100 lb. Club - Desperate for help! Can't lose!

View Full Version : Desperate for help! Can't lose!

06-24-2013, 09:28 AM
In January 2013, at 265 pounds (female, 37), I had 100 pounds to lose. I decided to lose it the right way. I've always LOVED to exercise and have been going to the gym multiple times per week for years, even being 100 pounds overweight. I continued going to the gym but cut my calories down to around 1700 - 1900 or so per day.

At first I lost weight steadily, but as time went on, the weight loss slowed. Slower and slower, until it nearly stopped. I've heard of plateaus when you get close to your goal weight, but when you still have 75 pounds to lose??

I'm at 239.4 pounds now and it took me 6 months to get there, despite my best efforts. Weight loss has been nonexistent for over a month.

What am I doing wrong?!?

*I went to a doctor and had my thyroid/sugar levels checked.
*I went to a nutritionist, who told me to eat 25% fat, 25% protein, and 50% carbs through fruit/veggies/whole grain - CHECK.
*I cut my sugar down to 1 serving per week.
*I eat around 1650 - 1850 calories a day.
*I exercise a LOT - because I love it and it makes me feel good. I do 2 hours a day, 4 days a week, and 1 hour per day, once a week.* Exercise is not new to me so this is not a case of me 'gaining muscle but losing fat so the weight loss won't show at first'.

My BMR is 1825, so I wondered if eating too little was causing my body to go into starvation mode, especially with my exercise. For the past 5 days, I've upped my calories by 400, to 2100 calories...and gained a pound. Eating 2100 calories has been very uncomfortable for me. I don't feel hungry and feel satisfied in the range I was eating before (1650 - 1850), but if my BMR is 1825 and I exercise so much, that would definitely put me in 'starvation mode'. But can you be in starvation mode and not feel hungry? And why would I start gaining weight once I start eating the 'right amount' to lose weight?

I'm at my wit's end. I've tried everything I can think of and I just don't know the magic combination to lose weight. Can anyone give me some ideas? I've felt so discouraged. I'm not giving up - I'm in this for the long haul. But the thought of crawling through 75 pounds at 1 - 2 pounds lost per MONTH is almost unbearable! I don't want some fast gimmick...I want to lose weight at the doctor-recommended rate of 1 - 2 pounds per week. Please help!

*Exercise schedule, if it helps:
Classes are 1 hr long

Mondays - Yoga, Zumba
Tuesdays - Cardio/Strength Intervals, Strength training class
Wednesdays - Cardio/Strength Intervals
Thursdays - Boot Camp (cardio), Strength training class
Fridays - Boot Camp (cardio), Zumba

06-24-2013, 09:57 AM
I am no expert but if it was me I would up my protein quite a bit and lower the calorie intake.

06-24-2013, 10:04 AM
I'm sorry I don't have any good advice for you. I'm just writing to say the same has happened to me. I started the same time/weight as you lost steadily to 240 then - while staying on plan - went up to 248 and have been bouncing for the past several weeks between 242-244. Although I don't exercise as much as you, I'm positive I am eating at a deficit, it should be coming off at least a pound a week. It's so easy to feel discouraged. I do try to remind myself that even if I'm not losing 1-2 a week, I am making better choices and positive changes.
So I'm going to re-start doing yoga everyday, and look back on my food diary and see if I can see any patterns. I think I will also try drastically cycling my calories - like 1200 3 days a week and 2400 4 days a week, instead of keeping a more steady 1800 like I usually do.
Best of luck to you.

06-24-2013, 10:07 AM
I would lower your calories to about 1500 a day and see if that helps. I can't imagine going into starvation mode at 1500 cals a day.

06-24-2013, 10:58 AM
First...you are on track with your weight loss. The average human gains 10-15 pounds a year if they do NOTHING (no change in diet or activity level.) In contrast, we can lose between 0.5 pounds and 2 pounds a week by simply adjusting those two areas (an not using any gimmicks or quick weight loss plans.) So, that means you are looking at 26 to 104 pounds a year that can be lost. That means we CAN lose much faster than we gain...it also means you fall in this average range considering you are losing roughly 1 pound a week. Remember, weight loss is NOT linear. You are going to have weeks were you gain a pound or two, weeks where you drop 3 or 4 pounds, weeks where you don't move, and then weeks where you are losing your average. The thing is...how does it balance out in the end?

In addition, our bodies are insanely adaptive. We tend to hit plateaus around after several months of dieting as our bodies adjust to the new caloric intake and output (exercise.) It may take weeks or months to budge from those plateaus (mine took 6 weeks.) And every couple of months, we hit another one. It is our bodies adjusting. We NEED those adjustments...its our bodies way of reorganizing how it burns calories, where it stores fat, and where to trim inches. If we didn't hit those plateaus, we would end up in a world of pain and fatigue. Think of it as your metabolism is "napping" from an intense day at the zoo. It is recharging.

Now, are you only looking at the scale? If so, then I have good news for you...when you stall out on the scale you do NOT stall out on the tape measure if you are staying on plan. Take up the tape measure and start looking for yourself. For example, I gained 3 pounds since the first of this month...but I have lost 5 inches overall. Join my challenge (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/chicks-up-challenge/283180-measure-those-inches-challenge.html) and keep track yourself...you'll be amazed :)

Now, in regards to your diet...how often do you meet with your nutritionist? I meet with mine twice a month. Often times, our diets have to be adjusted to maintain weight loss. Since I started my journey, I have had to change my plan no less then 4 times. Your nutritionist will know best how to do this. Remember, as you lose weight or increase activity, your BMR changes, as does your caloric needs. Also remember that if you are insanely active, which you are, your protein requirements are going to be as high as 1.5 times more than the average person! Does your nutritionist know how much you weigh now and how much activity you do now oppossed to when you first visited him/her?

A rule of thumb for caloric intake is this -
To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
•If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
•If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
•If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
•If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
•If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9
If you want to lose fat, a useful guideline for lowering your calorie intake is to reduce your calories by at least 500, but not more than 1000 below your maintenance level.

That means, if your BMR is correct at 1825, and we are being modest and saying your moderately active, you should be getting between 1828 and 2328 calories a day for weight loss. Since you are female, aim for the lower of the numbers.

Also, you said you gained after upping your caloric intake by 400 a day. Never make that big of a jump unless you want a gain. Where as it may jump start your metabolism (my doctor has had me do this twice now) it does cause a brief gain. If you drop back down, you SHOULD see a loss rather quickly (I have both times.) If you are going to increase your caloric intake but not change your activity level, do it by 100 extra a day instead of 400. Remember, 3500 calories is all you need to lose or gain a pound.

But mostly:
-Expect regular plateaus every several of months that can last for a few weeks or months
-Step off the scale when you hit a plateau...it will only derail you if you focus on that number
-Take up your tape measure

Don't give up. You are doing great :)

06-24-2013, 11:01 AM
I notice that you said, "I eat around 1650 - 1850 calories a day." Are you weighing or measuring all your food and keeping a log of what you eat? I can't tell portion size by eyeballing things and I have seen many others post that they cannot either. If I don't weigh or measure all my food and keep a written log of the food, I eat more calories than I realize. I wonder if you may be consuming more calories than you realize. Also, I suggest that you include the amount of carbohydrates also. You may want to try lowering your carbs.

Hang in there. Don't give up! You can figure this out, you just may have to experiment some.

06-24-2013, 12:43 PM
Keep trying to find what works for you. All of us are different. I have stalled several times in the last months, but then will drop a couple pounds. I am losing only two to four pounds a month. Frustratingly slow but still going down. I second what was already said, weigh everything you eat. Amazing how I don't guess very well.

06-24-2013, 01:00 PM
One thing I noticed is that you do a lot of cardio. I started a program where I just did strength for four weeks with no cardio, the thought behind that is the more muscle you have the easier it is to burn fat. I did notice quite a bit of difference, but I'm still not dropping what I thought I would be. I did a well advertised cleanse diet and lost 10 pounds, then started the workouts, I'm going to do the cleanse again but this time with working out...hopefully that will get me burning again
something I've learned through all of this is that I tend to lose more when I'm not doing the same routine every week - I have to mix it up and do different exercises, I've seen a lot about "muscle confusion" which I'm sure is just a marketing gimmick BUT I know that when I get stuck, if I do something different, like the bike rather than elliptical or go at a different time of day, it sort of jump starts me back into losing mode

06-24-2013, 01:23 PM
Thanks, everyone!!

I *do* measure and weigh every single thing, an old habit from Weight Watchers! I do my daily food journaling on SparkPeople. I understand now that the 400-calorie jump would naturally cause a gain...I think I will try the calorie juggling by eating around 2000 calories on exercise days and 1850 calories on non-exercise days. I really hope that works!

I've only met with a nutritionist once...but I am scheduling to meet with one in a week or so to re-evaluate things. The 250 g. of carbs and 100 - 125 g. of protein is what my last nutritionist recommended.

I have never had much luck with a tape measure. I never seem to remember where exactly I measured the month before. :) But I do go by how my clothes fit, and I *have* gone from a size 22 and a 3x (January) to a loose 18 with some 16s fitting and a 2x/some 1xs now. That is encouraging!

My goal is to lose 1.5 pounds per week. My weight loss has never gone up and down in these 6 months. It's gone steadily down...first 2 pounds a week, then 1.5, then 1, then .5, then full stop. That's the discouraging part. Well, I'm not quitting, no matter what. I've yo-yo dieted and struggled with my weight since elementary school, and I'm not doing it any more. I will keep toying with the numbers until SOMETHING works!

P.S. Fadedbluejeans...let me know how your caloric ups and downs work! My goal is to be in ONDERLAND by Christmas, also. And...I love to knit, too! :)

06-24-2013, 04:49 PM
...P.S. Fadedbluejeans...let me know how your caloric ups and downs work! My goal is to be in ONDERLAND by Christmas, also. And...I love to knit, too! :)

We're like weight loss twins, lol.
Are you working on any knitting projects now? I'm all into hexipuffs at the moment :)

06-24-2013, 09:14 PM
Oh, I'm always knitting something! Are you on Ravelry? I just finished knitting the "owlet" sweater there, and am starting a pair of stranded mittens and maybe a shawl! Already working on Christmas presents! :)

06-25-2013, 08:33 AM
Yes, I think I am daniknitter on Ravelry....I don't get over there much though. Stranded mittens are on my list for this year. If you can see my library on ravelry, there is a great mittens book there...I can't recall the name, but if I get a chance later I'll look it up.
In weight loss news, I'm under 242 for this morning. Maybe this will be my week to bust the 240 barrier :-)

06-25-2013, 05:20 PM
I've been fighting a stall for about 5 months now, and it's frustrating, but as another poster said, we need the adjustment periods. Just stay on track and you'll get there.

06-25-2013, 09:07 PM
Good luck breaking through that barrier!

I'm back eating 1700 - 1850 calories a day again, and hoping for a loss this week.

06-27-2013, 07:21 PM
Dang it all! Back to 242 today.
BTW the name of that book is "ultimate mittens 28 classic patterns to keep you warm" by robin Hansen. I normally make up my own patterns, but this book is really interesting for the pattern history.

06-28-2013, 12:03 AM
There are some really amazing and insightful posts on here!

I've been trying to cycle my calories. I usually eat about 2200 on Saturdays (which I agree with you on that point - I usually feel kind of bloated and gross by the end of the day) and then I drop 100-200 calories a day throughout the week. On Fridays I usually only eat about 1200 calories...which is low, but it balances thoughout the week. I also switch which days I'm cycling. It seems to be working so far, but I've been having little stalls myself...I just try to be positive and think about how much better I feel not eating all of the processed food I was and how much more energy I have now to actually exercise without feeling like I'm going to die after ten minutes.

Best of luck to you...you've done an amazing job so far!

06-28-2013, 10:48 AM
Thanks! I'm definitely ready to move things around to make the scale move! Eating 2100+ calories caused a gain. Dropping back into my recommended range (around 1800 or so) caused me to lose .6. This next week I'm going to drop my calories to the 1600 range to see if that makes a difference. I'm also meeting with a nutritionist in July to get some extra help.