Riding a plateau, anyone want to help?

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Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 14

Posted: 22 Feb 2012, 20:19
Could someone whose been through this take a look at my diet Calender and offer some help? I've lost just over 40lbs since last March, but I'm stuck in a rut and I'm boncing around at the same weight for a month or more. I added a three day a week,very aggressive, Karate class to my exercise regimen in early January, I meet with a trainer for an hour twice a week and do ballroom dance for 1 hour a week. There is no room in my schedule for anything else right now.


Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 200

Posted: 22 Feb 2012, 20:29
Wow. Looks like you have way more discipline than me! I'd prolly recommend a rest day, or even a day of general indulgence (the Spike Diet is spoken of highly here, where a day without calorific restriction can give your metabolism a kick in the butt). How are your measurements? Is it possible that you're replacing fat with muscle, in which case you'll notice real losses in inches but not necessarily in weight. And are you logging *everything*?
I've never met a cheese I didn't like.

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 14

Posted: 22 Feb 2012, 20:40
I log everything on the days I log. I've had some recent and noticeable changes in shape and muscle development, but after a month or so I think my weight should be heading down again...

Joined: Apr 11
Posts: 367

Posted: 22 Feb 2012, 20:46
I did a 2.5 month plateau. Nothing I did would make the scale budge. At the same time, I was still losing inches and my body fat was going down. Did you measure yourself before you started your weight loss? If so, take your measurements every couple of weeks. Also, I have a body fat monitor and I'm able to see my body fat go down even on weeks when the scale doesn't move. I think that if I didn't have those two measures when I plateaued, I would've lost hope and given up.

But with regards to your calendar, I noticed that you log driving and other regular activities as activities. I only log true exercise. I think that on FS, those numbers are elevated and you might want to just go back to the resting, sleeping thing.
155: After regaining 16 pounds. It's my goal again.
155: Goal Weight | March 17, 2012!!!! I did it!
Size 8: levi's jeans | February 3, 2012 (Actually, I'm a size 6. I skipped Cool
168: BMI 24.8 no longer overweight | December 1, 2011
174: Vegas vacation | September 15, 2011 (two weeks early)
180: first 27 pounds gone | August 25, 2011
186: 10% body weight lost | July 14, 2011
199: 200's gone forever | May 12, 2011
207: Starting Weight | April 28, 2011

Joined: Dec 11
Posts: 167

Posted: 22 Feb 2012, 20:48
You might consider dropping the 'desk work' and 'driving' from your exercise list. They are both fairly sedentary activities and may be making your calorie deficit look more dramatic than it is. And/or you could be adding some muscle, in which case you need to use a tape measure or pics to track your progress.
“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” ~Victor E. Frankl

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 14

Posted: 23 Feb 2012, 11:18
After adjusting the times back to just resting/sleeping, it looks like I still have a 1300-1700 calorie deficit daily. I think I'm going to try to reduce the deficet to 1000 max, and see how it goes.

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 235

Posted: 23 Feb 2012, 11:41
Just taking a quick glance at your food diary, your sodium intake seems high to me. I know the scale refused to change for me (though I know I was losing inches) when I have too much sodium so maybe try reducing your daily sodium amount.

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 1,712

Posted: 23 Feb 2012, 12:20
I hear you- I'm feeling like I'm running in place a bit myself at the moment.

If you haven't tired this yet, try changing up your food intake. Even if you eat the same number of calories on average, spread them out between high and low calorie days to keep your body guessing. I also saw some guidance from Jillian Michaels where she suggested eating a few hundred calories more or a few days, having one "high" day, or taking a week off of structured exercise. I'm trying the third approach now so we'll see what progress I have to report over the next couple of weeks....
- Natalie

Joined: Jan 11
Posts: 383

Posted: 23 Feb 2012, 12:46
I would recommend more protein and less carbs. Eating boneless skinless chicken breasts is great but adding BBQ sauce defeats the purpose. If you don't want to eat plain chicken try placing them in a whole grain (low carb) tortilla with salsa. You can add lettuce.

I would say cornbread is a complete no-no but I don't like it so I really don't know what negative impact it may have.

Pain is a by-product of a good time.

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 225

Posted: 23 Feb 2012, 15:06
Your RDI seems too low for your weight. I would suggest no more than 1000 calorie deficit per day and you should see progress.

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 14

Posted: 23 Feb 2012, 17:47
Thank you for all your help. I will updated this thread in the next couple of weeks. I ate my deficit today, to hopefully ''reboot'' my system and am going to try to maintain no greater than 1000kcal for the next two weeks.

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 14

Posted: 17 Mar 2012, 08:09
Two weeks later, no change... Next step is making sure I get my water. I'm chronically dehydrated, usuallydrinking a glass or two a day. So, for the next two weeks I'm going to up my liquid intake to 117oz a day, and see if there's any change.

Joined: Aug 11
Posts: 242

Posted: 17 Mar 2012, 08:59
more water sounds good.i would also try less carbs but i am on a 45 carb a day woe so i recommend that to everyone.just keep trying.it will work if u dont give up.good luck

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 343

Posted: 17 Mar 2012, 09:07
there is no reason why with less carbs and the same calories fat loss rate should change, there might be a temporary loss of weight due to water loss, but again it would not be fat loss and it would disappear as soon as one gets back to a normal diet.

I agree with the suggestion of monitoring the fat percentage rather than the weight which is not a reliable indicator of success. If you log correctly and keep a deficit the fat loss is inevitable.

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 54

Posted: 17 Mar 2012, 15:02
I disagree with your comment about not losing fat/weight with lessening carbs. Your body reacts differently depending what is being put into it. I see a nutritionist and decided to follow his diet rigidly and my fat loss has increased dramatically. I increased my protein and lowered my carbs. While my weight has staying the same for nearly a year, I have gone from 20% body fat to 16%. I am not a big person so to have results like this is not easy!!
I def suggest measuring body fat changes rather than the numbers on the scale! I get so discouraged when I look on the scale and it hasn't changed. But then I have my body fat tested and the results are black and white in front of me.
Maybe try talking with a good nutritionist. I can send you a copy of my diet if you'd like...just message me. Hope this helps some!

Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 343

Posted: 17 Mar 2012, 18:25
not sure I understood the argument, in any case I never argued that you cannot loose weight/fat by decreasing carbs, of course you can as well as by decreasing proteins or fats. Calories are the only things that matter in terms of fat loss. The composition of the diet, calories intake been equal, has never been demonstrated to affect fat loss.
In the short term and especially at the start of a diet low carbs can affect weight loss only because it causes a higher water loss, which obviously is immediately regained as soon as the diet gets back to normal.
All the research that I have read shows that low carbs diets like Atkins have no significant advantages in terms of fat loss vs high carb diet (with the same calories deficit), on the other hand ultra-high protein intake can have negative effects for the kidneys.
In the end of course it is a matter of choice if one feels more confortable with a low carb diet then that might be the best choice for him/her, but there is absolutely no evidence that plateaus or fat loss can be better dealt with low carbs.

Joined: May 11
Posts: 73

Posted: 18 Mar 2012, 00:01
First things first: the following is not meant to be judgemental -- it's just a frank assessment. Also, IANAMP (I am not a medical professional)

I see a couple things (over the last couple weeks) that look worrysome in your diet and exercise.

1st: You're eating WAY too much fat and salt (desserts, fried foods, etc). Many days you have a 50%+ intake of fat. You should aim for a mix of 20% fat, 20% protein, 60% carbs, or if you are doing weight training more like 25f 40p 35c.

2nd: Exercise

I don't know if you're having an "off the wagon" week but you aren't really doing consistent exercise. You really need to aim for 4+ days a week of moderate exercise. Consistency is far more important than intensity. Even just 15-20min walks daily (or near daily) in addition to your karate and dance would be a significant boost.

3rd: Weight training. You really should work weight training in to your exercise schedule. It's the best way to achieve long term success as more muscle means a higher BMR which means a higher rate of calorie burn 24/7. Also, whenever you lose weight, part of that weight loss is muscle (ALWAYS!). This could explain your plateau since without weight training you've been losing lean body mass and actually lowering your BMR.

You don't need to try to "hulk out" but some light to moderate weight training 2-3 days a week would help a lot.

Finally, the calculators on this site (and many other similar sites) are total, complete bull in all ways (BMR, RDI, calories for exercises, etc.). Go get a BMR test (not a fancy expensive one, just have your trainer/gym to basic workup of height, weight, VO2max and strength and they can give you a decent estimate) and aim for slightly less than that that in intake per day, and the same amount (in calories) in exercise, on average, a day.

For example, according to a trainer and a dietician my BMR is ~2300, so I aim for 1900ca/day and 4-500 calories a day in exercise (on average!) for a "fast" weight loss plan. This site, IIRC, suggested a BMR of 3000 and an RDI of 2600. At the time I was 6'4" 270 lbs (male).

For exercises, I assume 50% of what is calculated. For example, it claims I'll burn 600 calories in 30 minutes of exercise on a machine at a "fast" pace. Total bunk -- even the (well known to be) exaggerating machine claims only 420 or so.

Joined: Feb 12
Posts: 4

Posted: 18 Mar 2012, 12:57
You may find this of interest and helpful.


Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 14

Posted: 18 Mar 2012, 17:59
Just a note, other than the resting/sleeping numbers, I use a heart rate monitor to verify my calories burned for all my activities, so my exercise numbers are as close as I can get them without full metabolic testing. I have also used te hrm to verify that that the sleeping/resting numbers are close to what I burn for the those time periods (metallurgical engineer).

I don't eat to the rdi that this site calculates as each day my activity is different. Three days a week I partipate in an intense karate class with an average heart rate of 155 with a heart rate between 120-190 for at least an hour each class. I also met with a physical trainer once a week for a little over an hour of resistance training and an hour of ballroom dancing every week. So, that would be consistently exercise 5 days a week. This is on top of forty hours of work, and 8 hours of graduate level course work. I am incorporating a couch to 5k program now that its is lighter in the evening. However, I haven't lost anything since I incorporated the Karate in January, prior to that I was losing consistently.

You did catch me, as I haven't been consistent the last week with exercise as my Lupus and fibro were in full flare. However, I adjust my intake daily to account for the activity or lack of activity for each day so my deficit has been consistant.



Joined: Jul 11
Posts: 27

Posted: 20 Mar 2012, 13:40
I plateau every so often myself, I would recommend watching your sodium, fat, and carbs... also try to eat non processed natural foods. As women we retain water easier than men do, so sodium can have a HUGE effect.

I have also found that on my diets, I have to change them or my body adjusts and gets used to it and plateaus. I am also a firm believer in "cheat days" or spike days or whatever you want to call them- a. it helps me behave on my diet because I know if I really want something badly enough, I can wait til that day to eat it and b. it confuses our bodies. - ALWAYS a good thing with weight loss.

Another thing to do is vary your workouts, try something different for a couple weeks to confuse your body.

The important thing is not to quit! I use a heart rate monitor too, these calculators on here arent great... I like to be exact most of the time so I really know what I am burning. I also dont count calories for work/driving/other things other than working out.. or things that make me sweat (mowing the lawn/walking all day at the mall).

You are doing great, down 42lbs is HUGE!!! Keep reminding yourself of that when you get down! Smile

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