Calorie Counters - Exercising, counting calories, not losing weight




EmmyMac
05-27-2013, 12:26 PM
For the last month I have been using the Lose It app to count calories. I chose to set it to losing 1.5 pounds/week and I eat 1700 calories per day. I exercise 5 - 6 days a week using The Firm's Transfirmer series. In this amount of time I have lost no weight. My weight stays the same or sometimes fluctuates up.

My clothes are not fitting any differently, so I don't really have that as a consolation either. I will be taking measurements on the 1st to see if there has been any change.

I try to limit the amount of grains/processed foods/sugar in my diet. I do not drink caffeine or any other flavored beverages. I have had my thyroid tested and it's "normal".

So, any advice? Anyone BTDT? I plan to keep doing what I am doing because I feel great now that I'm exercising consistently and eating better. I'm just getting a bit frustrated.


elvislover324
05-27-2013, 12:38 PM
It's hard to know exactly what is going on without your height/weight posted (are you trying to lose 10lbs total or 100lbs total).

Do you measure everything with measuring cups and measuring spoons? A month isn't a whole lot of time to measure your success if you are actively exercising pretty intensely but I would think you'd have a few pounds lost to show for it. Do you drink at least 64oz of water a day too?

A little more info about a sample day in your diet and height/weight would be helpful for a few more replies. :)

EmmyMac
05-27-2013, 02:25 PM
Height - 5'2"
Weight - 228

I drink more than 64 oz of water a day. I don't have an accurate count, but I drink about 6 of my large Tervis tumbler (24oz) per day. I do use some ice, so I would say it's around 100 - 120 oz.

Breakfast is one of these 3 options: 1) 2 eggs cooked in 1 tsp of coconut oil with 1 slice of wheat toast, half a banana or a few strawberries, 2) 4 oz Honey Vanilla Greek Yogurt, half cup of sliced strawberries, 7 chopped raw almonds, or 3) 1 Tbsp peanut butter and one medium banana.

Lunch and dinner are more varied, but I try to stick to 400 - 450 calories for these. I do eat one or two veggies at each meal.

Snacks - cheese stick, apple, raw almonds. I really try to keep snacks around 200 calories or less.


TurboMammoth
05-27-2013, 02:34 PM
Hmmm. My suggestion would be to maybe lower your calories intake of 100-200 calories (to be around 1500-1600/day), try to hold it for a week and see what happens. Or add more cardio to my workout routine. :)

I don't know the Firm thing series you are doing. Does it include a lot of weight training? Weight training can cause some water retention.

EmmyMac
05-27-2013, 02:58 PM
That Firm series consists of a 45 minute aerobic workout, a 55 minute cardio/sculpt workout, and a 30 minute sculpt workout. It's a step aerobics series. I tend to do each twice a week. I would say that it's included quite a bit of weight training. The only video that doesn't have weight training is the aerobic one. As far as adding more cardio - I chase after my two year old fairly frequently. Not sure how much more cardio I can add without completely ignoring her!

I do gain muscle fairly quickly and can feel my biceps/triceps and quads. My clothes aren't really fitting differently but I have seen subtle changes in my body from where weight is shifting around or hanging differently. I did have to cinch in my Birkenstocks - so if nothing else, my feet aren't retaining as much water!

Some more info: I'm almost 35. Not sure if this is just general slowing down of metabolism or if I have shocked my body with all of the changes. I also just stopped taking my blood pressure medication under the supervision of my doctor.

I'm going to keep plugging away and adjust calories.

Michelle2008
05-27-2013, 03:36 PM
Don't have any suggestions - but i feel your pain!! I am the same age and height and am finding weight loss much slower this time around -I am a seasoned yo-yo dieter!!

Keep at it- the scale will move soon.

Emma4545
05-27-2013, 03:42 PM
Drop the calories. Here is something that worked for me. You can zig zag. Like take 3 days and drop the calories significantly - 1200 cals. Then on the next four, up them until you get to an average of 1500 for the week. I tell you on the hard diet days... my body always dropped weight and rarely was it put back on during the high days. Although for this to work you have to really be careful.

KindaSortaAthlete
05-27-2013, 04:10 PM
Emmy - I don't have specific advice for you, but I just wanted to encourage you to hang in there and to keep pursuing your weight loss goals! I know how frustrating it must be to not see evidence that your hard work is doing something... But I applaud you for not giving up!! :)

elvislover324
05-27-2013, 04:43 PM
I know this might sound bad (and I might get a tongue lashing from a few on 3FC) but how do you feel taking a week off of the exercise (maybe just walk a few miles on your regular exercise days instead of the more intense you described above) and see how it works for you? Your calories/food look good to me for a sample of a day (assuming the portions are measured and accounted for correctly---I learned real quick to measure portions as I didn't do well with eyeing food, I was always higher!).

I don't think your age is a big factor (but I could be wrong). I'm 37 and while I don't lose weight like I used to, I've dropped 135lbs in 10 months following a low calorie plan and exercising my tail off. But I had to find the right balance. At one point I was exercising harder than my body could keep up with due to the low calories, talk about frustrating!

I hope you find what works for you. But either way, keep at it. The weight will come off and you will be a healthier person!

geoblewis
05-27-2013, 04:47 PM
You're making wise choices to avoid the grains/processed foods/sugar. My suggestion is to cut way back on the fruit, and increase veggies, healthy fats and proteins from pasture-fed meat or wild-caught fish. When your liver is so readily supplied with glycogen from the food you eat, it won't dip into stored fat to convert to glycogen for fuel. Once you disengage from the easily-accessed carbs and your body learns to rely on protein and fats for fuel, you can cut back your calories a bit.

SouthernMaven
05-28-2013, 08:23 AM
I don't think your age is a big factor (but I could be wrong).

I agree with this. The last time I went on a diet I counted calories & walked (got up to 5 miles a day). I had about 25 lbs to lose and I lost it in about 6 months.

Because I'm pretty small (5'2" with average frame) it took awhile, but I was surprised at how linear my loss was. I lost steadily (albeit slowly) without any real plateaus. My base calorie allotment was 1200, and I almost always ate all my exercise calories.

For the most part I ate pretty well, but if I really wanted some junk I ate it. I just stayed within my caloric range.

I never did weights or any other form of exercise other than walking. On a flat, elevated track at the local YMCA. Nothing major at all.

I drank a couple of glasses of wine a night, and I didn't drink anywhere NEAR 64 oz of water a day. But I did probably consume 64 oz of non-caloric liquid, mostly in the form of black coffee. I didn't drink diet soda except on very rare occasions.

My age at the time? 58. Way past menopause.

No, I don't think age is a big factor at all. At least not based on my experience.

To the OP: Not that I'm a big expert on dieting...I'm certainly not. But I do agree that perhaps just dropping your calories down a notch for awhile might help jump-start your loss. And I agree with elvis - back off from the more intense exercise for awhile and just walk. This will make reducing your caloric intake a bit easier as well.

Good Luck!

EmmyMac
05-31-2013, 10:32 AM
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I am in tweaking mode at the moment - I am choosing to weigh twice a month so will hopefully have a very good update in two weeks!

Aidanqm
06-02-2013, 02:05 AM
At 5'2'' you should be eating more like 1,200-1,400 per day! I'm 5'3'' and when I diet, I don't go much above 1,500 ... even if I do 60 minutes or more of cardio.

EmmyMac
06-02-2013, 08:28 PM
At 5'2'' you should be eating more like 1,200-1,400 per day! I'm 5'3'' and when I diet, I don't go much above 1,500 ... even if I do 60 minutes or more of cardio.

Good for you! I'm 5'2 with 100 pounds to lose. I have a lot of behaviors to change and in the long run I thought it would be better to go with what my calorie calculator told me would net a 1.5 pound/week weight loss. Slow and steady generally wins this race. ;) Again - I am tweaking my calories and my exercise. Just as you have found what is best for you and your body, I am sure I will find what works for mine. It's just taking a little more work for me this time around.

kaplods
06-02-2013, 09:04 PM
Good for you! I'm 5'2 with 100 pounds to lose. I have a lot of behaviors to change and in the long run I thought it would be better to go with what my calorie calculator told me would net a 1.5 pound/week weight loss. Slow and steady generally wins this race. ;) Again - I am tweaking my calories and my exercise. Just as you have found what is best for you and your body, I am sure I will find what works for mine. It's just taking a little more work for me this time around.


Unfortunately, calorie calculators are notoriously inaccurate. They're based only on averages, and your body may not be average. Many of the online calculators underestimate my calorie needs by as much as 1000 calories, which means to lose a pound a week, I have to eat 1000 calories less than the calculator estimates for me. If I were to eat what the calculators recommended for one pound per week, I'd actually gain a pound.


There may a caloric advantage to low carb. For myself, I noticed it's about 300 calories - that is I can eat 1800 calories low-carb or 1500 calories high carb to lose about the same amout of weight (just don't try to compare the first couple weeks or low-carb will always win.

Some recent research has found similar results as I experienced (an average 300 cal advantage to LC).

Worth trying.

You may have to try a lower calorie range (or try to see if LC eating helps).

You may also want to try nothing different and see what happens. You may be a person who loses in "wooshes," rather than gradually. Or you may be retaining water due to exercise.

I wouldn't recommend stopping the exercise, because it's not necessary. The water gained from exercise is temporary, used by the body to heal the small muscle tears that are caused by exercise that is new or more intense than your normal amount. When the muscle adjust to the new amount and kind of exercise, the water retention will disappear.

It is possible that you're drinking too much liquids, which can delay water release. If your salt intake is low or if you're on certain medications, especially high blood pressure medications, that much water could cause water poisoning (also called hyponatremia or water intoxication). It's rare, but very dangerous (my mom was hospitalized several years ago, and had only been drinking about a gallon of fluids per day).

Leaves
06-03-2013, 11:31 AM
I too, agree with the lowering your calorie intake, at 5'4ish I eat 1220 to lose! Granted, that's now I'm at a lower weight, but even when I started MFP gave me a figure of 1350. Accurate measuring is definitely key for me, my old scales were out by about 100g sometimes, as is accurately logging foods. For instance, if I search for 'rice' some of the figures in the MFP database are for 100g of cooked rice and some are for 100g of dry rice and it's very easy to confuse them!

Good luck!

PudgyFlamingo
06-05-2013, 12:26 AM
As someone who has counted calories at a low weight and now a very high weight, I know for me that I can lose weight keeping within a much higher calorie count when I am bigger. To compare someone's caloric intake at 220 lbs to someone else who weighs almost half that makes no sense whatsoever, regardless of height. In other words, just because you are the same height as someone else doesnt mean your caloric needs are the same.

I think 1700 is good... Although you could drop a bit maybe but definitely not to 1200. You could maybe try 1500 for a week?

Also, are you sure your calorie counts are correct? There are often. " hidden" calories with portion sizes, dressings, oils, etc.

If you drop your calories to 1500 and are still not losing , consider getting your thyroid tested and blood sugars done. It could be something medical. Good luck!

Nagazim
06-06-2013, 01:52 PM
As someone who has counted calories at a low weight and now a very high weight, I know for me that I can lose weight keeping within a much higher calorie count when I am bigger. To compare someone's caloric intake at 220 lbs to someone else who weighs almost half that makes no sense whatsoever, regardless of height. In other words, just because you are the same height as someone else doesnt mean your caloric needs are the same.


Ok good, I was worrying I was missing something over why height is all of a sudden a such a deciding factor in calories. It's not when you weigh much more that the same short person ;)


I will say when I was much thinner and I couldn't drop anything after a month, I added 100 cals to my daily intake and they started melting off again. I would first try dropping your cal/day by 100 and see how that treats you. Wish I could be of more help. Good luck!

kaplods
06-06-2013, 02:30 PM
The rationale for basing calories on height is that many consider it safe to base weight loss calories on what your calorie needs would be (and hopefully, will be) at your ideal weight.

The advantage (in theory) is rapid weight loss, and minimizing the need to adjust caloric need as you lose weight.

The disadvantage is more hunger and feelings of deprivation.

In theory, you could try to estimate your maintenance calorie range, start there and ride it all the way to goal, thereby, from the start, learning how you will eat forever. There will (in theory) never come a time when you will have to change the calorie level at which you start.

As a theory, this makes great sense as you only have to learn to adapt to changes, once. There is no anticipated change at goal weight, so there is no "end" to the diet changes and the goal changes (maintenance rather than loss), but behavior (again in theory) won't change.

Unfortunately, this tends to be more practical in theory than in practice. For many people, it's easier to accomplish smaller changes. Others find that they can't reach their goal on their estimated maintenance calories. Some theorize that it takes fewer calories to maintain an overweight body than to reach that weight in the first place.

laciemn
06-07-2013, 02:30 PM
I agree with cutting out some carb calories. I would def. not cut any more protein, since it looks like you aren't eating much protein. Maybe cut out the bananas and peanut butter?

sh0rtydeee
06-07-2013, 08:16 PM
I have used the MY PLATE from livestrong. This past week and have walked up to 2.5 miles everyday and drank tons of water! And i have managed to lose weight about 3 lbs. Based on my characteristics 240 starting weight sedentary activity and want to lose 2 lbs per week it gave me 1224 calories to eat per day. You should try it out.

Brily
04-11-2014, 03:43 PM
I wish I had an answer for you, but unfortunately I am in the same situation. I am 5'0" and weigh 248lbs and am not normally an active person. Today is my 11th day I have only dropped 1lb. I am also using the same app "Lose It". I am exact in measuring EVERYTHING I eat and not only do I log it on my app, but I also write it down. I drink on average 64oz of water/unsweet tea daily and I eat between 1300-1500 net calories a day. I walk 4 days a week for 30-45 min. (avg. 1.25-2.0 miles) the other three days I do Turbulence Training which is body weight strength training. I eat on average daily: 80-120g carbs (good carbs - fruit), 80-100g protein (lean chicken and fish), and 20-30g fat (good fat - advocado). I am so frustrated at this point. I know it has only been 11 days, but I ahve made a huge change in my eating ( i used to eat nothing but junk - carb overload) and I have started working out every day. I totally expected to have lost at least 5lbs by now! What's the deal? I got up this morning and jumped on my scale and started crying...I am now regretting not having a gastric bypass...I talked myself out of it because i wanted to do it "the right way" to make myself healthy and to change my lifestyle to a healthy one, but at this point, I'm getting depressed and fear I will go back to my old (emotional eating) habits. I need to see results..even if it's just a few lbs, but ONE pound is not cutting it! Oh and I have been tested for thyroid and other things...they say I have no problems..even my sugars and cholesterol is great, which even the doc said she was surprised.... SMH!

Sheena82
04-16-2014, 07:43 AM
Kaplods is bang on about the water weight increase from strength training, I read somewhere to give it 6 weeks into a new training programe before you start worrying about stalling. I just started the 30DS again and decided not to weigh in for a month to see how it goes.

In regards to calories you could try cutting back a few hundred but I would go with the measurements first, if they aren't changing then try the calories. To be honest (and I'm not pushing my WOE) but I found cutting the carbs allows me to reduce my calories without feeling deprived.

I'm sorry you are frustrated, I know how it feels! was stuck for 6 weeks at same weight, same measurements etc I found intermittent fasting broke the stall and I dropped a few pounds only to go straight into another one so I added exercise. Maybe change it up?

I think if you stopped exercising for a week you would see a drop in weight as your body lets go of water. Personally I think exercise is good (I hate it but am trying my best to get on with it) but it may demonstrate to you that you have actually lost weight but it's not on the scale yet.

Matilda08
04-16-2014, 10:02 AM
I agree with changing up macros( Carbs/Proteins/fats) I rarely lose weight if my carbs are high. I tend to lose weight when my diet is more geared to low carb. Diet and fitness is a lot of trial and error and although it seems cut and dry it isn't. Each body is different. Switch things up don't be afraid to try different things.

Sheena82
04-16-2014, 02:37 PM
Another thing MFP suggests eating back exercise calories, I would suggest it may not always be a good idea, the amount of actual calories burned will vary dramatically, if you stop eating back exercise calories and the weight shifts you know they were too high.