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Maintenance and metabolism

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Last episode I looked at the mental component of why some people tend to regain after 5 or 6 months. My sister who is a doctor attended a presentation by Dr. Kevin Hall about modeling calorie expenditure looking at data rather than the equations we are used to such as Harris Benedict. I mean, he winds up with equations but they are freaky long and complicated things.

One of the interesting things he said in his presentation is that it takes some time for metabolism to catch up with weight loss, especially when switching to maintenance. It may have a lot to do with lean mass (he calls it fat free mass). When you're obese, you're carrying around lots of extra weight. I carried around 50 extra pounds for a long time, something I would contemplate sometimes when I bought flour at costco or moved a lot of heavy boxes. Plenty of people carry more extra weight than that, and it means they need more muscle and even bone mass just to get through a regular day.

So when I hit goal it probably took some time for my body to sort out a balance of lean and fat mass. I don't know that it would take several months but I could see it contributing to frustration with maintenance. And there's other factors to metabolism than lean mass. The point is that even without me weaning the toddler and different physical training I'm involved in, my metabolism would be in flux. I imagine that's why self-monitoring is pretty important. I still track my food and my fitbit data and compare it against my weight a couple times a week.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Great info thank you for sharing.
    1809 days ago
  • SHEL_V2
    I appreciate the information as I look ahead to reaching goal. Is this a sneaky way of saying I won't really get that extra 500 calories a day I've been looking forward to? emoticon
    1809 days ago
    I think the time needed for metabolism to catch up is a major factor in plateaus, also. If we would just stay the course and be patient, our bodies know how to handle all of this.
    1809 days ago
  • 1EMMA2011
    Awesome information! I took a yoga class yesterday and feel like my metabolism was greatly increased ....

    emoticon emoticon
    1809 days ago
    Metabolisms are such fussy things, aren't they? emoticon Thanks for this info.
    1810 days ago
    It does seem as if our bodies get used to a "set point." Then, regardless of whether it was a healthy set point or not, the bodies try to move us back in that direction. I believe that is why it remains so important to monitor our weight and pay attention after reaching our goal weight range.
    1810 days ago
    Thank you so much. As I struggle with maintenance I always find your posts so informative. I think part of the problem is that our bodies like the weight they are used to . My body got used to another 30 to 40 pounds and every time I lost it, it was so easy to gain it back. I think once you hit your new wait, your body decreases it metabolic rate to try to get you to gain again. That is why I think exercise is so important to raise your metabolic rate.

    1810 days ago
    Wow! It certainly explains why bodies work so hard to find a new "balance" and struggles so much. Thanks for sharing!
    1810 days ago
    1810 days ago
    Interesting perspective and analysis. Thanks for the insights.
    1810 days ago
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