How can I lose that final stone?

The graph on this page shows the moving fortnightly average of my weight (in pounds – human weight will be one of the last things to go metric in Britain) since the middle of February.My weight

I think the graph shows I am still losing weight from my gym-five-times-a-week approach, but it has become much harder than before (in fact the rate of decrease in February was still a fair bit lower than in 2012).

So, how can I fix this? Serious, evidence-backed replies only please!

I am not particularly interested in hearing about diets either.

The February weight loss started when I changed my routine in the gym – essentially doing a much higher number of repetitions on the machines (with a lower weight) – I usually do 45 – 60 minutes of cardio followed by 15 – 30 of strength.

I have kept that (newer) regime but, as you can see, it has been of limited effectiveness.


4 responses to “How can I lose that final stone?”

  1. Probably a bit late to mention this, but gross weight is not the best metric. Percent body fat would be preferable. (We now have battery-powered household scales available here at low price that measure body fat, bone density etc.)

    Plateauing is a common phenomenon, for which I suspect there is no cure. That doesn’t preclude losing more weight, but deceleration is pretty much inevitable.

    One way to stimulate fat loss (but not necessarily weight loss) is building muscle mass. The good news is that muscle cells burn more calories per gram when you are resting than fat cells do. The “bad” news is that muscle is denser than fat (plus load bearing exercise helps promote bone density). So your displacement volume may decrease even as your weight levels out or possibly increases a bit.

    Then again, higher reps with lower weights is not the route I was taught to add muscle. Most of what I’ve read says that exercising until the muscle fatigues (fewer reps, more weight) builds muscle. In my personal experience, high reps/low weight mostly just builds up lactic acid. A tip I got from a former football player (US football — sumo wrestling with an elliptical ball) is to rest at most 20 seconds between sets and do enough reps/weight to fatigue the muscle.

    One other thing I read, which may be a bit controversial, comes from a diet (sorry) book written by an operations research professor over here. He advocated doing a little bit of strength exercise right before bed time. (I tried this by doing one or two sets of pushups right before hitting the sack.) His theory is that by stimulating the cardiovascular system, you burn more fat while sleeping. Unfortunately, other pundits have claimed that exercise right before bed time makes your sleep less restful.

    Personally, I’m just relying on the battery in my scale gradually going dead, which I assume will cause my weight to decrease. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks – is there any subject where you cannot make a valuable contribution? I’m going to have to hire a pub now to pay off my debt πŸ™‚
      Interesting point about the reps/weight thing – I definitely noticed quick build up of muscle when I switched, but that too has plateaued – maybe/probably not doing it properly before, so maybe should shift again.

      1. Don’t know about “valuable”, but I’m a bit of an authority on gaining weight. Losing weight, not so much … and if you do hire a pub, my guess is that neither of us will see our weight move in the desired direction. πŸ™‚

        I just remembered one other “fact” about weight lifting (garnered, if I recall correctly, from someone claiming to be a trainer). With any given muscle group and any given exercise, strenght gains plateau, even if the exercises are done correctly. As I recall, he suggested switching to a different exercise for the same muscles every so often. For instance, to work glutes you could so squats for a few weeks (assuming your knees are more cooperative than mine), then perhaps standing jumps, then leg press, then back to squats.

        Also, pros recommend not working the same muscle group on consecutive days (I think). Given your five times a week schedule (I mentally pronounced “schedule” with a soft “c”, against my better judgment), you might want to work upper and lower body on alternate days.

      2. I don’t mind the plateau, I just mind where it has come πŸ™‚ I have lost about 42 pounds in the last 18 months but I need that to be over 50 to be getting close to a ‘healthy’ weight (though, plainly I am much healthier in many ways than I was in 2011)

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