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Workign out like mad, so why is the scale "stuck"?

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Old 07-09-2010, 01:04 AM   #1
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Default Workign out like mad, so why is the scale "stuck"?

Hello, I am new around here, trying to lose about 20 lbs. I have a stressful job and gained that much in 9 months. I was drinking 3 or 4 sodas a day, and I but back to one (baby steps). I have been working out for the last 6 weeks or so--intense 2 hour workouts. I am seeing SOME results...I think...in my upper arms and waist. I can see muscles that were not there before. What is confusing me is my weight. The number on my scale has not changed AT ALL. I am using a plain bathroom scale and a wii fit, and they both show no change. How is that possible, with the huge increase in activity, cutting out 300+ calories a day in soda, and the tone I (think) I am seeing? How long does it take for the scale number to start falling?
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Old 07-09-2010, 01:39 AM   #2
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The scale doesn't show the complete picture. Sounds like you're losing inches as well as gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat. So don't worry about the scale, as long as you're seeing the results you want.
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:30 AM   #3
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Besides cutting soda, how closely are you watching what you eat? Exercise, especially as much as you are doing, can make you really hungry. If you are not very careful, a little extra of this and a little extra of that can add up and erase your calorie deficit.

There was a great article in the NY Times a few months ago about the role of exercise in weight loss. Here's an excerpt:

How exercise affects body weight is one of the more intriguing and vexing issues in physiology. Exercise burns calories, no one doubts that, and so it should, in theory, produce weight loss, a fact that has prompted countless people to undertake exercise programs to shed pounds. Without significantly changing their diets, few succeed.

“Anecdotally, all of us have been cornered by people claiming to have spent hours each week walking, running, stair-stepping, etc., and are displeased with the results on the scale or in the mirror,” wrote Barry Braun, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in the American College of Sports Medicine’s February newsletter.

But a growing body of science suggests that exercise does have an important role in weight loss. That role, however, is different from what many people expect and probably wish. The newest science suggests that exercise alone will not make you thin, but it may determine whether you stay thin, if you can achieve that state. Until recently, the bodily mechanisms involved were mysterious. But scientists are slowly teasing out exercise’s impact on metabolism, appetite and body composition, though the consequences of exercise can vary. Women’s bodies, for instance, seem to react differently than men’s bodies to the metabolic effects of exercise. None of which is a reason to abandon exercise as a weight-loss tool. You just have to understand what exercise can and cannot do.

“In general, exercise by itself is pretty useless for weight loss,” says Eric Ravussin, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and an expert on weight loss. It’s especially useless because people often end up consuming more calories when they exercise. The mathematics of weight loss is, in fact, quite simple, involving only subtraction. “Take in fewer calories than you burn, put yourself in negative energy balance, lose weight,” says Braun, who has been studying exercise and weight loss for years. The deficit in calories can result from cutting back your food intake or from increasing your energy output — the amount of exercise you complete — or both. When researchers affiliated with the Pennington center had volunteers reduce their energy balance for a study last year by either cutting their calorie intakes by 25 percent or increasing their daily exercise by 12.5 percent and cutting their calories by 12.5 percent, everyone involved lost weight. They all lost about the same amount of weight too *— about a pound a week. But in the exercising group, the dose of exercise required was nearly an hour a day of moderate-intensity activity, what the federal government currently recommends for weight loss but “a lot more than what many people would be able or willing to do,” Ravussin says.

At the same time, as many people have found after starting a new exercise regimen, working out can have a significant effect on appetite. The mechanisms that control appetite and energy balance in the human body are elegantly calibrated. “The body aims for homeostasis,” Braun says. It likes to remain at whatever weight it’s used to. So even small changes in energy balance can produce rapid changes in certain hormones associated with appetite, particularly acylated ghrelin, which is known to increase the desire for food, as well as insulin and leptin, hormones that affect how the body burns fuel.

The effects of exercise on the appetite and energy systems, however, are by no means consistent. In one study presented last year at the annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine, when healthy young men ran for an hour and a half on a treadmill at a fairly high intensity, their blood concentrations of acylated ghrelin fell, and food held little appeal for the rest of that day. Exercise blunted their appetites. A study that Braun oversaw and that was published last year by The American Journal of Physiology had a slightly different outcome. In it, 18 overweight men and women walked on treadmills in multiple sessions while either eating enough that day to replace the calories burned during exercise or not. Afterward, the men displayed little or no changes in their energy-regulating hormones or their appetites, much as in the other study. But the women uniformly had increased blood concentrations of acylated ghrelin and decreased concentrations of insulin after the sessions in which they had eaten less than they had burned. Their bodies were directing them to replace the lost calories. In physiological terms, the results “are consistent with the paradigm that mechanisms to maintain body fat are more effective in women,” Braun and his colleagues wrote. In practical terms, the results are scientific proof that life is unfair. Female bodies, inspired almost certainly “by a biological need to maintain energy stores for reproduction,” Braun says, fight hard to hold on to every ounce of fat. Exercise for many women (and for some men) increases the desire to eat.


My personal experience is that I could always get down to about 132 on exercise alone, but then my loss would stall. I spent at least a decade thinking I simply couldn't get lower than that. This spring I finally started counting calories and ta-da! 122 this morning!

Either way, you are getting healthier with all that exercise -- good for you!

(apologies for the long excerpt -- this question comes up from time to time and I think this article really nails it!)
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:44 AM   #4
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If you ask me what you are putting in your mouth is more important that working out. Working out is a bonus! With all the working out you are doing you really need to be eating a good amount of calories to fuel off of. I would count calories for a while to see exactly how many you are eating each day. I worked out for almost in entire year and really lost and gained the save five lbs lol mainly because i wasnt serious and I WASNT watching my diet. They say losing weight is 80% diet and 20% fitness and for me this holds true. Good luck
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:04 AM   #5
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It's about the food. It's great that you cut down on sodas, but you're going to have to go beyond that baby step to the next one, and the next. You can start out by simply writing down everything you eat in a day--the old food journal! Not to change everything instantly, but just to see what it is.

Good luck!

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Old 07-09-2010, 07:06 AM   #6
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You can work out from today till tomorrow, eliminate soda, cut down on your calories, but if you're STILL not creating a calorie deficit - you won't lose anything. The idea is to take in less calories than you burn and apparently you're not doing that. You need to know for sure just how many calories you're consuming. So you need to track them carefully and adhere to a calorie budget.

Also given the fact that you are not considered overweight, it's most likely going to take a lot of calorie restriction and extreme consistency to get a loss and maintain it.

Your expectations may be a little high. Perhaps you want to rethink your goal weight and what you are willing to do to get there and stay there.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:15 AM   #7
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I worked out with a personal trainer and did cardio from 9/09-6/10 and didn't lose a pound. When kept exercising and cut my calories to 1,000-1,200 a day, stopped eating most fat and carbs, and started drinking 1-2 liters of water a day, I lost 14 lbs in 2 months.
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:15 AM   #8
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Thank you for posting this, very helpful and informative

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesame7lbs View Post
Besides cutting soda, how closely are you watching what you eat? Exercise, especially as much as you are doing, can make you really hungry. If you are not very careful, a little extra of this and a little extra of that can add up and erase your calorie deficit.

There was a great article in the NY Times a few months ago about the role of exercise in weight loss. Here's an excerpt:

How exercise affects body weight is one of the more intriguing and vexing issues in physiology. Exercise burns calories, no one doubts that, and so it should, in theory, produce weight loss, a fact that has prompted countless people to undertake exercise programs to shed pounds. Without significantly changing their diets, few succeed.

“Anecdotally, all of us have been cornered by people claiming to have spent hours each week walking, running, stair-stepping, etc., and are displeased with the results on the scale or in the mirror,” wrote Barry Braun, an associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, in the American College of Sports Medicine’s February newsletter.

But a growing body of science suggests that exercise does have an important role in weight loss. That role, however, is different from what many people expect and probably wish. The newest science suggests that exercise alone will not make you thin, but it may determine whether you stay thin, if you can achieve that state. Until recently, the bodily mechanisms involved were mysterious. But scientists are slowly teasing out exercise’s impact on metabolism, appetite and body composition, though the consequences of exercise can vary. Women’s bodies, for instance, seem to react differently than men’s bodies to the metabolic effects of exercise. None of which is a reason to abandon exercise as a weight-loss tool. You just have to understand what exercise can and cannot do.

“In general, exercise by itself is pretty useless for weight loss,” says Eric Ravussin, a professor at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and an expert on weight loss. It’s especially useless because people often end up consuming more calories when they exercise. The mathematics of weight loss is, in fact, quite simple, involving only subtraction. “Take in fewer calories than you burn, put yourself in negative energy balance, lose weight,” says Braun, who has been studying exercise and weight loss for years. The deficit in calories can result from cutting back your food intake or from increasing your energy output — the amount of exercise you complete — or both. When researchers affiliated with the Pennington center had volunteers reduce their energy balance for a study last year by either cutting their calorie intakes by 25 percent or increasing their daily exercise by 12.5 percent and cutting their calories by 12.5 percent, everyone involved lost weight. They all lost about the same amount of weight too *— about a pound a week. But in the exercising group, the dose of exercise required was nearly an hour a day of moderate-intensity activity, what the federal government currently recommends for weight loss but “a lot more than what many people would be able or willing to do,” Ravussin says.

At the same time, as many people have found after starting a new exercise regimen, working out can have a significant effect on appetite. The mechanisms that control appetite and energy balance in the human body are elegantly calibrated. “The body aims for homeostasis,” Braun says. It likes to remain at whatever weight it’s used to. So even small changes in energy balance can produce rapid changes in certain hormones associated with appetite, particularly acylated ghrelin, which is known to increase the desire for food, as well as insulin and leptin, hormones that affect how the body burns fuel.

The effects of exercise on the appetite and energy systems, however, are by no means consistent. In one study presented last year at the annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine, when healthy young men ran for an hour and a half on a treadmill at a fairly high intensity, their blood concentrations of acylated ghrelin fell, and food held little appeal for the rest of that day. Exercise blunted their appetites. A study that Braun oversaw and that was published last year by The American Journal of Physiology had a slightly different outcome. In it, 18 overweight men and women walked on treadmills in multiple sessions while either eating enough that day to replace the calories burned during exercise or not. Afterward, the men displayed little or no changes in their energy-regulating hormones or their appetites, much as in the other study. But the women uniformly had increased blood concentrations of acylated ghrelin and decreased concentrations of insulin after the sessions in which they had eaten less than they had burned. Their bodies were directing them to replace the lost calories. In physiological terms, the results “are consistent with the paradigm that mechanisms to maintain body fat are more effective in women,” Braun and his colleagues wrote. In practical terms, the results are scientific proof that life is unfair. Female bodies, inspired almost certainly “by a biological need to maintain energy stores for reproduction,” Braun says, fight hard to hold on to every ounce of fat. Exercise for many women (and for some men) increases the desire to eat.


My personal experience is that I could always get down to about 132 on exercise alone, but then my loss would stall. I spent at least a decade thinking I simply couldn't get lower than that. This spring I finally started counting calories and ta-da! 122 this morning!

Either way, you are getting healthier with all that exercise -- good for you!

(apologies for the long excerpt -- this question comes up from time to time and I think this article really nails it!)
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:31 AM   #9
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As crazy as it sounds, you may not be eating enough. If your calorie deficit is too high it can make your body hold onto weight! But the more probable answer is that you're just gaining muscle. If you want to see your progress (which who doesn't right?!) take your measurements and compare those every week too. I was having the same issue as you and when I measured myself I had lost 2 inches in my waist alone!
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Old 07-09-2010, 07:56 AM   #10
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Kwinkle, for the record, I am not far from your stats/goal, and I've lost almost 15 pounds since April 9. I exercise 5x/week for an hour, usually running, and averaged 1700 calories/day in May and 1800 calories/day in June. Your calorie restriction does not have to be severe.
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLH2010 View Post
As crazy as it sounds, you may not be eating enough. If your calorie deficit is too high it can make your body hold onto weight! But the more probable answer is that you're just gaining muscle. If you want to see your progress (which who doesn't right?!) take your measurements and compare those every week too. I was having the same issue as you and when I measured myself I had lost 2 inches in my waist alone!
I kinda disagree with this. First of all, it takes months and months and months of direct strength training exercise for women to gain muscle, so I don't think muscle gain is the issue - at all.

Secondly, not eating enough makes one hold onto weight? Pretty much it's just the opposite. When you take in less calories than you burn, you create a calorie deficit or an underage and the body has to turn to your stored fat to use as energy, thus losing the fat and losing the weight.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinrobin View Post
Secondly, not eating enough makes one hold onto weight? Pretty much it's just the opposite. When you take in less calories than you burn, you create a calorie deficit or an underage and the body has to turn to your stored fat to use as energy, thus losing the fat and losing the weight.
And I would have to disagree with this.
It is actually possible to gain weight by not eating enough for your body's needs. Especially considering factors of metabolism, imbalance of hormones, Starvation and etc... Everything you eat by default can or may be sorted into excess fat as a survival mechanism, of the body.

Everyone is different and what may work for you, might not work for them due too different circumstances.

Although in this case, the factor might be the soda and stress. I suspect, possibly.

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Old 07-09-2010, 09:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Sounds like you're losing inches as well as gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat.
Muscle does not "weigh more" than fat.
It's just more dense. Takes up less room. A pound is a pound, no pound weighs more than another pound.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockinrobin View Post
Secondly, not eating enough makes one hold onto weight? Pretty much it's just the opposite. When you take in less calories than you burn, you create a calorie deficit or an underage and the body has to turn to your stored fat to use as energy, thus losing the fat and losing the weight.
The body has other alternatives than burning fat--especially on someone who is already on the low end of a normal BMI. It can lower your body temp, slow your digestion, keep you less active the rest of the day, put you to sleep, burn muscle (including cardiac muscle), stop your cycles (for a woman) or make you so hungry you go off plan. I tend to agree that burning fat is, for most people, the body's "go to" solution, but just because a deficit of X calories leads to Y lbs of fat burned, it does NOT mean that a deficit of 2X calories always leads to 2Y fat burned, so clearly the body does have other options.

For myself, I know that my body will burn about 1% of my body weight a week in fat, but if I create more of a deficit than that my body goes to other solutions--that additional deficit doesn't help me lose weight faster, but it IS more likely to make me miserable and go off plan.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:27 AM   #15
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Don't really feel like getting into this and veering off top, but*I* personally don't believe starvation mode is the case here, ESPECIALLY given that her weight loss journey is in the early stages and we haven't a clue as to what she's eating.
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