Post # 1
I was 130 lbs (5’5″) before I started running. About 2 months ago I started running again. I average 3.5-5 miles a day, 4 times a week. I use My Fitness Pal to track calories and stay within my 1200 net calorie goal. Sometimes I go a little under because I’m not hungry. I’m now 135, even 137 on some days, and it’s crushing me. My goal is to be 120-125 lbs by the time I get married next October.
Admittedly, I don’t do weight training and I need to start. I can bench 80 lbs so I’m not completely lacking in muscle. But it’s enough of a struggle just to get to the gym most days, and once I’m done running I just want to go home. I’m also self-conscious while I’m there.
Why have I put on this weight? I get so discouraged by the scale and FI keeps telling me not to look at it but I can’t let myself balloon up. Sometimes my clothes even feel tighter. Does this happen when you run? I’ve heard conflicting opinions on starvation mode and whether it’s legit. Please advise because this sucks 🙁
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
You are trading fat for muscle. It’s a good thing. Keep up with your training (make sure to eat back some of the calories you burn exercising) and either the weightloss will kick in or you will notice your measurements changing. Oh, and take your measurements once a week because those will show a change when the scale doesn’t.
Post # 4
Oh honey, stop worrying – you’re building MUSCLE! It’s very good for your body 🙂 The scale is really not what you should be going by, it’s such a terrible measurement of your fitness or health level. Try tracking your measurements, but even some of those might increase (like in your calves).
You also might want to try eating more – if you’re running a lot and only eating 1,200 calories a day then you’re probably not getting enough nutrients and your body could be holding onto what it can. I run 3x a week, and my base calorie goal each day is 1450-1500 calories. On running days, I usually eat 200-250 extra calories (mostly protein or complex carbs) to give my body added fuel for my workout.
Post # 5
@newcitylights: I run about 3 times a week but I also incorporate weight training into my workouts for the other nights of the week. I think so many people focus on the scale and losing weight that they dont focus on the fact that you could be losing inches and gaining muscle. I have lost 10 pounds since December and I have only recently stepped on the scale to see what my actaul weight change has been. The scale can be very discouraging so try not to step on it so much
Post # 6
@newcitylights: I think that you’re either getting more muscular (which is a good thing), or you’re underestimating the calories that you eat.
Like I said on another thread, I don’t trust apps like my fitness pal. It’s so hard to accurately measure calories. People always tend to overestimate the calories they burn, and underestimate the ones they eat.
Are you having more food and/or protein shakes after your runs? That can easily cancel the calories you do burn.
Post # 7
How do your clothes fit? Are they getting snugger as well, or are you getting smaller but not necessarily lighter?
I agree- you need to add in weight lifting. Also, with running that much, a 1200 calorie net might not be adequate to keep your metabolism burning as high as it should be.
Post # 8
check your inches, not your weight!
Post # 9
@canarydiamond: I am very particular about measuring calories. I use measuring spoons, etc. I don’t go by the calorie amounts of food on MFP. I try not to eat back the calories I burned because I don’t know how much I truly burned working out. And no, I don’t eat after I workout. I usually don’t have an appetite afterward.
Today, I ran 5 miles and walked 1/2 a mile. So far, I’ve eaten 200 cals for breakfast (Greek yogurt) before going to the gym, and 250 as a snack a couple hours later. I haven’t had the appetite to eat anything else since, though I will be eating dinner.
I’ve been reading that it’s impossible for a female to gain that much muscle, especially from running, in such a short amount of time. I don’t know what to think and it’s all so frustrating!
Post # 10
Muscle weighs more, and looks better than fat 🙂 Good job. Keep up the good work!
Post # 11
Muscle weighs more than fat. I would stay away from the scale and measure yourself instead to see how many inches you are losing. Keep up the great work 🙂
Post # 12
Is it possible you are not eating enough nutrient dense calories? Your body may be lowering its basal metabolic rate (decreased metabolism) in response to the perceived lack of caloric intake and increased in caloric output- thinking its in starvation mode and packing on as much weight as possible in order to have needed energy when no new calories are coming in.
ETA: Great job with the running and meal planning though!
Post # 13
@newcitylights: I agree, it does sound a bit odd. I read an article a few weeks back saying that food calories on labels are often way off. Maybe that’s part of it? I really don’t know.
I would try to mix up the exercise a bit and see if that helps. I also think it’s unlikely that you’re into “starvation mode”… you wouldn’t have any energy.
Maybe you’re more stressed so your body’s holding onto some extra weight?
Could you scale be off (like calibrated wrong)?
Post # 14
@canarydiamond: I thought it could be the scale because I use the manual one at the gym (we don’t have one at the house) and some days it’s off by 2-4 lbs. But I was weighed yesterday at a physical agility test using an electronic scale and it was 139.5. My shoes weigh almost 4 lbs thanks to my new insoles so that would put me at 135.5.
I’m afraid to eat and afraid not to.
I think I really need to start hitting the weights. Thanks for the kind words everyone. 🙂
Post # 15
The others are probably right, it’s all muscle! But for me, I know I eat more when I work out and I turn into a hungry monster!!!
Post # 16
It’s very unlikely to be gaining muscle on a calorie deficit. Especially from running alone and not doing strength training. I think your calories are way too low for the amount of working out you’re doing. Your body may be holding onto all the calories it can get. I’d suggest upping the calories to 1500 with lots of lean protein and fruit and veggies. Incorporate strength training, lifting will show the greatest results in the way your body looks in a short period of time. 130 at 5’5″ is a healthy weight anyway. You’d be happier probably toning up, adding more definition. Don’t worry about the scale, rely on the way your clothes fit and measurements.