The SparkPeople Blog

Weight Busters: Finding Strategies to Keep Moving When the Scale Will Not

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
7/23/2009 6:18 AM   :  122 comments   :  41,820 Views

See More: nutrition, weight gain,
I appreciate the positive responses and “club” name ideas shared by readers of my earlier blog, But What if I Can’t Lose Weight. I am starting a new series to provide ideas, topics and suggestions that may help you move forward in your quest for weight loss and improved health and fitness especially when progress is slower than expected. I hope the topics and ideas shared will provide new ways for readers to think about the basics of nutrition, fitness and health and how they can apply them in their own lives to see success and reach goals.

Many of us experience weight loss at a slower pace than desired and are frustrated. Some of us are in this situation because of medical conditions or changes in life stage, which have altered how our bodies respond to diet and exercise. For others, following the recommendations and calculations does not bring the desired results. Whatever the reason you are finding that you are working hard and the weight is not responding as you had hoped, perhaps one or more of the topics we cover in this new series will make a difference in your quest for success. To get this new series started we are going to take a closer look at why we are all not metabolically equal.

Metabolism is not only the rate at which the body uses energy but also the efficiency in which available energy and nutrients are used. There are several methods that can be used to calculate estimated energy needs by nutrition professionals with the Harris Benedict equation being the most common. However, this equation and calculation "could" be what is keeping you from having weight loss success. How?

The Harris Benedict equation uses gender, age, height and weight to calculate an estimated BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) or the amount of energy the body requires to perform functions for living such as thinking, digestion, breathing, growth and repair. This is the energy required 24/7 just to lie in bed and do little else. An activity factor is also added to the calculation to provide your daily estimation of energy needs. Many nutrition professionals assume lifestyles that are more sedentary. If you work at a desk job and are not an active person, the calculation may be accurate. However, if you live an active life either in the type of work you do, the leisure activities you enjoy or a combination of the two, the calculation may be a little low.

Calculating your estimated nutrient needs is more of an art than an exact science and what the body needs on a given day differs based on what you are doing, if your body is in a state of repair from illness or injury and if the available energy can be properly utilized. Since knowing exactly how many calories are necessary on a given day is difficult from just a calculation, nutrition professionals typically provide a calorie range. When you work with a nutrition professional such as a Registered Dietitian, they are able to use their knowledge and experience to provide thoughts and ideas for small changes that may help in your specific situation. Here are several suggestions that may help you do some fine-tuning on your own to help you jump-start your metabolic rate or efficiency that may help you see improved weight loss success.

One of the flaws with the tried and true HB equation is that is does not provide any calculated factors for body composition. Our body type is genetically determined and is not something we can change. However, it does affect the way our body uses nutrients. An ectomorphic body type tends to have a fast metabolism with a smaller body frame and has more difficulty building muscle. An endomorphic body type on the other hand tends to have a naturally lower metabolic rate but is able to build muscle more easily. When things are out of balance, an endomorph easily increases fat stores because of a larger number of fat cells. Fat is less metabolic than muscle and having more muscle mass will affect the energy you need and the energy you use even though it is not something that is included in the calculations. If you have a higher level of muscle, you will likely have higher energy needs than the equation will calculate.

Digestion uses energy, so the number of times you eat in a day can affect the amount of energy you are using. The composition of your meals can also have an effect on the utilization of energy and nutrients. I will save the discussion on low carbohydrate or high protein diets for another time but I will say that making small adjustments in your meal composition may make a difference in your weight loss efforts. If you have a medical condition or take medications that affect the way you utilize glucose, a 45-50% intake of carbohydrate may be most beneficial. If you routinely participate in cardio exercise routines that last longer than an hour, a 60-65% carbohydrate intake may be more beneficial. If your nutrient intake is not equally balanced or you are taking supplements that create an unfavorable balance in some nutrients, this may have an effect as well. Looking at not only what you eat but how often and in what nutrient ratio is something that may help you find small changes to try to see if it makes a difference in moving the scale.

Exercise machines or lists that estimate energy expenditure can really be unreliable and can over or under estimate the affects of exercise. If you are having trouble seeing the results you are looking for, it is worth making a small investment in a heart rate monitor. Heart rate monitors can help you make sure your exercise routine is not too easy or too intense as well as letting you know how many calories your body burned during your activity. When you know exactly how many calories you are burning, you are better able to balance that output with the correct intake to meet your goals.

The calculations used by the HB equation or any other means of establishing estimated nutrient needs are ballpark numbers, they are not exact. Body type, activity level and meal composition and timing may indicate an energy need higher than the estimation you are following. If you are someone that routinely stays in your estimated calorie range and it is slightly lower than what the body needs, this could keep the body in a "perceived" starvation state where it will not release fat reserves. This can especially be true if you are routinely always eating at the low end or slightly below your range and exercising a great deal with defined muscle mass.

The Bottom Line -- We live in a dieting society and the thought is always that lower calorie intake is better. That is not always true especially if you are an active person that is fit. Perhaps increasing your calories by 300 calories on each end of your range for a month will help to move the body out of its stuck state. Try to make sure you do not under eat the range and accept that slightly over eating the range a time or two each week can be ok. Don't freak out if you see your weight go up by a pound or two initially, this can be a very good indication that your body was in a perceived starvation state and that it needed more to fuel your lifestyle and body type. Commit to the trial for one month and try to only step on the scale one time per week during that time. Re-evaluate where things stand in a month to see if there is a shift.

Welcome to the weight busters club! Hang in there, have hope and share this information with others that you think would benefit. We may take smaller steps than other people, but together we can rejoice in those small steps just as we do with those that take big ones.


How do you think your body composition affects your energy needs?


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Comments

  • 122
    A couple of very simple things to add to the advice given here, and before you shoot the messenger I already realize that these are basic and you probably already know them. It's really just a friendly reminder...

    Don't forget that sleep, water intake and stress level can also affect your weight (or weight loss). Yes, this seems very simple and perhaps for some of you these things are already being managed. If they have fallen by the side of the road for some of you though, they may help. Be sure that you're getting plenty of sleep each night. Every night that you don't get the recommended amount of sleep adds up, and you can quickly find yourself in a state of "back-deprivation." You'll have to then take some time out of your already busy life to catch up on the sleep you missed, because it doesn't go back to even each day.

    Also be sure that you're drinking plenty of water. In most cases, most of us aren't even when we think we are (I'm guilty of that too, and am trying to work on it). After all, 8 glasses a day may already seem like a lot to some people. That recommendation increases though if you work out. Ideally, you may want to increase to as many as 13 or 14 glasses on days that you work out. Why? 2 reasons I can think of right off that contribute to your overall weight. First, dehydration can have an affect on your muscle mass. If you're working out without properly hydrating, you can actually cause yourself to lose muscle mass. That can lower your BMR and cause you to have to make regular changes to your daily calorie intake. Water also helps to flush out toxins and other waste from our body. When we don't drink enough, those toxins and that waste form a gunk that builds up in our gut and other areas. This is why so many people think "cleansing" and "detoxing" are the answer. You don't necessarily need products to help you detox though. A diet rich in dietary fiber and where you also get plenty of water can do the job nicely!

    Finally, we turn to stress. It's really important to evaluate your stress level from day to day so that you're giving yourself time and space to respond appropriately to it. If you ignore your stress, it builds up in more ways than one. Some of those ways can cause weight gain due to hormonal imbalances or the excess release of chemicals in the body that help to store fat or increase sugar in the blood. So take some time each day to evaluate your stress level and what may be causing any stress. Then work on some ways of releasing that stress. As adults we have all sorts of things pulling at us and even though we know they create stress, we can't necessarily make them go away easily. Financial problems are one of those things for me. When bills get behind or are coming up and I don't have enough to pay them all, that causes a great deal of stress. I have found, though, that if I simply work on making a plan to address the problem over time it helps to lower the stress level for that particular situation. My stress most of the time comes from not having a plan to fix a problem or deal with something emotionally. When I create a plan, I feel less lost and therefore less stressed. I can also explain that plan when creditors come calling, or remind myself of it when things start to get rough. Talking things out with trusted family members or friends also really helps. No man is an island and we can't deal with all of our stressors on our own. So when someone is kind enough to allow you to unburden yourself, take them up on the offer, try not to go overboard, and return the favor when they need it without needing to be asked. You just may find that repaying that bit of kindness makes you feel good about yourself and also helps to bring down your stress level.

    After some serious inward reflection, I have determined that I'm not doing what' best for myself on all 3 of these levels. I recently started a Bachelor's program, and in the 2 weeks since class started I have had much more stress and gotten much less sleep. I'm also not getting in enough water even on days where I work out. And you know what? The scale readings aren't changing the way they used to. My rate of weight loss has seriously slowed. So I'm going to take the next few weeks to seriously focus on these things to see if my weight loss rate can get back to normal. I think that it will, but I have to make a conscious effort to support it. - 12/12/2013   5:53:03 PM
  • 121
    I followed the recommended calorie / nutrition on spark people for years faithfully and worked out 5 to 6 times a week and lost nothing...finally i went on atkins in January and have lost 45 lbs...i still use and love spark people for keeping track of my calories, carbs, and daily calorie differential...but some of us simply can't eat sugar or grains...they make us fat! - 7/21/2013   5:02:14 PM
  • GAGBONA
    120
    To the lady who said she had a thyrhoid test done, which test. You should ask for more than a TSH. I think you need a Free T3 and T4 to get a real view of your thyrhoid. I had these done and it did reveal a problem. - 3/11/2013   6:35:48 PM
  • 119
    I just don't know what to do!! The calorie range always changes on me and I don't know which one I should stick too! If I change my goals slightly (even if it's something as minor as changing the goal date) or record a weight gain, the calorie range goes back to default! Recoding an increased actively level doesn’t change it much either. Not healthy for some who burns over 3000 calories a week! I tried eating more on intense workout days and I used to eat a lot of carbs. It didn't work! Whatever weight I lose would be back on me just a 2 or 3 days later and would stay there until the next week! Then the whole cycle would repeat itself! I would even get struck by sudden 1kg weight gains that I would only lose half of, so I would end up gaining weight! The only thing that worked was exercising more, restricting calorie intake further and going low carb! I am also of an endomorphic body type. I have a naturally very slow metabolism and I am VERY small. I’m not sure if the ‘never go under 1200 calories a day’ rule suits someone like me when accounting for my body type and my small size! I'm so confused! The constantly changing calorie range doesn’t help either! :-( - 12/19/2011   11:56:05 PM
  • 118
    Thank you so much for these articles! I am right there! I am so frustrated with working so hard at losing weight and staying the same!! I wear the "Fitbit" and the BodyMedia GoWear Fit calorie monitors, I tracking measure and weigh food, I have a heart rate monitor. I exercise, exercise, exercise!! I am starting menopause as well. Oh joy!!
    Thanks for reminding me I am not alone, and for some things that I have tried, or not tried and will. My best to you, Cathy - 8/6/2011   1:21:00 PM
  • 117
    yes yes yes you said it all Im menopausal and since then despite radically controlling diet and exercise no weight loss, i love exercise but get tired and worry about my bmi being too high (30) 170lbs and 51 yrs 5 2 - 8/1/2011   10:25:19 AM
  • MASSINO
    116
    Thanks for the article. Great one!!! I have been test for thyroid problems and all came back negative. I wondering if it a glutean allergy of some sort? Any idea's? - 7/6/2011   12:57:33 PM
  • 115
    Hmmm, maybe this is what I need. Although perfectly healthy, I have a small frame, but I am muscular. I also have a very low body temperature (usually 94F, but has gone as low as 92F). I just don't burn the calories that others do, in spite of working out. I do have trouble meeting my carb quota for the day, and also have only met the protein quota once in the past two weeks. A severe dairy allergy limits what I can eat, and I honestly never been a carb eater (give me mayonnaise, however, and I'm a happy girl!). So maybe if I increase my carbs to support my muscle mass, maybe that is what I need to lose weight? I generally eat 1200 cals. per day (never less), so maybe I'll see some change if I increase that just a bit? - 1/17/2011   2:32:10 PM
  • REMEMBRANCE1
    114
    This article was just what I needed. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a few years ago, after an unexplainable 30 pound gain in 9 months- it took that long for the blood levels to tip over the "normal" range. I gained another 20 pounds while trying to find the correct level of Synthroid. I also have achilles tendonitis in both ankles, which limits what I can do (although I try to adapt most activities so I can participate).
    I walk, wog, and am remodeling a house, so I get plenty of exercise. I am usually in the 1500-1900 calories per day range. On paper I should be losing 1-2 pounds per week easily. Yet, I cannot lose weight.
    If there is a group for us, I would love to join it. If not, perhaps SP can start one.
    It is so encouraging to know I am not alone in this frustrating struggle. - 7/14/2010   10:11:44 AM
  • 113
    Thank you for sharing this. I am diabetic and had a long history of an eating disorder. My body is now very very efficient. I hired a personal trainer who was absolutely positive he could help me lose weight and had me on a liquid protein diet mixed with 3 hard core workouts and 3 softer workouts every week for 6 weeks. The scale did not budge. I could see the mortification on his face at weigh in time. I was disappointed but I had tried so much myself and failed I was not really so surprised. What had worked for so many of his clients just did not work for me. But Spark People did work. Why? A better balance of food and activity and very gradual change of my metabolism and I think my body learned to trust me. We are NOT all equal. But we all still have hope. I am still learning what works for me and excited when I find something even if it only works for a pound or two. It is all "downhill" since I started spark people and that is working for me! - 7/11/2010   10:50:05 AM
  • 112
    I read this back in September and now I hired a trainer to make sure I am doing the exercises correctly. She told me to treat myself once a week and up the calories that day by 300 what I normally eat.

    I needed to read this again to remind myself that I had to take steroids from adrenal suppression, have had an inflamed pancreas from a gall stone they left in me, and just had 4 knee surgeries and now the new ACL is stretching again. However, I feel fortunate to walk and breath everyday! I loved this article and liked reading about how women tend to never be happy with our current body image! It is nice to know that we are not alone! - 12/6/2009   10:19:35 AM
  • 111
    Boy did I need to hear this. I have hypothyroid which doesn't help. I had a drastic weight gain a few years ago. Two years ago I joined Weight Watchers and lost about 50 lbs. Then apparently my thyroid went back down and possibly because of the weight loss, who knows...Anyway I gained back 20. After months of getting sideways looks at the WW meetings and personal health questions from the receptionist, I quit WW and started Curves. (After 4-6 months not loosing at WW I started gaining walking 3.5 miles a day and jogging 1 mile!) I didn't feel Curves was doing any good, lost no weight or inches, despite working out every day at the Curves site. I quit and went and got my blood drawn. Indeed my thyroid is still very low and I've been waiting for a month to see a Dr because myself and my spouse are out of work. I feel bad, I look bad, I'm dieting, reading, working out....I thought there must be others who like me are doing the same and not loosing but it's good to see it in print. I don't feel like such a freak. - 9/7/2009   11:26:12 AM
  • MAMATSHEPISO
    110
    I have been struggking with this for so long and gave up so many times. Just over two months ago i made up my mind to start agin and to look for other options as far as the eating and workout plan goes. now i am basing my eating on the BFFM principle or guidelines if you may. I have 4 to 5 meals a day and combine a protein and carb with every meal. I start off with a complex carb and a protein in the 1st and 2nd meal. Lunch is a complex carb, protein and a vibrious carb like veg or salad and the next 2 meals are made up with vibrious carb and protein.

    I also follow a carb cycle, but use the spark recommended cal range. So how it works is that you have 5 low carb days a week( keeping carbs to the low end of the carb range) and two high carb days ( getting to the high end of the carb range), Protein every day at the high end of the protein range, daily.
    You can work out your own cycle as to when you have your high carb days to fit your lifestyle or what ever. since i am a carb junky i do high carb every 4th day. my biggest sruggle in the beginning was cutting out bread in the evening.

    i have been doing it for a week and for the first time in years i've lost 3pounds in 1 week.

    i am planning to keep at it and hopefully i have found the combination that will work for me.
    my usual crave for bread is in the evening but i am slowly getting use to it. i feel so moti - 9/4/2009   12:40:03 PM
  • 109
    Thanks for your article!!
    I am one that gets frustrated when I don't see the scales move, and I often give up before I can give my body a chance. Now I understand better and know not to give up.
    thanks again!
    -Jamie - 8/18/2009   7:28:27 AM
  • TOJANAKA
    108
    This is a good article and it has describe me to a tee. I had my thyroid remove about 3 years ago and that was the worst mistake I made. I wish the doctor would have explain all the details and the side effects. I have gain about 25 pounds and its the hardest to take off. I love to run but ll am having the hardest time losing the weight. the synthroid medicine and the high blood pressure medicine I feel is working against me. I am determ mine to lose the weight and to keep it off. I will be 46 soon and feel so uncorfmatble with this weight. - 8/17/2009   10:14:34 PM
  • 107
    I have had Lupus for 9 years and when I started taking prednisone to help control fatigue my weight inceased 30 pounds. I was already 10 to 15 pounds overweight by then so the extra 30 really was a shock. For the last two years I have been trying to lose the weight but it is very hard. My food intake is healthy but the excercise is hard. And it seems I must try harder and do more to lose weight now than I did before. I hope this blog will help me stay motivated and informed. - 8/3/2009   12:52:52 PM
  • 106
    MVWPAW,

    Muscle doesn't weight MORE than fat- a pound of muscle and a pound of fat each equals a pound. However, the volume of a pound of muscle is considerably smaller than the equal mass of fat. Therefore your assumption is sound. - 8/3/2009   10:12:09 AM
  • MVWPAW
    105
    I am wondering if there is any truth to something I was told: muscle weighs more than fat. So if this is true during our diet and exercise routine wouldnt this be why the scale wont move? - 8/3/2009   7:26:33 AM
  • FRAPPUCCINO1
    104
    This is controversial, but in Dr. Atkin's book, he talks about doing a fat fast for several days for very metabolically resistant people. I know it works, because it has worked for me when nothing else has! Obviously it is not for long-term use (just short intervals interspersed with healthy eating). Maybe it is explained on the Atkin's website, but I'm not sure. - 8/1/2009   8:21:43 PM
  • 103
    Your tips are very interesting and I have long known that the calorie suggestions of the Spark diet are way off for my weight (max of 1700 for my weight of 240 lbs) and light/sedentary activity level. I have been unable to run any reports, because I know that I need to eat more calories than the recommended (1918 calories if it's 250 less than BMR for me as sedentary MORE if I increase my activity level as I need to for health, right?). So, the Spark diet calculations are not quite right and I am struggling. It's not a useful tool at this point for me as someone Obese. It didn't seem to matter what I put in, your diet put in the typical 1350-1700 calories which is just too few for me at my size.

    As for body type, I find that eating on the low end of carbohydrates, high end of protein and fats is the best mix for me for feeling good and weight loss. - 8/1/2009   3:25:37 PM
  • 102
    Man - these articles and blog are SO WELCOMED. I am an endomorph & the women in my father's genetic pool were all women of "stature." Not fat; we are just tall and big. But thanx to a slow thyroid I have been fruistrated for years with getting rid of the fat in the middle. I'll keep reading this blog/aritcles and hopefully someting can help . - 8/1/2009   3:03:33 PM
  • 101
    Sounds like you are all in the same boat as I. My problem is that when I'm "stuck", my motivation and dedication wavers. Then, I start all of my old bad habits again and, of course, hello 10 lb increase. I'm not afraid to work hard and do the right things, but I must see some results or I cannot stick with it. - 8/1/2009   12:14:10 PM
  • LINDASANA
    100
    Wow! I have been feeling so alone, it's good to know I'm not. I work out 7 days a week and constantly watch my caloric intake and the scale doesn't budge. I would love more information on this topic. - 7/31/2009   10:15:08 PM
  • 2BOYMOMMY
    99
    Finally! At least I am not alone. I am 39 years old, and had been a member of Weight Watchers for a long time. I kept gaining and losing the same 5 lbs, and then the scale just started creeping up, not down. I have been consistently active since college, and, until my ankle injury last August, was a long distance runner. Now, I am not able to run the way I used to, have gained 6 more lbs in the past year and I know that after I turn 40, this weight will be even harder to take off. I am still active (biking, elliptical, walking), working out 4-5 days/week, 60-90 min/session with 2 strength training days/week ( I have a personal trainer). On average, according to my heart rate monitor, I am burning 2500-3500 calories/week, consuming ~1300-1500cal/day, and have not lost any weight since starting sparkpeople in May of this year. My thyroid is borderline underactive, so i was started on SYnthroid last summer. I am so frustrated because I see people around me who simply make one change and drop weight. I, for the most part, do everything right and am not making a dent! If a group/team forms out of this, I would be interested in joining--maybe we can all help each other. - 7/30/2009   11:06:17 PM
  • 98
    Out of all the groups I see on this site, this one interests me the most. I don't have any reason to not be losing weight, except that since I turned 40 years old I just don't seem to be able to do it anymore. I strength train, run, and I'm a paramedic in a very busy area, so my job is far from sedentary. I've been trying to work the nutrition and fitness bits of this site and still I fluctuate between the same 5 pounds. This has been going on for months. Some of my family members have told me to keep sticking with it, eventually my body will get the hint that I'm not giving up......

    I try to keep focused on the other benefits that I'm seeing but it is frustrating to not see that scale budge even a little. Anyway, how do I join this group? - 7/30/2009   8:57:28 PM
  • SUZANN189
    97
    These articles are so true. I worked out 7 days a week, cut calories for a month - and gained 10lbs. Everyone said it was muscle, but not 10lbs. So I exercised twice a week, ate between 1600-2000 calories and started losing 2 lbs a week. Unfortunately, my workload increased and so did my stress so who knows how much I weigh now, I won't step on the scale until Aug 1st. But after that I'm going back to working out 3 days a week and trying not to go over 1800 calories - lots and lots of fruits/veggies. And we will see. I would love to lose 30lbs by Nov - when I go back to Las Vegas - but the very least, I will have more energy/stamina and I will take that as a success - 7/30/2009   4:43:52 PM
  • 96
    This is a great article!...Thank You! - 7/30/2009   11:12:40 AM
  • JAMMSONES
    95
    This was very interesting reading - because it hit so close to my experiences with diet and exercise. I am pretty consistent with my cardio and getting much more consistent with a regular strength training program - but NO real weight loss! Frustrating!
    It is not good to know how many of us are out there with this struggle - but I am glad to know I am not alone in my experience! - 7/29/2009   5:24:27 PM
  • KISMITH
    94
    this means alot to me as I am a newbi starting over. I have been going up 7 down seven. I have hypothyoids, and take synthroid, but never dreamed it would do this to me. But reading the article and post i have learned a lot. I have a desk job, but get to run up and down the hall ok walk, but at a very fast pace, It becomes very hard for me to eat 2-3 more times a day which i despertly need to do, But I always have a person at my desk who needs help. or the phone rings. no breaks, I never get to finish my 1st cup of coffee, nor awhole botle of water, all day long. by the after noon say around 2-330 I start getting headaches and dizzy. so I try to start guzziling the water. It seems to help for some reason. So I figured out by your blog, I need to eat more during the day. Not just during a 1 hr lunch, (for about 10 min., so is it bad to munch on baby carrots all day? or maybe a box of raisens. I have to find small items to keep with me at the front.thanks for the insight it did help. keep going i want more. Its coming off!!!!!Oh I also will stop weighing everyday (getting me depressed) and go to 1 X a week. :) - 7/28/2009   11:37:03 PM
  • WINNIE12553
    93
    Wow that sounds like me. I had 1/2 my thyroid out and now cannot lose weight. I exercise 60-90 minutes a day for 5 days and watch what I eat with no results or very very little results. :-( - 7/28/2009   9:53:39 PM
  • BETTSNOR
    92
    I am so glad to hear there are others out there that are having trouble losing weight. In September I was diagnosed as a diabetic. The doctor said to lose some weight and exercise for so many weeks, go back and see where my numbers were then. I got my numbers down to under 100 and had lost 20 pounds. I was thrilled. But here it is July and I have only lost 2 more pounds, which sometimes I gain back. I go between 20 and 22 pounds lost. I decided to join Weight Watchers to see if that would help me. The second week I lost 1.4 pounds. Last week I gained .8 pounds. I am so frustrated. I exercise 6 days a week, with weight training 3 days and cardio the other days. I also am on thyroid medication and have been for years. I am so glad I found this article and know I am not alone. - 7/28/2009   8:57:15 PM
  • MELJCKSN
    91
    great article - 7/28/2009   8:43:04 PM
  • GWYSON
    90
    I am a 53 year old former long distance runner. Over the last two years I've had changes in jobs and my dad died. I've put on about 20 lbs and have had a hard time taking it off. But in my case- I don't care about the number on the scale so much... I am enjoying working out again and running. I don't check the scale, but know that my clothes fit better. I just want to be healthy! I'm a nurse and feel strongly that the important thing is staying healthy and fit- not a number on the scale! I do think it's important to include three parts in a fitness routine- cardio, weights/strength training/stretching. Cardio helps your heaart and overall health- but strength training keeps you from being injured. AND helps your bone density. Stretching is important to maintain balance as you age- not only do you stiffen up from things like arthritis :( but you also need the flexibility to keep from being injured or falling. To all who are working out and staying healthy- you're doing GREAT! And if we have curves? Well girls are SUPPOSED to have them! - 7/28/2009   7:16:32 PM
  • CAROLING3
    89
    If this is a group, how can one join? I don't see it as a SparkTeam or find a link to join it. I have these issues as a prior over-exerciser who had to back off due to heart problems and have gained a good 30 lbs in the last 5-6 years. Very hard to lose with diet and moderate exercise these days. Also think SSRI might make it harder. Debate still rages on with that one. - 7/28/2009   6:06:01 PM
  • HUBERT21
    88
    Fantastic article, nice to know I'm not alone all you bloggers out there! I'm 57 now and have been battling weight loss since age 10 at least. Have been on soooh many diets and always lose very slowly. Finally at aged 48 I started to exercise at the gym at least 3 times a week and joined Weight Watchers again (first joined 1971). I lost 22lbs over the next 2 years, losing between1 1b - 2 1b per week, finally getting to goal of 154 1bs (I'm 5ft 5 1/2). Managed to maintain my new weight and felt great for about 2 years. But since then it has steadily crept up again and now I am so unhappy to weigh 187lbs. Roughly 4 years ago was diagnosed with underactive thyroid and have been on medication since and was told once my hormones reached normal level the weight should come off. But to no avail. Have been back to gym and try and go at least 3 times a week working out for at least an hour. I am also much more active than I was at 48.I am not a big eater and seem to live on salads. Menopause must take some of the blame I suspect but get very disheartened to see the scales creeping up when I try so hard. Some clothes don't feel as tight as they did so its true that I must have built up some muscle and it weighs heavier than fat. But I want to see the scales go down and down. Glad I'm not alone. Was very helpful to read this article. - 7/28/2009   5:47:42 PM
  • ALEATHA35
    87
    This is my situation as well. I gained 25 pounds between 2007-2008. I was working out at an advanced level 6 times per week for about one hour. I saw a nutritionist last year who was pretty stumped by why I gained the weight. We did calculate my caloric intake and I did lose 12 pounds. However I gained 4-6 pounds back in 6 months. I tried working out 12 hours per day eating 1600 calories earlier this year but the weight wouldn't come off. I've had my Thyroid checked but it was normal. I'm looking at my bodies ability to digest nutrients to see if this is causing the weight gain. I'm glad someone wrote this article. It proves that diet exercise aren't the only things that affect weight loss. - 7/28/2009   2:20:09 PM
  • JASTRIPP
    86
    Thank you for this article. I knew there were people out there like me, but didn't realize more than I thought. I can truly understand the frustration of not losing weight. The anxiety of pushing myself at the gym and at home with exercise balls, free weights and core exercises. The constant headaches from keeping too low a caloric intake and lately, just plan forgetfulness. My nutritionist keeps harping on me to increase my caloric intake to 1200. I was developing a food phobia, but no one could tell by my body. My doctor just doubled my thyroid medication, so, that with the larger calorie count, may actually work. We will see. *crosses fingers* - 7/28/2009   2:09:35 PM
  • 85
    I think that a lot of dieticians and doctors are uneducated about body composition and individual needs. I've been told for over twenty years that if I would just move more and eat less, I would lose the weight. It's simply not true. In fact, I've never been able to determine what cause me to lose weight. My most recent loss occurred when I was minimally active and eating more food than I usually do, all of it low carb. The same approach didn't work the next time. I didn't gain but I didn't lose either.

    Now that I've been diagnosed diabetic and referred to a diabetic education center (that sounds like some sort of indoctrination or concentration camp!), they want me to eat only 600-900 calories. I don't know how they came up with that number, my body starts shutting down at 1200 calories and the endocrinologist wanted me to eat 1800-2500 calories a day. - 7/28/2009   2:07:43 PM
  • NGLEASON
    84
    WOW can I relate to this! Doctors/nutritionists never believe when I can't drop pounds on a 1200 calorie diet. I too am a borderline type II diabetic, have been on synthroid over 15 years, and have about 25 pounds to lose. I'm lucky to not gain without a daily hour long intense exercise routine. - 7/28/2009   1:22:07 PM
  • 83
    This post came at the perfect time. I was just complaining to a friend that, despite how hard I've been working on my diet and fitness, I've only lost 16 pounds since January, and I have no idea why. I am looking forward to trying some new strategies to kickstart my weight loss.

    I understand that slow and steady is the best way to lost weight, but I have been losing and gaining the same 6 lbs for 3 months now. It's very frustrating. - 7/28/2009   1:18:25 PM
  • 82
    I am 62, been on a self improvement program for 32 months, improved eating habits, some exercise, TOPS weekly Spark people daily...........I have gone from 305 to 181..........124 pounds off. So what's the problem you say??? I am on a plateau . I have been since January. I am down about 5 pounds in those 7 months...but I still have 40 to lose.

    Your article confirmed what I am doing will take me to goal...so with only one pound off this week I celebrate the loss.

    I will hang in there and I LOVE Spark People
    Froggie Gramma - 7/28/2009   1:17:45 PM
  • TRECESA
    81
    THANK YOU!!!! Thank you so much for this article! This is me! I've been busting my butt with healthy eating and exercise and for the past three weeks I've been gaining and losing the same 5 lbs. Yes, I'm obese but I don't like eating or rather, I eat when I feel like I need to eat and as a result I end up binging. Since starting SP I'm eating 5-6 small meals a day but still have a hard time getting in all the calories I needed. When I posted my issue on one of the boards I basically got raked over the coals by a lot of people (no, I'm not sick). A few understood me and this article motivates me because now I know I'm not alone! Look at everyone else who's going through it too!

    Thank you again. - 7/28/2009   12:48:50 PM
  • 80
    I always ignore the scales and use a measuring tape. It also helps to notice how your clothes fit. Not everything shows up on a scale!! - 7/28/2009   12:47:20 PM
  • 79
    Boy, can I relate to this topic. My mother and I started dieting together last Oct. and by May she had lost 40 lbs. while I was still trying to reach the 20 lb. mark. She did little exercise and was eating much more than I was. I, on the other hand, was walking 5 miles 3-4 times a week, strength training 2-3 times a week and sticking to a healthy diet, eating all my fruits & veggies, limited my carbs, choosing high fiber foods, etc. Then, in May, I hit a plateau. I spent 8 weeks losing and gaining the same 1/2 lb. I decided to cut my walking time so that I was walking faster but still walking 5 miles. When that didn't help I quickly became frustrated and, quite honestly, drained. For the past month now I have found it hard to keep going at the same pace and have now begun to see the number on the scale slowly climbing again. So, now, 9 months later, I am only 17 lbs. lighter. I have often wondered if I have something medically wrong with me. Everyone around me is losing weight while I'm killing myself to keep from gaining. I've had my thyroid tested, my blood levels, etc. My cholesterol levels are all excellent. My thyroid is fine. No diabetes... blah, blah, blah. I have been feeling like I'm just doomed to be overweight. My doctors keep telling me that some people just have to work harder than others and that even if I'm not losing weight I need to keep doing whatever I'm doing because I'm very healthy. Not the answer I'm looking for.
    This article is exactly what I needed. It's made me realize that what works for others might not work for me and that I just need to find the right equation. I will add the extra calories and work on finding the balance between my exercise levels and food intake until the weight start dropping again. THANKS for the help!! - 7/28/2009   12:12:02 PM
  • NEVADA_SLIM
    78
    I have been hypothyroid for about 15 years. I've been on synthroid for 7 years now and during that time my weight has just crept up. I've increased food, I've decreased food. I exercise every day. Nothing.

    A few weeks ago I sought the help of a university based weight loss center, and told them my problem. You could just see them thinking "LIAR".
    The next week I had my RMR measured. I had clips on my nose and a thing to breath into. It wasn't pleasant because I felt like I was drowning. The doctor sat and watched me, and when it finished, he looked at the number and said "OH that can't be right. We'll have to do it again" So we did......4 times. I was getting so upset and panicky . Finally he said, " Your RMR is 840 cals. You will need to see your endocrinologist again". .....the one who hasn't been listening to me for the past 4 years. I mean....what am I meant to DO with that number?

    So.....I'm having extra tests done before i see my doc, but I'm not getting my hopes up. There is also a doctor in Colorado who specializes in metabolic problems of this kind, so I may have to go and see her.

    i am eating every 2 hours, trying to eat high nutrient value foods...berries, nuts, complex carbs, small amounts of protein. I eat about 800 cals per day, and amazingly I am not finding it hard. I am finally losing weight, but instead of a crash, it has been about 1.5 lbs per week.

    - 7/28/2009   11:31:33 AM
  • ALWENDYJOHNSON
    77
    Thank you so much for the content of this article! It addresses some of my biggest problems and questions about my weight loss journey! I do about an hour of of cardio 5x a week and try to limit my calories within the designated range. Yet I gain and lose the same 5 lbs over and over. I participate in sprint triathlons and even during training, don't lose any weight. I am easily 50 lbs over weight for my body size, and I am always hoping to decode the x-factor that is impeding me from reaching a healthier weight in spite of my active lifestyle! - 7/28/2009   10:56:41 AM
  • 76
    This article has been a great help for me. I do blame some of my weight on heavy prednisone during chemo which was five years ago. I have never had any trouble losing weight, but these pounds just won't go away. I will definitly work this logic into my routine. Thank you so much. - 7/28/2009   10:51:41 AM
  • LITTLELADYME
    75
    Remember that when you're working out and "not losing weight"... it could be that you're gaining muscle!! Don't go by the scale as much as you go by the inches you lose. - 7/28/2009   9:49:39 AM
  • DEBBI858
    74
    Thanks SO much for this article. I have been trying so hard to stay committed to my plan even though I am just not losing weight. I'm going to look at getting a heart monitor & see what level i am exercising at. It's just nice to know that i am not alone! - 7/28/2009   9:45:09 AM
  • CRIKIT
    73
    I've been struggling just to meet my minimums on most days (although last night we stopped at A&W after hockey, so I went over). It seems like when I'm eating good, healthy food, I'm scrounging to get my numbers up at the end of the day.

    I'm doing a 5k program, so right now I'm doing a run/walk for 20 minutes, 3 times a week. Plus ice hockey 60 minutes, once a week. I was warned that running would make me crazy hungry but... it doesn't. For the most part, I just eat at certain times of day because I know I'm supposed to, not because I'm actually hungry.

    Just getting my 1200 calories in is hard, so I'm not sure what to do about getting an extra 2-300 in a day (at least, healthily. I'm sure I could do it in ice cream!) But I'll give it a go, if it'll help get the weight off. I'm on week ten with no change at all. - 7/28/2009   9:26:31 AM

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