PT on the Net Research

Weight Loss Plateau


Question:

My 42 year old female client has lost a significant amount of weight (38kg) but has hit a plateau for eight weeks now. She is eating at her resting metabolic rate (RMR) and is over training (against advice) to burn more calories (i.e., working on the energy in/ energy out philosophy). Her muscle mass has not increased in this time. I’ve done scanning to determine muscle and RMR. I’ve also searched the site extensively and everything points back to energy in versus energy out. In this case, I don't see how this is possible. Where should I be looking for answers? I need to induce change soon as this client can not continue training in this manner, for obvious reasons.

Answer:

When people lose weight, they metabolize fat for energy if they are losing weight correctly. Fat is where the body stores toxins that are potentially harmful to the nervous system, liver and body in general. As one metabolizes the fat they hold, they must also process the stored chemicals via the p448 and p450 pathways of liver detoxification. These enzyme pathways require significant amounts of nutrition, which is best acquired from an organic, whole food diet. A skilled clinical nutritionist will also know which supplements to give in support of detoxification, and there are many good books on this as well. Supplements should NEVER be used in place of organic whole food eating, for the supplements are ONLY as good as the food one eats with them!

If one reaches a point where they can't effectively and safely metabolize their inner toxins, you will see a plateau in weight loss, as you describe above. A very common response in such people - the ones that gain some success with exercise in particular - is to over train in attempt to keep the progress going. This is a very dangerous idea because it externalizes one’s vital nutrient stores and life force. The result is a body that looks better in the mirror, yet is now more susceptible to disease and internal damage. I've seen a number of cases where after a patient self manages poorly, chronic fatigue, depression and any number of other unpleasant problems arise. Shortly thereafter, acting with the same fervor, they end up feeling cornered and end up in a medical office being offered synthetic hormones, drugs and other patch technologies, which can then become a future of chasing one's tail.

My Advice

  1. Take your time. This process can't be rushed just because the client is in a rush!
  2. A dirty body takes time to clean, and going faster than the body wants to go is only going to add yet another insult to the body, be it in the name of health or progress or not...an insult is an insult.
  3. You may find it very helpful to consult a Naturopathic Physician or a C.H.E.K Holistic Lifestyle Coach Level II or III. They can assess the overall health and function of the visceral and hormonal system and give you and your client a benchmark from which you can develop realistic expectations for weight loss and better manage her exercise program based on the findings.

Health and well being are a long term project. There is no such thing as an OVERNIGHT SUCCESS!