So you’ve been dieting for a few weeks (or months) and the scale finally stalled — you’re no longer losing weight.
“Jee whiz, I must be in starvation mode! My weight isn’t dropping!”
That’s usually the first thing that pops into your head. You may have even dropped your calories even more in an effort to get the pounds to shed once again.
But, no matter what you try, the scale won’t move. You’re stuck at the same weight you were 7 days ago.
Like most people, you’re overweight and trying to lose 20 pounds or so.
“If only I was 150 pounds instead of 170, I’d be at the perfect weight!”
Sound familiar? You’re not alone on this journey. So, what exactly does it take to lose weight? Is “starvation mode” even a real thing? Or is it a myth?
These answers, plus more, shall be answered for you here as quick as possible. I like to keep my articles short and sweet because I know you’re busy and you want to get your diet on track ASAP!
Are You Actually Working Out? Lifting Weights?
Here’s an interesting fact: muscle is more dense than fat. This means that it’s heavier. The more muscle you have on your body, the more you’ll likely weigh.
If you’ve been working out recently and not losing weight, there’s a chance that you’re actually putting on some lean mass. But, it will be very minimal in most cases.
It’s not like you’re doing steroids or anything, so the chances of you building decent muscle mass while on a diet is pretty much zero percent. I wouldn’t worry too much about this one.
But, if you are new to lifting weights, or you haven’t been to the gym in some time, there is the real possibility that your body has added some muscle over the past few weeks while burning some fat.
If you’re getting stronger while dieting, your body is putting on some lean mass. You might not notice it, but it’s happening (or else you wouldn’t be getting stronger).
So, keep this in mind while you diet.
Now if you’re not lifting weights or working out at all, then this is a problem that should be addressed. Especially around these parts since I encourage you to develop a lean physique. Like a warrior!
“Maybe My Metabolism Has Shut Down!”
The most common belief you’ll hear from people is that their metabolism has slowed down. Therefore, they can’t lose any weight even if they eat very little.
While there is some truth to this, the reality is that as long as you put yourself into a caloric deficit, your body has no choice but to lose weight.
It’s simple math. When you consume less calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight, it will consume itself for energy.
This “self-consumption” causes you to burn fat (or muscle if you don’t eat enough protein) and use it for energy to keep the body going.
Which brings me to the most important part of this whole article:
You need to consume more protein if you want to lose weight.
This is, by far, the best way I have found to help older men and women lose weight when the scale has stalled. It usually results in a revamp of your diet, but it’s a change that needs to happen.
By bumping up your protein intake, you force your body out of “starvation mode” for the simple fact that an abundance of protein in your diet signals to your body that you’re not starving.
You still need carbs and fats to maintain your health, so don’t neglect these. And, I’m not talking about a huge amount of protein. Anywhere from 100-160 grams per day depending on your current body weight is all you need.
Starvation Mode Is Mostly A Myth
Starvation mode only becomes a problem when your metabolism and gut health is so destroyed that it doesn’t need much energy to maintain its current weight.
I have coached plenty of people who maintain their 170 pound body with only 1000 calories or so per day. It’s very interesting and gives some proof that “starvation mode” exists.
However, no human at 170 pounds is actually starving. Their body is perfectly fine being skinny-fat at that weight.
True starvation mode is when you’re consuming less than 500 calories per day. Your body will shut down and drop tons of weight until you look like you’ve been in a third world prison for months.
If you’re stuck at 170 pounds and you know you’re not eating that much, then I highly encourage you revamp your diet and focus on consuming a lot of protein.
Get yourself some protein powder and protein bars. Costco has a great selection for cheap. It’s where I go for this stuff. You can get 60 grams of protein per day from one bar and one shake.
Adding another 60 grams on top of that is easily done with two meals.
Another great way to speed up your metabolism is through HIIT exercise. This gets your blood flowing which forces nutrients to flood into your muscles.
It creates an event where your body must digest food quickly and rebuild the body. HIIT has been shown to cause fat burning for up to 24 hours after the exercises for this very reason.