1 November 2007

Move It & Lose It with Professor Trim

Breaking through weight loss plateaus
Here’s something you won’t read about in the women’s magazines: Weight loss is not a linear process. In other words, you’re unlikely to lose a steady 1 or 2 kilograms per week until you get down to where you want to be. The truth is weight loss is a dynamic process. Change one thing (food or exercise), and your body changes other things (the rate at which you burn energy, your level of hunger, the rate at which your body converts food into fat) to make sure that you don’t disappear. Even someone starving to death will hit spots where weight loss stops for a while as the body adjusts to what is going on. What do we know about plateaus? The answer is not much. But here’s a few tips.

[GARRY EGGER]
Dr Garry Egger aka Prof Trim

  1. Everyone losing (or gaining) weight will hit a plateau (or several plateaus) at some stage.
  2. There are big individual differences in the timing and lengths of plateaus probably dependent on things like how long someone has been overweight, age, gender and the actions taken to lose weight.
  3. A plateau is natural and is a period of adaptation. The great Harvard Nutritionist Jean Mayer once said: “Like a wise man will reduce spending when his income is cut, the body reduces the amount of energy it expends when energy intake (food) is reduced”.
  4. Change is likely to be the best weapon against plateau-ing. Adaptation of the body comes about largely through routine ie. eating, drinking and exercising the same in relation to food intake over time. Similarly a change to the routine in the opposite direction is likely to cause a breakthrough in adaptation and a drop off a weight loss plateau.
[TABLE]

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

All my children are underweight no matter how much I feed them. How do you fatten up an underweight 14year old who eats about six cows, ten chickens, forty litres of icecream and twelve boxes of cereal a day? What about an underweight adult who has stopped growing? Is that their plateau? EVerything is about losing weight,but how can you put it on. HELP

gi group said...

We'll run this by our GI Group dietitians and get back to you.

Anonymous said...

Hi,
When reaching a plateau have found my problem is not so much from plate to mouth, in the quantity I eat, it’s more likely to be in my thinking process. I tell myself ‘Ok I’m cutting down on my quantities for the reason I want to loose some weight. I tell myself that what I'm eating is sufficient to sustain me and it is not a famine. I will go back to eating a little bit more in quantity when my weight reduces.‘
Quality is very important ,as well as quantity .Eating good foods I like, that satisfy me.
Maybe this thought theory will work in adding weight.
Barb Australia

gi group said...

Questions about weight and skinny kids are always a bit problematic say our experts in the area of child health and nutrition.

First and foremost, what is underweight? Some people at a low BMI may have an eating disorder, others may be well nourished, and just physiologically designed to be lean. The approach our experts adopt at any point in the weight continuum is to rule out any potential underlying problem (physiological or psychological), establish a balanced, nourishing diet, and let the body find its appropriate weight (which might differ markedly from one child to another).

Here are dietitian Kaye Foster-Powell's healthy eating guidelines for kids from toddlers to teens from her forthcoming LOW GI FAMILY COOKBOOK (to be published January 2008).

EVERYDAY:
Aim for seven or more servings of fruit and vegetables. All children are encouraged to aim for 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables every day, although the minimum depends on age, appetite and activity levels.

Include wholegrain breads and cereals with a low glycemic index (GI)

Choose fat-reduced dairy products or calcium enriched alternatives for children over 2 years of age

Include protein from a variety of sources including lean red meats, poultry, eggs, fish, seafood and legumes (baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans etc.)

Incorporate sources of monounsaturated and omega-3 polyunsaturated fats such as olive and canola oils, nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocado

Balance food intake and activity, and

Keep foods, which are high in salt, fat or sugar, as treats rather than offering them as every day foods.

Anonymous said...

I'm 177cm tall and now weigh 80kg (female, 32 years old). I've been following the low GI diet for six months. I've always been quite active, but have cranked up the intensity these past six months too - 3 bootcamp sessions a week, walk to and from work (1.8km each way) 5 days a week, tennis once a week, and walking or hiking or cycling on weekends.

My problem is I have only lost 4kg!!! But, I seem to have reduced my size, all my clothes are loose and I have gone down 2 sizes in my favorite brand of jeans. I've even had comments that I'm looking thin etc. It's so frustrating that my BMI is still in the overweight category, making me at risk for so many health problems.

How can I be smaller, but hardly any lighter? I've read other people's success stories and their weight has gone done so much more than mine. What am I doing wrong?

gi group said...

We'll run this by Prof Trim and get back to you. Watch this space.

gi group said...

Prof Trim says:
'This is a common phenomenon and rest assured you are not doing anything wrong. You have probably lost significant fat, but because of all your exercise, you have gained muscle, which is much heavier than fat. If you continue doing what you are doing, this will begin to also show as weight loss - but this is not important anyway. Get a BIA (body fat) check, and take your girth measures, like waist, chest, thighs etc. Forget BMI. BMI is not a good measure of fat and, in my opinion, should never be used at the individual level.'

jay said...

I have been doing the GI thing now for the last 6 months and for the first few the weight just fell off but now i am stuck at this one weight for 3 month without lossing an ounce it is very hard to keep going if your not seeing results
PS i have lost over 60lbs
jay-

gi group said...

We asked Prof Jennie Brand-Miller about this one (it's a common question). Here's what she suggests.

'This is called "hitting the plateau" Jay and it's perfectly normal. The answer is to start eating more! For one week, eat as much food as you wish, but try to make it healthy choices. You can treat yourself too, without going overboard. For the next week, go back to more restricted eating. Do this alternately for a few months and see how you go. If you'd like to read more about this subject, buy the book by Dr Amanda Sainsbury-Salis called The Never Go Hungry Diet.'