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Not your regular Plateau. Help

Hey Guys and Gals,

For 8 months I've been SC dieting. Originally, I went down from 265 to about 250. For about 3 months now there has been 0 weight change- or even fat % change. Nothing. Clothes fit all the same.

For the life of me I can't figure this out- I even quit diet drinks, increased water, added protein, i have fish and eggs for breakfast, lentils for lunch and beans and meat for dinner (also lots of veggies) - did all the tricks the book says, and no change.

Strangest thing is- I'm training for a marathon, running about 25miles a week and playing basketball twice a week. (Could the cardio be a problem?) I SHOULD be losing weight- But I'm not..

There has been a serious change in my eating habits- but with zero weight or fat change.

but for the past two weeks the cravings have even come back.....I am just about to quit... help?


The Best Answer

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Hey dayveed,

Overtraining (excess cardio included) along with undereating can most definitely stall fat loss. I've copied and pasted a portion of an article below from It might be able to explain your stall.


Excessive hours in the gym can lead to overtraining, which leads to inevitable stalls in fat loss and halts your progress in gaining muscle. The National Academy of Science and Medicine describes overtraining as an accumulation of training or non-training stress that results in a decrease in performance capacity. It may be difficult to determine if you are overtrained; however, mood changes, irritability, depression and lack of concentration are clear symptoms. An elevated resting heart rate and high blood pressure as well as a weak immune system and appetite suppression can also be good indications .


Although undereating is never good for your body, undereating coupled with overtraining is a recipe for disaster. Boris Sapone, a certified personal trainer in Las Vegas, explains that diet makes up 60 percent of your results in the gym. The remaining 40 is split between effective workouts and optimal rest periods. With more than half of your efforts being trumped by nutrition, it is important to fuel your body properly. Between your routine daily activities, weight lifting, cardio and even neglected activities such as sleeping, your body needs enough energy to keep it running effectively. Denying your body of the proper amount of calories will ultimately lead to fat storage as well as strength and muscle loss. If your calorie intake drops too much, your body will go into starvation mode, saving the fat that you do have in order to protect your body.


The result of overtraining alters your body's hormonal balance, explains, and wreaks havoc on your adrenal glands and insulin levels. To mitigate the effects of overtraining, it is advised that you take one to two weeks off of all physical activity to restore your body's balance and improve brain functionality. When you reinstate your workouts, keep them intense but short and be sure to build rest days into your weeks' activities.


I hope that helps. I agree with the article and think you should try to give yourself a rest, or at least cut your training by a certain percentage. You can still train for a marathon, but it's advised that you decrease the amount of activity or you up your food intake by a healthy amount to mitigate the effects of the excess cardio. Also try upping your sleep time. Best of luck my friend.


  • Alon Tako commented Oct 31st 2012:

    Don't give up.

    I'm new to this, and every diet I've ever, EVER had always ended up in a plateau. It always broke me.

    Looking back, giving up was always the problem. With any challenge in life, you will face a certain point where you just can't get better, can't get further, you're just stuck. It can happen in your professional life or in a hobby or in anything creative that you do, it can happen when trying to get better at a sport or a game... and it can and will happen in a diet.

    Just like when you try to get better in, say, playing the guitar, you have points where you feel stuck and unable to get any better, you will have them when trying to lose weight.

  • Alon Tako commented Oct 31st 2012:

    The idea is to keep at it. Examine what you do, look at everything very closely, try to "purify" your process. Take this plateau as a challenge, stick through it and make the tiniest changes until you see results.

    If you eventually decide to drop SCB or anything like that, DO NOT stop dieting. Stick to SCB until you decide on some other method you'd like to try, and change your habits to that one directly. Don't take a break from dieting and go back to your old habits - this is the worst thing you can ever do.

    One thing to mention though, SCB works well for me so far (week 3), and works well for thousands of others, so it's probably effective. You might need some tweaking and maybe you're missing something.

  • Alon Tako commented Oct 31st 2012:

    Different people react to different foods. Try to cut away some more oils, maybe it'll trigger something. Try to change oil types. Try to change your food list - eat more fish, less chicken, or more beef, less fish, whatever you're doing - try changing it (within the diet's rules). Maybe your body will react well to certain foods, but when getting other foods it reacts badly?

    I would maybe try to cut off beans, eat only lentils, for example. Maybe cut the amounts of carbs, get more veggies, just try out anything, until something clicks. It's a much better plan than to just "stop". You want to continue your diet, so stopping means you will only stop to try something else out - don't stop just to stop.

  • Drewfis H commented Oct 31st 2012:

    Very helpful info, thanks again Jones! Even though it wasn't my question I've been curious about this, since I've been hitting the gym pretty hard. I just inadvertently had a recovery period as described above. I visited my mother to help her ride out the hurricane, and aside from a 4 hour tennis match and some kayak fishing and swimming, I did no training whatsoever for the last five days. I even had a few beers. Results: increase in fat loss (8 more lbs down in less than a week), lowered bf and surprising strength gains (I did one day of OP-style lifting a day before I left). My advise is Tim's advise: "Less is more"

All Answers


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dayveed, I agree completely with Jones. I think the biggest problem is that you are not eating enough, considering all the activity you do. You say you "SHOULD be losing weight", but you're not. That sounds like you think it's all about calories in vs calories expended....but it's not that simple and not entirely the way it works. I'd recommend increasing your intake/calories, primarily with good fats (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, butter, fats from clean meats), but also with even more proteins. Might even need to up your carbs some, but you'd have to test that after trying the first two.

You say you're having cravings lately. That's because your body is definitely sensing at this point that it is in a "famine". It's imploring you to eat/take in more energy.

Consider this excerpt from Mark Sisson of marksdailyapple, about inadvertently sabotaging weight loss efforts:

" You’re eating too little.

Yeah, it sounds funny, but it’s true: eating too few calories can make fat loss extremely difficult. The beauty of going Primal is that it often causes spontaneous reductions in calorie intake, which is one of the reasons why it’s so good for weight loss. In some people, though, calorie intake continues to drop unabated, because, hey, it helped me lose weight at first, so why not go even lower? Right? Except it doesn’t work that way. When you continually eat fewer calories than your body requires, you are doing two things. First, you’re applying a chronic stressor to your body. A lack of calories for a day or two (say, if you’re on an intermittent fasting regimen) signals a missed kill, a momentary hiccup in the food supply. No biggie. You’ll get ‘em next time. It’s an acute stressor that will actually improve your health. A lack of calories for weeks or months, on the other hand, signals a famine, war, starvation. It’s a chronic stressor that will impede weight loss and promote fat storage. Second, eating fewer calories gives you less of a chance to obtain the micronutrients you need for optimal functioning. All said and done, a 2,000 calorie diet will have more minerals, phytonutrients, and vitamins than a 1,000 calorie diet. Make sure you’re eating enough food."

(Primal eating overlaps significantly with the slow carb way of eating.)

Good luck to you!!

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