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The Question
Tue Jul 10 16:49:08 EDT 2012

I've been dieting for 10 months dropping 63lbs. My weight loss has slowed. Do I need to change my diet to up my metabolism to get to my target wt?
Asked By: jall65  

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Expert Answers (1)
2012-07-12 20:49:08.0

Dear Jall65,

Congratulations on your weight loss success so far. What you are experiencing is a "plateau" in your weight loss, which is very common among dieters. There are a number of reasons why weight loss can slow down over time. For starters, it actually takes fewer calories for daily maintenance of a lower body weight, so after you lose weight, your daily calorie needs are simply lower. If you've been cutting back each day by a certain number of calories, you will have to increase the amount that you are cutting back to create the same calorie deficit. For example, cutting back 500 calories from your pre-diet daily needs will result now in less than a 500-calorie deficit.

Weight can also be affected by the type of weight you are losing. In the beginning, it's common to lose weight faster because you're losing body water, stored carbs (muscle glycogen), etc. At 10 months into a diet, you're likely to be losing mostly fat, but a pound of fat contains more calories and takes longer to lose than muscle, water, and other things.

It is also possible that you have lost muscle mass during your 63-pound loss, especially if you have not been doing regular exercise that includes resistance training. Having less muscle mass lowers your daily calorie needs. The best way to prevent this is to start doing some resistance work at least 2-3 days per week and try to expend at least 500 calories a day doing some form of physical activity on all days of the week while dieting.

Finally, after so many months of dieting, it is also possible that you're not being quite a careful with your food selections as you were when you started your diet. Just revisit your food choices.

The best advice, then, is to cut back a little bit more on your calorie intake or add in extra exercise to burn those calories, and make sure that you start dong some resistance training to prevent loss of muscle mass.
Accreditations: PhD, FACSM
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*** All information contained on dLife.com is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our Expert Q&A is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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