Why does it appear that I am now maintaining my weight at a lower calorie intake than when I was lighter and had less muscle (in this case 3 years ago)?
You have become more efficient at using calories – this can either be by mechanical efficiency, reduced NEAT, reduced activity energy expenditure or a mixture of all
2) The amount of increased muscle mass has little impact on energy needs
You’ve probably added little muscle mass (this is not meant to be demoralizing or offensive..just fact). You have been training for years, you are lean, you don’t weigh very much and you have a petite frame. The extra calories you burn as a result of the muscle mass you have built in the last 3 years is not going to contribute much to your total daily energy expenditure or in other words.. your calorie needs.
3) Miss reporting/ inaccurate tracking
You think you are eating ‘X’ amount of calories but you are actually eating more than this and either forgetting to track or not measuring portion sizes accurately enough.
You stick to your diet some times, maybe even most of the time.. but not all the time. Standard example is the Mon-Fri dieter who eats what they want on the weekend.
5) You are not at maintenance.
You are in an energy deficit and you are still losing weight. This fat loss rate is slow as it is a representation of the total amount of body fat you have to lose which is low. This means it is easily masked on the scales from day to day and even week to week. When it comes to losing fat this slowly the scales often aren’t a sensitive enough measure to see fat loss from week to week.
This is something a lot of people do not consider.
If you are lean and thus do not have much fat to lose you can’t expect to be losing your typical 1lb of fat a week. In fact, 0.5lb a week of fat still isn’t that likely if you’re very lean.
So, if we are talking about fat loss of as little as 0.25lb a week can we really expect to see this on the scales given all the other influences? No.
I LOVE questions from clients.. they always get me thinking. In my clients situation I think the most likely answer is actually number 5.. basically she needs to be more patient. Slow fat loss does not mean you are at maintenance. If you are lean, it means you don’t have much more fat to lose at this point fat loss WILL slow.
The only positive is that when you are very lean (photo shoot or comp prep) even losing 0.5lbs of fat is going to show.