There seem to be a couple of varying opinions of late on the forums and it has left me completely confused as to what to believe.
As you all know, I upped my exercise in the last month, kept my intake the same, and lost 1 lb. (I fluctuated, but the net loss was 1 lb). This isn't the first time this has happened to me with respect to exercise, so I really feel like I can't have BOTH -- I have to choose between being FIT or being THIN. But losing weight AND being fit doesn't seem possible. So I'm trying to figure this out.
One school of thought is for me to UP my calories. The thought is that I am starving my body of calories and as a result, my body is going to minimize its calorie usage in the "off hours".
The OTHER school of thought is that there is no such thing as a weight loss "plateau", and that there is no such thing as "starvation mode". It isn't physically possible. And although I don't eat processed or "diet" foods (other than the odd diet soda on a hot day ), the implication is that I am just not choosing the right foods. And that the SAME calories but different foods would equal weight loss.
Right now I am on WW. I eat a healthy, balanced diet will all food groups. I don't eat "lite" anything. I plan and cook my meals from scratch. I don't use recipes that call for, say, Cool Whip, because I want to stay as close as possible to real foods. I don't eat frozen entrees; I don't eat meals from a can or a box. And I DO have a kick-a$$ collection of WW recipe books that I cook exclusively from...so I can't see adjusting my diet in terms of food as I eat pretty well.
I am absolutely TERRIFIED to up my calories. Old thinking, I know, but I can't lose weight eating what I am eating now, HOW will UPPING the calories work? Especially if theory 2 is correct -- won't upping the calories UP my weight even more?
SO, what have your experiences been? Have you ever upped your exercise and had a weight slow-down? And has upping your calories worked? Or did you white-knuckle it until your body took the hint and dropped some pounds? IS it really calories in vs calories out in your opinion? Or do the type of calories matter?
What I'm about to say goes against your philosophy on weight loss being biologically the same for everyone, a bit, but I'm going to go ahead and say it anyway
Individual body chemistries (which fluctuate not only from person to person, but also from time period to time period in a person's life) respond differently to low amounts of calories. Rockinrobin has never, ever raised her calories and had success. Glory87, on the other hand, only got to her goal after she raised her calories in a bid to maintain, and subsequently lost more weight. I have personally experienced BOTH - at the end of my big/initial weight loss journey, I had to raise my calories to drop the last 10, but I've had a minor regain (around 8 lbs) and this time, if I raise my calories, I gain weight. The factors influencing metabolism and plateaus are many and include hormones, what you're eating, how much muscle mass you have, etc.
The only way to know for SURE how your body will react is to do a 3-4 week trial on each. Up your calories by some (I'd go 5-10% per week until you get to where you want to be, just to prevent shock and scale panic), sit there for 3-4 weeks, and see what happens. If you're still having issues, drop them back down and try cutting out foods that you think might be a problem (for example, one of my strategies right now is to cut down significantly on even whole grains, even those that fit within my calorie allowance. It has helped the scale move in a better direction). Try THAT for 3-4 weeks. Then if that doesn't work, try something else.
Thanks Ms mandalinn --I think I should clarify something, first. I believe completely that all people can lose weight. I've never said anything differently. BUT with respect to biological functioning, what I have been trying to say is that as humans, we need some basic nutrients and we metabolize things the same way. We as humans are put together the same way. I don't need chlorphyll to produce energy. I am a human, and I need fats, proteins, carbs, vitamins, minerals. No human is so unique that he or she doesn't for example metabolize carbs in any other way than any other human (barring disease, of course). Or can metabolize certain fibers, for example, that the rest of humanity can't. The diet you CHOOSE is one of personal preference, and one that fits with your philosophy and lifestyle. NOT because there is a basic difference in biological functioning. If there WAS such huge variability in the BASIC FUNCTIONING, there would be no standardized courses for degrees in physiology. But there are, because humans function biologically as, well, humans. And I still stand by that.
But this isn't really the point of my post!
I believe that diets work. If you cut calories and expend more than you eat, I firmly believe you will lose weight. I have, even though it seems to be super-slow right now. And I know that if I continue this way, I'll eventually get the weight off. It has to come off. It can't NOT come off. There aren't too many overweight people who stay at the same weight with huge amounts of exercise in the long run. But darn it, I want the numbers DOWN (I know, so impatient...)...
Thanks so much for the advice -- man, this weight loss thing is TRICKY! I know that weight loss isn't linear, at least for me, and never has been (here is my weigh loss graph), but I wish it was a bit more...predictable!
Would you consider keeping the calories the same and backing off the exercise???
Yup, Amanda's right. The second I raise my calories, eat MORE - I gain weight. The second I lower them, eat less - I lose. I know, I'm just weird.
Soooo, I think by now you all know how I stand on raising calories and "starvation mode" and all of that.
I know this is not the case with you or Glory or many others, but sometimes when people RAISE they're caloric intake for the day, it helps them to stay on plan or for lack of a better word - not *cheat*, so by adding in those extra calories it staves off OVERspending their original calorie budget and actually consume less calories overall, and that is why all of a sudden they are losing.
Kira, I'd have to agree with Amanda. It's really something you've got to figure out on your own. There is no one "right" across the board answer for everyone. I too would try different things for 3 weeks or so and see where that got me. No results? I'd try something else. Trial and error is all you've got.
Ummm, by the way just how many calories are you consuming? Oh, you're on WW. Is it possible that, and I'm just grasping here, that you are eating too many "free" foods that WW allows or too many points that they estimate to be 50, yet they're really, say 80 calories? Maybe that approximate stuff was good enough in the earlier stages, but now you need something *tighter"? Maybe, maybe, maybe it would pay to track your actual CALORIES for a couple of days to get a real clear picture. Just a thought.
HAng tough there young lady. I know you'll figure this out, one way or another. I admire your perseverance. Big time.
man, this weight loss thing is TRICKY! I know that weight loss isn't linear, at least for me, and never has been (here is my weigh loss graph), but I wish it was a bit more...predictable!
Oh yes, it definitely IS tricky. And while physiologically we all have the same responses, I truly believe there are more variances when it comes to weight loss than science has even hypothesized yet. So for me, it's important to accept the way that -my- body lose weight, even if it doesn't make sense from a calories-in/calories-out perspective...I am my own one-subject study, and I'm making decisions from the results of THAT study, not averages across populations. I think we may be arguing the same point here
Would you consider keeping the calories the same and backing off the exercise???
For me, no, simply because several studies have indicated that what may be more important to long-term health isn't WEIGHT, but physical fitness. My goal is to have a long, healthy life, and based on what I've read, I believe that once you leave the morbidly obese category, your odds of having that kind of life are increased not with the amount of weight you lose, but with the amount of activity you get.
I wonder if, instead, you might try mixing up your physical activity a bit? I know that you just completed a 30 day Bikram challenge, and that's a great calorie burner, but as you improve at any activity, it takes less energy for you to get through it than you did when you first started, simply because your amazing body has acclimated itself to the activity (I always find that so crazy...our bodies can adapt SO quickly to new challenges!). Now that the weather's nice, can you try doing some different things? Bike riding, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, running/jogging? Mixing it up could help you improve your physical fitness by providing new challenge, and it also might shake things up a bit to get your scale moving.
Of course, it may also be that you're closer to a normal weight than when you started. I hit a six month plateau near the end of my initial weight loss for, seemingly, no reason. It just happened, and you're absolutely right, if you keep going, the weight WILL come off.
I know we are all about that number on the scale and WW is all about the number at the meeting. But how about proposing this. You know you're doing right by your food, you're in your points range or whatever. You know exercise is good for you and part of being a healthy person.
Eat right, exercise, and watch your body change versus the all holy number.You and I are close to the same height and with muscle at 173 lbs I look good (size 10/12), without muscle I look good around 130 lbs (size 9/10). At the end of the day its how you look and how you feel.
bljeghbe' chugh vaj blHegh- Klingon for Surrender or Die
Weight Jan 2006- 257 lbs
Current weight-202.8 (5'7 1/2)
Goal weight-155 lbs.
Eat most of your calories at breakfast.
Eat mediumly at lunch.
Eat good snacks for the hours of hunger after lunch instead of dinner.
Dinner is unnecessary and debilitating to your metabolism before bed.
You don't need energy at night(when most likely you'll be sleeping!)like you do during the day so you don't need as much food in your belly.
Try it for a week.
If it doesn't work.
Try something else.
Hi ms beerab!
I posted this on another thread, and cut and pasted it below:
30 days, 90 minutes of Bikram Yoga, which apparently burns around 1100 calories a session. http://www.my-calorie-counter.com/Calories_Burned.asp
I'm eating 24 WW points per day (22 points plus a banana) for a total of around 1300 calories a day (each point is approximately 55 calories).
My BMR is approximately 1500 calories, assuming that I do NOTHING else that day (ie lie on the couch watching tv ). http://www.internetfitness.com/calculators/bmr.htm
I should be burning 1300 calories every day (BMR - WW points calories = 200 calories + 1100 Bikram calories = 1300)
1300 calories BURNED over and above BMR and intake x 7 days a week = 9100 calories.
9100 calories / 3500 calories per pound = 2.6 pounds.
With the math, I SHOULD BE LOSING 2.6 LBS PER WEEK.
Total weight loss in June?
I haven't been too concerned because it was up a bit, which didn't surprise me (I ate my 35 Flex point meal the night before weigh-in, meaning salt/water retention which is usual for me, then down a bunch, which was no surprise as I'm on track and eat my Flex point meal before the weekend, then up again which was definitely a surprise because I did what I've ALWAYS done throughout this process! Leaving a net of 1 lb for the month. If I'd been down, even 0.5 lbs, I wouldn't have been as concerned. But UP!!! EEEKK!!!! And I know it is early in the game to massively adjust things, so I thought I'd get as much input from those wise and more experienced Chickies on this forum!
Oh, and I started Hot Yoga 4xper week on 20 February, and if you look at the chart, there wasn't a great impact on my weight loss at that time...
And the thing with the "free foods" IS important. I'm going to review my journals and see if there are any holes in the last month. The ONLY thing I've made the point of adding is one banana a day. The value for a banana ranges between 1 and 2 depending on size, but I count them as 2 points regardless of size. One thing I've noted is that if I don't measure/weigh my food and over-estimate if there is a debate, my caloric intake creeps up. And I personally don't believe in the WW theory of "free foods", because all calories add up, so I tend to overestimate my points (like, add 1 point if I'm having a huge salad, because I KNOW that there are at least 55 calories in that "free serving"...)...
If you are eating 1300 calories a day and overestimating: then you might, just might be eating significantly lower. --and too oow for you for weight loss.
But, I don't know. I haven't seen the one seventies for years, so I've no idea what happens in the body at that weight. And I hate math. And I really hate these formulas which impose "shoulds."
I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you except that you should keep excercising and you should experiment with the food intake thing. Take the other chickies advice and let us know how it goes, my friend. I'm cheering for you.
You are going to have to experiment to find what works for you. Me? I have to eat at least half of my activity points to lose. If I don't eat them I don't lose but if I eat almost or all of them then I gain Go figure.
With your graph you are still seeing a downward trend even with the spikes...I have to tell you now that I'm down closer to goal it's becoming harder and harder to lose plus I've had to give myself a reality check when I wasn't losing 3lbs a week or more once I got below 200.
"The most exciting, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself."
Kira, you might like this link. More likely you've already found it googling Bikram and calories burned. But anyway, it's a woman who checked her calories burned in Bikram with her Polar monitor, and several responses to her blog indicate their results doing the same.
Started 4/14/08 LINK TO PROGRESS PICS 1/1/2009
"It is impossible to live pleasurably without living wisely, well, and justly, and it is impossible to live wisely, well, and justly without living pleasurably" Epicurus