Do these adaptations make it harder to lose weight?
Yes, because it is easier to lose weight when energy expenditure is going to be higher for the same actions, which the case when weight is up and fitness is lower.
However, this doesn’t mean that weight loss is not achievable.
These adaptations can all be offset by an increase in physical activity.
This doesn’t mean that you have to train for longer or more frequently, it can also mean training with more intensity during a session.
All of these options are possible with increased fitness gained and are also made easier by having less weight to carry.
The other thing we need to consider are the two points in time that any comparisons are made between.
Let’s take someone who weighs 85kg.
If we compared their BMR at 85kg compared to when they were 95kg, it will be lower.
However, if we compared their BMR at 85kg compared to the last time they were 85kg, it would likely be similar.
It’s important to realise that BMR moves with weight, so the BMR that was seen at 95kg isn’t the same BMR we’ve had for life.
This also means that while the BMR we see at 85kg is less than the BMR we saw at 95kg, it isn’t necessarily less than what we have tended to maintain during our life.
Unfortunately, this is often how metabolic adaptation is presented in magazine and news articles.
It comes across as the BMR that we’ve had our entire life has now been decreased, making it harder to lose weight than ever before.
Instead, it’s simply a reflection of our bodyweight at that point in time.