So this is my latest experiment… I’ve been eating at a calorie deficit for 13 months now, and I’m fighting a really nasty plateau at 167lbs. (Almost 3 weeks of being unable to break through that number, despite eating at a CRAZY deficit and having a pretty intense workout schedule). The math is pretty clear that the weight ought to be pouring off, but it’s not. A sign that my body is just tired of burning fat. (All sorts of things now out of balance). And in case you’re wondering, I still have 7lbs to go before I hit my goal weight and get my body-fat percentage where it should be. That might seem insignificant, but I made a commitment to get there. I -will- get there.
So I was having this conversation with Nick (He’s the guy I hired a few months ago as my IIFYM coach). He’s a body-builder, and he’s been AMAZING at guiding me through the subtleties (I’ve written a whole post on why you might want to hire a coach as well, if you get serious about losing weight). We went through my numbers, history, calorie intake, etc. and he suggested something that surprised me: “You know, you ought to just take a 2-week break from dieting. You’ve been eating at a deficit for a very, very long time. Your body is exhausted. Your hormones are probably completely out of balance and your body has adjusted your metabolism to compensate.”.
Skeptical, I googled it.
He’s right… Every 8 to 10 weeks, taking a 10 to 14 day break isn’t just recommended, it’s almost essential in order to keep the body in fat-burn mode.
Taking a break doesn’t mean you stop and just eat whatever you want — it means you increase your calorie intake to roughly “maintenance” (meaning, you’re no longer trying to lose weight, but you don’t want to gain weight either), you keep your workout schedule, and you keep your ratios. Basically, everything stays the same, you’re just adding in a ton of calories so your body no longer feels like it’s on a diet. (But not so many calories that you start gaining weight again).
So today is the first day of my break. I mention this because if you’re following my food diary on MyFitnessPal, you’re going to see a big change in my caloric intake. I’m also going to use this as a chance to enjoy a few foods I haven’t been able to fit before (maybe a burger, every now and again, for example).
If the theory holds true, once the break is over, my body should back in a mode where it’s ready to burn fat again… and proof that having an IIFYM coach is 50 shades of awesome!
Wish me luck!