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Plateau? Starvation Mode? Why am I not losing????

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Old 05-08-2013, 10:52 AM   #1
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Default Plateau? Starvation Mode? Why am I not losing????

A little background - I've been eating really well and exercising for about 5 weeks now. 2 weeks ago I started Insanity. I never ate horribly to begin with, I was just eating a bit too much and didn't do much exercise. I've lost 4 pounds in this time. I weighed in last week at 162.8 and now this week I'm at 163.8. I keep bouncing around this number and can't really seem to lose. I've been dilligently logging everything I eat (even weighing it) and eating between 1300-1400 calories a day. But I'm still not losing! What gives?

You don't often hear about plateaus so soon while losing weight, but it is a possibility. I've been reading up on "starvation mode" and it has some credibility, but not much. Some are saying that it only occurs when fat loss has been depleted. It's usually directed at sub-1200 calories a day with working out. And I know it was discussed on a thread on here at length fairly recently and most people here don't believe it either. I just have a hard time believing if I'm creating a decent calorie deficit that I can't lose weight. Especially after seeing people with WLS losing weight despite eating very little. Of course, they lose muscle mass, but I'm talking 1400 calories here, not 500.

The only thing that's keeping me in this at the moment is that I've lost 4.5 inches over the past two week, otherwise I would say screw it.

Any thoughts?
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:11 AM   #2
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I would say that because you are losing inches, you are losing body fat. If you're doing Insanity, there's a good chance you're gaining muscle mass, and that would definitely stop the scale from budging any lower.

The scale lies! lol. Keep the measuring tape out.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:24 AM   #3
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That was my initial thought, too. But could I have really gained that much muscle? I haven't lost that many inches I don't feel. And it just seems like I would have lost SOME weight as opposed to practically none.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:44 AM   #4
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How's your sodium intake? If your diet is too high in sodium and/or you're using salt liberally, it will cause you to retain water and the scales will go up or stay the same, rather than going down. You're likely still losing fat, but you might be retaining water, which will negate the positive impact of the fat loss (at least from the perspective of what you see on your scale). If you reduce your sodium intake, you might see some movement in your numbers.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:56 AM   #5
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If I'm reading correctly, you've been at the same general weight for two weeks, but have lost inches? Or you've lost 4 pounds in 5 weeks? Either way, you may have hit the point that many of us do when we get to lowers weights, where the weight comes off slower (maybe from 2 lbs per week to 1) and the scale may become even more influenced by other factors, like water retention. I'm shorter then you are, so the weight itself is different, but I remember when I got to the mid 150s, I started having mini "plateaus" that could last even a couple weeks. But then I would lose 2 or even 3 pounds on the scale over a day or two. The fat loss was probably pretty consistent over that time, but it was masked on the scale by the million other things going on in my body.

On muscle gain, you have pretty good instincts to doubt how much that could have been, since gaining muscle isn't easy and takes time. I'm not familiar with you workout, but if it involves resistance training, then it my understanding that you are more likely to retain the muscle you have while you lose, which is a very good thing.

I know its frustrating, but if you are on plan, feel good, and losing inches, the best advise I have is to wait for the scale to catch up and try not to worry about it. Its hard though, I know.
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Old 05-08-2013, 01:12 PM   #6
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It is highly likely that you muscles are retaining water. They need the water to help repair the damage that they sustain during a workout like insanity. 4.5 inches is a lot to lose over a short period, you should be proud!

FYI, as long as either the scale OR the measurements are showing a change it is not a plateau, so just keep going ant you will see a change eventually, likely even a nice little woosh when your body releases the water.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:27 PM   #7
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I have around 1800-2500mg sodium a day - not a ton.

I went and talked to my physical therapist and he said it was probably water retention. That my body is trying to adjust for all of the changes and wants to hold on to as much water as possible and we can hold several pounds of water in our joints and muscles. I guess I'm just getting frustrated with not seeing the scale move at all. My Beachbody coach was suggesting I up my calories to 1700 or more, but I'm not sure I could afford all that food or would I feel comfortable with that much if I can't lose at this rate.

Thanks for all the encouragement, guys. It's hard not to live and die by the scale, but I guess I'll just have to take it with a grain of salt and look at the other positive changes I've made.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by glitterhairdye View Post
I went and talked to my physical therapist and he said it was probably water retention. That my body is trying to adjust for all of the changes and wants to hold on to as much water as possible and we can hold several pounds of water in our joints and muscles. I guess I'm just getting frustrated with not seeing the scale move at all. My Beachbody coach was suggesting I up my calories to 1700 or more, but I'm not sure I could afford all that food or would I feel comfortable with that much if I can't lose at this rate.
Physical therapist is correct.

The only reason anyone should do "Insanity" is if they want to increase their endurance. As a method to lose fat it is one of the worst choices. It is a very intense program and while it burns a lot of calories you need calories to power that kind of workout. In that respect - your beach body coach is probably right that 1700 calories is a better choice.

Bottom line is that in my opinion you use diet to create your deficit and exercise for health. A better choice would be anything else. Literally anything. Trying to lose fat while doing a lot of seriously intense cardio should be taken on with the idea that you're going to be losing fat slowly and you need a very mild deficit.

My personal preference is heavy lifting but ultimately that isn't for everyone.
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
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My personal preference is heavy lifting but ultimately that isn't for everyone.
Even for a woman, John?

I can't picture myself heavy lifting and making progress (I'm more the type to drop the heavy weight on my foot but that's another story!). And I don't go to a gym. I'm just intrigued by your statement. I think it's the last thing a woman would think of? Do you know what is considered "heavy" for a woman to lift?

Sorry to the OP for going a bit O/T, I just appreciate John's input on these subjects as he's a wealth of information!
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:33 PM   #10
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Even for a woman, John?

I can't picture myself heavy lifting and making progress (I'm more the type to drop the heavy weight on my foot but that's another story!). And I don't go to a gym. I'm just intrigued by your statement. I think it's the last thing a woman would think of? Do you know what is considered "heavy" for a woman to lift?

Sorry to the OP for going a bit O/T, I just appreciate John's input on these subjects as he's a wealth of information!
Yea - heavy lifting. I don't mean you're going to start competing I just mean lift real weights and not 2lb pink dumbells

There are a number of benefits for health and fat loss. No woman needs to worry about being too muscular unless she is injecting hormones, has unusual genetics, or is willing to dedicate her life to putting on muscle.

This is my opinion but shared by many much smarter than me in the industry who aren't trying to sell you anything.
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnP View Post
Physical therapist is correct.

The only reason anyone should do "Insanity" is if they want to increase their endurance. As a method to lose fat it is one of the worst choices. It is a very intense program and while it burns a lot of calories you need calories to power that kind of workout. In that respect - your beach body coach is probably right that 1700 calories is a better choice.

Bottom line is that in my opinion you use diet to create your deficit and exercise for health. A better choice would be anything else. Literally anything. Trying to lose fat while doing a lot of seriously intense cardio should be taken on with the idea that you're going to be losing fat slowly and you need a very mild deficit.

My personal preference is heavy lifting but ultimately that isn't for everyone.
I'm going to go a bit O/T too, but thanks for that! I needed someone else (other than an article online) to say that. My friend does it religiously and wonders why she isn't seeing much change. Mind you her diet isn't that great. I feel just fine walking, jogging (sort of) and biking. Sweat pouring but I'm not killing myself with 45-60 minutes of legit insanity.

To the OP, a lot of that is water. Especially from doing a hard training such as insanity. When your muscles build, they "micro-tear" and lay another layer of muscle on top, to repair underneath. That involves swelling (to an extent) which would involve water. Thus, more water=less scale movement to start. Hang in there. I'm sure it will come off with your efforts!
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:17 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by JohnP View Post
Yea - heavy lifting. I don't mean you're going to start competing I just mean lift real weights and not 2lb pink dumbells

There are a number of benefits for health and fat loss. No woman needs to worry about being too muscular unless she is injecting hormones, has unusual genetics, or is willing to dedicate her life to putting on muscle.

This is my opinion but shared by many much smarter than me in the industry who aren't trying to sell you anything.
Thank you!! And my pink dumbbells are really pretty!!
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Old 05-08-2013, 05:51 PM   #13
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I also think the OP's therapist is correct & recommend not worrying about it & following the therapist's recommendations & continuing on until the plateau breaks as it invariably will. I would not overthink this.
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Old 05-09-2013, 12:59 PM   #14
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I'm more using my diet to lose weight and Insanity to tone up. I'm having surgery in a month and won't be able to workout for up to 6 weeks, so I want as much endurance and muscle tone as possible. Plus Insanity is doing great things to my arms, which I hate, but not so much to my thighs, but I'm doing a lot of squats so that probably has something to do with it.

I'm interested in lifting and might do it eventually, but I don't have the money to join a gym and I'm moving soon, so it's not really worth it. I guess during my recovery after my surgery I'll focus on fat loss. My PT said my body will get used to the consant abuse, I mean exercise, and I should lose the water weight and see a drop. I hope soooO!! Otherwise, dropping inches is a big motivator!
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Old 05-09-2013, 01:45 PM   #15
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http://www.decidetostayfit.com/blog/...anity-work-out

Here's an interesting article directly regarding water retention v. Insanity. Should have done a little more research!
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