100 lb. Club - Accepting (VERY) slow weight loss.

03-29-2012, 01:53 PM
I am having a hard time accepting the fact that losing weight now seems nigh impossible. When I decided to live healthier, eat better, and exercise more last March... I lost 8-10lbs per month, without really changing *what* I ate, just less of it (well I did cut out fast food, fried food and non-diet soda), and doing some light cardio a few times a week (Leslie Sansone videos)... I was working at Lowe's at the time, and on my feet walking around a lot, though towards the end I had a torn ligament in my ankle and a moon boot, and still managed to lose at the same rate just by changing my settings in MFP from "lightly active" to "sedentary" and not working out at all (with the exception of a video I found online for office pilates).

When I moved in August, 5 months after I started, I had lost 50 pounds and was SO PROUD. I thought okay, I'll have a set back from the moving and the fast food and the settling, but I'll get back to it and keep going! Only that didn't really happen because I didn't (and still don't) have a job that keeps me moving, and all of the food-centered events with fried chicken and pot luck desserts, etc. So I decided "okay, I'll take a break, adjust, and see what I can do about maintaining"... During that time I bounced around between 245 and 250. Then all the holiday stuff happened from the end of September to the end of January and I basically had a "free for all" and gained 30 pounds back.

February 1, back up to 276, I decided I couldn't handle the backslide and got back to business of counting my calories and visiting the gym. Being GOOD.

Only, in the 2 months since I've rededicated to losing this weight... I've only lost 6 pounds. I use MFP to track my calories and I checked my range to lose 1-2lbs per week and it's 1500-2000 calories per day (on a sedentary activity level). I added strength training to my routine. I lift 2-3 days a week, I do 60 mins of cardio 2-3 days a week, and I rest 1-2 days a week. I faithfully add the calories that my HRM says I've burned, and usually eat some of them back. I leave the default to 2000 which is what I would need to eat sitting on my butt to lose 1 pound per week. Most days I don't go over that. I have been as high as 2200 (my food scale broke -probably because I dropped it- so I usually count all meat as 2 servings and use measuring cups or spoons for the rest), but that is on days I work out.

My HRM says I burn between 700 and 1000 calories per session at the gym. I generally try to keep my net calories above 1200, but sometimes that's difficult to do because I only eat in the late afternoon and evening. Early morning eating makes me nauseated and as soon as I eat anything, I want to eat (until I'm full) for the rest of the day. I save my calories for a big meal for dinner so I'm full and not eating mindlessly at night, which is probably what caused me to gain in the first place.

I don't know if it's just that the weight is being stubborn, or the strength training is still keeping me from losing pounds (I have lost inches though!), or if I just need to add more calories in the form of protein shakes after lifting, but my weight loss is at a crawl, and I'm having a hard time accepting that.

Words of advice, encouragement, thoughts, etc are welcome.


03-29-2012, 02:26 PM
I lose slow too. This is what I do, and about me. Maybe it can help you relate.

I work in an office... but I make sure I get 6K steps in before I go home. I plan ALL my meals. I do IF. I NEVER eat my calories back from working out. I have my activity level in my tracker app as sedentary and to lose 2lbs a week. I burn, according to my Fitbit, about 2500 cals a day. I eat 1400-1600 cals a day, with one 2000 cal day on the weekends. I practice IF and calorie cycling. I drink 140+ oz of water a day, and usually 3 mugs of tea... sometimes a can of cherry coke zero.

Since I started this, in November 2010, I've lost 86lbs. Some months, I'll lose 10lbs. Other months, I'll lose 1... or just maintain.

I hold water from EVERYTHING. Carbs, sodium, working out too much, sore muscles, too much sleep, too little sleep, being off my sleep schedule... So many more reasons, its tiring. My body gets to "comfort" weights. 250 was one, 222 - 218 was one, 200 was one. It takes a GIANT kick in my body's pants to move past that number and its hard as HECK to get away from it.

I never go over my calories, save for one wedding last year. My advice? Lower your cals. Don't eat back your workout cals. Up your water. Give it a few more weeks.

Good luck! :)

03-29-2012, 02:31 PM
I can relate. In the past, I would always lost 2-4lbs a week. If I lost less than 2lbs, it was a "bad" week for me. Now I'm losing at an average of 1.5-1.7 lbs per week. It's a healthy rate, a good rate, but it's been hard adjusting to that when I was used to so much more.
All I can really suggest is to make sure you measure yourself as well. The scale might not be reflecting what the measurements will. And just keep going. You are doing so good!
Sorry I can't be of more help. :(

03-29-2012, 02:39 PM
Health problems that limit activity and aging (I'm guessing) and a body that doesn't adapt well to change (with my fibro, any drastic change in diet, activity, or even weather or sleep triggers severe flares of pain and fatigue) all combine to make slow weight loss the only weight loss that I can acheive.

It's ironic though that on this "slow" path, I've lost better, and have felt better about myself and my weight loss, than I ever did when I was on quicker paths. What I THOUGHT was slow weight loss then is four or five times faster than I'm achieving now.

I had to do a lot of redefinining. I always had seen a stall on the scale as failure, now I choose to see it as amazing success, because I make my first and foremost goal "not gaining." This makes quitting a lot less tempting, because I get to celebrate almost every time I get on the scale.

Slow weight loss (or anything on this earth) is only disappointing if you expect something different.

03-29-2012, 02:40 PM
I'd say keep doing what you are doing, you are still losing weight its just not at super speed, so you are still doing the right thing, as long as you are losing even a little bit you are in the right direction don't let that discourage you , I know you are use to the fast loss rate you had in the beginning but that isn't always sustainable and if you are losing inches you are definitely going in the right direction.

03-29-2012, 04:59 PM
While I don't have any advice, I can definitely relate. I've calculated that on average, I've lost less than a quarter of a pound per week since my highest point in 2004. I just keep plugging away as much as I can. Sometimes I go through great spurts of weight loss, losing 25-40 pounds in a matter of months, followed by months or even years of plateaus/maintenance. Did go through a gain of about 20 pounds in the last six months or so due to a crazy amount of stress, but put my foot down and got serious about weight loss again earlier this month.

I think all we can do is forgive ourselves for any issues we've had and just do what we can every day. We can't expect ourselves to be perfect, especially since we can still get positive results without it. :hug:

03-29-2012, 05:21 PM
or the strength training is still keeping me from losing pounds (I have lost inches though!)

Inches is what changes dress size, not pounds. :)

Remember the limitation of the scale. It's "dumb" in the sense that it will only show weight change. Not from WHAT.

You may very well be losing fat tissue. But with the strength training you are putting on muscle tissue at the same time. The scale isn't going to report -5 lbs fat and +2 lbs muscle. It's just going to show -3 lbs or whatever.

Keep going! And don't worry about the rate.

Your inches are changing so you are def making progress!

And up here in the "Lots to lose" 100+ category? Time will pass anyway. -1 lb a week is STILL 52 lbs a year. You are going to turn that down? 3500 calories shaved off a week? 182,000 calories? Put a dollar sign in front -- would you turn that down?

I'll take that! Me! Me! (I also play in "Dieting with Obstacles" and let me tell ya... when "slow" to me means 1 lb or less a month, losing -1 lb a week is speedy! ;) )

We're all different -- just keep your sense of humor and hang in there for the duration. You are doing everything you can, and your body will heal at its own pace.


03-29-2012, 08:19 PM
don't get discouraged, Mandy. But I would also suggest that you don't eat back the calories burned. Try staying at 1500 or so calories eaten, regardless of what you burn. Inches ARE important, too, but I know how it feels to see the numbers drop on the scale. I think you probably are building muscle now and that may slow things down a bit, but I think you can expect to lose about 1% a week on 1500 calories eaten. Although, I'm saying that because that's how it worked for me. Keep it up - you'll get there.


03-29-2012, 09:44 PM
In the beginning I was doing the same thing you were in regards to the heart rate monitor.

I have a timex heart rate monitor and it was giving me very generous calorie burn readings, and I at first thought it could be possible because its gaging by my heart rate (I use a chest strap heart rate monitor) so it must know my accurate calorie burn. Boy was I wrong, after one particularly hard workout for almost 2 hours it gave me a reading of 1490 calories burned, and as much as I wanted to claim those calories I couldn't because I knew they weren't accurate. I emailed my diabetes and lipids specialist and he gave me some professional article information about how different hrm companies use different formulas to provide the calories burned but in the end they are all estimates. He told me not to even pay attention to what the hrm says in regards to calories burned, instead take my average heart rate and plug it into this online calculator. http://www.braydenwm.com/calburn.htm.

I weigh 250lbs as of today and in order for my hrm to even come close to what my actual calorie burn is I have to put in the settings that I am only 120lbs.

I have been losing significantly by making this change and by not eating back my calories that I burn. My lose it app says that I should have 1600 calories a day to lose 1-2lbs a week and my doctor says he would like to see me in the 1200 to 1400 range but thats because with me being 250lbs it would be more beneficial to get me closer to 200 for health reasons, as quickly and safely as possible. I dont know if this will help, everyone is different but I did notice you are using a heart rate monitor and I had issues with the accuracy of the readings of mine.

Dont give up, its frustrating believe me I understand that but I like to think that maybe its supposed to be hard to lose all this weight so that we will want to keep it off!

03-29-2012, 11:06 PM
that calculator is within 20 calories of my heart rate monitor for my last 3 workouts, so i'm going to assume it's close to correct. when i work out sweat is dripping off of me, and my avg heart rate gets up to about 145-150 with a peak at 180 on my highest incline/resistance on the elliptical or treadmill. i work hard because i want the weight to come off. if i'm only eating 1500 calories, and burning off 900 of those in exercise and approximately 500 by daily activity, that only leaves 100 for my body to function on... and my BMR is around 2000... is that even healthy?

03-29-2012, 11:08 PM
Are you feeling hungry? Dizzy? Anything bad?


03-29-2012, 11:15 PM
when i exercise? not at all. just sweaty and red faced. i'm always starving after my workout though, and i tend to eat yogurt afterwards. but i haven't gone below 1800 calories in a while either, especially not on days when i do an intense workout.

edited to add: 1800 is what i'm supposed to eat to lose approx 1.5 pounds per week just sitting on my butt not working out at all - according to MFP which seems to be lower than most other sites.

03-30-2012, 12:04 AM
Mandy - your body gets the full number of calories eaten as nutrition. Your body "functions" on those nutrients and stored fat and muscle. If you ate nothing at all, your body would still have energy to burn from stored fat, etc. Not that you should eat nothing - I'm just using that as an example.

try a whey protein drink right after intense exercise and see if that helps. And just try for a week or so not eating back the calories burned.

What you have to remember, BMR takes into consideration your activity level, so if you need a certain number of calories at a certain activity level to "exist," you can't eat back exercise calories because they are already in the equation. At age 30, and your height and weight, there is only about a 300 calorie difference between sedentary and slightly active, and 300 more to get to moderately active.

This worked for me - that isn't to say it will work for everyone - I NEVER ate back calories. I kept it at about 1500 a day, but had days where I went over a bit and probably had days where I went under. For the 38 weeks I was losing, I never had a week where I gained. One week I lost 0, and a couple times I lost less than 1/2 pound, but I never gained in all those weeks. I had few distractions, I live alone, I don't mind eating salad 4 nights a week for supper. Everyone is not so lucky to be able to lose with those wonderful conditions, but I also went on 4 mini vacations (long weekends) that involved lots of food time with friends, had 2 family weddings, went on my annual 10 day "cottage on the lake" vacation with friends, and had a class reunion, so it wasn't without temptations. In other words, life went on. It can be done.

I'd really just forget about eating back the calories for a while and see what happens. I exercised for about an hour a day just about every day while I was losing. I am down to 4 or 5 times a week now, but maintenance has been pretty easy as long as I forget about the calories burned through exercise.


03-30-2012, 02:36 AM
bear with me here... (i keep reading this and it doesn't sound very nice, but i don't know how else to word it. hopefully ya'll know that i am not usually a wicked witch.)

the way the calories are set on MFP already create a pretty significant deficit, and when i burn 1000 more it's like i'm creating a 2000 calorie deficit in one day... (if at 1500 calories) that would be a 14,000 calorie deficit per week (if i did my regular workout daily - which i don't) - 4 pounds right? even if i only do my workout 3 times a week - which i usually do (2000x3 + 1000x4 = 10,000)that should still be just under 3 pounds, theoretically, if you are assuming 3500 deficit per week to lose one pound.

at 270 pounds sitting on my butt doing nothing, eating 2000 calories per day should give me approximately a 500 calorie deficit per day (if you assume i'm slightly more than sedentary - which i am) which should result in approximately 1 pound per week loss, if you figure 3500 calories burned = 1 pound lost. right?!

ugh. all the numbers are driving me crazy because all the math says i'm not eating enough when i keep it to 1800, like i have been, because my body is using at least 2500 for regular daily function, and then i burn 700 to 1000 at the gym. 2500 + 700 = 3200 used by my body as fuel in a gym day. 3200 - 1800 = 1400 calorie deficit in one day (1700 deficit if i am eating 1500 calories) and i've read over and over again that a 1000 calorie deficit is the max you should have in a day (thus resulting in a 2 pound loss per week). i'm afraid of going lower because i don't want my body to take the excess energy from muscle, which it will if i'm not feeding it enough to function.

and when i say "i eat back some of my calories" i mean if i have hit my limit for the day by the time i go to the gym (which is usually around 9 or 10pm), then i will eat a greek yogurt, which i think is 120-130 calories.

all the math is telling me i should be losing *something* because i don't think the muscle i'm building via strength training and weight from water retention is equal to the fat loss...

i know it seems like i'm nitpicking but this is just SO frustrating to me because i'm a math person, and i'm so tempted to stop all exercise all together and just sit on my butt and make it easy again. i was losing 2 pounds a week NOT exercising, and i'm losing zero pounds a week busting my butt at the gym on slightly more calories per day. :-(

sorry. vent/rant over.

03-30-2012, 02:38 AM
I used the information you provided and put it into the calculater you said that this is your workout

I added strength training to my routine. I lift 2-3 days a week, I do 60 mins of cardio 2-3 days a week, and I rest 1-2 days a week.

If you are doing 60 minutes of cardio and you are at an average of 145bpm then you are only burning 443.92 with the information that you are female, you weigh 271 (according to ticker) your average heart rate is 145 and you work out for 60 minutes. That is the low end of your average, if you are at the high end of your average at 150 bpm then you are burning 475.98 calories an hour.

are you working out 2 hours a day at the heart rate of 145-150, thats the only way I can see that you are burning 900 calories in exercise a day.

Just trying to help you figure it out, I had so much trouble with all of this stuff and thats why I went to my doctor to find out the information because I just didnt understand why I wasnt losing. If you are really only burning close to 500 and think you are burning 900 then its possible that you are eating back to many calories.

03-30-2012, 02:44 AM
ahhh I made that post while you were posting, I dont know...I keep trying to read your post and figure it out but I just cant make any sense with those numbers, I feel like I did back when I was just as confused. All I know is what is working for me, which is eating below my budget but within healthy limits (prescribed by my doctor so I would check with a doctor if at all possible) and exercising enough to keep my net calories within 500 or less.

03-30-2012, 02:48 AM
yeah, typically spend 2ish hours in the gym and my average heart rate is close to 150 (including warm up/stretch, strength, cardio, cool down, and rest periods). i do that 2-3 times per week which is where i get 1000. 2-3 times per week i do straight cardio for 60 minutes with an additional 15 mins for warm up/stretch/cool down and it ends up at about 700. and then i take a day off once or twice a week.

03-30-2012, 02:53 AM
then yeah it seems like you should be burning that much then, man I don't know but don't give up this may be going really slow but giving up would really make it stop. Can you think of the positives that you are getting from working out, like is it easier to move around, can you climb stairs better, do you feel less fatigued and does it help improve your mental status. Have you seen a doctor to see if maybe you have an obstacle like diabetes or PCOS (I personally have PCOS and have went gluten free at the request of my gynecologist and that has helped boost my weight loss). I believe that you can do this, and just keep posting, take out your frustration on the keyboard and we will be here to listen and try to help! Wish I knew more to tell you!

03-30-2012, 02:57 AM
i feel great! it's just frustrating because it was SO FAST last year...

nothing in my life has changed medically (same BCP and everything). just different exercise, more intense, more frequent and strength training.

the only thing that's really different is i've started taking melatonin to sleep, and i wonder if that's affecting my metabolism. i need to research that.

03-30-2012, 07:24 AM
I gotta share with you, lol.. I have the same frustrations. I do everything right for weeks and weeks on end, with most days (according to me strict calories and my fitbit burn) I have a 1K calorie def... and I still lose like, 1 lb a week, IF I'M LUCKY. :lol:

I have no idea why. I have low BP, I'm not on any meds (except for my BCP that I've always taken in this journey) and I take the same vitamins every day. Most days, save for dinner, I eat the same foods. I do 25 mins on my elliptical and then 25 mins on my treadmill, burning away calories... I lift 2 times a week.. burning those calories... and... I'll lose 4 ounces. LOL.

The math works, yes... but our bodies don't care about math. They will lose however fast they want to. That's what I've chalked it up to, because it was driveing me NUTS. :) I can sympathize and relate. And hey, slow weightloss is good for the skin! ;)

03-30-2012, 01:48 PM
your body will lose what it wants when it wants. The whole "starvation mode" is a myth to a point (no I am not saying go out and starve yourself) but for a woman you COULD eat 1200 cals and work out at 1000 cals a day 2-3 times a week and be healthy as long as you get all your vitamins and minerals in that 1200 cals. (I would suggest taking a multivitamin for back up vitamin support) Eating 1500 and burning that much is acceptable. Honestly it's recommended for people at our weight. When I was 270 I HAD to eat 1500 or less to lose anything significant. Its because you are working so hard your body isnt used to it so it needs that EXTRA deficit to remind it what to do. When starting a weight lifting Regimen it takes typically 2-3 mos MINIMUM for our bodies to get back to losing mode. You could also be working out TOO intensely. When losing weight it is best to do light weights. If you do intense weight lifting AND have a deficit you are telling your body to ADD weight and LOSE it, it gets confused and stays the same. Yes one is fat and one is muscle but the human body is NOT designed to do both at once. The weight lifting you should be doing now should be just enough to maintain muscle not add it. If it is hard for you to lift after about 5-10 reps...go lighter and STAY there. Our bodies just can't handle it which is why I haven't added weights in yet. I plan on getting to slightly under my goal weight THEN working in weights because that will add weight when I add muscle. My doctor recommended I not weight train till after Ive gotten to goal or below otherwise my body will be trying to ad muscle while losing fat and won't know really which way to go. Our body can only do one of those at a time. (It's why we don't lose weight when eating too much because our body is too busy adding it)

03-30-2012, 04:36 PM
Personally the numbers game would drive me insane.

I eat around 1200 a day. Sometimes it's more and sometimes it's less. If under 1500 a day is maintainable for you for a week or two, why not try it and see if that makes a difference?

03-30-2012, 05:49 PM
I would just stick with what you are doing for now. It is possible that your metabolism needs time to adjust to the higher level of activity.

I'm a slow loser, about half a pound a week. But doing weight loss this way has made it possible for me to keep going this time instead of just losing 20-30 lbs and then gaining it back again.

03-30-2012, 08:07 PM
I'm super depressed today. I lost 1.5 pounds this last week even though I ate LESS than my alotted points (I'm doing WW) every day AND exercised. How could I lose so little? I was trying to encourage the poster but I'm devastated. After my weigh in, I totally binged.


09-15-2013, 02:53 PM
I'm the same way, I can't lose weight fast. I started WW and I've been exercising and have only lost 12 lbs in 2 months. I hate when people say will it took long to gain the weight ...because I can gain 10 lbs in 1 week it seems like. I also retain water really easy. Just keep doing what your doing, you will get there.

09-15-2013, 04:28 PM
I don't really like MFP's "net calories" format. I get it, and it's a decent enough idea. But the problem is that it is almost impossible to count a person's caloric expenditure just by having their height and weight and plugging it into an activity.

You are correct that exercise may be building muscle that is slowing your loss of pounds even though you're losing inches. Another problem might be the device counting your caloric expenditure. 700-1000 calories per session seems like a LOT. Like, on par with an elite athlete.

I don't enter exercise calories into MFP. I just use it to track how many calories I've eaten for the day. I have a goal range that I try to stay in. If I'm working out for the day, I know I can have about 1400 calories for the day and be alright. If I don't work out, I stay closer to 1200. If I'm not very hungry and I don't feel like eating, I have had days where I logged as few as 680 calories.

Maybe you could try not eating back your exercise calories? I know it's sooo tempting to use them as "freebie" calories in exchange for getting to eat more food, but I find it much more effective to just have a set range of calories to eat for the day and stay there.

09-15-2013, 04:45 PM
I think most slow weight loss is actually quite rapid weight loss, we just don't recognize it as such because we don't truly understand how freakishly rare it is for anyone of any size to lose even ONE pound per week on a consistent basis.

If we realized how well we were really doing, we wouldn't get so easily frusrated and discouraged.

09-15-2013, 06:26 PM
I was reviewing my weight loss last year and I noticed that I was dropping 1 lb per week every week except for about the third week EVERY month. Where I would drop 3 lbs. I suspect that I had some sort of a hormone based water loss that week and I would see my actual loss then. So for three weeks every month it appeared I was losing slow. But I actually wasn't...

If it is important to you to lose the weight faster I would suggest that you drop the calories. I know sometimes we think that we are eating perfectly but I find that our bodies are the final judge on that.. and if you aren't losing weight... well maybe your body is trying to tell you that you have a leak someplace. Cut back like 100 per day and see what happens.

Also doesn't your calories burned lower when you lose weight? If you lost 20% of your weight, your calories burned per day went down as well.