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I am doing everything right and it does not work!!!

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Old 09-10-2006, 08:17 PM   #1
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Default I am doing everything right and it does not work!!!

This topic comes up a lot. I have seen the same question asked 100 different ways. This is not working - I am in starvation mode - I need to eat more, (starvation mode is real but way over blown as a cause of no weight loss IMHO), it is my genes, my metabolism is abnormal ... you name it. I am not making fun of those ideas at all. I have had all of them myself many times for years. I had a guy tell me the 3 biggest obstacles to change all took place between our ears. Rationalization, minimization and justification.

The numbers recorded in a food log -either on paper, at fitday or myfooddiary.com or anywhere for that matter are estimates. Think about it - from your RMR unless you have it tested, to the activity factor they use, to the exercise you do, even the food you log is at best an estimate. MFD and on-line food logs are tools. I happen to think they are great tools. However, like all tools used for estimation - you have to match prediction to reality.

For example - if you stay in the weight loss zone and don't lose weight there are a number of things that could be going on.

You could be retaining fluid. If so, wait a few weeks and look for trends. Are you trending down? If you scale is still not moving - now we have to look at all of the places our estimate of the real world may be off. One thing you can be assured of - no one is going to void the law of thermodynamics. Calories in vs calories out works for every human on the planet. (There are some rare medical conditions that can impede weight loss, thyroid for example) In my opinion, your diet (I use that in the sense of what you eat - not some plan you go on and off) is only 1/2 the equation. Exercise and physical activity are excellent and very complimentary methods of creating a calorie deficit.

Things to check -

1.) Is the RMR base rate correct. You can have this tested for about 50 dollars. If not, send in the correct number and see if that fixes the problem.

2.) They use a life activity factor that they multiply your RMR by to get your maintain weight number. I think for sedentary they use 1.25. It scales up for super active people - think full time regular army to 2.0 I believe. It may be higher. That estimate could be high. I work as a programmer. 1/1/2 hour a day commute, followed by 8-9 hours typing. I am not sure 1.25 the right number for me. I think it is closer to 1.15 - you need to really look at your daily activity and see if your number seems "real".

3.) Are you logging everything and of the things you are logging - how precise are you being? There was a study that looked at people that kept food logs. They found that across the board, they under estimated their actual calorie intake by between 250 and 1000 calories per day - with the average being 395 calories. Keep in mind, that is people like us TRYING to log accurately.

4.) Exercise calories - really this has to be the most subjective of all. Your intensity is key. Heart rate monitors are good and they do help but again they are an extrapolated number (estimate) of the O2 consumption based on heart rate. If you are logging 600 calories of exercise and in reality it is only 400 combined with other errors can end up with a mysterious - I am doing everything right and no weight loss.

The real deal bottom line - never go below 1200 calories gross if you are female and 1800 male. Try to lose weight eating as close to the suggested calorie number as possible. You want to lose weight while eating as much nutritious food as possible - with in reason. If you have eliminated any health issue and you are still not losing weight - start checking the above items. When you hit a true calorie deficit, you will lose weight over time. Weight loss is not linear - you can go for a few weeks with no loss. However, if you have a calorie deficit you WILL see a loss over time.

I went back and looked at my 6 month weight loss. 29 pounds over the last 26 weeks. I have been trying to lose 1 pound per week. There have been weeks when I gained a pound, weeks when I did not lose, weeks when I lost 2 pounds and weeks when I gained and lost the same darn pound over and over. You just can't look at anything but your overall trend. Make sure you have checked all the factors listed - get to a real and safe calorie deficit and with out a doubt, you will lose weight.

The last thing I would like to say is that when you really dig down to what your goals are - it is not really a number on the scale or a dress or pants size - it is your fitness. Your quality of life. I don't think any of us wants to hit some magic BMI weight only to find we have lost all of our muscle and while we might only weigh a "normal" weight, we are what people refer to as "thin" fat people. We have no endurance, strength and are set for rapid weigh gain. If we are going to make the journey to fitness, lets take the road that leads to strong healthy bodies and minds. I know we can all achieve that goal!

I wish everyone the very best!

If I can ever help anyone, please let me know.
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Old 09-10-2006, 09:01 PM   #2
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After losing 50 lbs in 7 months, I quit losing weight on 1400 calories a day (and I was a careful and honest tracker) and didn't start losing weight again until I started eating 1800 calories a day. I realize that I may be atypical, but it can happen.

I'm not a doctor/nutritionist/dietician, but just based on my own experiences, it seems reasonable that in the case of a perceived "famine" my body could react by holding onto stored fat reserves. That's exactly what I would want my body to do if I were really in danger of starving to death.

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Old 09-10-2006, 09:21 PM   #3
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After losing 50 lbs in 7 months, I quit losing weight on 1400 calories a day (and I was a careful and honest tracker) and didn't start losing weight again until I started eating 1800 calories a day. I realize that I may be atypical, but it can happen.

I'm not a doctor/nutritionist/dietician, but just based on my own experiences, it seems reasonable that in the case of a perceived "famine" my body could react by holding onto stored fat reserves. That's exactly what I would want my body to do if I were really in danger of starving to death.

Well my DOCTOR told me this would happen if I went below 1800 calories and said not to do it... that I would lose just as much weight on that with healthful foods as I would if I went lower because it would crank down my metabolism. I don't "count calories" (though I am aware of them) or log my food, etc. Just got on a healthful plan and stuck with it at around 1800 calories per day. With LOTS of exercise, I might add.

I am not predicting what is best for everyone but I have a LOT of confidence (proven worthy) in my doctor and it is WORKING... and I am never hungry, never feel deprived, have very few cravings for junk I don't need, and am losing weight, developing a healthy glow (as I am often told) and feeling better than ever. For me it's WORKING just as she said it would. And I told her that last week too. I'm glad I listened to her!!
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Old 09-10-2006, 11:02 PM   #4
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Charles -- When I saw the title of this post I knew those weren't your current words! Kudos on a thoughtful, clear and helpful post!

Just to echo what others have said, my experience at least has been that I have been successful losing on 2000 calories initially, and more like 1800 now. I started at nearly 300 pounds and I've lost about 107 pounds since July 05. I do get a fair bit of exercise and try to eat healthy most of the time. I know some people cannot lose with such figures, but I think a lot of people jump to lowering calories quite a bit without trying to figure out other aspects of the equation.
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Old 09-11-2006, 05:15 AM   #5
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Charles -- When I saw the title of this post I knew those weren't your current words! Kudos on a thoughtful, clear and helpful post!

Just to echo what others have said, my experience at least has been that I have been successful losing on 2000 calories initially, and more like 1800 now. I started at nearly 300 pounds and I've lost about 107 pounds since July 05. I do get a fair bit of exercise and try to eat healthy most of the time. I know some people cannot lose with such figures, but I think a lot of people jump to lowering calories quite a bit without trying to figure out other aspects of the equation.

Maybe I did not put my post as clear as I could. I am not advocating a very low calorie diet. I think you should eat as much as possible and still lose weight. You know if you look at it, when you take all the numbers - it works out that you CAN eat a lot if you add in some exercise and still lose weight. No arguments from me. I guess the point I was trying to make is the number of variables and the need to do a reality check. If you are doing everything right and not losing weight for months - you really need to check all areas of your plan.

I wish everyone the very best!
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Link is to an interview about my weight loss experience.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:01 AM   #6
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Charles -- I got what you were saying... and was trying to reiterate... but I think I got sidetracked in my response!
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:27 AM   #7
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I guess the point I was trying to make is the number of variables and the need to do a reality check. If you are doing everything right and not losing weight for months - you really need to check all areas of your plan.
Not THAT I completely agree with! And I would add ask your doctor!!! If you have a good one (as I am blessed to have) they really DO have valuable input!!
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Old 09-11-2006, 01:02 PM   #8
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Charles - You always have such valuable input!! Thanks!!
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Old 09-11-2006, 01:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Misti in Seattle View Post
I would add ask your doctor!!! If you have a good one (as I am blessed to have) they really DO have valuable input!!
You truly ARE blessed because your average Doctor knows VERY LITTLE about nutrition (it's basically skimmed over in a couple of hours at your average Medical School)!

I too am blessed with a wonderful Holistic Doctor (An MD with an amazing education, an open mind who continually educates himself and always is on the cutting edge of complementary medicine) who supports me in remaining drug-free and assists me in maintaining my health with only natural whole foods, remedies, therapies and supplements.
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Old 09-11-2006, 03:28 PM   #10
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Thanks Charles, I always enjoy your informative posts.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:22 PM   #11
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Thank you, Charles. I, too, always learn so much from your posts.
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Old 09-11-2006, 08:34 PM   #12
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You truly ARE blessed because your average Doctor knows VERY LITTLE about nutrition (it's basically skimmed over in a couple of hours at your average Medical School)!
Well my doctor also uses a lot of just plain old fashioned common sense!!! It's becoming a lost art as everyone wants to come up with some fantastic new "plan." They've spent a gazillion dollars figuring out what is healthful and what have they come up with? "Your mother was right... eat your vegetables."
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Old 09-12-2006, 05:36 PM   #13
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In my real life experience when I have said "I'm doing everything and not losing" or heard others say it, it is a verbalization of DENIAL.
I have never met a person who was truly eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of activity, and generally really doing everything "right" who DIDN'T lose weight or maintain their current weight (depending on what their goal was).
It takes alot of calories to maintain an overweight/obese body.... so unless there is truly a DIAGNOSED medical reason or medication that is causing the body to hold onto its weight, I truly don't believe that a person could be doing everything "right" and not lose weight at all. Even those who are close to goal and find it harder to lose still lose if they keep on track.
IMHO
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Old 09-12-2006, 10:40 PM   #14
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I agree, Amanda. Well said.
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Old 09-13-2006, 03:38 AM   #15
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Default Wow, thanks!!

Thank you soooo much Charles for your words; they have helped me much in getting back to the basics!!! Did you really loose all that weight and have only been here since 2005. You are definately someone I would take advise from anytime!!
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