie deficit by e.g. reducing non-exercise energy expenditure. Or simply the fact that you are now lugging around 40 fewer pounds means that you are burning fewer calories during exercise and your daily activities, thereby reducing your calorie deficit. 

--Dean

 

By the by, thank you for the encouragement. I'm down 56.8 pounds from 355.6 to around 298.8. I have found that I'm having a harder time not eating beyond the calorie limit imposed by strict calorie cutting in the Cronometer app, so I've been setting the app to about 20 pounds lighter weight, aiming to eat that lower amount and going 100-150 calories over which will still land me at significant calorie deficit. It scratches the transgressive "I just want a little more" itch without actually tanking my progress. Brains are weird and kind of bad at this sort of thing, but this hack works for mine decently.

I'm frustrated because my weight bounces around and plateaus frequently, then I'll have a few days of really steady loss. I'm not doing anything differently between days. I think what it comes down to is getting up early in the morning to exercise means my elimination system is not quite ready to do its thing some mornings such that I may have a fluctuation of 0.5-1.5 pounds or so on any given day which makes it harder to see the downward trend of my weight because of the stochastic noise.

Still, all things considered, I have had a profound change in the quality of my life. I ran a 5k for the first time in years over the weekend. Not an official one, just using the C25k app.

The changes my partner and i have observed in both our lives since late May when we started this journey have inspired them to become a vegan dietician. I'm thankful to this new found knowledge of how to control my life more healthfully while also having a much smaller impact on the environment.

Edited by DeadStarsStillBurn
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Congrats! Sounds like you are making steady progress.

Yes, weight fluctuates a lot. Once you've got things dialed in it might be worth switching to only weigh yourself every few days to avoid the emotional roller-coaster of daily weigh-ins.

And yes, the mind works in weird ways, especially when it comes to food and eating. I like your hack of setting your calorie target low and then allowing a little bit of extra eating above that target. Here is one weird trick I found to keep myself on the straight and narrow:

So we've all been there. Keep it up! 

--Dean 

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Oh gosh, I have been having such difficulty lately. I've reached goal weight and am trying to maintain and it almost feels more difficult than when I was losing the excess weight. I had a particularly shameful night last week stress eating a good amount of trail mix ­čśĽEvenings are particularly difficult for me as I tend towards anxiety at day's end. My CR is moderate (1700 kcal/day to maintain at 143 lbs, BMI 20.5)┬áand yet I've not been feeling satiated. The handsome and wonderful┬áDeadStarsStillBurn and I were discussing intermittent fasting as a strategy to try, the thought process being that if we fast, say, two days a week we can eat a bit more lavishly on the alternate days without exceeding our calorie limit for any two day period. I believe that I've read here previously that having a higher calorie count one day - if it's commensurately low the next day┬á- keeps one enjoying the beneficial outcomes of CR, and that intermittent fasting is generally recommended. However, when I've fasted in the past it has been gradually easing into a 3 day water fast and then gradually easing out. Are there drawbacks to vacillating between extremes throughout the week by fasting one day and eating, say, 2200 calories the next day? Any other tips and tricks for not obsessing over food also very welcomed!┬á

Edited by Starlight

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7 minutes ago, Starlight said:

Oh gosh, I have been having such difficulty lately. I've reached goal weight and am trying to maintain and it almost feels more difficult than when I was losing the excess weight. I had a particularly shameful night last week stress eating a good amount of trail mix ­čśĽEvenings are particularly difficult for me as I tend towards anxiety at day's end. My CR is moderate (1700 kcal/day to maintain at 143 lbs, BMI 20.5)┬áand yet I've not been feeling satiated. The handsome and wonderful┬áDeadStarsStillBurn and I were discussing intermittent fasting as a strategy to try, the thought process being that if we fast, say, two days a week we can eat a bit more lavishly on the alternate days without exceeding our calorie limit for any two day period. I believe that I've read here previously that having a higher calorie count one day - if it's commensurately low the next day┬á- keeps one enjoying the beneficial outcomes of CR, and that intermittent fasting is generally recommended. However, when I've fasted in the past it has been gradually easing into a 3 day water fast and then gradually easing out. Are there drawbacks to vacillating between extremes throughout the week by fasting one day and eating, say, 2200 calories the next day? Any other tips and tricks for not obsessing over food also very welcomed!┬á

Oh gosh, you're so gracious to me, lovey. I really feel I couldn't be doing this without your help. Starlight is a burgeoning vegan CR dietician, actively pursuing licensure. I'm just a physicist trying to live well into the triple digits. Dean, thanks for your encouragement. You are worried you'll sully your rep as an ironclad calorie restrictor. To the contrary, your candor belies your confidence in your CR lifestyle interventions. Were you less certain of the track you were on, I suspect you would be more loath to give an honest rendering of your experience, or at least that appears to be the tendency in our admittedly not so great species.

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20 hours ago, Starlight said:

My CR´╗┐´╗┐ is moderate (1700 kcal/day to maintain at 143 lbs, BMI 20.5)┬áand yet I've not been feeling satiated.┬á´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐

I would not call 1700 kcal/day moderate for someone your size especially if you engage in exercise, which you should. For example, the king of hardcore CR, Michael Rae, eats 1700-1900 kcal/day. He is six feet tall and weighs 115 for a BMI less than 16:

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2016/08/13/adding-ages

Here is info on Michael's diet and weight:

https://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/51743-michaels-quotidian-diet/

https://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/20247-how-low-can-you-go-on-cr/

20 hours ago, Starlight said:

DeadStarsStillBurming and I were discussing intermittent fasting as a strategy to try, the thought process ´╗┐being that if we fast, say, two days´╗┐ a week we can eat a bit more lavishly on the alternate days without exceeding our´╗┐ calor´╗┐ie limit for any two day perio´╗┐´╗┐d´╗┐´╗┐´╗┐.´╗┐

Many people report Intermittent fasting works for them. It may be worth a try. But it can also lead to extremes of yo-yo eating which drifts into binging, which can do more harm than good both physically and psychologically. And many people also try to cut calories too much when attempting CR and can't sustain the diet long-term so you should be careful. 

I personally find eating the exact same thing every day works well for me because then I don't have to think about what I'm going to eat or how much. A few of us long-timers eat this way and have been able to sustain it for many years. 

--Dean 

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EDIT: I originally thought you were responding to me when you were saying 1700kcal/day is not moderate, but realized now you were responding to Starlight who is about 5'10" and female-bodied. To be clear, are you saying that 1700kcal for someone their size is not hardcore enough or is too hardcore in your opinion? I.e. are you lionizing the 6'0" gentleman who is 15.6BMI or citing him as a cautionary tale of being too low on the BMI? Isn't going under 18BMI generally fraught with as many problems as going over 21?

 

Fair points. I'm aiming for a BMI of 20 or so. I was of the impression that extremely low BMI's are not necessarily any more beneficial than just broadly being below 21 or so, but perhaps that is controversial and not fully and robustly attested in the scientific literature. I'm currently following Luigi Fontana's guidelines in his Path to Longevity book and have found good success, just frustrated with the plateauing. I'd like to get to goal weight, establish what I can eat without weight gain creep, and then just stick to it. Constantly adjusting for less and less weight is a pain, especially when trying to get a sufficient amount of protein for my larger size.

And yea, I'm 6'4" and aiming for like 160-170lbs, thereabouts. I'm at 298.4 at the moment, so I've got a ways to go, but the overall trendline of my weight is downward, and prior to CRON I have never lost weight *and kept it off* for more than 6-8 weeks. It's been 4 months now and no yo-yoing. I enjoy the food I'm eating so I think as far as that is concerned I can do it sustainably. I do still have the drive and urge to eat more because the small amount of food feels pretty insubstantial, but I've taken to eating only 2 meals a day instead of 3 so as to make each individual meal bulkier.

I will say that bulky salads are definitely more satiating, but often the flavor palette doesn't really quite hit the spot. I see Fontana waxing loquacious about adding olive oil to salads and all this nonsense, and then I look at the calorie count and roll my eyes because invariably adding olive oil or avocado or what have you pushes me over calorie limits for the day. Now granted, I am at a significant deficit in order to cut weight, but when I arrive at my goal weight, what I'm eating now is about what maintenance will be. Perhaps I will have less of a drive to eat more when I am a lower weight because I will have less adipose tissue messing with my hormonal hunger balance, here's hoping.

Oh, and I am exercising, woo lad am I exercising. Getting up at 5:30am most days to either do a 5k run or row or hot yoga, then using the time I save not eating lunch to hit the employee gym at work and do some strength training 3-4 days a week. My partner and I typically exercise 7 days a week but have two days where all we do is either just a run or just yoga and nothing else. Again, following guidelines we've seen in Fontana and also broadly in CRON literature.

I don't think anything we are doing is particularly unsustainable at the moment, but I get that the intermittent fasting thing could be, and I am thankful to you for bringing some of the possible ramifications to my knowledge. I think we will try it for a couple of weeks and see how we feel about it. If it seems to be a net stressor, we'll cut it out. If it seems like it's helping us, we will continue it and try to get a feel for how it's impacting our overall health.

Edited by DeadStarsStillBurn
Clarification

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Thank you for the links, that's a great resource I wasn't aware of (Research for Unlimited Lifespan)!

3 hours ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

would not call 1700 kcal/day moderate for someone your size especially´╗┐ if you engage in exercise, which you should. For example, the king of hardcore CR, Michael Rae, eats 1700-1900 kcal/day. He is six feet tall and weighs 115 for a BMI less than 16´╗┐:

Just to clarify, do you mean that 1700 kcal/day at my size is mild (not moderate) CR? I'm a bit baffled as to how Michael is able to maintain such a low BMI whilst eating 1700-1900 kcal/day... As DeadStarsStillBurn explained above, we do exercise fairly regularly, though not intensely.

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1 hour ago, Starlight said:

Just to clarify, do you mean that 1700 kcal/day at my size is mild (not moderate) CR?

No, if you are 5'10" and exercising a few hundred calories per day, consistently eating only 1700 kcal/day would qualify at least as as moderate if not serious CR - with the caveat that if you are female your hormones, metabolism and muscle mass may reduce your calorie requirements somewhat putting you more towards moderate than serious CR.

1 hour ago, Starlight said:

I'm´╗┐ ´╗┐a bit baffled as to how Michael is able to maintain such a low BMI whilst eating 1700-1900 kc´╗┐al/´╗┐day.´╗┐.. As ´╗┐´╗┐DeadStarsStillBurn explained above, we do exercise fairly regularly, though not intensely.

Michael also engages in daily exercise and would be the first to tell you he doesn't want to maintain such a low BMI. He'd rather weigh more while eating the same amount (or alternatively, eat less and weight the same). And he is also extremely careful about counting calories - no fudging for him.

CR isn't about weight loss or maintaining a low weight. It is about eating little enough given your activity level to trigger a metabolic response that we hope will extend health and maybe lifespan based on results from animals. 

That is to say if you are weight stable at 1700 kcal/day, 143 lbs and a BMI of 20.5, consider yourself lucky that you aren't losing more weight. Blood tests should show if you are exhibiting the metabolic effects of CR.

2 hours ago, DeadStarsStillBurn said:

T´╗┐o be clear, are you saying that 1700kcal for someone their size is not hardcore enough or is too hardcore in your opinio´╗┐n? I.e. are you lionizing the 6'0" gentleman who is 15.6BMI or citing him as a cautionary tale of being too low on the BMI? Isn't going under 18BMI generally fraught with as many problems as going over 21?

A 5'10" man at 1700 kcal/day with a couple hundred calories of daily exercise is pretty hardcore CR. Honestly I'm not sure for a woman. If Starlight it weight stable long-term at a BMI of 20.5, then 1700 kcal is probably pretty reasonable.

I admire the heck out of Michael, but I consider a BMI of 15.6 pushing too far into the red zone. I personally don't think the potential risks vs. potential benefits of reducing calories to the point where one's BMI drops below ~18 is worth it. I personally eat enough calories to maintain a BMI ~19 given my activity level.

--Dean

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3 hours ago, Dean Pomerleau said:

CR isn't about weight loss or maintaining a low weight. It is about eating little enough given your activity level to trigger a metabolic response that we hope will extend health and maybe lifespan based on results from animals. 

That is to say if you are weight stable at 1700 kcal/day, 143 lbs and a BMI of 20.5, consider yourself lucky that you aren't losing more weight. Blood tests should show if you are exhibiting the metabolic effects of CR.

That's reassuring. In the absence of blood tests I've been relying upon calorie count, weight, BMI, and my exercise regimen to put me in the right place to trigger the metabolic response. I can see how that might lead to skewed logic, though, and am excited to have some blood work done before too long! I'm glad to know that maintaining a higher BMI while eating 1700 kcal/day is not necessarily indicative of a failure to achieve said metabolic response.

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