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Try Cycling Calories If You Hit a Weight Loss Plateau

Diet Tip: Cycle Calories

The human body is amazing. We are highly adaptive creatures and our bodies work to create equilibrium. When you are dieting and eating 1200 calories a day, your body will adapt and figure out how to live off of 1200 calories. Great to know we are so evolved, but when you are trying to lose weight, this adaptive nature can work against you and all your hard dieting work. Just like you need to change the physical challenges in your workout by adding intervals to your cardio or increasing your weights when strength training, you need to mix up your daily caloric intake. You need to cycle your calories.

To see how to cycle your calories, just

To trick your body into losing weight, your need to toy around with your calorie consumption. If you have been losing weight eating 1400 calories a day, eat around that many calories for three days. On the fourth day eat 300 to 400 calories more. Make sure those calories come from healthy foods mixing protein, carbs and fat. Those extra calories should not come from nachos and beer.

Fit's Tip: Just to remind you that you need to eat at least 1200 calories a day to lose weight (if you eat less your body thinks there is a famine and holds onto all your excess energy stores just in case).


DiaMT DiaMT 9 years
1200 calories a day seems SO low!
franniedid franniedid 9 years
I watch calories, I also don't obsess about it. I try to eat sensibly and enjoy my food and calorie counting doesn't interfere with that at all. Most days I eat between 1200 and 1400, some days I eat as much as 1800. It seems to work, I have lost almost 70 lbs in the last year and am at a very healthy weight. I plan to use what I have learned to stay there.
DoctorBunBun DoctorBunBun 9 years
Yes! Starving oneself does NOT work! But tricking your metabolism does. Just make sure you work out on the day after the high-calorie days, so your body can use the extra energy. :-)
Hoaxerz Hoaxerz 9 years
After a year of living on ~1500 calories/day (not including cheat days) and daily cardio, all I got was a dead metabolism and a skinny-fat body. Nowadays, I eat between 2500-3000 calories/day, lift weights 4 times/week, and perform cardio only 2-3 times/week...and guess what, I lost weight, got toned, and am happy to be eating "normally" again.
missbanana missbanana 9 years
XSofieX XSofieX 9 years
Yeah this really reminds me of the 2468 but I guess that its okay to do as long as you focus on health instead of only counting the calories.
apinkpony apinkpony 9 years
This is cool to see featured. I've been hearing a lot about it recently but I didnt know the specifics. I usually eat around 1200 but since I am in college there are always those days when 1200 doesnt cut it and so i do eat more on those days. I will try to implement this further. On a side note, last night I went to Red Robin and didn't behave, weighted myself today and I did indeed weigh less. Red Robin isn't exactly the way to go... but the idea still works.
VicVicVictooriaa VicVicVictooriaa 9 years
anorexics do this thing called a 2468 diet and this is very similar to it...except actually healthy. I do this sometimes 1200, 1400, 1600, 1800 and then recycle it. It works pretty well.
sophia_HL sophia_HL 9 years
I've heard of this... but It sounds scary
AucuneRancune AucuneRancune 9 years
This is so true. I recently tried losing weight by eating very few calories each day, about 1200. My body completely held ontot he fat. After a month of this I decided to stop thinking about it so much. I ate healthily, but splurged without worry. Sure enough, I slimmed down a little.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I definitely do this! Most of the time, I cycle between something like 1400-1700 calories a day, but sometimes I do eat 2500 or more during one day. It will definitely shake up your metabolism, that's for sure.
ibiteback ibiteback 9 years
Does this really work? I have been eating 1400 calories and I've gone up 2 pounds in the last week and if I stay on one calorie level for two weeks I start gaining. I've always just lowered my intake.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
i have noticed this on my own! isn't that funny. makes sense though.
backnskinnyjeans backnskinnyjeans 9 years
I heard about this a couple years ago, and tried it. It really does work.
briannaNicole briannaNicole 9 years
Hey princess dork - Try the daily plate: They have all the info on most items you can buy at the grocery store.
Novaraen Novaraen 9 years
Seriously...counting every calorie really takes the enjoyment out of eating. I basically just make sure to eat my veggies...steer clear of fast foods and drink tons of water. EASY!! No counting involved...thats just a bit obsessive IMO.
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
princess_dork - there are a ton of sites that have all kinds of things in calorie/fat/etc. form. is one, is another. Just google it. This does work Fit!
laluna27 laluna27 9 years
Cool idea but sounds a wee bit OCD
princess_dork princess_dork 9 years
I never count calories before, but starting to. How do you know the calories in stuff that don't have label?
AMP AMP 9 years
I need to do this, I feel like I'm at a standstill right now. But I have friends coming in this weekend and we have reservations at a great sushi place, so I'm sure I'm going to be doing some extra calorie consuming this weekend! Right after being so good during the super bowl too! oh well.
Greentea1203 Greentea1203 9 years
That's good to know. I usually consume around 1200 calories a day (I had been eating 1,000 but now I'm making sure to eat more) but it seems for some reason when I would go out to eat/eat more on some days, I'd lose more weight. Good times!
Renees3 Renees3 9 years
Interesting! I had no idea!!! I don't mind counting calories. People talk about how horrible it is but I feel like reading labels and counting everything makes me so much more aware of what I'm putting in my body. I like to know, so I like doing it. I write down everything I eat and i love being able to look back
A_Kat A_Kat 9 years
Good to know! Thanks fit sug!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I used to be obsessed with this. So sad. Ha.
kgtg1 kgtg1 9 years
I eat very well from Monday to Saturday. Sunday day is our cheat day, and I do use it to drink beer and eat nachos! Well, vegan nachos. There are usually some kind of cookies involved, too. We are big fans of cycling calories in my house. We like to say it shocks the system, which in turn makes you lose weight. This isn't even logical, and I have no idea if its true, but hey, nachos and cookies!
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