Weight Loss Support - Beyond depressed about this plateau..

04-02-2009, 04:18 PM
I'm going absolutely crazy here, I'm hoping somebody might have a little bit of insight for me. Here's a little bit of background information:

I've been overweight all my life, and I'm 19. I used to be able to lose weight easily in the past. I did some things I'm not proud of after I dropped out of high school, and ended up in the hospital for an accidental drug overdose, after which I was at my lowest weight ever of about 119 (I'm 5'2"). After this, I moved out of my house and the weight just piled on at an alarming rate. I gained 10 pounds a month for 5-6 months. I ignored it until I could no longer buy pants at any of the "normal" stores. I started getting really serious about changing my life on December 1st of last year, and I lost about 1 pound a week trying my absolute hardest, with one 2 week plateau in between.

I haven't lost ANYTHING in a month. I cry everyday when I get on the scale, hoping it will show a loss. I have about 30 pounds left to lose (I'm still in the overweight range, I started right at the obese range). I am thinking I'm doing everything right. I obsessively track my calories, 1300-1600 every day. I cycle them to keep my body guessing. I do cardio 6 days a week for 30 minutes, and I added in strength training a month and a half ago and have been incorporating that in. I make sure to get plenty of protein, and I limit my sugar.

I've asked a couple different doctors about this in the past, because I think there's something wrong with my body after my drug overdose. Nobody will believe me. I'm trying so hard, and not seeing any results. Not even a smaller pant size (I still seem to wear the same size as when I started).

I've thought just stopping weighing myself completely, but that's a terrifying concept. What if I start gaining? What if I think I'm losing and get my hopes and then have no pounds or inches lost still? I'm bipolar and I feel like I'm headed toward a breakdown..

04-02-2009, 04:28 PM

Take a deep breath and breathe! Someone once described a plateau as your body's ability to stabilize at a lower weight. You have lost 32 lbs! Amazing!

Take one day at a time. Maybe you can try a new exercise that you are interested in? I think it's pretty common for our weight loss to stall, start and stop at certain points. It sounds like you are doing all of the right things--just stick with it. Eventually your body will release the weight again.

Lori Bell
04-02-2009, 04:35 PM
In your 1300 to 1600 calories a day, what kind of food do you eat? IMHO not all calories are created equal. Do you eat frozen dinners, much processed stuff? 100 calorie packs? lots of diet soda? What would a typical days food look like?

04-02-2009, 04:44 PM
1) A month isn't really *that* long, in the grand scheme. I know it feels that way -- I know! I've had six-month and nine-month plateaus! -- but it's fairly common to stall for that long. So don't despair! Maybe stopping weighing yourself *daily* and pick one day a week for awhile.

2) I'm only an inch shorter than you and I can't lose if I eat 1600 calories a day. I'm at about 1400 right now and I weigh more than you. You're a lot younger than me, so it should be easier for you, but sometimes our bodies are just stubborn no matter what they *should* be doing.

3) Knowing a typical day's menu will help people give you better advice. If you're too carb-heavy, for instance, you might want to get more protein. There are lots of ways to mess up eating while staying within your calorie range, unfortunately.

4) Do you have time to do more exercise? 30 minutes is good, but 45-60 could help jump start things again, even if you only went longer a couple days a week.

Don't give up! You're on the right track and you've been really successful so far. Something will work eventually, you just have to take a deep breath and remind yourself to be patient.

04-02-2009, 05:34 PM
Thanks guys.. I really needed to vent, and I appreciate your advice.

I know that it would help to give a typical days menu, but I'm a little hesitant for my menu to be criticized at this point. Here is some information that hopefully will help?

I've cut out all fast food, all drinks except water, and ramen (I used to eat ramen all the time). My meals are usually 200-300 calories and I eat often. I eat one cup of life cereal with 1/2 cup of milk the mornings (I know there are probably other cereals that are better, but I won't give up life!). I get my protein mostly from organic peanut butter (I weigh out 1 tbsp), tuna, lunch meat, and whole wheat products (who knew grains could have protein?). I also am a huge fan of air popped popcorn for when I just need to snack.

I know I need to work on eating more fruits and vegetables (I eat salads sometimes and take Juice Plus+, which is basically fruits and vegetables condensed into pill form), and further limiting my sodium. I am wondering if maybe thistoo is right and I need to not be eating 1600 calories on my high calorie days.

I'll try to up my activity even more and see if that helps. I've recently started riding my bike, playing the drums, and I also play DDR, so I'm trying to mix it up. I've also been doing Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred (kicks my butt). Thanks for the input so far!

04-02-2009, 05:53 PM
Well, you're not going to like my suggestion. ;)

I think you're not eating enough.

I entered your stats into a calorie burn calculator and it says at your age, weight, and activity level, you would lose weight on 1800 calories a day.

If you eat too little, your body will hang on. Everyone says the magic number is 1200, but you can actually be eating too little at a higher level than that, if you are exercising regularly and almost daily. And you are young. It sounds like your weight gain was due to overeating and underexercising.

I've also heard of people who "damage" their metabolism with certain drugs, like amphetamines, but I'm not sure any scientific studies have been done. It might be that people who use amphetamines or other speedy drugs just get so depleted that once they stop using, they overeat.

I'd suggest that you either work with a trainer at a gym, or see a dietitian or nutritionist, and get more information about how much you should be eating.


04-02-2009, 05:58 PM
Well, you're not going to like my suggestion. ;)

I think you're not eating enough.

I wish this were true for me. I know it's true for a lot of people. Some of us just got unlucky, I guess. I've experimented with this myself during plateaus and it doesn't work for me to up my calories, but the OP's mileage may vary. I hope it does, for her sake!

04-02-2009, 06:57 PM
You say you are eating ramen. Ramen has a lot of sodium(salt) Salt cause you to retain water, which will reflect on your scale.

04-02-2009, 07:29 PM
I think she meant she had cut out ramen, but I could be wrong.

You've gotten some great advice here. I'd just like to add that when my weight loss stalls it's usually when I stop measuring my portions and eating more convenience-type foods. I'm especially bad at measuring peanut butter, so I have to limit it now. Switching to a whole foods approach usually helps to jump start it.

I really think there's no substitute for fresh fruits and veggies. You might be able to replace some of the vitamins and minerals with a pill, but not the experience of eating them fresh. They help me to get more fiber in, feel fuller for longer, bulk up my meals, etc. It doesn't have to be hard. Maybe have some cantaloupe or berries with your cereal, make lettuce wraps with the lunch meat, have an apple as a snack, and add artichokes, tomatoes, spinach, peppers or zucchini to your pasta at dinner. The same goes for quality sources of protein. Whole wheat products do have protein in them, but if you're working out then you need more protein then they can give you for the calories. If you don't like meat then you can always add in beans, legumes, tofu, etc.

Which is not to say that I'm criticizing your food choices, because at 32 lbs lost you're obviously doing something right! I also know that not everyone likes veggies, and that's ok too. I just think that when you're stuck and you've changed up your exercise and calorie range then the next thing to mix up would be your food choices. It's worth a shot.

04-02-2009, 08:07 PM
Thanks again! Kind of confusing to be told to eat more and also to eat less, in the same thread, but I know that it's not a simple formula that fits everybody, so that's ok.

JoyfulVegGirl was right, I meant to say that I had cut OUT ramen, where-as before I was eating it once or even twice a day. I was also eating fast food once a day. I shudder to think about those calories now.

I'm a plan oriented person, so I'm going to try to take some of what you guys have said and turn it into plan form:
1. Breathe, and chill out. There is no time limit for getting to a healthy weight, especially since I don't have any major health problems. Keep exercising, keep eating (healthily) within my calories. Don't be so disappointed when the scale doesn't move for a month. As Jillian might say, you have to trust the process!
2. Play around with my calories some more. I'll try raising them a little bit first, while upping my exercise, and mostly just eat more when I'm exercising for 60+ minutes that day. Healthy calories though!
3. I hate to say this, but you guys are right that I really need to start eating some of the dreaded fruits and vegetables! Summer is coming, I'm sure there will be lots of lovely produce to buy.

I'm struggling with my last idea... I'm not sure if I should stop weighing myself. Every morning for the last month, I've been disappointed when I've stepped on the scale. I don't know how well the scale is actually measuring my progress right now, as I've just started to incorporate a lot of strength training into my exercise program. I'm not sure how much muscle a female can actually build in a week (probably not enough to justify me not losing ANYTHING).

I guess I need to get a few thing through my head: (I'm really into lists.. sorry)
1. If I keep strength training, I am bound to look better and more toned even if I don't lose a lot (or any) weight.
2. Also on strength training, if I keep adding muscle to my body my metabolism will (hopefully) slowly increase, and the fat will eventually come off.
3. I don't know why I'm so miserable with my diet, because I actually LOVE the food that I eat. I love lean ground turkey, I love organic peanut butter (in measured amounts), I love organic fruit preserves with no sugar added, I love salad and I love whole grains! I need to stop feeling so sorry for myself.
4. Finally, and most importantly, there is much more to this journey than just losing weight. I want to be healthy, I want to have a kickbutt cardiovasculuar system, I want to have muscles, I want to feel strong and good about myself. Also, I've never stuck to a healthy lifestyle for this long (started making small changes about 6 months ago), so that's an accomplishment in itself.

I'm going to stop rambling now, I just had to talk some sense into myself. Thanks guys.

04-03-2009, 01:27 AM
Hi Peccavi!

Please don't give up!

I think what would really help you aside from the food suggestions others have already given you above-- is upping your cardio routine to at least 45 minutes 5-6 days a week. (*And also shake up your cardio routine too from time to time).

You're starting strength training (like I am :)) and you'll lose weight eventually from the added muscles :)

I also have my weight slowing down so I understand exactly how you feel.

Hang in there and keep posting! :)

~ tea