I’ll Be Back, or The Vicious Weight Cycling. Part I

weight cycle With weight cycling, the problem is not that people can’t lose weight. They can.

The main problem than in 95% of cases, the weight keeps coming back.

This is the weight cycling definition. The worst part here is that with every cycle of weight comeback, it is ever more than it was before. So, of the person reduces their weight from 70kgs to 65kgs, the possibility that next time it will be 72kgs is 95%.

It is not that hard to lose weight and reduce the amount of fat in the body. In theory, I can eat nothing for two weeks, live only off of water. Will I lose weight? Oh, definitely, probably more water and muscle than fat, but still. Two weeks of fasting is an efficient way to lose about 6-8 kgs, as far as I can count. THE MAIN PROBLEM is, though, that 100% I will gain some weight back.

Can you imagine that – being hungry for two weeks, and then find out it was useless? That’s a rough experience.

Weight Cycling: You Won’t Follow The Diet Forever

Regular diets are not much better, they still suggest you limit yourself in calories and avoid the majority of products you usually eat. But the problem is that you won’t follow the diet FOREVER, just to keep the weight.

The idea behind any dieting is that you follow the diet for some time, reduce your fat, then go back to your normal full life, and keep the weight. In the perfect world of pink ponys and zero-calorie pies it works. But in reality, as soon as you switch back to your usual diet – voila, the fat is back.

Ok, ok. If you really eat mostly fast food, and decided to switch to a healthy eating mode, meaning you would follow it MOST of the time, then yes, it works. However, for some, to actually lose weight, this should be a VERY healthy diet. Like, no sweet things at all. No alcohol. No bakery, never. Some people’s metabolism is so slow and the body is so weak that long years of healthy diet are needed to really lose and keep weight.

Workouts do the same shit. Do you know that many athletes gain weight tremendously after they quit professional sport and start, say, work as coaches? Even if your weight is normal, and you go to the gym mainly to be fit, as soon as you quit gym, the weight is very likely to grow.

The body is not static, because all tissues and fluids constantly regenerate. The consequence of this is you can’t manage your weight once and forever, brush yourself down, and say “I have solved this problem once and for all”.

With Each New Weight Cycle Round, You Need Additional Effort

I talked to a girl yesterday, and she said “I was walking for an hour, and jogging, for several months, and I managed to lose 8 kgs. But then the stage of plateau began, and eventually I gained all the kilos back”. And she was asking what exercises should she do in addition to walking and jogging, to lose those 8 kgs again?

Why would she need additional exercises, you would ask? She managed to reduce her weight last time just walking and jogging! BUT SHE ALREADY KNOWS THIS DID NOT WORK as she expected. So she naturally believes that even more exercises needed this time. Not to lose the same amount again, but TO KEEP THE RESULT.

To understand why this weight cycle happens, let’s talk about calories. The principle behind any diet, or workout, is that a person burns more calories than consumes. As the result, the body is forced to take its energy from fat depots. However, our smart body has a mechanism of adaptation to any limit in calories and scarcity of food. This mechanisms exists to keep us alive.

Weight Cycling: Cave Body Against Modern Mind

As long as you are healthy and feel fine, the body does not care is you have 3-5 kgs of excessive weight (this is what I call 5kgs-to-my-modeling-career weight). As long as you are healthy, your body does not want any interference into its metabolism, and that’s good, because for most people, their bodies are smarter than their minds.

So, the body is fine with its metabolism and calorie delivery, and then you come and take part of the calories away. At first, the body goes “Ok, no mammoths in the area right now, we’ll manage”, and starts burning your fats. So, you start losing weight, you are happy and proud.

After some time – this depends on each personal case – the body goes “The period of lack of mammoths seems to take longer than I thought. Perhaps we’ll need to survive on what we have here on the butt and thighs for months. I think I need to reduce my spendings”. This is exactly what you do in the end of the month when you realise you’re becoming short of money – you cut the expenses you can get by without.

So, the wise body, having no idea it suffers in the name of your stupid beauty standards, cut off expenses – your temperature regulation, your level of energy, provision of services for your skin and hair – to make sure you have energy for more crucial things like keep the heart beating.

In terms of weight loss, it means that the amount of calories you have burned on your everyday activities is reduced. Say, if you burned 2500 per day, ate 2000, and 500 calories were taken from fat – now your body burns only 2000 calories, the exact amount it gets.

This is the plateau stage.

Ok, you say, I can cut the calories again, to keep the process going. Yup, you can, but guess what? The body will reduce the daily burning of calories again, and much faster than the first time, because it feels danger. Reducing your calories again and again, you will deprive yourself of more and more food, but the body will restrict burning calories more and more, to an absolute minimum, like in concentration camp. And you will be feeling worse and worse, and looking worse as well, because the calories taken will be used only for the most curial processes in the body.

Weight Cycling: The Outcome Is Foredoomed

At the stage of plateau, there are mainly two main scenarios that follow.

Scenario 1. You are very persistent (and very stupid), and continue to reduce calories. Eventually, if you did any workouts before, you won’t probably have any more energy for workouts. The result will be you will consume more than you burn, and the weight will go up. If in this scenario you continue to limit yourself in food intake, you’ll end in the hospital. There, you will be given proper nutrition, but guess what?? Since your body has become used to burning minimal amount of calories, you will consume A LOT more than you burn, and will be fat very soon.

Scenario 2. You become tired as hell without food, and tired of feeling and looking like poop, so you quit and start eating normal. Consequence? Well, the same – your body is used to burning 1500, and you consume 2500 – the difference rests on your potbelly.

The hidden rock of limiting yourself in calories is that the weight you lose includes losing some muscle protein. Your muscles become smaller. When you start eating normally again, and even continue doing your workouts, smaller and weakened muscles still burn less fat.

When does the body get used to burning the same amount of calories as before, you ask? It depends. The body is cautious, and the process of reversing the damage will take longer.
So, in the match between the Cave Body and the Modern Mind, Cave Body usually wins, for good.

Weight Cycling: How To Get Over The Plateau, Unharmed

The main difficulty here is too keep the fine balance between feeding yourself enough, and at the same time burning more calories than you consume. The usual answer is workout, despite the fact that there are nuances here. When you feel that you are on the stage of plateau, boost your metabolism with additional things. Here is the list of what you can do:

  • eat more spice to stimulate metabolism
  • do massage to yourself
  • laugh more
  • go to the sauna
  • take cold shower
  • breath fresh air more often to allow oxygen into your bloodstream

Doing these things, you a) do not limit yourself in food even more; 2) do not overload your muscle; and 3) stimulate calorie burning.

If you won’t be able to get over the plateau, the weight is very likely to grow again.

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