Self-Imposed Plateaus

I have been working towards losing 85 pounds. I am down 36 so far in 111 days. I was reading recently about large weight loss amounts and that it is a good idea to lose some and then give your body several weeks to adjust and then lose some more. The article says that it is an effective way to keep from "yo-yoing". Any thoughts or experiences?


  • quiksylver296
    quiksylver296 Posts: 28,442 Member
    edited May 2017
    Depends on how you are feeling. You feeling on track and able to keep going with your current routine? Do that. You feeling burnt out and hangry? Then maybe move to maintenance calories for a week or two.

    If you're using a food scale, and consistently hitting your calorie goals, there shouldn't be any plateaus or yo-yoing.
  • VintageFeline
    VintageFeline Posts: 6,771 Member
    I take regular diet breaks but as above I usually do it during vacations or holiday periods. Or if I'm just generally having compliance issues because of life then I will just allow myself to go up to maintenance, anything less is just a bonus.
  • pinuplove
    pinuplove Posts: 12,874 Member
    Typically called a diet break, or simply 'eating at maintenance.' As long as you're losing slowly and sustainably, there's really no need; however, I usually wind up taking periodic breaks simply because life (vacations, holidays, birthdays) happens.
  • kpkitten
    kpkitten Posts: 164 Member
    I think planned maintenance periods are really useful, but there are a few downsides.

    If you have a big deficit, you suddenly have a LOT more calories to play with, which sounds great, but I find I have to cut my exercise a bit or I'm eating just to hit my higher calorie limit, which also means my macros are a bit off.
    When you go back to a deficit, it can be harder to stick to your calories for a week or two. As long as you're prepared for this it's not too bad
    The different volume of food may mess with your sleep pattern. It might have been something else affecting me but I slept badly during my maintenance period and have struggled to return to my normal sleep pattern since. Just about there now, after a week.

    But then, these are the positives I've noticed:
    You can join in more easily at family or holiday events (I just did maintenance over Easter rich included 2 family birthdays, felt good not to say no thanks all the time).
    I got a"whoosh" when I went back to a deficit, dropping 2lbs over the first week back at a deficit even though I definitely wasn't at a1000 calorie cut!!! (I struggled to keep the planned deficit far first week so was a nice surprise to lose!)
    I felt more energetic when I restarted my usual exercise routine afterwards
    I don't feel inclined to overeat most of the time because I know I'll be treating myself to another maintenance period at the end of July and start of august for a friend's hen do and wedding
  • loulamb7
    loulamb7 Posts: 801 Member
    Depends on how you are feeling. You feeling on track and able to keep going with your current routine? Do that. You feeling burnt out and hangry? Then maybe move to maintenance calories for a week or two.

    If you're using a food scale, and consistently hitting your calorie goals, there shouldn't be any plateaus or yo-yoing.

    I agree with the above. If you're on a good roll then keep it going. You're averaging about 2.25 lbs/week. You may want to consider slowing the loss rate down a bit. Vacations, holidays and family celebrations tend to usually provide diet breaks, take advantage of those.

    Congrats on the great progress!
  • Chadxx
    Chadxx Posts: 1,199 Member
    No. The only way to prevent yo-yoing is to take the word 'diet' out of your vocabulary and make this a life style change :) best of luck!

  • Ketolover71
    Ketolover71 Posts: 68 Member
    Whenever I take
  • Thehardmakesitworthit
    Thehardmakesitworthit Posts: 838 Member
    I started this journey in Feb 2016 and have lost over 70 pounds. The only self afflicted plateaus have been when I have done sloppy logging, not using my food scale and KNOWINGLY caused this process to slow to unusually slow pace. As you have read or no doubt will read, weight loss is not linear in and of itself but there are so many ways we cause additional delays in the process. When I saw the name of the thread I thought this was the topic but I guess i had never thought about intentionally plateauing....I am not sure that would be a helpful thing for me...although I kinda do it already by taking my eye off the dang ball. Anywaysssssss, good luck!
  • nowine4me
    nowine4me Posts: 3,985 Member
    You will learn what works for you. But I tend to agree with @quiksylver296 -- if you're feeling good and are motivated, keep going. I can say from experience that it's harder to shift gears into maintenance, up those calories and get used to eating a few hundred more, then cut again. My "diet break" turned into 6 months rather than a few weeks.
  • terryt1992
    terryt1992 Posts: 94 Member
    I have lost 85lbs so far from my experience I did not do it on purpose but I have had really bad weeks/couple weeks and then I see the scale and I am re-motivated to lose the weight. Good thing for me is if I eat bad for a week or 2 once I get back to eating right and drinking tons on water combined with exercise that extra weight comes off it 2-3 days. So basically I have the "yo-yo" affect but it has worked for me so far and has made it to where I feel like losing this 85lbs was actually easy. Now don't be offended by that because it was only easy because I have a lot of weight to lose. I still have 100 lbs to lose.
  • FreyasRebirth
    FreyasRebirth Posts: 514 Member
    I don't know how much truth there is behind it but I've heard of it as a way to readjust your hormones (like leptin). I'm close to my goal so I switch between maintenance and deficit, 'feeling out' my fluctuations.
  • cross2bear
    cross2bear Posts: 1,106 Member
    The comment about lifestyle change really resonates with me - I am in this for life. The reason I have been successful with the MFP guidelines is that it is sustainable, so it really CAN be a new lifestyle.

    So I dont take breaks, and havent through 115lb loss over the last 18 months. This is the new me, and my new way of eating. I am comfortable with it, and I see the benefits. A faulty relationship with food, overeating, and over indulging myself got me into weight trouble, and I am not going back, so its forward only with the lifestyle changes.
  • cheryldumais
    cheryldumais Posts: 1,907 Member
    I did not take a diet break or maintenance break until I had plateaued for 3 months. In that case it was very useful as I was getting burned out but I wouldn't do it again unless I stalled again. Do what works for you. If you feel a need for a break by all means eat at maintenance for a week or two but I will admit although I got off the plateau going back to 1200 calories was a battle for me and now I'm at 1350. I'm losing much slower now but I only have 15 pounds to go.
  • JeromeBarry1
    JeromeBarry1 Posts: 10,182 Member
    Once a month I'm willing to eat at or above maintenance for one day. If I find myself eating like that more often, that's a problem and I have to figure out why it's happening.

    It has been demonstrated that a person's NEAT adapts to a famine by shutting down some activities. Women lose their period, for instance, if the famine is severe. The idea of a famine is apt, because our self-imposed calorie deficit challenges ourselves to survive a severe famine. One known adaptation to famine is death, so we don't want to go there with our self-imposed famine. However, we do know that a person's earliest adaptations of NEAT to their dietary calorie restriction can be reversed by a brief period of eating at a maintenance level of calories.

    Eight weeks of -500 calorie daily deficit causes about a 10% extra reduction in NEAT, and that NEAT reduction can be reversed by a week of eating at maintenance.

    Restoring the NEAT to normal with that 'diet break', allows you to continue losing weight with the same mathematical consistency as earlier, only knowing that a smaller body burns less calories for the same exercises as before.