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RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
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8/30/13 12:15 P

Thanks, everyone. I will talk to my doctor and see what she says about a goal weight.

I'm feeling really discouraged - up a pound the last two days. I'm hoping it is just water retention but whatever the cause, it doesn't feel good. Every time I bump up my calories to 1400, my weight goes up. It only goes away if I go back to 1200-1300. I haven't had the courage to keep it at 1400 for more than a week yet, so that's not really long enough, I know.

I worry that maybe my BMR is lower due to medications and my (treated) hypothyroidism.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/30/13 7:41 A

Yeah, my doctor did play a part in determining a healthy, maintainable weight for me. I sort of was on the other end of the spectrum after my weight loss, I was too thin. Before I gained weight (from two pregnancies and of course, poor nutrition habits) I was around 110 lbs at 25 years old. After my last pregnancy I seemed to settle around 150 lbs but then gained about 15 lbs in a year and was around 165 lbs when I started concentrating on weight loss.

I set my goal weight to the weight I've always been happy with, 105-110 lbs range. Well A LOT changed since then... I grew in ways unimaginable in my pregnancies. Any shorter woman who has had kids probably knows, there's no where to really grow but out. I was all belly and reached 170-180 lbs in both my pregnancies. I used to make cracks about how I was wider than I was taller.

While losing weight, I freakishly gained a lot of muscle. So when I reached my goal weight range... I looked much, much different than I did at that weight before. My measurements were totally different. I used to be 35-25-35 at around 110 lbs... this time I was 33-26-33 at 107 lbs. I lost cushion from places I'd rather have not! I was waifish at that weight when I used to be curvy but still had a pot belly.

Anyways, I got my full physical done after my weight loss and my doctor told me I need to put more weight back on and that my ideal weight would be more around the 115 lbs mark. I gained back about 13 lbs (while strength training) and am around the 120 lbs mark. I am now 34.5-27-34.5 so I've got a bit more meat on my bones, good meat. ;) From my experimentation, I feel the ideal weight for me is between 115-120 lbs. The only thing that still bothers me is my stomach but what can I expect? I think I reached a circumference of 50-60 inches in my pregnancies. 27 inches is an unbelievable waistline to reach after that sort of expansion. :P Surprisingly though, my belly is starting to flatten out a tad while maintaining. I'm pretty certain that my strength training is playing a part in that. Even though I'm staying around the same weight; I'm likely still burning fat and gaining muscle (recomp). It is a slow process though.

There will be many factors and perhaps different from mine and anyone else's that will determine what is a healthy and maintainable weight for you. I agree that having a conversation with your doctor may land you some better perspective. I think my doctor was spot on with determining a healthy weight for me.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/30/2013 (08:01)
MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
8/29/13 11:10 P

A little bit of context helps here. A pound of fat represents about 3500 calories. You did NOT gain a pound because you ate 1400 rather than 1300 calories yesterday, you gained a pound because there was a shift in your hydration levels.

Also, with that amount of activity, your total calorie burn (including metabolism) is almost certainly somewhere north of 2000 calories. 1400 calories is still a significant deficit.


ONLINEASLLOU SparkPoints: (73,365)
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8/29/13 9:44 P

Hi, RAVELYGIRL. I am also 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weigh 150 pounds -- but I am wearing a size 14P. I started my weight loss journey at 203 pounds, so like you, I have lost just over 50 pounds. I am 58 years old.

My doctor and I had the "What should my goal weight be?" conversation just this morning at a routine check up. Both my doctor (and a PA health coach I talk to at work) think I should be flexible at this point -- focus on a healthy lifestyle and let my body find the weight that is comfortable for me to maintain. They both think that I could end up being a 10P, but that 12P would be OK if that's as small as I can comfortably maintain. My aim is health, not just "skinny."

Both think I could get to 8P, but not maitain it -- and that I might not be able to get that small unless I have surgey to remove excess skin and fascia. (We figure I have about 5 pounds of extra skin and fascia that may or may not shrink over time.)

Why not have a similar conversation with your doctor? It might help you establish a healthy goal that you can be comfortable with for the long term. Your mother may not be the best source of advice on this topic.

8/29/13 2:45 P

I would exchange the strength classes for solo workouts since a class instructor has to consider the weakest, slowest least fit member when they are conducting a class. I think that you may need to add more strength training and modify your cardio.

Since you are training for a specific endurance running event the proper cardio is important. You mention two 40 minute cardio sessions and one one hour cardio session a week with 45 minutes of elliptical added into the mix. Were I coaching you I would modify your running programme to a three day sequence of hard, easy and medium workout days then a day of rest. Hard is intervals, easy is long slow distance and medium is intermediate distance with some fartlek (speed play) thrown in. Time wise that workouts out to 30 minutes, 60 minutes and 45 minutes per session. The elliptical has no carryover value for your running.

Your strength training should be based exclusively on full body and compound movement exercises using challenging weights which restrict you to no more than ten repetitions per set. When I was coaching track and cross country my teams did weights first then their runs with no strength training on hard workout days.

The easiest way to increase your calorie numbers is to seek out calorie dense foods which does not preclude eating healthy. Eggs are calorie and protein dense if you eat whole eggs, peanut butter is calorie dense, simply explore the calories per portion of various foods and include those in your diet to increase you caloric intake.

For specifics on any of the approaches I mention feel free to contact me directly.

RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
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8/29/13 1:49 P

I was feeling proud and strong until my mom said she thinks I need to get to size 10P. That just make me feel like I must still look fat and that thought is bumming me out. Even though I'm a middle-aged adult, I love and respect my mom and want her to be proud of me.

I have lost 28% of my starting weight and I feel like that is pretty amazing. My goals are to have the strength and endurance to enjoy life, to run a half marathon one day (I want a Disney HM medal!), to get good muscle definition in my arms so I can go sleeveless and not feel self-conscious, to KEEP the weight off for good! I want to look "healthy" instead of "fat".

145 is the lowest I've been as an adult without crash dieting or diet pills. 125 is what I weighed when I felt good at age 19.

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,313)
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8/29/13 1:27 P

"So how do I know when I'm at a healthy weight/the right size?"

That's the million dollar question, and not an easy one to answer. There IS no answer that will fit for everyone. Some people may never be happy with their bodies; no matter what weight they are.

You have to figure that out for yourself. For me? It's when I can wear clothes that make me look and feel good, exercise the way I want, keep up with my kids, and not put stress on my heart.

It's NOT about what I wore when I was a teenager (Two kids later, that's not a reasonable goal for me) or anything like that. I want to feel and look good. The scale doesn't matter to me at all; my college "fighting weight" was about 145; looking back at those pictures, I looked sunken-cheeked and unhealthy (I'm 5'7) -- so I don't want that weight again. I was a starving college kid with no car, riding my bike everywhere and living on ramen noodles when I bothered to eat at all... I was too busy to fret over it.

My target weight's more of a range. Anything between 150-160 will make me happy. My real goals are fitness related... I want to be able to run, to lift heavy, to do chin-ups, etc.

Your goals may be different than mine.

Ultimately, you can't know if it's right for you before you get there. BMI and BFP and weight and all that stuff only gets you so far... the numbers don't help if your head's not in the right place.

RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
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8/29/13 12:51 P

Coach Jen, that article is helpful, thank you,

I can add some almonds to my day and I love peanut butter!

Maybe I need to ditch the classes (or view them as cardio) and start doing heavier weights in the weight room.

Jennilacey, well, I'm 5'2" and 150 pounds, so still in the "overweight" category on the BMI chart. However my body fat suggests I'm in the healthy range at 26.6%. I'm in a size 12P pants. (I have wide hips even when I'm thin.) My mom thinks I should get back to the 8/10P I was when I got married 24 years ago. My husband says he doesn't think I looked bad 60 pounds heavier, so obviously he's not objective. ;) So how do I know when I'm at a healthy weight/the right size?

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/29/13 12:36 P

"but maybe it's more about body composition than weight?"

That's exactly it. When you're already in your healthy weight range this is even more vital. I actually dropped to 107 lbs to try to have a "body I was happy with". Guess what? I didn't... I just wound up losing fat from areas I'd rather have not and held onto it in places I wanted it gone. Strength training is the key here and you can work at recomp. at maintenance or a very slight calorie deficit of 1/4-1/2 lb per week. Just ensure your ST routine is challenging enough and involves compound exercise with heavy weight/resistance.

Just like you adapt to a lower calorie intake, you adapt to a higher one. Just make a plan to add an extra 100-200 cals a day per week and you'll get there. One of the easiest ways to bump up your calorie intake is through healthy fats. That's just 1 tablespoon of peanut butter a day. Surely, you shouldn't feel overly full by adding a tablespoon of PB to your day. ;) Cooking with olive oil will add extra cals without leaving you too full. Some extra nuts on your salad or cheese. Drinking a glass of milk. Or you could go the route of just adding an extra 30-40 cals to each of your meals.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/29/2013 (12:44)
SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,558
8/29/13 12:35 P

Keep in mind that with 10 pounds left to lose, it's going to come off very slowly. 1/2 pound per week is probably reasonable at this point. If you're having trouble eating more, here's an article that might help:

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
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8/29/13 11:54 A

Thanks for all the replies.

I weigh daily so I'm pretty familiar with weight fluctuations. Today I'm up a whole pound over yesterday! I suspect it is because I managed to eat 1400 cals yesterday.

It's tough for me to figure out how to get my calories that high while still eating only healthful foods. I'm just not that hungry except on my long run day. Any ideas on how to keep my calories above 1400?

I've only been losing about a pound, pound and a half per week at 1200-1300 calories. It's hard to imagine that I will lose anything at 1400-1500. I think I need to lower my goal weight by another 10 pounds to feel good about myself, but maybe it's more about body composition than weight?

Edited by: RAVELGIRLY at: 8/29/2013 (11:57)
8/29/13 8:14 A

I agree with the other who recommend eating more. You body want to build muscles in response to strength training and it need food to do that.

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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8/29/13 7:43 A

You've already received great advice on your workout routine... so I'll just 2nd, 3rd the suggestion for the increase in calories.

I'm also 5'2 and I'm 120 lbs, even when I eat 1500 cals I lose a good pound to a pound and a half a week. 1200-1300 cals and I'd waste away and over time it would probably have serious consequences on my BMR. When you're working out that intensely and you don't want to lose LBM, you're going to have to eat more. So close to your goal weight I would decrease that deficit to 1/2 lb/week. Focus on a smooth landing into maintenance and improving your BF% through ST.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 8/29/2013 (07:56)
SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,558
8/29/13 7:02 A

You've gotten some great advice. I agree that you probably need to be eating more, and that you shouldn't put too much emphasis on one weigh in or measurement. As far as your body fat goes, the skinfold caliper measurement can be fairly accurate- but has a high degree of user error. So if the person taking your measurements was slightly off at either session, that can really throw off the results.

Coach Jen

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,443
8/28/13 9:46 P

The body can fluctuate by several pounds from day to day due to changes in hydration levels, regardless of what is happenning with fat loss.

You should never attach too much significance to a single weigh in figure. Instead, look at the trend over several weigh-ins.

The best counter to losing lean mass is genuinely challenging strength training that works all the major muscle groups. Kettlebells are potentially a great workout, but many so-called strength classes go with weights that are too light to be genuinely challenging (whether for reasons of liability, lack of individual attention, wanting to 'keep up' with the group), etc. You need to be using a weight that is heavy enough to fatigue your muscles in 12 reps or less. If you can do 12 reps, it is time to move up to a heavier weight.

Eating too little for your needs can also accelerate lean mass loss. 1300 does sound too light for that level of activity - I am not surprised that Spark is recommending more. Ensuring that your protein intake is well within the recommended range can also help minimize muscle loss.


RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
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8/28/13 7:23 P

I am 5'2". The reason I am doing so much cardio is that I'm training for my first 10k race. But I could probably add another strength session and drop my non-impact cardio day.

JK, all I know is that 2 pounds was lean, which could be water, muscle, etc. I can't quite fathom that I lost that much muscle because I am definitely getting stronger and see more muscle definition in my arms, shoulders and back than I did a month ago. I even moved up from 12 lb kettlebell to 15 lb for the class today.

JK_LEFFLER SparkPoints: (0)
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8/28/13 5:55 P

I'm really not an expert, but have you considered that some of the weight is water or even your skin shrinking? If SP has you set up for a certain amount of calories that seem safe - and you aren't feeling starved, then you are probably on track as far as that. My only advice as far as food is to make sure you are eating or drinking a healthy protein rich snack and an extra glass of water after each exercise period.
BTW - I am thoroughly impressed, keep up the good work, but make sure you aren't over exerting yourself either, too much weight too soon can have a negative impact on your body.

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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8/28/13 5:47 P

Well you're going to lose some lean muscle mass when you cut calories because muscle is more easily broken down by the body for fuel than fat is. That's why the recommendation is to both regulate your diet and exercise. It's also freaking hard (if not impossible) to build muscle (I'm talking actual muscle cells, not neromuscular adaptations people see as strength gains)while running a calorie deficit so the most you can hope for is to maintain your LBM anyway. I wouldn't worry too much about it. However, since it is germaine to the topic I will mention that ST is more important than cardio in fat loss so if it were me, I'd drop a cardio session in favor of another ST session.

I don't know how tall you are but I'm 5'8", 155#, and do 3 sessions each of cardio and ST a week and eating closer to 1600 to lose those last 5 so you definitely want to evaluate how close you're eating to SP's ranges.

Edited by: LEC358 at: 8/28/2013 (17:51)
RAVELGIRLY SparkPoints: (115,652)
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8/28/13 4:54 P

Five weeks ago, I had my body composition tested at my gym (calipers). She measured me at 28% fat (my weight was 156). Today the same trainer measured me. She said I am now 26.6% fat (weight 150). I'm a little suspicious there was some operator error because she measured my triceps at 18 today and they were 17 in July.

But anyway, the concern is this- I've lost 6 pounds, so if her measurement is accurate today, that means 4 pounds of that was fat and 2 pounds was lean. That scares me!

I run 40 minutes two days, run an hour one day, do an hour of kettlebell or other strength training class twice a week, and do my elliptical 45 min once a week. I've been eating 1250-1300, trying to work up to the 1400 (the new Spark range now that I'm aiming for 1 pound per week).

Is my lean loss normal? Is it a sign I need to eat more than 1300 cals? How do I slow down the lean body mass loss?


ETA: I forgot to mention that I did lose an inch from my waist and an inch from my hips in this time period.

Edited by: RAVELGIRLY at: 8/28/2013 (16:56)
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