Hi all I am new here but would like to ask a question. I started out at 390 lbs and switched to a plant based diet on Jan 1st 2015. I am down to 335, now my question is 6 weeks ago I started lifting weights, 2 day work out schedule with 2 days off in between, I do a full body workout over the 2 day period which includes 2 sets both sets to failure between 8 and 12 reps. Since I started lifting my weight loss has totally stalled, I eat roughly 1800 calories a day and on a plant based diet believe me it is a ton of food. I no longer eat any refined sugar, no meat or dairy and no processed food of any kind. I feel great but am curious about the weight loss. Thanks for taking the time to read.
There are a lot of answers floating around on here that pertain to you, but foremost I would point out that there is documented and peer reviewed evidence that strength training is effective for fat loss (more so than most cardio), so don't give it up.
If you strip things down to basics, if you're adding strength and in a calorie deficit (starting from an overweight position), you will:
- Increase your muscle size.
- Increase your strength.
- Lower your overall body weight.
- Lower your body fat.
People can split hairs about low carbs / HIIT / other items, but it's really not necessary. If your diet is good, you're strength training, and you have some conditioning work going on (walking, HIIT, calisthenics, hiking, whatever), you're on the path.
As to a reason for what you're experiencing, I would seriously consider that it might be muscle development. A pound of muscle is much smaller than a pound of fat, so adding even a tiny amount of muscle can quickly pack on some pounds, but they are good pounds: that muscle is hugely critical for a well functioning body plus muscle is very calorie expensive so you get a bump in your resting caloric needs.
Welcome to the Fitness SE!
First off, well done on your weight loss so far! It takes a special kind of endurance to lose weight at that rate.
Now, when you say that your weight loss has stalled, do you mean it has stalled completely?
It is very likely that as you began lifting weights, your body started putting more of the diet into use, because when you lift weights, your muscles are going to need way more protein in order to recover between sessions.
My recommendation is that you try to keep your calories-per-day count, but try to shift it in a way that your protein ratio is higher. Some of the most protein rich sources for vegetarians are quinoa (if I'm spelling that right), seitan, buckwheat and hempseed. My sister is also a weightlifting vegetarian, and swears by these.
Additionally, I would like to point out that losing weight will always come down to caloric deficits. I.e. spending more calories than you eat. If you have indeed stalled when eating 1800 calories a day, I would wager that this is a very temporary issue that will resolve itself. If the issue persists, you may want to try to spend more energy by taking some walks on rest days for instance.
Most people tend to focus a lot on their daily caloric deficits, but it's the long-term deficit you really notice.
Resistance training is anaerobic and does not, in itself, burn a significant amount of calories. Resistance training is not effective in weight loss or body fat reduction.
More on RT and Weight Loss here: Resistance Training and Fat & Weight Loss
A few years back there was a sensation in the fitness industry regarding weight training stimulating the metabolism, leading to weight loss. This has not yet reach a consensus and there exists some opposing views.
There is a consensus that weight training is healthy.
There is a consensus that being over weight is very unhealthy.
Conclusion: Weight training and diet must be a good thing.
Weight training requires an expenditure of energy. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. I would conclude that weight training the body must somehow get this energy from the consumption of calories. The medical scientific communities do not yet fully understand the metabolic process involved in this transformation of calories to anaerobic energy consumption.
I will venture a guess as to why your weight loss "stalled". Weight training converts fat to muscle. Muscles are heavier per unit of area than fat (higher density).
My guess is that your body fat is being reduced rather than your body weight. This is still making you much more healthy than no diet and no weight training.
Plant based diet
There is very little difference between a carb calorie and fat calorie. Both are stored as fat. The carb calorie is slightly reduced (consumed) by the metabolic processing to convert it to fat.
Carbs are either sugar or complex. Sugar carbs have no nutritional value. FDA labeling requires carbs be broken in to sugar and complex on food labels.
Fruit calories are mostly sugar carbs in the form of fructose.
A protein diet will force the body to go to the fat reserves for energy.
Years ago a partner of mine wanted to get in the business of weight loss. We met a doctor from Jacksonville FL. His sister was obese and got her stomach stapled. This lead to her death. As a result of his sister's death, this doc took two years researching quick but safe weight loss.
The diet he came up with was 100% protein. Three four ounce servings of protein a day. And all the sugar free gelatin you want. WITH SUPPLEMENTS.
A high protein diet must include large consumption of water, or bad things will happen, e.g. kidney damage or failure could occur.
The reason I emphasize supplements is that I tested this doc's diet plan. Twice. Once 4 weeks with supplements, and once without. Without supplements caused some obvious issues in the third week such as bleeding gums, constipation, and bad moods. And I assume the bleeding gums was the result of some serious underlying issues. I did not continue to week four.
The only reason I gave this plan a try is it came from a source that was not motivated by money but rather by the death of his sister. I do not believe anyone's "facts" while trying to sell something.
That said, the major supplement of this diet was Bios-Life (bios-life-complete.com). This is the only supplement still on the market.
The other supplements were Rexall Optimum Performance, Rexall Nature Force and a Multi-Vitamin.
Interesting ingredients though:
Mixed Berry skin (Grape, Cranberry, and Billberry)
Wine Grape Concentrate
Cruciferous Vegetable concentrate
Flower Heads of Cauliflower and Broccoli
Siberian Ginseng Root
The nature Force was a good source of natural vitamins.
Optimum Performance was there for mood elevation.
I make no recommendation, this was my personal experience. During the first 4 week diet, my weight when from 220 to 190 in 28 days. I'm 6' 2".
I never got gotten involved in the promotion of any diet plan or supplements.
The scientific consensus on most vitamin supplements is they make expensive pee. Expressed in non-scientific terms.
In my opinion if a vitamin is not synthetic and is not hot pressed (squeezed into a pill under heat), they may provide real nutritional value.
I recently learned that vitamin have right and left spirals.
Not coincidentally, the landing pad receptors of vitamins in the body are also spiraled. As food is digested the spiral shape of the vitamin binds with the matching spiral shape of the vitamin receptor. Left and right do not bind very well.
It is my opinion that eggs, low fat cheese, low fat meats and fish should be included in a diet.
I would think most dieticians would not recommend pasta in a weight loss diet.
When selecting plant food in your diet you should take a careful look at the fat, carbs, protein, vitamin, and mineral content.
Here is a comparison of quinoa with dry pasta: