Weight Loss Support - What do you think of my trainer's advice?

05-09-2012, 06:42 PM
So I'm having trouble actually losing weight, it seems. I started off in March at 228, my highest weight ever. I hired a trainer, whom I see 2x per week, and I go to the gym 2x per week on top of that. From late March to about mid-April I did well food-wise, keeping to 1500 cals per day. Then for about a week, maybe 10 days, I started slipping as some emotional eating occurred (my husband deployed). I continued going to the gym on schedule. I finally got tired of using food to solve my problems (wasn't solving anything) and got back on track in late April and have been OP since. Since the end of my poor eating, I have averaged 1440 cals/day, with a couple high days and a couple low days in there.

So all that seems great, right. It is not resulting in weight loss, though. I keep throwing around 3lb, I go from 224 to 222 to 223 to 224 to 222. One day I saw 221.8. I try not to weigh daily, but if I see a gain on my WI day I become focused on the number and can't stop daily weighing until I feel my weight is back on track.

So anyway, that is the past in a nutshell. I was talking to my trainer about it. Told her what I've been doing. Her ultimate conclusion was "well, looks like you need to burn more in the gym. 500 cals/day."

Um. Okay... I guess I should have expected that kind of advice from a trainer, but it still threw me for a loop.

I just remembered another puzzle I am facing: since starting back at the gym/focusing on food, I have a new segment of stretch mark. What the heck? As soon as I buckle down and get tired of being fat, I get a new stretch mark. I haven't had new ones in 10 years. WTF.

What in the heck is going on here? What would you guys suggest? Go with my trainer's advice? Drop cals lower (eek)? I'm getting plenty of water, I don't get a lot of sodium, I get lots of veg, moderate carb intake (150g max). Plenty of sleep. Don't feel particularly stressed out. Weights and cardio. I feel like I am doing everything right for once in my life - no very-low cal intake, no exercise avoidance, no packaged processed food reliance - yet not seeing anything as a result. (Oh, and my pants don't feel looser either. Insult to injury.)


05-09-2012, 06:57 PM
I've only been a member since yesterday so I'd like to say as my disclaimer, I'm not an expert.

That being said: I think I'd talk to someone else. Dropping your calories down anymore is probably going to result in you falling flat on your face and not necessarily at the gym. My concern for you is that some trainers aren't a great fit for people and while she might look great and be in perfect condition, it doesn't mean that she's understanding to your specific issue.

The other thing I wonder is that I have heard a LOT that if you don't eat enough, when you workout, your body will hold onto what it can. Your calories seem VERY low to me (again, not an expert). I understand that everyone get's on the "Eat less, move more" kick but you still have to eat enough to sustain what you are doing in the gym.

I don't think that you are necessarily doing anything wrong, I would just be concerned about the exercise vs. food ratio.

And on another note, give yourself a break. It's awesome that you've gotten yourself back on track and that you got yourself under control after only 10 days but don't be hard on yourself.

05-09-2012, 07:02 PM
I'm glad your trainer gave you training advice and not nutrition advice!

If you are certain your calories are accurate, the next step would be to see a doctor. There's always a chance your have some kind of issue going on, like thyroid problems or something.

Are you weighing and measuring all your food and counting every single calorie? How are you recording them?

05-09-2012, 07:08 PM
I wonder if my cals are low too, but 1500 seems such a "reasonable" number to me....... who knows!

I am investigating the medical avenue. I seriously doubt anything is wrong, but I actually just finished looking up a doc to schedule a physical with and will call tomorrow. I haven't had a physical done since 2006 (I kinda hate doctors).

And yep, weighing/measuring everything... This isn't my first rodeo! :) I lost 30lb with WW back in 2008 but put it back on over the following 3 years. Using myfitnesspal now to track, as it seems the least annoying of all the cal-counting websites out there!

05-09-2012, 07:11 PM
Oh, and she has totally tried to load me up with nutrition advice. She means well, but her idea of healthy is not my idea of healthy. She wants me to drop to 1200 cal, cut fat, cut red meat, and eat 200 cal meals 6x per day. That would drive me batty (works for some - is not a plan for me).

05-09-2012, 07:18 PM
Ya I'm not a fan of specific nutrition advice from trainers.

Have you taken measurements? I know you say your pants aren't getting looser, but I've noticed my stomach isn't going down as fast as some other areas (which annoys the crap out of me).

05-09-2012, 07:19 PM
I'm sure she is a very nice person, but that sounds like a horribly bad idea to me. 1200 calories is NOTHING.

Something else to consider is that if you aren't eating enough and you start to feel deprived, that's going to send you into a spiral as well. Eventually your body will have had enough.

I'm on WW right now, I weigh 282 lbs. and I get 44 points per day. On the old plan I got 37 (I think) and that was roughly 1850 calories per day, not counting flex points. You weigh 54 lbs less than me and you are eating 350 calories less a day. There really isn't any reason that you shouldn't be losing working out the way you are.

What kinds of workouts are you doing? Maybe they are too "muscle" specific and your building muscle and not working off fat? I really don't know, I'm just throwing things out there.

05-09-2012, 07:23 PM
You may want to take a look at your macronutrients, and the ratios (fat/carbs/protein). I don't lose well when my carbs are a bigger ratio of my daily foods compared to my fats and protein.

05-09-2012, 07:29 PM
When I was on WW... before the new program... I had 28 pts at 216lb. If that helps at all.

Trust me, I do NOT want to lower my calories. I am eating pretty good bulk right now because I do get in my veggies, and I'm not often hungry because I get in my protein and fat. I'm very happy with a 1500 cal goal!

I'm getting my measurements re-taken on Friday. I am sure I have lost some around my ribcage, as I can feel that difference with my hands. Those 4ish lbs had to come from somewhere. But the random stretch mark that showed up and clothes that don't feel different are discouraging. I am a bit anxious though about re-taking measurements to find out nothing really is changing... despite my work.

As for workouts, when I'm with the trainer 2x per week we do circuits, varying muscle groups each time. Haven't done the same workout twice and I've seen her 16 times so far. Last one, for instance, involved push-ups and triceps dips, followed by running up the stairs (gym has 3 floors). Did ab stuff with a resistance band, and a weird penguin waddle move with a resistance band around the ankles. Time before that we did squats and walking lunges, planks... stuff with dumbells. I forget :p When I'm not with her, I typically do running intervals on the treadmill, but about 1 out of every 4 times I do weights on my own. I think it's pretty varied.

05-09-2012, 07:33 PM
carbs/fat/protein average ratio from May 1 to today (getting averages by hand is tedious so I just went back 9 days):

129.2 carb/56.9 fat/99.9 protein

I think that's a pretty good spread.

This is why I'm stumped. Stupid mysterious inner workings of the human body.

05-09-2012, 07:45 PM
You've been on track since late April. So we're talking about two weeks with no weight loss right?

No need to see a doctor or try to burn another 500 calories a day in my opinion. Just try to chill out and stick with the program you're on. A woosh is likely coming soon.

If in two more weeks your weight is still stuck than PERHAPS it is time to go see the doctor.

My guess is water retention is masking fat loss.

If you want to do something more how about 30-45 minutes of brisk walking 3-4 times a week in the early AM?

05-09-2012, 07:51 PM
It's been a bit longer that I've been working at it, but admittedly there was a blip in mid-April that lasted a week or so.

I was just thinking this as I was making dinner - I guess the only thing to do for now is to wait. Because there are no reasonable answers apparent to me, no indication that I am necessarily doing anything wrong to the best of my knowledge........ And it seems like what I'm doing looks ok to you guys..... What's the alternative? Stay fat and unhappy? Or at least be fit, lose 2lb a month, and deal with it?

05-09-2012, 08:21 PM
I agree with John; sounds like you are doing everything right. You need to have a little patience. I would also suggest the brisk walking as well, and then lifting weights.

According to calculations, 1500 calories a day would represent 1.5 lb loss per week, but these are only guesstimates. Try the brisk walking first, then the weights, and see what happens .... :)

05-09-2012, 09:13 PM
One thing to understand is that some of us have lower metabolisms than we should at our size. Using myself as an example at my size the calculators have me burning more than I do. For me - about 500 more based on a period of time where I was calculating religiously. As a percentage of my burn this still puts me within three standard deviations of the mean calculation so I'm not an outlier. My point? Just because it says you should be losing X doesn't mean it is going to happen.

Plus - the body rapidly adapts initally to weight lifting. Yes you're not going to put on massive amounts of muscle but intially you could gain a lb of muscle in a month which between that and water retention can mess with your head.

05-09-2012, 09:38 PM
Here's another question - my trainer, when I was talking about this, had me multiply my current weight by 7, which results in 1540-something. Does anyone know why she asked me that? I have never heard that formula before and I am wondering what she was getting at. This information directly preceded her advice to burn 500 cal/day at the gym.

I was expecting some gain/stall at the outset of going back to the gym, but having been back for two months, I guess I figured that phase would be behind me...

05-09-2012, 10:01 PM
Here's another question - my trainer, when I was talking about this, had me multiply my current weight by 7, which results in 1540-something. Does anyone know why she asked me that? I have never heard that formula before and I am wondering what she was getting at. This information directly preceded her advice to burn 500 cal/day at the gym.

I was expecting some gain/stall at the outset of going back to the gym, but having been back for two months, I guess I figured that phase would be behind me...

Rapid muscle gain for newbies can last for several months especially over weight newbies. In the case of a female though - rapid muscle gain is maybe 1 lb a month - depending on genetics. So ... who knows.

As for the 7x weight - never heard it either but I have heard 9x weight. So again ... who knows.

05-09-2012, 10:04 PM
I would just continue doing what you're doing. I'm confident that you will start seeing losses over time.


05-09-2012, 11:30 PM
Just wanted to let you know, it took me over a month to begin to see changes in my weight. I'm still going a little slow, but I do feel it's forever. Keep up the good work and give it a little time!

05-10-2012, 01:37 AM
Some people pack on weight super fast and lose it super fast.

When you say you have some higher days, maybe thats actually destroying more than you think. Keep a very strict diet, record every single thing you put into your body and don't go over the max - its a simple game of maths.
And your trainer may be right; trainers are an excellent way to push you because oftentimes, they know your limits. Just because you're a little uncomfortable during a work out, it doesn't mean you're at your full potential.

05-10-2012, 10:56 AM
I agree with John.
Stick with it and see if a whoosh comes, and maybe add more exercise if you can fit it in.