Post # 1
I wanted to ask fitness bees a question about the patterns I’ve noticed with weight loss in my fitness regimen. So I run 3 miles every other day and do weight training from a half an hour to an hour or so the other day with one day off per week. It’s a fairly rigorous regimen since even on my weight training days I try to mix some cardio in (I use Jackie Warner’s DVDs). If I’m feeling particularly tired or lack a full half hour, I might do pilates for 15 minutes instead on any given day. But that doesn’t happen too often. Anyway, I’ve been doing this now since February. I started out at 160 lbs. I’ve stayed at around 160 lbs. I definitely feel much more toned and my clothing does fit more loosely. So I know I’m losing fat. And I put on muscle very easily, so I suspect a lot of good is still being done. But the weirdest thing seems to happen when I take time off from exercise. We went on vacation around Memorial Day. 9 days of no exercise. I wouldn’t say I ate total junk. But we did eat out. So who knows? I’m vegetarian, though, so I tried to keep it semi-healthy. At any rate, I’m down to 155 lbs now. I was once keeping track of calorie intake on MyFitnessPal. I was right around where I should’ve been according to that program (about 1380 to 1480 calories per day). Oh, and I set it for a very healthy rate of weight loss (1 pound per week). On average, I burn around 250 calories per workout. Soooo… my question is, am I not eating enough? Is that why my weight leveled off at 160 for so long? And is that why I lost weight on my week off? Or is there something else going on? Oh, and for reference, I’m around 5’4″ and my goal is around 145 lbs or so. 130’s would be great. But I don’t think it’ll ever happen. I’ve always been large-framed. But I could definitely afford to get rid of my gut! 🙂
Post # 3
It sounds to me like your protein and carb intake is not high enough. I’d try adding about 25 g of each per day into your diet. What are your daily meals like currently?
Post # 4
Hmm, sometimes you need to shock your body, ie eating bad or a lot often speads up your metabolism so when you go back to eating good you loose weight, that is why they often suggest you have one cheat meal a week, if you are not loosing weight try to change somethng you are doing.
The amount of calories you are eating suggest you should be loosing weight, the fact that you are not is weird, if anything reduce your cals again or work out a bit more and see if you see a result.
Post # 5
This isn’t uncommon – the 5 pounds are probably water weight. When we work out hard and break muscles (weight training), our body has to repair the muscle back; well, it uses water to cushion the cells surrounding the muscle; so, there is a 2-1 water to muscle ratio when repairing cells. When you go on vacation and don’t exercise, it allows your body to repair / rebuild the torn muscles and shed some of that water.
It’s not a bad idea to periodize your training (3 week buildup in fitness/ intensity with 1 week mellow recovery focus). You’ll almost always see your weight drop at the end of the mellow recovery week.
The short story- If you are clearly losing fat but the scale isn’t dropping, some of that number will be the water needed to cushion muscle cells during repair.
Post # 6
I think you’re getting to little protein and too many carbs. It’s not just calories in versus calories out, it really does matter what those calories are made of.
Post # 7
and your body can plateau, so as she said, taking a week “easy” will help your tired muscles fully recover 🙂
Post # 8
Also keep in mind that if you’re doing strenuous (sp?) activity and not eating enough calories (which, in my non-professional opinion sounds like might be the case) your body will stubbornly hold onto as much fat as possible.
When I started working out, I figured out my BMI on the internet and the added 300 calories to that thinking it would be enough. I remained the same weight for months and months even as my endurance and stregnth grew. I started thinking that I had some medical disorder that would prevent me from losing weight, but when I saw my Dr the first thing he told me was that I wasn’t eating enough. I added in another 400 calories and the weight literally melted off. Within 2 months I was UNDER my goal weight!
Just a thought. I was also advised to eat mostly protein and veggies and not as many carbs.
Post # 9
I agree that you might not be eating enough protein or food in general. I don’t think your exercises only burn 250 calories, that seems like a really low estimate for intense exercise.
Post # 10
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
You are probably not eating enough. Try to up your calories in lean protein (I’m also a vegetarian and use Field Roast profucts a lot to get protein) and vibrous vegetables. Avoid eating fat when the only other thing you are eating is carb-based. Pair the fat with a meal including protein. Don’t go crazy on the protein, though; most Americans, even vegetarians, eat too much protein, and too much won’t help either. I think 250 is a really low estimate for your calorie burn. I burn way more than that running 3 miles and I’m not that much heavier than you and I’ve got a ton of muscle mass.
Post # 11
MyFitnessPal is a great tool, but it’s got some funny ideas on things, including calorie counts in foods and calories burned during exercise. It might not be a bad idea to talk to a dietitian to get a more accurate count of your needs, and more scientific advice on food choices, then use MFP for only tracking calories consumed.
My dietitian made a big deal out of eating more carbs, not less. Beans, beans, beans! Totally against the conventional advice, but it’s made a huge difference!
Post # 12
@abbyful: +1, this would be my guess
It’s hard to say without seeing exactly what you do eat regularly versus what you ate on vacation
Post # 13
Wow. Thanks for all the replies! I am a carb-aholic for sure. That’s why I’ve gone out of my way to try to up healthy proteins. To give you an idea of what I eat:
some days I have coffee with soymilk and Truvia, some days not so much, it all depends on if I feel I need the caffeine, in the winter I mix this up with tea (both for antioxidants)
Cheerios with soymilk
I also add about 1 scoop of whey protein isolate to my soymilk to boost the protein content
Lunch: (usually spaced out over a few hours at work)
1 cup of plain 0% Greek yogurt
small apple, sometimes a cup of blueberries or other berries in addition to this
ziploc bag of baby carrots
whole wheat bagel with two slices lowfat Swiss cheese or peanut butter or a Stevia-based protein bar
Whatever the husband makes. This varies from homemade flatbread pizza to spaghetti with fake meat to salad etc.
Weekends are less structured though the breakfast is usually the same. On occasion I might indulge with soy ice cream etc. I also take various vitamins like DHA and flax to ensure I’m getting omega-3’s because I don’t like/eat fish. I’ll also drink a ton of water. Like 2 liters minimum per day. So the water weight theory definitely makes a lot of sense. I usually down a liter of Crystal Lite Stevia-based drink that’s been chilled after my workout. Then it’s onto another liter during the day at work. The Stevia-based sweetener is because there’s a ton of diabetes in the family (hence my concern about belly fat) and I’d read that Stevia can lower insulin resistance. Anyway, I definitely don’t feel hungry at all. And if I do feel hungry, well, I eat! 🙂
Also, the running I do is semi-interval running in that my route has many hills. I sometimes wonder if my fat burning isn’t as high either because of my age, being on Nuvaring, or perhaps even because I’m not running for longer periods of time. For example, I made it down to 137 lbs several years ago when I was running for 6 miles every other day (ie 1 hour of running at a time instead of half an hour a day). I guess I thought maybe running for longer intervals may have been getting more at the fat? Hmmm… no idea.
Post # 14
- Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort
You need more vegetables. By the time you get to dinner, you’ve usually only had some carrots. Get some green veggies in our diet. I often have a salad at breakfast. Some mixed greens, beets, and goat cheese is my favorite.
Post # 15
@pfinarffle: What did you eat on vacation, for comparison?
Honestly, I would never lose weight eating that many carbs & so few fats/proteins. Sure, you’re not gaining weight, because you’re consuming glucose & you’re running off glucose, but I still don’t find it’s optimal for weight loss. Also, soy milk affects hormone levels, and hormones are tied to weight gain/loss, particularly for women, so I really don’t think you’re doing yourself any favors, there. Have you considered switching to coconut milk (good for metabolism, high in healthy medium chain fatty acids) or almond milk? I also agree that more vegetables would be helpful…perhaps switching out some of your grain products for vegetables.
ETA: I am a big fan of Stevia, but Truvia (to my knowledge) is actually only part stevia, part sugar alcohol & anti caking agents. You’d get better results for stevia extract (or make your own!), although I don’t think Truvia is detrimental, just not optimal for the results you’re seeking.
Post # 16
@mrsSonthebeach: The veggies thing is definitely one of my goals (hence becoming vegetarian), I knew I never ate enough veggies). It’s just hard because of my 10+ hour work-days and I also work every other weekend. I only recently (in the past 2 months) started bringing the carrots. I do the salad for dinner on occasion, but just not consistently. I try to have healthy veggies for dinner on weekends when I’m able (eg last weekend I made a lime been soup with veggies). Thing about veggies is that they make me feel hungrier! I think they go through me so quickly that I feel hungry shortly after. And I just can’t afford to be snacking all day with my work schedule. 🙁 The protein is great to satiate, that’s for sure. But too much and I feel lethargic and borderline constipated. Maybe I need to up the healthy fats through things like nuts, eg nuts in salad?
@les105: Hadn’t thought about the soy thing. Another good point, especially when paired with my being on the Nuvaring. The funny thing is, when I was losing weight years ago, I was eating worse than this! I mean, back then, I pretty much ate whatever including chocolate daily and it seemed the weight just came off. And when we were on vacation, I ate worse than this too! I’m talking grilled cheese portabello sandwiches with beer battered French fries or very greasy pizza. Breakfast was a full “southern” breakfast with fruit, a small sweet (eg coffee cake or muffin), pancakes or scrambled eggs or French toast etc. I had to go out of my way to add protein to it through that nasty diet yogurt. And even then it made me feel totally ill to eat this way… Yet I seemed to lose weight. It must’ve been water, though. No one can lose 5 lbs in just 10 days like that.