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Plateau after 9 weeks of consistent weight loss?

Hello Everyone,

First I wanted to give a shout out to everyone in this forum. I just recently joined but have been reading different peoples' stories for the last month and it has only inspired me more to adapt 4HB as more of a way of life vs. a temporary lifestyle change to lose weight.

My chart is in my profile picture, but just to summarize, I am 6' 3'', began SCD in January of 2012 when I finally decided to take action against my fears of continuing to gain weight. I came to college weighing around 230 pounds, and 3.5 years later I was a staggering 257 with no end in sight.

SCD, pAGG, ice showers, weight lifting 0-2 times a week, and scheduling cheat days each week has helped me consistently lose weight week in and week out this year without going insane. 2 weeks ago I broke 220 for the first time since 2006. Also have gone from 164 total inches to 142 over this time and dropped 1 almost 2 pants sizes.

My issue now is that since I first broke 220 two weeks ago, my body weight has followed the exact same pattern for the last two weeks and I haven't been able to hit a new low for my weight or seen any changes in total inches. After I weigh in at 220 or 219 on cheat day, I'll see my weight spike to 227-228 post cheat day (not surprising) and a gradual decline throughout the week back to 219-221 area, but nothing lower.

I realize that temporary plateaus can happen in SCD, but wasn't sure if I should consider switching to Last Mile or make any modifications to my routine to break the plateau. I have been making sure to eat breakfast of 3 eggs and 3 pieces of turkey bacon within 30 minutes of waking up, sticking to pAGG, and cold showers.

Is there any reason this plateau might be happening? On a positive note, I weighed in at 219.4 this morning, and my cheat day is tomorrow so if I stay strong today I could possibly break 219 in the AM, but not sure.

Thank you all for your help and please let me know if you need any more details about my SCD, exercise routine, etc.

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The Best Answer

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Firstly, give yourself a big pat on the back for breaking 220lbs and losing so many inches and pant sizes :)

Secondly, give yourself a break. Weight loss is not a linear progression. You're doing fine.

Without seeing your eating and exercise regime it's hard to provide specific advice. In general, I would look at your protein and carb intake. Are you getting enough protein? I aim for 1-1.25grams per lean body mass. Aim to keep your carbs to under 100 grams.

Other factors can be stress (too much) or sleep (too little).

You can also see if moving to a 8-10day SCD cycle between Cheat Days gets you through the plateau. Also at this point, you could also consider moderating your Cheat Days so they're not all full-out binges. Many folks do 3 moderate Cheat Days and 1 full-blown cheat day a month.

Post your eating plan when you have a moment and maybe we can help your off this plateau. ;)

  • FB1489 commented Mar 26th 2012:

    Thanks for the comments and encouragement Arctic. Here is my current eating plan:

    Breakfast: 3 Fried Eggs, 4 strips of Turkey Bacon, Cup of Coffee w/ Cinnamon

    Lunch: Rotate between Chicken Teriyaki with veggies no rice and Lettuce Wraps with a mix between turkey, roast beef, or ham inside

    Dinner: Rotate between: 1) Chipotle Chicken/Steak Burrito Bowl with guac no rice 2) 2 Baked Chicken Breasts and large serving of veggies 3) Broiled Flank Steak (approx .5-.7 lb) with large serving of veggies 4) 2 Baked Salmon Filets with large serving of veggies

    I don't take the time to measure out specific serving sizes for vegetables, but I try to occupy around half of my plate with a mix of green beans, asparagus, broccoli, and carrots for each dinner. Any thoughts?

  • Graham commented Mar 26th 2012:

    Maybe substitute the Turkey Bacon for Lentils/beans or something generally less appealing? Not that Turkey Bacon is prohibited but every morning might be too much. Want to just confirm it's 30g of protein in the AM? the eggs will be about 12-14. Even if it's just barely 30 being male and of a bigger built there is nothing wrong with an extra little bit from some lentils or beans.

    In addition to the weights, adding in the kettlebell swing could be definitely beneficial.

  • FB1489 commented Apr 3rd 2012:

    Broke the plateau last week!

    The tweaks I made were that I exercised twice as opposed to once, extended my cheat day cycle to 8 days (reluctantly, I could have waited another day or 2 but I have a big family brunch next Sunday I want to be able to binge for), and implemented damage control exercises before and 90 minutes after my cheat day meals.

    The results:

    1 week ago: 219.4 lb.

    yesterday: 216.4 lb.

    Although the damage control didn't quite blunt the weight jump as much as I was hoping (still gained 6-7 lbs. today, looking to see how much I will lose tomorrow), it was great to finally see signs of progress again.

    This week I have added black beans to my breakfast and dinner menu to see the effect of that during the week. Thank you both for your support!

  • Graham commented Apr 3rd 2012:

    That's great to hear, congrats :)

  • arctichacker commented Mar 26th 2012:

    For the most art it looks fine. There are a few items that you may reconsider. There may be sugars/starches in the turkey bacon. likely there is sugar in the teriyaki.

    Double check your macronutrients. Sites like fitday.com can help you track your food. You could actually not be eating enough.

    Consider adding some legumes for breakfast & lunch.

    How much water are you drinking?

    Another option is to space out your Cheat Days to 10 days.

    Change one thing and track your progress for a couple of weeks You could just be retaining water for all you know and in time for a whoosh.

    Good luck ;)

All Answers

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It could be any number of things - stress, change in sleep patterns, water intake. I've had some impressive stalls on this diet since last august but always have worked past them. Sometimes I add more beans. Sometimes I stop having beans at all. Sometimes I up my calories for a few days. Sometimes I increase the cheat cycle to every 8-10 days instead of 7 days. Sometimes little tweaks seem to break things loose again for no good reason, so I experiment.

  • FB1489 commented Mar 26th 2012:

    Thanks Jake. It sounds like stalls are a very natural part of SCD and this is just my first time experiencing one. I am going to experiment with moderating cheat days for the next 2 weeks and if I am still struggling to break this cycle I will switch the cycle to a longer timeframe as you mentioned. I have been going all-out on all of my cheat days so far, so I think experimenting with moderation is a good pain-free first step.

    Will keep everyone posted with how the next week goes and if I can break out of this plateau!

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Tim was on a podcast that I listen to, that's how I found out about all of this. There isn't a huge volume of extra stuff on there beyond the 4HB but he does talk about a very typical stall that people hit after 9-10 weeks regardless of doing things exactly right. In cases that he has coached he likes to get people to diet for the first 10 weeks then introduce exercise to help minimize that stall.

It's a good listen regardless, I can't actually dig up the link but if you search the Itunes store for ""Tim Ferriss Nerdist" it bring's it right up.

Are you weighing consistently in the mornings or is it later through the day?

Jake and Arctic hit everything else, double check your intake on enough protien and limiting carbs and some small tweaks will likely be able to get you through.

Congrats on things thus far, depending on where your goals are, your either close or just past half way to what is very achieveable! I'm very much in the same boat, mid to late 20's peaked at 240 from poor lifestyle and am finally back on track.

  • FB1489 commented Mar 26th 2012:

    Graham, thank you for the comment. It's good to hear from someone came from a similar spot. The lifestyle changes were tough at first but feeling healthier every day is well worth the discipline.

    All of my weigh ins are in the morning when I first get out of bed. My initial goal was to reach 225 lbs. by March 10th, which I was able to accomplish.

    I wasn't sure what my body fat % would be like when I got to this level, but if I had to guess I would say I am between 15% and 17%. Although I have no way of measuring it right now, I want to shoot for 10-12% bf appearancewise from the book. Based on that, 205-210 lbs. by Mid-May is my next goal.

    Just downloaded the podcast you mentioned, will give it a listen this week. Thank you again for your comments!

  • Graham commented Mar 26th 2012:

    Yeh that's exactly what I'm aiming for as well 12% BF, I don't know what my weight will be at that point but that is my first goal and I'm not setting others till I get there.

    I invested a bit in a good scale so I can track my BF%. I doubt that the number I get is my actual number but it's trending well. I won't be able to get measured for BF until Halloween (Away for the summer)

    There won't be a ton of new information or anything in the podcast but he does talk a bit about certain cases you don't get in the book (his dad for 1) and it's just generally good to hear him talk.

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