Weight Loss Support - Why Can't I Lose Weight?




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apriljoiex
02-27-2013, 02:47 AM
So let's start with a backstory, at the start of 2011 I was 238lbs and decided to start dieting. I went on Weight Watchers, and with only very mild exercise managed to lose 46lbs in about 9 months. I have gained some of that weight back and am now 208lbs. At the beginning of the year I decided to go back on Weight Watchers, but saw absolutely no results in the month of January. So in February I've been switching to a combination of counting calories and at least 5 days a week of 30-60 min of cardio (running, spinning and Zumba). In three weeks with this (I had one off weekend in Vegas, but otherwise I have stuck with it) I have lost no weight. I feel healthier, but the results sure aren't showing up on my scale and that is so frustrating.

I'm not sure what else I can do, I try to make healthy food choices and almost never eat above 1400 cal. (My BMR is about 2200). I don't understand why it was so easy 2 years ago and now just losing 2lbs feels impossible. I don't want to quit and I won't because I actually feel better than I have in months, physically, but emotionally it's really hard to not see any progress from all my hard work.

Any suggestions? Anyone else have similar problems and how did you overcome them?


Katydid77
02-27-2013, 08:39 AM
You lose weight in the kitchen.

Exercise is good and important for health and well being BUT it's ALWAYS calories in vs calories out. The only exception to this is some health conditions that add extra challenges.

My guess is that when you did weight watchers, the structure of the program kept your calories more in check.

Are you weighing every bite that goes in your mouth? You cannot 'eyeball' portions until you REALLY have experience. With 1400 calories a day, it would only take a few hundred 'hidden' calories to bring you so near 2200 calories that you would have ubber slow weight loss.

For me, I don't really exercise that much when I am actively losing weight. I have a very physical job, so I am moving around, but actually exercising makes me so much more hungry that it becomes harder for me to lose weight, not easier.

If your body lost weight before, it does work, and you have experience with it working in the past.

IF I were going to guess, I would say that your calorie consumption is a 'bit' higher each day than you think and then you are mixing in just a few 'what the heck' days or meals and its just enough to sabotage any progress you may be having.

Dial it down and make is a science project. WRITE DOWN EVERY BITE. If you aren't keeping a food journal, it is 100% important, especially considering weight watchers worked in the past and that is essentially a cornerstone of their plan.

Don't give up, just reevaluate where you are at, and what you have really been doing and make the necessary changes to accomplish what you need.

TripSwitch
02-27-2013, 08:49 AM
Well there is evidence that shows it is much harder to lose weight after actively trying for about 6 months... and it has been suggested that taking a break from dieting and working on maintaining the loss for at least six months before pursuing another round of active weight loss efforts might provide some benefit... But unfortunately, when it comes to losing weight that's not what most people want to hear...


LockItUp
02-27-2013, 09:16 AM
@Tripswitch - That's really interesting! Do you have any links to that info? I'd love to read it and find out why that is!

luckymommy
02-27-2013, 09:54 AM
Since you've really upped your exercise, I think your body is holding onto water and not showing all your progress on the scale. Do you feel more toned? How do you feel? Sometimes it's a good idea to take a break from the scale. That's what I'm doing. If you're sure about your calories, then what's the point of weighing if it only upsets us? Try to take some photos and see how you look by the end of March. I"ll bet you will be very pleased and will see a difference if you keep it up. Finally, I'd like to say that I actually don't think you're eating enough calories for the level of activity you're at and for your weight. If you work out that intensely, your body will need a lot of nourishment. You might want to try calorie cycling. On the days when your workout is super intense, perhaps you could have 1700 or 1800 calories and then when you take it more easy, you could shift down to about 1400-1500. Just a thought. I hope you figure it out and stick with it.

sacha
02-27-2013, 09:59 AM
How are you counting your calories?

If you are 200+ lbs, working out 30-60 minutes 5-6 days a week, you would be absolutely starving.

You said "... almost never more than" and "a weekend off in Vegas". With only 3 weeks, that + probable inaccurate measurements/weighing of food, is your likely answer.

Fit dad 2b
02-27-2013, 10:12 AM
I'm sorry to hear that - it's got to be extremely frustrating.

Have you considered measuring yourself in a few key areas and keeping track of inches lost? That way, you could forget about the scale for a while.

Many here are more experienced than I am, but I'll bet that you may be losing inches instead of pounds right now.

TripSwitch
02-27-2013, 10:30 AM
@Tripswitch - That's really interesting! Do you have any links to that info? I'd love to read it and find out why that is!

From what I can gather from what I've read, is that it seems to have some links to various metabolic adaptations that occur with dieting and weight loss and leptin and ghrelin are talked about as factors... and I know this isn't exactly what we're talking about, but here is a link to an article that touches on some of that though..

.http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?pagewanted=all

But I'll have to do a little bit more digging to see where I came across the research...

LockItUp
02-27-2013, 10:33 AM
@Tripswitch - Thanks!!!


OP - You could always eat a little higher a few days, and go back down. Just make sure you're as accurate you can be with your counting. Sometimes a few days off really helps.

apriljoiex
02-27-2013, 01:51 PM
Thanks for all the advice!

I'm surprisingly not starving on 1400 calories. I know I'm sticking to that because I track everything on an app on my phone. Yesterday evening I did the bike for an hour and then did a brisk 20 min walk to cool off and stretch my legs, so I let myself go over 1400 cal in order to have a post workout snack (best thing, 25 G protein powder, 8 oz almond milk and a med banana), so I never deprive myself or feel like I'm starving.

I took measurements this morning and tried to resist the scale, but couldn't help it. On the bright side, it finally showed movement!!! 206.8. 1.2lbs!!
I will take it.

@luckymommy if my body really is holding onto water due to increased exercise, is there any way to keep it from doing that or will it eventually just take care of itself? Will increasing my water intake help?

mkroyer
02-27-2013, 02:36 PM
I'm surprisingly not starving on 1400 calories. I know I'm sticking to that because I track everything on an app on my phone. ?

This statement really bothers me every time i hear it! (not just YOU, aprilj.... :-) ) So please, do not take my rant personally. :-)

Ok, so you record everything you eat on a phone app, like LoseIt, or MFP or something... thats FINE, but what matters is, are you WEIGHING YOUR FOOD on a digital scale BEFORE you record it on your phone?

If not, then youre recording gibberish, basically.... You *think* you had about a normal serving of chicken, so lets call that 4 oz~ 120 cals. But you REALLY had 5.9 ounces.. therefore more like 180 cals.... (and thats EASY TO DO)
You had 2 tablespoon of peanut butter at ~190 CALS, but if youd WEIGHED it, you would have seen, and then LOGGED, that it was more like 1.5 servings, which adds an extra 100 cals!! and believe me, if the tablespoon is even a *little* heaping (and we ALL DO) than its really significantly more.
Ditto on oatmeal. If you use a measuring cup instead of a scale, you could be off by hundreds of cals... and if you just EYEBALLED it.. well......

You ate a banana? lets call it a "medium" banana (on your phone app), but really, it might have easily been a large one, (based on weight by grams)which is 50+ more cals..... even using your scoop for the protein powder... actual "25" grams never fills up all the way to the top of the scoop.... you could be adding 5-10 unknown grams by filling it up all the way.

ALL of these LITTLE THINGS ADD UP, all day long... everything you eat....

And if you eat ANY packaged food, without weighing it (even a slice of bread, frozen TV dinner, etc) you could be off by as much as 20% as whats listed (per FDA regulations).. i wont even go into if youve gone out to eat even once (theres NO WAY to know, no matter what any restaurant says, or whats advertised on TV, how many cals.....) Just call the dinner out a wash, and move on, basically

Some people do not have to be so OCD as to weigh to the gram broccoli and bananas, but some do.. and if your fatloss isnt happening, then this is most likely the culprit. Calories creep despite your best efforts and intentions.. if you dont weigh every bite you take, all the time, you could very easily (and almost definitely) be off by HUNDREDS of cals, every single day. that puts you near maintenance.

Robin41
02-27-2013, 03:14 PM
mkroyer could not be more correct. The gram is your friend. It is such a precise measurement that it takes all the guesswork out of logging your food. Even the 'ounce' measurement can be fudged a lot more than you'd think.

Just as an example, my husband is trying to take off a couple of pounds, which for him means eating slightly less ice cream at night. He thought he was sticking to the half cup portion size for 80 calories. I stuck it on the actual scale and he had managed to force two servings into the half cup measuring cup. I told him to eat two servings if he wanted two servings, but at least you need to know that you're doing it so that you can adjust things in other places.

The benefit runs both directions, too. I used to always call a piece of fruit 'large' just so that I knew I was covered. Turns out that when I weighed them by the gram, I was shorting myself a lot of food. I lost on a 1200 calorie diet; the last thing I needed to do was short myself.

apriljoiex
02-27-2013, 03:15 PM
This statement really bothers me every time i hear it! (not just YOU, aprilj.... :-) ) So please, do not take my rant personally. :-)

Ok, so you record everything you eat on a phone app, like LoseIt, or MFP or something... thats FINE, but what matters is, are you WEIGHING YOUR FOOD on a digital scale BEFORE you record it on your phone?

<snip>

You ate a banana? lets call it a "medium" banana (on your phone app), but really, it might have easily been a large one, (based on weight by grams)which is 50+ more cals..... even using your scoop for the protein powder... actual "25" grams never fills up all the way to the top of the scoop.... you could be adding 5-10 unknown grams by filling it up all the way.

ALL of these LITTLE THINGS ADD UP, all day long... everything you eat....

And if you eat ANY packaged food, without weighing it (even a slice of bread, frozen TV dinner, etc) you could be off by as much as 20% as whats listed (per FDA regulations).. i wont even go into if youve gone out to eat even once (theres NO WAY to know, no matter what any restaurant says, or whats advertised on TV, how many cals.....) Just call the dinner out a wash, and move on, basically

Some people do not have to be so OCD as to weigh to the gram broccoli and bananas, but some do.. and if your fatloss isnt happening, then this is most likely the culprit. .

I am actually pretty OCD about weighing my food. I pre-weigh my chicken into 3 and 4oz servings before bagging and freezing and I even weigh those prepacked servings of fish, just to be sure! My med banana gets the top lopped off and stuck in a freezer Baggie for smoothies if it is too big. I measured out what 25 g is because the actually scoop is for 33g, but I wanted to keep it under 100 calories per serving. Restaurants are a disaster, which is why I hate eating out, but I try to do a salad, dressing,always on the side and hold the cheese and the way over estimate the calories. Luckily I usually only eat out once every couple of weeks.

I understand this can be an issue, underestimating calories, but I don't think this is my issue. My little food scale has a permanent place on my counter.

I generally do estimate my veggies a little more, but will count out 15 med baby carrots when having it as a snack. I actually use a 2 T scoop for hummus and other such things.

And even with all of that, even if an extra 3 or 4 hundred calories was sneaking into my diet, putting me at more like 1800 cal, shouldn't I still be losing some weight? Consider that I have an active job, and workout 5 times a week, I should easily be at a deficit of 500 a day. Of course, I lost weight this last week, so maybe I'm over the hump and past the bad week in Vegas.

I do appreciate your rant mkroyer because not being OCD about my food intake was how I gained by 15+ lbs over the last year!

luckymommy
02-27-2013, 08:03 PM
April, I"m not aware of any way to prevent the water weight because as far as I know, it's how your body repairs muscle tears. I think that your body needs more water, so it's probably wise to increase your consumption. To avoid excess water weight, try to avoid high sodium foods (most processed foods contain lots of sodium). Asparagus and banans help with excess sodium (which I learned because my dad has a disease that has him limit his sodium). If you do salt your food, use Himalayan or sea salt that have some good minerals, but I digress. ;)

apriljoiex
02-27-2013, 08:41 PM
Luckymommy , I wasn't aware that bananas and asparagus help with water retention (maybe something to do with potassium?)! So glad Asparagus season is just around the corner!

IanG
02-27-2013, 09:26 PM
If I am gonna have to think about grams then it's game over for me.

I am just ditching the bad stuff. And watching when I eat (i.e. not too late).

If that doesn't work, then life's too short.

Muscle weighs more than fat so it is important to do the measurements as well as the scales for the exercisers out there.

apriljoiex
02-27-2013, 11:52 PM
IanG - I think if you can do it by just ditching the bad and sticking with good, then that's awesome! I think that I should be able to maintain my weight that way, but if I want to lose it (and as quickly and safely as possible) then the weighing my food helps keep me accountable and accurate. I don't weigh everything, and maybe that's why the scale isn't moving as quickly as I'd like (could be the muscle thing, too! We'll see what next weeks measurements tell me!).

I've been told by someone that I should probably incorporate some strength training into my exercise because muscle burns more than fat. I will have to consider that, but I'm not even sure how to start that. I was bench pressing my 2 year old nephew and considered that my weight training for the day. He sure enjoyed it!