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Written by Holly Baxter
October 5, 2021
How many of you are working extremely hard at your diet, killing your workouts, only to find that after a short while, your weight loss has begun to plateau?
This is incredibly frustrating, I know because I’ve been there! There are many likely causes for this, I won’t go into the specifics in todays article, so let’s move on and assume that you’ve done everything by the books, and you need to make some adjustments. Let’s take a look at the appropriate steps you can take if you are in a position to continue losing weight at the same rate.
Option number one is to modify your diet. The second option is to make a modification to your exercise. So how do we know how much is enough? Do we modify calories by 100, 200, 300 from our current intake? What about exercise? Will adding 15 minutes be sufficient, how do we know if it will be enough?
Below is an example just to demonstrate how.
In previous videos I’ve shown you how the Biolayne method works when it comes to calculating a calorie deficit required for every 1g of weight loss for otherwise healthy, normal weight individuals.
In our books “The complete contest prep guide” and “Fat loss forever”, we describe that 1g of weight loss is equal to 5.9 – 6.2 calories, therefore if you are targeting 1.0kg of weight as your weekly weight loss goal, you simply do the following equation.
Start by converting this to grams so we are using the same unit of measurement. Therefore 1.0kg is multiplied by 1000 which gives us 1000g. We then multiply 1000 by our suggested calorie amount of 5.9 kcals, which comes out to 5900 kcals. This is the total amount of energy deficit one would require to achieve approximately 0.5kg of weight loss. Since we are wanting to achieve this over 7 days, we then divide this by 7 to determine the daily calorie deficit. This works out to 842 kcals.
So tell me, what do you think about that number? That’s a significant calorie drop isn’t it! If you currently maintain your weight at 2000 calories per day for example, you would need to drop your calories down to 1158, every day of the week in order to achieve this kind of weight loss based on the population group I’ve described.
The first point I want to make here is the importance of setting realistic weight loss targets. I hear this all the time with new clients. We also need to consider how much weight this is as a percentage of someone’s body weight. 1.5% per week is about the most I’m really comfortable with for the described population. If we try to lose beyond 1.5% over a 7 day persiod, we start to risk greater loss of lean body mass, not to mention a host of other negative physiological and psychological symptoms
Let’s now take look at how much exercise is required for me to lose 1.0kg of weight
I use my apple watch frequently to monitor my daily steps as a form of self monitoring, and for 15 minutes of walking at a speed of 4.0 miles per hour, I burned approximately 150 calories.
If I didn’t want to make any adjustments to my current calories, and achieve that 842 kcal daily deficit from increased walking alone, I’d need to walk for an additional 80 mins or so. Every day! We also need to consider that as we add more activity, there becomes a point of diminishing return. The more exercise we do, studies show we become more efficient in other areas of energy metabolism, for example our NEAT begins to drop, so all those involuntary, unconscious movements (fidgeting, swaying, tapping you feet), even our incidental activity slows down as a means of conserving energy to prevent us from losing weight.
I don’t know about you all, but I do not have 80 minutes spare every day! I’d probably look to a less aggressive weekly weight loss target to make the diet and activity requirements less challenging. I’d also likely opt for a more effective method of achieving that deficit, which probably includes a combination of both calorie decreases and a more intense form of activity, HIIT for example, something that doesn’t require 80 minutes of my day. Perhaps 45 minutes instead!
Something I would like to re-emphasize from previous videos is the difficulties of trying to out-exercise poor dietary choices or behaviors. Our food choices do impact our ability to lose fat, so when you reach for an extra handful of nuts before closing up the bag or an extra cookie before closing the lid of the cookie jar, if you’ve got a health goal your striving for, think about the impact those decisions may be having on your ability to make progress.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, please share it if you found it helpful and follow me on my social channels for more tips like this!