I’ve been stalled out for about a month, now. No weight loss, no weight gain. Just sort of sitting at about 230 pounds. It’s a cruddy feeling, and you start picking everything apart. Should I cut calories? Should I work out more? Should I try intermittent fasting or a fat fast?
Truthfully, I believe I started my stall in December, when I said to myself that I wanted to meet a dumb goal by the end of the year. I wanted to weigh less than my lowest weight on Medi-Fast, my lowest weight since college. Essentially, I wanted to lose about three pounds in 10 days. So I cut my calories pretty significantly. And instead of losing weight, I just lost energy. It’s kind of a rookie mistake and I don’t think of myself as a rookie.
I’ve made a lot of changes over the month: I paid a lot more attention to my macros and brought my protein back up to where it should be (I was regularly getting 10-15 g less protein than I need to maintain my current lean mass). I upped my sodium intake since my blood pressure got too damn low (84/52) and I was experiencing pretty severe orthostatic-hypotension (almost passed out one afternoon upon getting up and going to the fridge for a pickle since I felt “low”). I hadn’t been eating as much fatty fish as when I started and got concerned that I might be deficient in iodine so I’ve added seaweed as a daily snack (and it has led to me feeling much more energetic). But none of those worked any magic on the scale.
So, I went over my food logs this weekend, thinking I was missing something huge. The only thing that had changed was that I had cut my calorie intake significantly (500-800 calories below an already generous 25% deficit). In December, when I cut the Atkins junk out, I never really replaced those calories with anything.
I’ve decided to stick to my 25% deficit (which means a generous 1600 calories daily) and hit the protein macro consistently and see what happens over the next month. My blood pressure is back to normal (100/70), my energy is coming back (likely a combination of the increased calories and the iodine) and my hope is that I will see some loss again, hopefully on par with how I was losing before.
That being said, I think it’s pretty normal to stall out every once in a while. I know the set-point theory is pretty much baseless, but I’ve been stuck at this weight before and then basically lost 15 pounds, all of a sudden, in one month. Having sorted out the blood pressure and energy issues, there’s absolutely nothing about this diet that feels unhealthy and it’s easy enough to maintain that even without seeing consistent loss, it doesn’t bother me to stick to it. But maybe that’s my perspective, too. I have absolutely seen this as a lifestyle change, not a quick-fix weight loss solution. And so, a stall is an engineering challenge, but not an invitation to quit and eat a dozen doughnuts.