Weight Loss Support - How to Break the Plateau...




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Romeos Girly
05-04-2007, 01:09 AM
On January 1st of this year, I weighed myself only to discover I had passed the 200 lb threshold. I decided it was time to get serious about losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. Since then, I have lost 25 pounds,but as of late, my weightloss has slowed down considerably. I had hoped to get down to a nice bathing suit weight by this summer, but this plateau has confounded me. It is always one step forward, one step back. I do have some theories on why I haven't been losing, but I would like people to weigh in (pun intended).

Could it be that I'm eating too few calories? I'm 5'7", female, weigh 176 and I eat about 1200 calories a day, mostly fruits, veggies with some lean meats.

I've also started lifting weights which I know can add pounds, but I wasn't losing much before then.

I try and run four or five times a day for 30 minutes but alergies have slowed me down some.

What do you think? Should I ramp up more? Try higher protein? Slow down and add more calories?


redlight
05-04-2007, 01:47 AM
How long have you been at this weight?

Are you losing inches? Are your clothes fitting differently?

1200 cals might be too little.

50lbs2go
05-04-2007, 01:55 AM
you need to up the calories since you are weight lifting also try to add more water. just a suggestion.


JayEll
05-04-2007, 08:13 AM
Hey! 25 pounds is great! Don't forget that!

Your age also goes into the calories calculation--but you don't sound like you're over 40. Are you?

I think you meant you run four or five times a week, not day. ;)

How do you track your calories? Are you using FitDay or some other tool? I ask because it's easy to underestimate calories.

Do you stay on track with 1200 and then go off program once or twice a week and eat more, maybe a lot more? That will sometimes stall weightloss.

Based on what you've said, it could be that 1200 is too low. One thing to try is to raise your calories to 1300 or 1400 and see if that changes anything--up or down. Stay there for at least a week--I am an advocate of NOT making sudden, large changes in calorie intake. Drinking more water is also a good thing, if you're not getting 64 to 80 ounces a day.

And most of all, be patient! Plateaus can go on for a long time--in fact, some folks here say that it has to be a month before it's a plateau. Don't give up! Stick with it!

Jay

jillybean720
05-04-2007, 08:25 AM
You said your loss has slowed, not stalled completely. How often do you weigh yourself? Do you track your weight over time?

Another thing to remember is that the closer you get to your goal, the harder it is to lose the weight. The more you have to lose, the faster you lose it. Since you don't have as much to lose now as you did when you started, it will come off slower.

rockinrobin
05-04-2007, 08:43 AM
Eating 1200 calories a day should provide you with a weightLOSS. Are you tracking your calories?- carefully. Those pesky little calories really have a way of sneaking up on us. Maybe you want to try tracking them really, really closely for a few days and see what numbers you come up with. After you do that you will know where you can make adjustments.

IMO, it not only matters the amount of calories, but also the quality of calories. In other words I lose more steadily if I eat low fat proteins and veggies and high fiber instead of 1200 calories of high carbs and the such.

You also mentioned you haven't been walking as much due to allergies. Why not consider some indoor exercise?

Trial and error is the only way to bust a plateau. So try some different things. Be patient and hang in there. You'll figure it out. This weightloss process is sometimes very tedious and frustrating - but so very worth it. Good luck.

Romeos Girly
05-04-2007, 01:52 PM
To answer people's questions:
Yes, I did mean I jog four or five times a week, not day

I've recently started using fitday to track my caloric input.

I'm drinking pleanty of water: 2 liters a day and 2 cups of coffee (sometimes uncaffinated tea as well)

I haven't stopped losing weight but I have slowed considerably. For the first 12 weeks of my diet I was losing about 1.75 pounds a week. In the past 6 weeks I've lost three pounds. I know that that is nothing to turn my nose at, but it is frustrating.

If I were to add another 100 or 200 calories, what should I add? The tempting answer is of course a cookie or ice cream but I know I can do better. Right now I eat cheerios for breakfast, a salad with a bit of lean protein for lunch, a balanced dinner, and one fruit and one vegetable for snacks. Should I add more protein if I’m trying to build muscle?

jillybean720
05-04-2007, 02:37 PM
I might try to add some protein in with breakfast. It doesn't need to be greasy bacon ro sausage or anything, but maybe something like a small handful of almonds--that'll easily add up to 100-200 calories. But that's just my suggestion since I never understand how anyone can survive on cold cereal for lunch--even a high-fiber, higher protein cereal leaves me starving not long after :dizzy:

rockinrobin
05-04-2007, 02:46 PM
I'm just a little puzzled though, why would you consider adding calories if you're trying to lose weight? I know for me I have been steadily decreasing my calories as I get smaller, because my body no longer requires the same amount of calories that it used AND I am trying to create a deficit. If you were to add another 100 or 200 calories, how about a low fat yogurt or you can add some avocado or nuts or beans to your salad. All very healthy additions. Or perhaps an extra snack of baby carrots, sliced peppers and a tablespoon of hummus.

Anyway I know it can be frustrating, but really 3 pounds in six weeks averages out to 1/2 lb, which is really, really well within a "normal" range of weightloss. As we get smaller we're naturally going to lose it slower. This weightloss process is often frustrating. The only way to know for sure what will "work" is through trial and error. Am often annoying and slow process. But eventually we figure it out. And it sure is worth all the effort. :)

Romeos Girly
05-04-2007, 02:52 PM
'm just a little puzzled though, why would you consider adding calories if you're trying to lose weight? I know for me I have been steadily decreasing my calories as I get smaller, because my body no longer requires the same amount of calories that it used AND I am trying to create a deficit.

I'm considering adding calories because I worry that if I am at too much of a deficit, my metabolism will slow down, which may account for the slowing in weight loss.

rockinrobin
05-04-2007, 03:03 PM
I'm considering adding calories because I worry that if I am at too much of a deficit, my metabolism will slow down, which may account for the slowing in weight loss.

I really wouldn't worry too much that this is the case with you, though of course you never know. Eating 1200 calories worth shouldn't get you too much of a deficit. Because a deficit is what we want in this case. I guess the only way you will know for sure is to check it out by tracking your calories very carefully for 2 weeks or so and see what occurs. We are all so different and need to figure out for ourselves just what will work. Good luck. :)

Meg
05-04-2007, 03:16 PM
Before I did anything else, I'd increase my exercise if I were you. :) Cardio exercise, like running, is your big calorie burner. So when you aren't able to do it as often, your body is going to have a lot more trouble creating the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.

In my opinion, cutting down on running and then adding calories would be a recipe for a weight gain. I can't imagine how those two things would cause you to lose fat. :?:

How about some indoor cardio? Do you belong to a gym? Do you have any equipment at home, like a treadmill, bike, or elliptical? I would recommend that you shoot for 5 - 6 days of moderate intensity cardio, at least 30 minutes at a time (more is OK). Try adding in cardio intervals - bursts of high intensity activity.

I'll bet that more exercise will get the scale moving again. :)

JayEll
05-04-2007, 04:15 PM
I agree--if you're still losing, although slowly, you aren't really on a plateau, so there's nothing to break. :D rockinrobin and Meg have some good tips there--I'd see how it goes to keep your calories the same and increase your cardio.

Jay

Romeos Girly
05-04-2007, 06:09 PM
Thanks for all the great advise. I am going to keep careful track of my calories and try and get out running again. This is my first thread on 3FC and I am blown away by how nice and helpful everyone is!

trekkiegirl
05-05-2007, 03:00 AM
Wow, RomeosGirly, are you my twin??? :o

On January 1st of this year, I weighed myself only to discover I had passed the 200 lb threshold. I decided it was time to get serious about losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle.
That's when I decided, too. And I had passed the same threshold...was 202.

Since then, I have lost 25 pounds,but as of late, my weightloss has slowed down considerably.
Ditto and ditto! I've lost 25, too, almost all of it in the first 3 months.

I'm 5'7", female, weigh 176 and I eat about 1200 calories a day
I'm 5'7", female, weigh 177 and eat about 1200-1500 cals a day!

I try and run four or five times a day for 30 minutes but alergies have slowed me down some.
I've been slowed down by a cold that's been building for a couple of weeks and taken a lot out of me. :( I've been coughing a lot for days now, to the point it's hard to fall asleep when I start coughing every few minutes. Hence, I'm still up at 2 am. :p

Anyway, I don't have anything to offer that hasn't already been said. I just thought it was cool how much we had in common! :hug:

Romeos Girly
05-05-2007, 02:07 PM
Wow! We are twins! That's crazy! This morning I did go out running again and it felt great to get moving. Hopefully, getting active will start the weight loss again.

IslandFluff
05-07-2007, 10:45 PM
I joined a body makeover group and our coach stressed the importance of more protein. While I opted for the WW program, many others opted for the protein shake and bar route. I can say out of 33 people, I places 7th for inches lost (10 3/4). I did make sure I was taking in more protein and one of the better things I found was the Kashi cereals. The Go Lean has 13g of protein and the Crunch has 9g. They are fairly taste too, a lot of crunch and slightly sweet.

Keep up the good work and remember fat doesn't taste as good as skinny feels!

Hollie

BooBear2071
05-08-2007, 07:40 AM
Eating 1200 calories a day should provide you with a weightLOSS. A

I agree I have never understood the *eat more* theory. For me it just puts weight on. Whether water or whatever I always gain. Plus when you do that it is impossible to say what is causing the stall. It could be calories etc. If you stay the course on calories at least you know where you are.

I do think it might be related to the exercise. I also have had to stop my exercise (which is just light walking) due to not feeling well and yes I have basically stalled.

I am going to try protien. I think I heard on these boards that protien is harder to digest and actually makes your metabolism work harder. So it is about 70% of the calories that might be listed.

I do think that as you lose your metabolism drops. But IMHO that doesn't mean you can't lose weight -- you just have to adjust. I think plateaus as such are caused by not finding the right adjustments.

JayEll
05-08-2007, 07:59 AM
Boobear, try for 30% protein, not 70%. I think the latter is way too high. :)

Jay

rockinrobin
05-08-2007, 08:44 AM
Boobear in order to keep my metabolisim "moving" I eat frequently throughout the day. I eat every 2 hours or so. 3 meals and 3 snacks. And without a doubt exercise will keep that metabolisim moving. Another thing, are you doing any kind of strength training? Muscle is really a weightloss tool, among other things. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn just standing still.

And 70% is too high. What I do is just make sure every meal and every snack has some protein. Breakfast is a combo high fiber/high-ish protein cereal with protein filled skim milk. Lunch has more protein, either tuna or a soy product or egg white omlette. Dinner more protein, either chicken breast or fish. Snacks yogurt, low fat cheeses, nuts, peanut butter - watch your amounts carefully with the nuts and peanut butter - more protein. There's also beans.

JayEll
05-08-2007, 08:52 AM
Wait--BooBear, did you mean that whatever the amount of calories a protein has listed, it's really only 70% of that because of metabolism? I think we misunderstood what you were saying. Heh. :)

Jay

Beach Patrol
05-08-2007, 10:41 AM
I've been at this particular plat-toe (160 lbs) for almost a month now. I am starting to eat more fruits & veggies (the closer summer gets, the more I eat them... I like them really fresh!) - so I have a feeling my "toe" will be over soon.

Here's hoping! - cause the more fresh fruits/veggies I eat & the less meat & so forth, my body responds so much better. :crossed:

BooBear2071
05-08-2007, 02:21 PM
Wait--BooBear, did you mean that whatever the amount of calories a protein has listed, it's really only 70% of that because of metabolism? I think we misunderstood what you were saying. Heh. :)

Jay

Good girl! Yes I think you misunderstood (but it is me too since I generally post on here either at work -- where I have to get off fast -- or at home where my kitten is trying to get my attention)

But what I was going for is that if say you eat 120 worth of protien calories, since it is not digested well, you may only absorb 80 calories of that. And thus only get 80 calories. I think that might make sense given how low carb diets did seem to have a big effect on loss and those who were on them insisted that they didn't cut calories. But they sure likely increased protien.

heyalexia
05-08-2007, 02:26 PM
When I hit a plateau I changed both my eating habits and exercise habits. I didn't eat more becuase I was already eating 1500 calories, but I did change what I was eating. My body got used to what I was eating and it was nothing new, so I started to try new foods. As with exercise I tried a new routine each day. I was stuck on doing the same thing all the time and I just decided to change it each day. It not only helped with boredem but it tricked my body. Its all about tricking your mind. Your body gets used to your routine from time to time. Good luck!

JayEll
05-08-2007, 03:02 PM
Hey BooBear--yeah, I see! Duh... ;) I'm not sure I believe that about protein, but I am currently trying to increase my protein and decrease my fats (as 3FC-er Meg recommended to me in the Exercise forum) to see how that will go.

Heyalexia, yes, changing something seems like a good idea! I don't want to increase my calories--that seems like the wrong way to go--so I'm changing some of my foods and exercise.

Jay

jillybean720
05-08-2007, 05:53 PM
I agree I have never understood the *eat more* theory. For me it just puts weight on.
But, as always, everyone is different ;) I've been counting calories on and off for about 3 years now (and was still well aware of calories long before that, just hadn't been keeping track formally). At one point in my journey, I was eating about 1200 calories a day (ranging from about 1150 up to 1300, but averaging about 1200). And yes, I'm an avid measurer and counter and recorder/tracker--I KNOW what I'm taking in. Anyway, I was doing great with the 1200 calories for a few months, and then it was like I hit a brick wall. BAM! I stalled and did not lose any weight for 3 months. Yeah, it sucked. And yes, I was still counting and tracking and measuring the whole time--when I'm in my zone, I don't let ANY calories "sneak" in :p

So then I became extremely frustrated. Who wouldn't when they're still well over 250 pounds and eating an average of 1200 calories a day and not losing any weight for 3 months? So I became a bit more lax. I kept tracking and counting, but I became less strict with myself. I stopped weighing myself as often and stopped trying to stick close to the 1200 calorie mark. I ended up at an average of closer to 1600 calories over the course of the next month (a little over 1600, but not quite 1650), and I lost 10 pounds. And no, I didn't increase my exercise or intensity during that time, nor the types of foods I was eating (I didn't randomly go vegetarian or all organic or anything).

So, it DOES happen. I believe that sometimes, our bodies just need a little wake up call, and shaking things up a bit, even by increasing the calories, can sometimes be the solution. Our bodies settle into patterns, and even though it may be counterintuitive, it does work for some people. I'm not saying it's a cure all for EVERYONE'S plateaus, but it certainly worked for me, and I know it has worked for some others as well.

Just because we don't understand something or it doesn't work for us personally, doesn't mean it's wrong or doesn't work for anyone :^:

JayEll
05-08-2007, 11:13 PM
Jilly, you could have been eating too few calories at that weight, and also for your age. In my case I don't do well if I go up over 1500. Everyone is individual that way.

Good for you for breaking through!

Jay

jillybean720
05-09-2007, 06:24 AM
Jilly, you could have been eating too few calories at that weight, and also for your age. In my case I don't do well if I go up over 1500. Everyone is individual that way.
Oh, I know, but people are saying they don't understand how increasing calories could ever help, so I was just giving a real life example. Even some people at lower weights need higher calories because they've got higher metabolism--there's no one-size-fits-all to dieting :)

JayEll
05-09-2007, 07:53 AM
Yeah, Jilly, what you said! :D

Jay

Romeos Girly
05-09-2007, 01:28 PM
Thanks for all the great input everyone! I have been checking my calorie intake very carefully and have tried to keep it between 1200-1300. I have completely fallen in love with www.thedailyplate.com and have been trying to balance my carb and protein intake as well. The end result is I have lost one more pound and I am optimistic about losing another. If things continue to be slow I may consider raising my intake 100 calories or lowering it as I continue to try and find that sweet spot. :)

JayEll
05-09-2007, 02:22 PM
Congratulations on losing that pound! :cb: :broc: :cb: :broc:

Jay