Stagnating weight despite caloric deficit

Hello everyone, I’ve been struggeling lately a little bit with my weight loss journey. Since january I’m in a slight caloric deficite and was losing around 0,4-0,8kg per week while increasing my ftp from 219 to 319. Everything worked perfectly until I had covid and couldnt work out for a month. In this time I lost around 2kg in the first week and gained 4kg back after I returned to a regular training routine. I dindnt thought about it until i reached my old fitness (315watt FTP) but since 2 months I stopped losing weight. I already adjusted my caloric intake (from 2250cal to 1900cal + whatever I burned in a workout) since I lost around 20kg (from 109kg to 89kg) and should need less intake. Readjusting was never an issue before but I though that my bmr might shifted to my “new” weight. I also bought a skin fold caliper which stays the same for the last 4 weeks (broke student so no dexa-scan for me). Would be glad if anyone had an advice for me or experienced something similar and has some suggestions. Hope everything is understandable since english isn’t my first language :slight_smile:


To start, congratulations on the FTP increase. That’s amazing.

The bad news is, if you stopped losing weight, it’s because you aren’t in a caloric deficit. That can be due to a couple of things. 1) you aren’t calculating your consumed calories correctly. Probably by far the most common mistake in a calorie deficit based diet is underestimating calories. 2) You have changed the types of foods that you eat. Protein and Fiber have a sneaky benefit in that the calories you see on the package is actually higher than what you will absorb. Therefore, if you were not doing #1 correctly, but eating a bunch of protein and fiber, then that may have overcome your calorie counting errors. If you switched to less protein or more processed foods, you may be losing that bonus. 3) Your metabolism has slowed. This is a tough one to sort out since I don’t know how to measure it. Adding more protein could possibly help, but perhaps this just requires patience. You’ve lost over 20kg. Your body may be adjusting and weight loss is rarely a linear process. I’d focus on the solidifying the choices you are making to be healthy and consistent and let time do it’s thing.


Thanks a lot :grinning:

I definitely eat a more fiber and protein since the last 3-4 months. I added protein shakes when needed. I dont eat a lot of dairy or meat products and it was hard to hit my protein goals everyday (its still hard but I hit them 4 of 7 days a week). I also started to add at least one big salad a day and nearly stopped eating processed food. I haven’t changed many of my eating routines (still eat the same breakfast since january) and eating less then 1900cal/day shifts my mood too much. I did this in january because I calculated my calories wrong and I was way too grumpy. I’m going to add two strenght sessions a week, increase my protein intake and practice patience. I’ll let you know if anything changed. Patience is my weakness and the last two month were quiet nerve wracking for me but I’ll try my best :slight_smile: And thanks a lot for your suggestions.

Your results are outstanding both FTP and weight loss, congratulations. One area to consider is your body composition, I am sure you have lost fat but gained muscle which is great.

I would consider why you feel you have to continue to lose weight, do you have a goal in mind and what is driving that goal?

I might be misattributing this to Coach Chad but I think he has said that your body looks to find stasis and perhaps your plateau indicates with the dramatic changes you have achieved your body is just adjusting. The impact of COVID is still not fully understood but your body would have been working hard to fight the illness.

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If you are indeed eating the number of calories you think you are and you’ve been on a calorie deficit for a while , it is good to have one or two days where you carb load. Eat above maintenance by about 250-500 cal. Eat good food. It will spark your metabolism and things will go back to normal.

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Got a source for this one? First time hearing that and sounds very bro-sciency.


From my own personal observations, I seem to lose the most weight during recovery weeks, and this is without adjusting my caloric intake or diet, in fact, if anything, I might slightly increase cal’s as I really focus on nutrient-dense foods during these weeks. I think this is because, during the hard weeks, the stress in the body causes inflamation and subsequently water/glycogen retention. I’m far from 100% sure this is the case but it’s the best theory I can come up with.

Thank you :blush:
I also thought about a shifting body composition and this is the reason I bought a skin fold caliper. I know it cant detect visceral body fat but it is it possible to gain more muscle mass, lose visceral body fat with no change in subcutaneous fat?

[quote=“Fatchance, post:4, topic:76926”]
I would consider why you feel you have to continue to lose weight, do you have a goal in mind and what is driving that goal?

  1. I was lifting weights in the age of 16-21 and gained a lot of muscle mass. In this time I smoked, drank and ate garbage food. After 21 I stopped working out and continued the unhealthy lifestyle. With 22 I developed a autoimmune disease (alopecia areata) and nearly lost all my hair. I started mountain biking, loved it, but smoking and having a little bit of extra weight limited me. I wasnt able to ride 100km and was cooked after 500 meters of climbing. Since I’ve always been really ambitious and hated that I was limited by bad habits, I quit smoking, started to eat healthy and reduced stress. In the last 4 months some of my hair is growing back and I started to gain a better relationship with my own body. I want to continue this path and love the process. I know losing weight is always a complicated topic and I work on body positivity but I cant change the amount of hair Im growing but I can take influence on how I feel about my body. A part of this is of course fighting again body image issues but also reaching a point where I feel good about my self.

  2. I love climbing and want to increase my watt/kg and with higher body weight the limit for improvements is smaller (I doubt that I can reach a FTP of 400 Watt). It would be easier to hold my current ftp or increase it slightly while getting my bodyweight closer to 80kg. I’ve been to south-tirol this year and wasn’t able to ride through some segments without taking a break. My ambition for next year is to get through one particular segment without getting of the bike.

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Same observation here! In my recovery weeks I weight around 1kg less. I weight myself every morning to calculate a weekly average and basically ignore my recovery weeks. :slight_smile:

Definitely gonna give this a try :grinning:

Well, there ya go, as you’re bouncing back from covid, you’ve reintroduced a stress level that your body wasn’t used to, causing inflammation and retention. Since you’re losing during recovery weeks, I wouldn’t worry too much about the stagnation and continue with consistent training.


For protein, the term is “diet-induced thermogenesis” – about 20% of protein calories get turned to heat. I don’t know whether this substitutes for “cold-induced thermogenesis”; if it does, the effect will be less in the cold.

I thought fiber was usually labeled as non-caloric. Fiber is mostly-nondigestible carbohydrates, it’s just going out the other end.

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fiber is non-caloric, but the point is that the same Atwater factors of 4 calories per gram of carbs applies whether there is fiber or not and that is added to the count on the package. Those foods with fiber will have lower caloric availability.

It seems to me that a “metabolic reset” needs to occur by actually increasing calorie intake (I did mine on the bike with additional carbs) for a 2-3 weeks, then reduce again. FWIW.

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Yeah, lots of materials and experts I’ve read suggest a ‘cut’ followed by a maintenance period at your new weight. Being in a caloric deficit is pretty stressful on your body and if you do it for too long then some not so good things can happen to your body with hormones and such. So it can be good for your long term health and weightloss to have periods of eating at a maintenance level.

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Ah, I thought it was 0 for fiber, but it turns out that it’s neither 4 nor 0 but 2.

“A general factor of 2 calories per gram for soluble non-digestible carbohydrates shall be used”

This is probably still too high.

I believe the fiber we are discussing is insoluble nondigestible fiber, not soluble. Either way, when i look at this can of beans it seems to count as 4 calories per so not sure if that varies from place to place

Assuming the argue Gile is making is true, this can should really be 100 calories, not 120

Gone from 120kg plus to 70kg(ish). It is calories in v calories out, because Science. Overall stick with what’s worked and is sustainable for you.

A couple of things…
Obviously as you lose weight you BMR does go down too, so your deficit may not be as large as it was, which slows down loss rate (might be more sustainable though).

How often do you weigh? Even within my weekly overall goals, alcohol and certain foods (even a day of excess) do lead to short term gains for me. I weigh in daily and can see it in my graph - always up on a Monday after the weekend, slowly falling during the week (for an overall loss, when in deficit) to Friday (trend is your friend rather than the daily weight). Alcohol and salty foods (crisps/ chips) the main culprit for me.


Thanks for all the input! I’m going to give the “reset-method” a try and start it along with my upcoming recovery week. Going to do a little bit research by myself but I’m curious how you guys did it, especially since I want to stop cutting calories next year to hold my weight.
Whats the best method:

  • Increasing in 100cal. steps until I hold my weight
  • Increase in one step to the amount whatever myfitnesspal suggest for my weight and fine tune afterwards

@jonnyknight sorry I think i didn’t communicated well what I wanted to say. I meant that I lose weight in my recover week but Im gaining it afterwards again. So for example: My weekly average in a regular week is 90kg and in the following recovery week only 89kg. After the recovery week Im going back to 90kg in 3 or 4 days. And comparing two recovery weeks in a 8 week training cycle, the weight difference is going to be so minimal (100-200gr.) that I wouldn’t call it a weight loss.

I watched the video @russell.r.sage posted while foam rolling yesterday and it was really interesting but does this all really matter in a practical implementation? Everyone is different and I for myself started with a calorie amount which was suggested for losing 0,5kg/week. I felt way to grumpy and lost too much weight a week so I increased it until I reached the desired effect. A lot of people don’t really eat a wide variaton of foods which differ from day to day and as long you aim for a similar macro-composition/split it shouldn’t matter how much calories one protein, fiber etc. count, right?