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I started running about 2 months ago to lose weight and along with this I also eat a lot less (1000-1500 calories a day). I started off around 200 lbs and got down to 188.6 but a few weeks ago the weight loss stopped at 188.6 and it's stayed at that for a few weeks even though I still run 5 days a week and eat right. Just wondering if I am doing something wrong.

  • have you taken a look at this fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/4240/…? – jtitusj May 17 '16 at 10:22
  • Are you eating 1000-1500 calories less per day, or 1000-1500 colries total per day? – JohnP May 18 '16 at 14:20
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – JohnP May 26 '16 at 15:51
  • As your conditioning has improved, has the intensity of your workouts gone up as you have felt more fit and confident? Some of the slowdown might be because of increased muscle development. – PoloHoleSet Aug 18 '16 at 18:30
  • Count this, count that - the real question is - are you addicted to running? Do you look forward to the next available time to get to pursue this activity or do you dream about it? I found running to be not stimulating at all. For me the key was to find something I enjoyed. I got into squash and have been addicted ever since. You can start at any level, it's addictive, you shed pounds while everything gets toned. It's not a workout, it's an amazing game that has changed my life. Look into it. – Verde Dec 20 '16 at 4:49
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Everyone reaches plateaus during their weight loss. Provided you continue to eat at a sensible deficit of calories (recommendation is between 10 and 20% of your TDEE) and are tracking them well you should start to lose weight again.

As correctly explained by ddinchev, if you eat too little your body will go into "starvation mode", eating ~1000 calories would potentially put you here. However, going into 'starvation mode' requires you to actively starve yourself and is relatively difficult.

If you know your height & weight you can plug it into a TDEE calculator online and reduce that number by 10-20% to achieve a calorie deficit. Without more detailed information about your diet plan and your body statistics I cannot help beyond general advice there.

The principle of progressive overload is that to improve yourself and constantly work your body at a high rate you need to continually make the exercise harder. In layman's terms this means that you should be aiming to put the same amount of effort into each activity you complete. Activities will become easier with time and it is up to you to make them constantly harder so that your body is working to constantly improve and adapt.

Finally, losing weight has diminishing returns, as your reach your "peak" low weight it will be harder and harder to lose weight and easier to gain it back again. Going from 30% bodyfat to 27% is much easier than going from 15% to 12%.

As a side note, you need to consider what your doing as your lifestyle. If you stop exercising and eat the same your weight will pile back on. Achieving and Maintaining a healthy bodyweight and physique is a lifestyle change.

I would also look at doing a "re-feed" week, it has worked for a number of people on a diet to eat at or slightly over their TDEE for 1 week to "reset" [sic] their metabolism.

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  • -1 "Provided you continue to eat at a deficit of calories and are tracking them well you should start to lose weight again." Like the biggest loser contestants? – michael May 17 '16 at 18:56
  • I'll update my answer with evidence and sources, the biggest loser is a terrible standard to use as a example – John May 17 '16 at 19:01
  • Why is the biggest loser a terrible standard? It involves a large number of people with professional help losing weight successfully. Their weight regain mirrors that of the general population. – michael May 19 '16 at 13:14
  • @michael See my answer here for an explanation of why: fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/29885/… – John May 19 '16 at 14:21
  • You obviously put a lot of work into that answer. Unfortunately, the reasons you suggest the biggest loser results are different than any other method of weight loss are speculative. I stand by the fact that the vast majority of people regain weight in every randomized clinical trial ever conducted. – michael May 19 '16 at 15:19
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Recovering from plateaus is hard because they are both frustrating and usually you have to do the opposite of what seems rational - like take a step back. When people struggle to lose more weight, they usually cut the calories more and increase running/other physical activity which actually worsens the problem. Your body goes into "starvation mode", meaning it starts loosing more muscle to become more efficient, slows your metabolic rate and soon your hunger becomes unmanageable.

Based on my experience and the things I've learned to work for me, this is a short list of things to consider:

  • Substitute some of the running sessions with weight lifting or sprinting (HIIT). Running is great if you want to be a marathon runner. But more intense workouts are more efficient for fat loss.
  • You might be eating too low. Don't cut more then 25-30% of your energy expenditure. If you have already been under-eating for a while - try matching the estimated calories burned for the next 2 weeks (which means yes - increase calories and focus on the long run, not on the short lack of progress). But focus on eating healthy foods and ideally no sugar.
  • Analyse your diet - try to reduce carbohydrate consumption in general, increase protein consumption to at least 1 gr per pound of bodyweight and increase fat consumption to match your calories (fats from fish, meats and nuts are all great). Protein helps your muscles repair and is more filling and low carb environment improves your insulin sensitivity.
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