The Reason Weight Loss Plateaus When You Diet

The Reason Weight Loss Plateaus When You Diet
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Understanding the metabolic and behavioral adaptations that slow weight loss.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

We have millions of years of evolution hard-wiring us to survive scarcity—compensatory survival mechanisms our body uses to defend against weight loss. So, when we start losing weight, we may unconsciously start moving less as a “behavioral adaptation” to conserve energy. There are metabolic adaptations as well. Our metabolism slows down. Every pound of weight loss may reduce our resting metabolic rate by seven calories a day. This may only translate to a few percent differences for most, but can rapidly snowball for those who achieve massive weight loss.

During one season, some of The Biggest Loser contestants famously had their metabolic rates tracked. Above and beyond the hundreds of calories less it takes to just exist 100+ pounds lighter, by the end of the season their metabolic rates slowed by an extra 500 calories a day. The mindblower was that six years later, they were retested and still had the 500-calorie-a-day handicap. So, the contestants had to cut 500 calories more than anyone else their size to maintain the same weight loss. No wonder the bulk of their weight was regained. Most remained at least 10 percent lower than their starting weight, though, and even a 7 percent drop has been shown to cut diabetes rates about in half. Still, the metabolic slowing means you have to work that much harder than everyone else just to stay in place.

Analyzing four seasons of The Biggest Loser, minute-by-minute, researchers noted that 85 percent of the focus was on exercise rather than diet, though the exercise component accounted for less than half of the weight loss. Even six years after their season ended, the contestants had been maintaining an hour of daily, vigorous exercise, yet still regained most of the weight. Why? Because they started eating more. They could have cut their exercise to just 20 minutes a day and still maintained 100 percent of their initial weight loss if they would have just been able to keep their intake to under 3,000 calories a day. That may not sound like much of a challenge, but weight loss doesn’t just slow your metabolism; it boosts your appetite.

If it were just a matter of your weight settling at the point at which your reduced calorie intake matches your reduced calorie output, it would take years for your weight loss to plateau. Instead, it often happens within six to eight months. You may know the drill: start the diet, stick to the diet, and then weight loss stalls six months later. What happened? Don’t blame your metabolism—that just plays a small part. What happened is that you likely actually stopped sticking to your diet, because your appetite went on a rampage.

Let’s break it down. If you cut 800 calories out of your daily diet— 2,600 calories a day down to 1,800— and your weight loss stalls after six months, then what happened is that at the end of the first month, you think you’re still cutting 800 calories, but you may actually only be down about 600 calories a day. By month two, you’re only down about 500; month three, 300; and by month six, you’re only eating 200 calories less than before you went on the diet.

In other words, you inadvertently suffered an exponential increase in calorie intake over those six months. Yet you may not even realize it, because by that time your body may have ramped your appetite up 600 calories. So, it still feels as if you are eating 800 calories less, but it’s actually only 200. Since an 800 calorie drop in intake may slow your metabolism and physical activity about 200 calories a day, with no difference between calories in and calories out at six months, no wonder your weight loss grinds to a complete halt.

The slow upward drift in calorie intake on a new diet is not because you got lazy. Once your appetite is boosted by 600 calories after dieting for a while, eating 200 calories less at the end is as hard as eating 800 calories less at the beginning. So, you can maintain the same disciplined level of willpower and self-control, and still end up stagnating. To prevent this from happening, you need to maintain the calorie deficit. How is that possible in the face of a ravenous appetite?

Hunger is a biological drive. Asking someone to eat smaller portions is like asking someone to take fewer breaths. You can white-knuckle it for a bit, but eventually nature wins out. That’s why I wrote How Not to Diet. There are foods that can counter the slowing of our metabolism and suppress our appetite—ways of eating to counter the behavioral adaptation and even eat more food, yet still lose weight.

Due to the metabolic slowing and increased appetite that accompanies weight loss, sustained weight loss requires a persistent calorie deficit of 300 to 500 calories a day. This can be accomplished without reducing portion sizes, simply by lowering the calorie density of meals. This can result in the rare combination of weight loss with both an increase in quality and even quantity of food consumed. I’m going to do a whole series of videos about it. The bottom line is that sustainable weight loss is not about eating less food; it’s about eating better food.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Robert Owen-Wahl via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

We have millions of years of evolution hard-wiring us to survive scarcity—compensatory survival mechanisms our body uses to defend against weight loss. So, when we start losing weight, we may unconsciously start moving less as a “behavioral adaptation” to conserve energy. There are metabolic adaptations as well. Our metabolism slows down. Every pound of weight loss may reduce our resting metabolic rate by seven calories a day. This may only translate to a few percent differences for most, but can rapidly snowball for those who achieve massive weight loss.

During one season, some of The Biggest Loser contestants famously had their metabolic rates tracked. Above and beyond the hundreds of calories less it takes to just exist 100+ pounds lighter, by the end of the season their metabolic rates slowed by an extra 500 calories a day. The mindblower was that six years later, they were retested and still had the 500-calorie-a-day handicap. So, the contestants had to cut 500 calories more than anyone else their size to maintain the same weight loss. No wonder the bulk of their weight was regained. Most remained at least 10 percent lower than their starting weight, though, and even a 7 percent drop has been shown to cut diabetes rates about in half. Still, the metabolic slowing means you have to work that much harder than everyone else just to stay in place.

Analyzing four seasons of The Biggest Loser, minute-by-minute, researchers noted that 85 percent of the focus was on exercise rather than diet, though the exercise component accounted for less than half of the weight loss. Even six years after their season ended, the contestants had been maintaining an hour of daily, vigorous exercise, yet still regained most of the weight. Why? Because they started eating more. They could have cut their exercise to just 20 minutes a day and still maintained 100 percent of their initial weight loss if they would have just been able to keep their intake to under 3,000 calories a day. That may not sound like much of a challenge, but weight loss doesn’t just slow your metabolism; it boosts your appetite.

If it were just a matter of your weight settling at the point at which your reduced calorie intake matches your reduced calorie output, it would take years for your weight loss to plateau. Instead, it often happens within six to eight months. You may know the drill: start the diet, stick to the diet, and then weight loss stalls six months later. What happened? Don’t blame your metabolism—that just plays a small part. What happened is that you likely actually stopped sticking to your diet, because your appetite went on a rampage.

Let’s break it down. If you cut 800 calories out of your daily diet— 2,600 calories a day down to 1,800— and your weight loss stalls after six months, then what happened is that at the end of the first month, you think you’re still cutting 800 calories, but you may actually only be down about 600 calories a day. By month two, you’re only down about 500; month three, 300; and by month six, you’re only eating 200 calories less than before you went on the diet.

In other words, you inadvertently suffered an exponential increase in calorie intake over those six months. Yet you may not even realize it, because by that time your body may have ramped your appetite up 600 calories. So, it still feels as if you are eating 800 calories less, but it’s actually only 200. Since an 800 calorie drop in intake may slow your metabolism and physical activity about 200 calories a day, with no difference between calories in and calories out at six months, no wonder your weight loss grinds to a complete halt.

The slow upward drift in calorie intake on a new diet is not because you got lazy. Once your appetite is boosted by 600 calories after dieting for a while, eating 200 calories less at the end is as hard as eating 800 calories less at the beginning. So, you can maintain the same disciplined level of willpower and self-control, and still end up stagnating. To prevent this from happening, you need to maintain the calorie deficit. How is that possible in the face of a ravenous appetite?

Hunger is a biological drive. Asking someone to eat smaller portions is like asking someone to take fewer breaths. You can white-knuckle it for a bit, but eventually nature wins out. That’s why I wrote How Not to Diet. There are foods that can counter the slowing of our metabolism and suppress our appetite—ways of eating to counter the behavioral adaptation and even eat more food, yet still lose weight.

Due to the metabolic slowing and increased appetite that accompanies weight loss, sustained weight loss requires a persistent calorie deficit of 300 to 500 calories a day. This can be accomplished without reducing portion sizes, simply by lowering the calorie density of meals. This can result in the rare combination of weight loss with both an increase in quality and even quantity of food consumed. I’m going to do a whole series of videos about it. The bottom line is that sustainable weight loss is not about eating less food; it’s about eating better food.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Robert Owen-Wahl via pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video

Doctor's Note

I went into detail about the 3,500 calorie per pound rule in the previous video: The 3,500 Calorie per Pound Rule Is Wrong.  So then, what’s The New Calories per Pound of Weight Loss Rule? Watch the next video to find out!

My upcoming book, How Not to Diet, is all about weight loss and how to break the diet cycle. It’s available now for pre-order (!) and will be out on December 10, 2019. (All proceeds I receive from my books are donated to charity.) You can get a sneak-peek of the book in my new talk, Evidence-Based Weight Loss

In the meantime, there’s more on weight loss coming up:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

79 responses to “The Reason Weight Loss Plateaus When You Diet

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  1. Headlines are all about how red meat is really not bad for us after all. My husband and my relatives are going to question me about this. I know it’s wrong but what do I say to them, I’m not a science major and some of them are and they really want to keep eating meat so they love “ good news about their bad habits “.

      1. Brilliant article by Dr. Katz, thanks for sharing, Dr. Greger!! And thanks for the great question resulting in this gem of an article and really, explanation, Mary!

        I recommend to anyone reading to read the whole way through. The last part on ‘what if we studied diet like exercise and vise versa’ is really quite brilliant and entertaining.

        So now I know why I’m hearing “some meat is actually good for you” more all of the sudden. I expected it to be trending from some newly highlighted cherry-picked crap as per usual, but in this case wow… just blatant lying about the pure, concrete evidence in front of them. So shameless. People just lie now, that’s all they need to do anymore or maybe it’s due to a last resort type of thing.

      1. I love Dr. Barnard.

        He is this polite, amazing listener, a mild-mannered ridiculous over-achiever who is so polite that probably everybody underestimates him and yet every time I turn around he is the one who is as “in your face” as everybody else combined. Well, actually, Dr. Greger has that same people-pleasing nice guy rebel who plays with toys and yet he then his superhero stubborn side where it suddenly turns out that he doesn’t care at all what anybody thinks because he is trying to save the world.

        Hmmmm, apparently, those qualities are the ones I am attracted to.

        1. “Dr. Greger has that same people-pleasing nice guy rebel who plays with toys”
          – – – – – –

          What kind of toys, Deb? Does he have a teddy bear he named “Teddy”? Maybe he likes to play with choo-choo trains. :-)

          1. Laughing.

            Well, I guess it could be the video company who likes toys, but he was attracted to “playful, creativity” and I suspect it is representative of the one who chose that teaching method and who chose pediatrics.

            You can’t choose to focus on kids without having a playful, creative side.

    1. I got the impression that the latest dietary advice was that the
      dangers or meat eating was no significant when measured
      against the average American’s experience. It sounded very
      dishonest, but I have to say that from an objective observers’
      point of view the idea that meat in any dosage is poison and
      cancer causing was just as dishonest.

      The main thing I personally think is the problem with America
      is just over-eating, and that tends to be most drastic in the
      people who eat unnatural processed foods, and too much
      sugar, carbs, proteins and fats of all kinds.

      I don’t like how everything has gotten so nasty, like politics
      is now. If I say I eat meat a bunch of people jump on me for
      that. If I say we should all eat more veggies and less
      processed foods a different group will jump on me for that.
      They all have their sources of information or beliefs and
      they are not listening to anyone else.

      Everyone engaged in these conversations at all seems to
      think that you can micromanage your diet to the bite to design
      some kind of perfect health. I just do not think without certain
      parameters what we eat matters that much as long as we do
      not overdo it on certain specific things like alcohols, sugar,
      animal fat, animal protein, or processed carbs.

      Likely these diseases are a lot like cancer … some people smoke
      all their lives and never get cancer, and some people never
      smoke and get cancer anyway, but most of us fall somewhere
      in the middle and best avoid questionable things.

      1. Bruce,

        Dr. Greger is more health and scientific study oriented and Whole Food Plant-Based than vegan-oriented, even though I do believe that he sees vegan as superior, as long as people are supplementing.

        The Whole Food Plant-Based doctors usually recommend keeping meat to 5% of the calories of the diet or lower. Vegan to quasi-vegan. Animal products used more like condiments than the main focus of the meal.

        Watching “Game Changers” the thing which strikes me is what a big difference one meal choice makes in things like circulation and blood flow.

        I will use the male erections because that was one objective measure they used and males who ate a plant-based vegan dinner had a 500% increase in the number of their nighttime erections and there was also an increase in the firmness of their erections versus the ones who ate meat. That was genuinely the effect of one vegan meal.

        The other thing which struck me was how much the athletic performance improved when any of the athletes went vegan so that they would be using themselves as the control group. I have already forgotten what the man at the center of the story did. I think he trained military people or something like that, but his performance improvement in one of the exercises went from being able to do the rope exercise for less than 10 minutes, but after 6 weeks of vegan he could do the same rope exercise for over an hour and he only stopped because he didn’t feel like doing it anymore.

        Anyway, I don’t believe that most of the people here are vegan at all, but I do think it is okay to communicate the benefits when the topic comes up.

        Sorry if people get lecture-oriented.

  2. I tried clicking on the links under Doctor’s Note, and they all took me to a Not Found page.

    Did you guys LOSE your videos? =]

    1. Dr Cobalt, those videos haven’t been released yet. The links will work at some point after their release date. I am looking forward to this series!

      1. Oh. So what you’re saying is that after they taught me how to read in elementary school, I was supposed to keep doing it?

        = p

  3. Dr Greger
    Bernie just had two stents put in!!

    You need to get your book to him. I sent an email but you carry so much clout.
    Thanks
    Gale

  4. In 15 minutes I see Dr. How’s Your Poop (Oz) will discuss:

    “Breaking news: Why researchers say you can eat meat again…as much as you want. Should you believe it?”

    Never heard them say “as much as you want,” but those are Oz’s words.

    1. Dr Oz final advice was
      If your whole family is having bacon for breakfast , you should live a little and have some too .
      May not be his exact words , but pretty close.
      He did not say eat your oatmeal or even vegan breakfast sausage that is now available but eat bacon .
      I don,t see how a heart doctor could give advice like that , knowing the health and environmental risks involved. .
      I have watched the Dr Oz show for the last time.

      1. He’s very fickle. One day he’ll agree with the keto/carnie people on his show, and the next day with the WFPB guests. Most of the time I don’t bother watching him.

  5. I’ve ordered your book but it won’t be available to 12/10. Can you offer quick suggestions about suppressing appetite or boosting metabolize?

    1. Hello Brian and thank you for your question,

      I’m sure you’re not the only person who is eager to find out how to get beyond this “plateau” effect Dr. Greger describes, which affects so many dieters. I am a family doctor with a private practice in lifestyle medicine, as well as a volunteer for Dr. G on this website.

      I don’t want to keep you from buying the book, but here are a few quick suggestions:
      1) Eat MUCH more fiber, which will suppress your appetite. See this great video by Dr. G: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/paleopoo-what-we-can-learn-from-fossilized-feces/
      2) Eat whole plant foods, not processed foods. For example old-fashioned rolled oats instead of instant oatmeal. This is because whole foods are metabolized more slowly. See this video: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-is-a-better-breakfast-cereal-or-oatmeal/
      3) Eat more slowly; corollary is to not consume lots of calories in liquid form (e.g. smoothies), rather, eat the whole foods, because you can drink calories faster than you can eat them. See this video: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/liquid-calories-do-smoothies-lead-to-weight-gain/
      4) Consider daily consumption of vinegar. See this video: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/apple-cider-vinegar-help-weight-loss/
      5) Avoid artificial sweeteners. See this: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/neurobiology-of-artificial-sweeteners/
      6) Eat nuts with breakfast. See this: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/testing-the-dietary-compensation-theory/

      These are just a few quick ideas; I hope it helps.
      Dr. Jon
      PhysicianAssistedWellness.com
      Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org

      1. Dr. Jon,

        Thx for your helpful reply. I have pre-purchased the book, so no worries there. I do eat a plant-based whole food diet and have been increasing significantly my consumption of fiber. I wonder if stevia is a problem.

  6. Good old fashioned phytonutrients and fiber will satisfy hunger and make ya feel good about yourself in the process. It’s sadly much easier than many people think. All the (non)plant-based diet (so-called) gurus make it way too complicated and rarely exceed even 20g of Fiber a day which will always keep their innocent followers at a serious health disadvantage.

  7. I always tell interested listeners to shoot for 60-90g Fiber a day from a variety of sources… and satisfy DR. G’s daily dozen, and when you achieve that, you’ll be so healthy you’ll probably never develop a life-threatening disease or disorder.

  8. So, my question is if all this is true … without really understanding the regulators
    or mechanisms … what explains the weight gains in humans? The only thing I
    can think of is that the food we have formulated to sell, with all the sugar, fat,
    salt and carbs, meant trick our bodies and addict up to paying up our hard earned
    money for poison is what causes this and permanently throws out bodies out of
    sync. But then again … we don’t need those calories to live, but it is almost
    impossible to avoid with with most of the foods we eat and pay for in
    restaurants.

    1. Bruce, this talk goven by Doug Lisle I think answers your questions about how our bodies respond to processed foods differently than the natural low caloric density natural foods. I watched it again last night. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xAdqLB6bTuQ
      We have not gone to a restaurant in years. Most are just not prepared to serve vegan no salt, oil or sugar foods. Foods prepared at home are tastier, healthier and less expensive.

      1. Barb,

        We eat out infrequently — but I get crabby if I have to cook all the time.

        We go to vegan restaurants (there are 5 in our state of CT!) or those that have vegan entrees on the menu, then ask the wait staff for low to no added oil or salt. It’s tough. But we consider it our “civic duty:” educating chefs about cooking delicious food without these additives. So far, we’ve failed. Maybe we need another approach?

        1. Barb,
          Congratulations on trying to get WFPB food when you’re out! I am with you in this fight. Consider joining a PlantPure Nations pod.group. Some (or many?/most?) are presenting certificates to restaurants that offer the requisite number of WFPB options. Our pod group is doing this as a side interest, but we’re in Michigan, and our group is quite active. I was just at a pod meeting tonight of maybe 50 people or so….

          WFPBLiisa

          1. Dr J and WFPBLiisa, thank you for your replies! We have very few vegan restaurants here.. actually, none, but a couple of vegetarian restaurants, and a few offering asian cuisine that have plentiful vegetable dishes. They all will graciously accomodate vegans, but the no oil thing is a tougher obstacle.
            Really interesting idea about the plant pure nations certificates! I’m sure it will catch on as demand for wfpb increases. I do ok cooking, but it would be nice to relax once in a while and enjoy someone else’s fare! So many great recipes on the net though. I was just looking at this one
            https://www.forksoverknives.com/recipes/no-fry-rice/

            1. Barb,

              We ask for steamed vegetables and tofu with brown rice when we go to Asian restaurants, instead of stir-fried, though we also ask for sauce on the side, and use it sparingly. But I have found oil-free recipes for stir-fried Asian noodle dishes online, so I know it can be done. Now, to persuade the restaurants…though sadly, the wait staff frequently act as though they don’t understand what we are saying. Even as they exclaim how thin we are!

              You would think that the vegan restaurant chefs would know better than to use so much oil and salt (and sugar) in their cooking — but I think most of them are not vegan themselves. I took a vegan cooking class once at Sur la Table, and the chef drenched his food with oil and salt. I asked him if this is the way he always cooks, with so much oil and salt, and he said yes. I also asked if he was vegan himself, and he said no. I wish I’d asked him why he uses so much oil and salt, but I think we were interrupted.

              And WFPBLiisa, thanks for the suggestion about the PlantPure Nations pod group; I will look into that.

      2. These two links are calorie calculators posted by Sidney MD, russhandy, if I remember correctly. Very interesting! You can change up your fitness levels (I always put sedentary or light exerciser) and alter the time span you want to lose weight over etc. Shows the calories you will need at your goal weight too.

        https://www.niddk.nih.gov/bwp
        https://tdeecalculator.net

        I enjoyed today’s video, and I read the transcripts a few times, particularly paragraph 3. I look forward to the ones about fasting.

    2. what explains the weight gains in humans? The only thing I
      can think of is that the food we have formulated to sell, with all the sugar, fat,
      salt and carbs, meant trick our bodies and addict up to paying up our hard earned
      money for poison is what causes this and permanently throws out bodies out of
      sync. But then again … we don’t need those calories to live, but it is almost
      impossible to avoid with with most of the foods we eat and pay for in
      restaurants.
      ———————————-
      Portion size.

      We talk about (fat) people starving when in fact we have more food than we can eat. We throw away enough food to feed a population that ate portion sizes of 50-60 years ago. There was very little waist… err, waste back then because food was a necessity rather than a luxury. And bodies were hardy. People did amazing amounts of physical labor even though they weren’t Mr. Universe.

      I think Dr. Greger and his book are a way to make it through modern times… but another way is to simplify your life.

      On the other hand, there are great breakthroughs coming from nutrition (supplement) science that can help us outlive even the forced caloric restriction populations of old.

      (Yes, if you control for pandemic diseases, accidents, low birth survival… I bet those people of yore outlived us by a few years on average.)

      1. Lonie,

        When I met my husband almost 12 years ago, he had been a widower for 4 1/2 years, and ate moderately — but mostly prepared and processed foods, since he didn’t really care for coking. At that time, I wondered how he could possibly have gained weight while eating modest portion sizes. Now, I know. And he did lose weight once he started eating my vegetarian [at the time] cooking, and practicing portion control for the few junk food snacks which he gradually cut down on — about 30 lbs over about 18 months.

        And when my daughter was young, she remarked at one of our rare dinners out at all the “waste” — there was so much food that was left on people’s plates! Which I commented on, in agreement with her. “But Mom,” she exclaimed, “You didn’t get it!! [I rarely do…] I also meant all the “waist.”” Which was true: most of our fellow diners had very generous girths. (Despite, apparently, leaving so much food behind.) The servings were huge!! We would take left-overs home from a shared meal, and eat at least one more meal from them.

        So I think weight gain is due to both eating highly processed food, and eating too much of it. Sadly, a lot of restaurant food is processed these days.

        1. And when my daughter was young, she remarked at one of our rare dinners out at all the “waste” — there was so much food that was left on people’s plates! Which I commented on, in agreement with her. “But Mom,” she exclaimed, “You didn’t get it!! [I rarely do…] I also meant all the “waist.”” Which was true: most of our fellow diners had very generous girths. (Despite, apparently, leaving so much food behind.) The servings were huge!! We would take left-overs home from a shared meal, and eat at least one more meal from them.

          So I think weight gain is due to both eating highly processed food, and eating too much of it. Sadly, a lot of restaurant food is processed these days.
          ————————————————————————————-
          All good points (and kudos to your daughter for her powers of observation ‘-)

          As is implied in your type of food we eat mostly today (highly processed)… in the “old days” meat was perhaps better grown and probably more of a smaller portion for most due to being more expensive than staples, thus more potatoes, corn, beans etc. were consumed (but also along with breads and gravies.) And for the most part, home cooked.

          Still even cafe and restaurant meals were “home cooked” as I can testify to since my maternal grandmother (and grandfather, before a stove accident killed him) had a cafe where they served homestyle meals, just in greater numbers.

          But one thing that may cause eateries to overfeed… don’t let a customer leave hungry.

        2. Dr. J a friend of mine, who has worked in restaurants all of her life, explained to me that the economics of a restaurant are such that they need to sell more food than is considered a meal portion. They double the size of the meal because it’s necessary to get XX amount of money per meal to keep up with the overhead and cost of running a restaurant. So the super huge meal sizes are really two meals because they need the income to operate. This is one reason why portions are so huge.
          I remember growing up in the midWest and the ‘desirability’ of a restaurant wasn’t about how good the food was, it was considered great if you got giant portions. It was all about if the meal was huge.
          A friend of mine who has struggled with his weight eats whatever is on his plate. Never leaves a morsel. He thinks that what the restaurant gave him is a “lunch (or dinner) meal portion”. He has been trained to eat what is in front of him and if the plate is clean he is satisfied. He doesn’t cook so he has no idea what a portion size is. And yes, he has fought diabetes for decades.
          Restaurants are not our friends (as I’ve tried to explain to him). Their job is not to provide you healthy food. Their job is to add as much fat, sugar, etc to capture and hijack your taste buds and to addict you into returning. That’s it. Health has nothing to do with it.
          And I agree with you that asking for a no-oil meal is a real challenge. But, also, like you, I want to go out for a meal once in a while. I, too, ask for steamed vegg with tofu and rice and ask for teriyaki sauce on the side with a little siracha. It’s about the best I can hope for.

  9. I wonder if it would make more sense for the right person, to “water only” fast for 2 weeks or so to push down that hunger hormone quicker than just reducing calories over a long period of time enduring months of hunger?. My other question is if we are eating 3 whole food healthy 3 meals plus healthy snacks between meals, are we not allow insulin levels to fall to allow us to burn fat vs glycogen stores?

  10. I understand why, from an evolutionary standpoint, our metabolism would remain low after significant weight loss. My question is if we loss a significant amount and keep it off indefinitely, at what point if ever will your metabolism increase? Will your body at some point readjust and recognize your lower weight at the new normal or will you forever be burdened with a low metabolism

    1. David G Byelick,

      I don’t think they know the answer to that yet.

      It was only in 2016 that they figured out the Biggest Losers’ metabolism hadn’t improved.

  11. I have been waiting for tragic news all day. I already know that it is going to be bad news.

    Plane crash and the family still didn’t know the answers as of 2 hours ago.

    If it was good news, I believe they would know.

    It is a strange modern society because the person on the plane posted a happy photo and it has caused today to feel surreal.

    It could be my imagination, but shock and tragedies seem to decrease hunger where stress and fear seems to increase hunger.

    Maybe?

      1. YR,

        Not my family members. Locals, whose family has been very close to my dear friend for decades.

        Yes, I am definitely an empath.

        All day, I watched someone who is so strong look through vacant eyes. We looked at the photo and looked at the location in the inside of the plane and waited for bad news. My dear friend has lost several people in accidents. Lost his best friend that way when he was young.

        I shut down when I am going through things and I end up separated, but when it is other people going through things, I get deeply emotional.

        1. The family just found out that their loved one isn’t on the survivor list. They didn’t make a list yet of the ones who passed away.

          1. Deb, If you’re talking about that WWII crash yesterday, I saw that on the news. Very tragic event … that plane was a classic, too.

            1. Yeah, people paid a lot of money to take those rides.

              One of the men had fireproof gloves and if he didn’t, the death count may have been higher. Of the people who survived, two of them were firefighters and one was National Guard. Being trained in survival may help. I know that they say that they often die from smoke inhalation before the fire reaches them. I have always felt they should have the type of blankets firemen use fighting fires out in nature under those seats with the floatation device.

              When I was young, I didn’t mind flying at all. In fact, I loved it. As I have gotten older, I ended up not feeling as safe.

              My friend actually had the opposite experience. When we were young, we always traveled separately, so I never understood that his hand would visibly shake even getting his tickets, so they would pull him aside for bodily searches and he would be downright panicked by the time he would get on the plane. But, somehow, after 9/11 he got better and after decades of calling me every time he was at an airport, he suddenly could fly anywhere (and I secretly became more afraid of flying and didn’t tell him, but marveled at it.)

              1. Yes, it wasn’t that kind of plane, but, man, the firesuits they use in racing and some nice fireproof gloves sounds like a good idea for that type of flying.

                1. prThey even just have fireproof underwear.

                  I have become this paranoid person who would be there with a fireproof blanket and fireproof underwear and fireproof gloves and a painter’s mask or something.

                  I already have an internal principle “I don’t care if it takes longer, you sit toward the back of the plane” and not far from the window escape, but someone calm and strong and heroic needs that seat, which doesn’t always happen.

                  When I first heard about the crash yesterday morning, I heard that it was a crash on landing, which sounded better because the more fiery crashes tend to happen at the beginning of the flight, but then I heard that they had just started the flight and had to turn around and, man, I would have been wanting them to burn a little of the fuel off first.

                  I know that I changed from someone who loved turbulence because it felt like a rollercoaster when I was very young to wanting to micromanage everything.

                  1. I know that I am wondering if the firemen do have fireproof underwear and things like that. Probably. It would seem like they would be always prepared for going into fires. I say it because when I was young, we had a class where they gave real natural disasters and we had to make up survival action plans and I still do that process every time. I look at who survives and who dies and try to figure it out.

                    I am going to tell you that the loved ones still don’t have a “Your loved one has been killed” yet and they want that official confirmation.

                    My heart breaks so much.

                    1. I know that the concept of buying fireproof flying underwear sounds ridiculous, but people often survive the crash and die later and I see it like why you would buy any safety equipment.

                      I didn’t say it but my father crashed the final time he flew in his single-engine plane and that was when my mother won the argument that people with children have to be more careful.

                      I was listening to Ryan Tedder and his condition in where he goes to perform is that he never, ever wants to fly in a single-engine plane because of how many artists have died that way. To me, you can’t control everything, but you can have certain rules to lower risks.

                    2. I found some fire escape masks because 80% of the people who die in fires it is from smoke inhalation.

                      Go Time Gear Fire Escape Mask

                      It seems like with plane crashes, they have that overhead oxygen and the seat will act like a floatation device, but most people die in smoke and fire of crash landings and they don’t have fire blankets and a mask more like that to protect against smoke.

                      They need more safety brainstormers.

                    3. I ended up wondering what it would be like for everybody in the plane to try to get up and take their seat cushion out of the plane to use as a floatation device, which just seems ridiculous as a concept and they don’t show you how to do that part.

                      I ended up watching a real plane crash into water and the real escape which someone taped the whole thing.

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QguEfBMhpyc

                    4. Regarding the plane crash, it was really calm. Nobody cried or screamed. They all just calmly reminded people to take their life jacket and I will say that there wasn’t a long time until the plane went down, but if the seat cushion removes easily, it is worth taking it.

                      I know that some of you fly more often than other people and I posted it because I found it genuinely helpful.

                      I have a friend who has offered to buy me a ticket to Paris for many years and I used to fly easily and don’t anymore.

                    5. Okay, I would be bringing a self-inflating pool raft or camping mat.

                      Looking at the one person brought a seat cushion into the water and what comes into my mind is that one person didn’t make it out of the plane and that person may have been doing a more complicated process. The pool raft is about the size of an umbrella rolled up.

                      That is what I would be doing if I was the safety person for the airlines.

                      Sorry for processing plane crashes. It is an issue here. Even the foam being in the river being carcinogenic, etc.

  12. Dieting and reducing too many calories is not good for your health. Our body seems to say so as well: the plateau, more hunger. For women 1,000-1500 calorie diet works, patience. Reduce portions by half. Light snacks when hungry between meals.

    So stop dieting at the six month plateau, and resume in a month or two. Start practicing right eating habits. I do pretty good by making sure my diet is balanced and using good carbs, occasional flesh food and daily vegetal proteins, nuts, cheese and eggs. 3 meals a day. I try not to over eat. A great help is to have a light snack at night or in the daytime too, fruit, 3-4 Brazil nuts. I like carbs at lunch.

    Is something bothering you? Figure it out. Resolve the problem. Things like this cause us to resort to pleasure eating. Smiling relieves depression! I do it even when nothing’s funny…isn’t that funny!

    1. Congratulations, Karen, for reaching your ideal body weight.

      Dr. Greger has a book coming out, which is more about the optimal, ideal ways to lose weight while having the best health.

      His focus is Whole Food Plant-Based.

      Many people have lost 50, 100, and even 250 pounds on Whole Food Plant-Based and have kept it off and also have reversed their disease states and have gotten off their medicines.

      His last book was called, “How Not to Die” and that was more focused on reversing diseases with Whole Food Plant-Based diets.

      He would not agree with you about the eggs and cheese and flesh food, and he would make sure you don’t eat too many Brazil nuts, because of Selenium toxicity. I think he recommends 1 per day, but most people can get away with 2.

      I do believe that he would agree with you about smiling, but he would also add that depression is related to inflammation and that upping the intake of vegetables is an amazing strategy.

    1. Thanks, Barb!

      I can tell you that I do believe it works.

      I struggled so much with depression when I was younger, but no matter what I go through, I haven’t fallen back into it.

      I still do have an OCD process of needing to understand things.

      I saw it the past few days when I needed to understand how to survive plane crashes and I know that people who know what they are doing survive better.

      I think I realize that people who don’t understand what is going on and what to do just die.

      That is the same for nutrition and health and for natural disasters and plane crashes.

      We were trained to rely on professionals and they don’t always understand the right answers.

      It might be because it is so hard for me to understand things and it isn’t getting easier.

      With the plane crash, it was the trained people who survived.

      It has been so nice to not have depression and to not have night terrors or hallucinations for so long.

  13. Hi, really need some help please :-)

    I’v been “whole food plant based” about 2 months now, I was quite skeptical at first but two months later I feel better then i have in decades and all sorts of anointing little health problems have ‘miraculously disappeared’, all but one,…

    I have not lost any weight, not one single ounce and I was REALLY hoping to get this benefit as well.

    I need help form someone that has experienced this issue to try and understand what i’m doing wrong and what i need to do to get through this.

    THANKS
    Marcus

    1. Hi Marcus. Thanks for your comment.

      In order to lose weight, no matter which food pattern you’re following, you need to create a negative balance between the calories you’re taking and the calories you’re burning. This means that if you want to lose weight following a WFPBD you still need to eat less or exercise more. I think that best you could do is to consult with a RD, so you can talk with her about all the foods you’re eating, maybe you’re eating plant-based products that are still high in calories, and to set a goal of calories so you can achieve your goal.

      Hope it helps.

  14. Why is it that every doctor assumes that every person who hits a plateau must be eating off the plan, too many calories, etc.? I swear, pinkie promise, in court hand on the Bible I am eating the same calorie content that was taking weight off for 27 pounds, and suddenly, no more loss. I was hoping this was going to be a helpful video. Hopes dashed.

    1. YES! Pretty much what I said. I weigh and track carefully what I eat. I have lost 75 pounds in 18 months but the last 6 I’ve been within 5lbs of the same weight, with no change in diet and a calorie deficit of 500-600 PER DAY.

  15. Lukasz,

    I’d like to suggest that if your appetite is lacking there may be some potential medical or emotional issues that should be addressed. Seeing a practitioner who will take a good history and then rule out why your appetite is blunted would be a great way to address your issue.

    Gaining weight is a combination consideration of both food intake, energy (think or your daily activities and exercise), sleep habits and other health promoting factors. Gaining weight to an optimal level can definitely be done eating a healthy diet. It’s about balance and finding the foods you like and will prepare regularly along with addressing underlying issues.

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger http://www.Centerofhealth.com

  16. Thanks you for response drkadish. I wasn’t clear unfortunately. I have good appetite and eat a normally but can’t gain too much. I’m within the norm (close to lower band but with a bit margin) so it’s not bad, but want to gain some more muscles and strength (doing exercises obviously).
    My point was that I understood this video kind of suggest not to grow appetite too big, and in general most of the hints are how to loose weight, which makes me wonder if I should follow the guidelines if do not want to lose weight. I’m just confused, because I generally intent to more and more follow Dr Gregger et al advises but so often it’s mentioned that they lead to weight lose that I bit anxious ….

  17. For myself, stalls is obviously metabolism. I have lost 75lbs (~18 months). I track all my calories and exercise. Not much exercise. I have a persistent calorie deficit. I started at ~2400 calories a day. I consistently eat about 1800 calories a day now (my max calories are 2200). I’d say I’m about 500-600 calorie deficit from July of 2018. Obviously it is an estimate since caloric value of food will vary from sample to sample but I’m confident that it is in the ball park. I’ve been stalled within a few pounds for 6 months. Since I weight and track all my food, as well as lowered my caloric limit as I lost weight, I have to say, at least for me, that the caloric creep is not the cause of my stall. One person is not statistically significant obviously. That said, it is obvious from my observations, and others who track carefully, that there is a lot more to weight than just calories. Metabolism is huge and I think you are doing people a disfavor by dismissing it. I’ve been able to conquer my appetite issues mainly be avoiding carbohydrates and sugars.

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