Question:

 Hello, I’m a male, age 37, my height is 5’11”, and I weigh 263 pounds. I’ve been sticking to a 1,400-calorie plan pretty strictly with a calorie counter app and weight scale, and I have lost about 32 pounds. This past month I’ve noticed that the weight loss has slowed significantly and is fluctuating much more than the months prior.
Now that I’m 32 pounds lighter, how can I calculate a new BMR? 

Along with the weight loss, I am significantly more active as well. I do work an office job 9 hours/day, 5 days a week. But I also get to the gym 6 days/week and do somewhere between 30-45 minutes of strength training and 30-45 minutes of cardio, as well as 6 personal training sessions a month. I usually finish my eating for the day around 8/8:30 pm, and fast until 10 am the next day, sometimes waiting until lunch at 12:30 pm.

I’m kind of lost on if I should keep going with what I’ve been doing, or adjust my nutrition routine? And if I should adjust it, what’s the best route to go? Keep fasting? Bump up my calories? More protein? Thanks for your help. 

– Steven M.

Answer:

You’re doing great on your own, Steven! Weight reduction exceeding 2 pounds per week is not considered solely fat loss but also lean and water weight. If your rate of loss has slowed after a couple of months, that’s expected. You don’t really reach a “plateau” until you’ve not lost for several weeks. As you gain muscle the scale may not reflect any change. How has your body composition changed? You’ll want to look at both your body fat % and circumference measurements to get a sense of true progress.  

Based on your stated anthropometric measures and physical activity, I estimate your energy needs to be about 2350 calories for weight loss; a fair jump from your 1,400 per day limit. Rather than use basal metabolic rate, I’d recommend using resting metabolic rate (RMR) which includes bodily functions as your base level of calories to consume. That figure is closer to 2100 calories per day, based on Mifflin-St. Jeor equation. Still a bit greater than your current intake. 

To answer your last questions, I’d recommend initially bumping up your calories to 1,600/day by adding nutrient-rich whole foods (think veggie salad, beans and avocado), continue your routine and track your changes for the next month before deciding on next course of action. 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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