Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weight plateaus and setpoint theory

I feel like I've hit a plateau in my weight loss adventure. I am serious about losing about another 8 lbs (of fat, not lean body weight). This is realistic and healthy. It will put my % of body fat at approximately 24% which is perfectly healthy and I believe will help me be a little more competitive in my running/racing.

So here we are. 140 is about where I've gotten to more times than I can count. I may dip a little lower, but I get here and then I either stay here or put 5-8 lbs back on. Even when I'm actively trying to lose weight--tracking calories, exercising, etc. There are so many variables that can be at play when you stop losing weight--burn out from overtraining, lack of sleep, stress levels, body adaptation and increased efficiency at current activities and levels of exertion, mental/emotional sabotage.

Another factor I have recently done some research on is the setpoint theory. The premise is that the body has a particular weight or body fat % it likes to be at. The problem is the body interprets going below your setpoint as starvation (even if you have love handles to prove otherwise). When you go below that level, it does lots of complex things with hormone levels, how it processes glucose, and a bunch of other internal functions we don't even realize are going on moment by moment. Blah, blah, blah. All this research is good and fine, but I'm a woman of action. What am I going to do about it. I've come up with a couple of different tactics I'm going to try that target both the physical side and the mental. I'm going to try them all so it will be difficult to figure out which tactic was more/less successful if additional weight lose occurs and is maintained. This feels so sciencey. My Investigative side is getting all excited.

Here's my plan:

1. Increase lean muscle mass by increased strength training, as that is the best way to increase your metabolic rate long term.

  • currently about 1x/week for 20-40 min

  • increase to 2x/week for 20-40 min/session

2. Use positive affirmations, visualization, pranayama (yoga breathing techniques) and meditation to focus on and get my mind to believe it is possible and do-able. This has been very successful for treating chronic pain and other disorders and diseases. Mind over matter. 3. Research and practice a yoga routine that promotes brain (specifically hypothalamus) health, hormone regulation, and releasing and removing toxins. The hypothalamus is supposedly where the "setpoint" is located and regulated. It is responsible for regulating hormones related to hunger and satiety. Yoga also decreases stress levels which can affect the hypothalamus and the release of other hormones (hmmm, could that have any link to emotional eating?).

4. Continue tracking my caloric intake and ensuring it is sufficient for my basal metabolic rate (calorie deficit will come from additional physical exercise, not by cutting calories). I am actually even going to try and increase my daily average caloric intake to see if that helps. A caloric deficit of 500/day should result in 1 lb weight loss/week.

I really feel like I'm on the edge of something big here. I am positive and determined to find success. And if my first attempts do not work, I'll try something new (see video in the previous post). So here I go, ready to take the plunge.

These are my scientific experiment goggles, I'm ready to go

Is anyone really interested in the results of my experimentation? I think I'm going to journal what I do, how I feel before/after I do it, and whether or not I feel it is working. I could post summaries of my journals here if you want. Or I can just follow up in 4-6 weeks with one short summary of the results.

1 comment:

soybeanlover said...

I'd love to read enteries! You total help me stay motivated. I think having a plan is a great step towards success.