Here's my 2 cents. The best starting point is to think about what has worked for you in the past and then figure out why it stopped working.
You say that in 2002 you started Atkins and lost 15 lbs quickly. Were you following the actual Atkins diet as outlined in the book? What about the Atkins diet did you think was unsustainable? Is there some way you can tweak the Atkins diet to make it sustainable for you even if that that means a slower weight loss?
Eating lots of vegetables and fruit is really important for long term health and weight loss. How many servings are you getting every day?
I agree that trying different types of exercise is a good suggestion. I also want to emphasize the "change" in your body composition---also a big plus!!
I would suggest you track daily using SP. Aim for 1300-1400 calories daily. In 1 week weigh and see if there is any change. Also make your nutrition tracker public and let us know on this thread when this is done. We can give a look and see if there are any suggested tips.
Becky Your SP Registered Dietitian
Fitness Minutes: (1,035)
1/24/14 9:45 A
Becky - I was at my heaviest (that I knew of) in 2002 at 165 lbs. My body composition was much different back then. I wasn't nearly as active, fitness-wise and didn't have nearly as much muscle as I have now. You could see the weight in my face much more back then. These days, although I'm only 5 lbs lighter than my heaviest, my face still looks thin. Currently my scale (which I know isn't really terribly accurate for BF% measurement) says I'm at about 32-35% BF. I know I have more of a stocky, muscular build in general, so my expectation was never to be supermodel-thin. But I know 160 is too heavy for 5'2".
Back in 2002, I started Atkins and lost 15 lbs quickly. I switched to WW b/c I realized the Atkins thing wasn't very sustainable or healthy long-term. I lost another 7-8 lbs and was exercising more regularly. I think at my thinnest, I was around 143-142. Then, life happened and I slowly creeped back up over time. I had a period of success again about 5 years ago when I started playing soccer again competitively and was counting calories pretty rigorously at around the 1300-1400 range. Got back down to about 145, but couldn't seem to get any lower. Then I was diagnosed with RA and my weight loss became less about vanity and more about health. This was when I switched to a more whole-food diet, eating mostly organic and cutting out artificial ingredients as much as possible. I was exercising more than ever (even using a trainer for about a year and a half), but still couldn't lose. Then the frustration set in and the slips happened more. Everytime I try to re-set and get things going again, I get frustrated when weeks go by and the scale doesn't budge. I tried a lot of things. Cutting down on simple carbs, trying to increase protein, eating small amounts of "good" fats, etc. I have stumped my doctors. My OB/GYN took me off B/C for 6 mo. Nothing. Tested my thyroid - normal. Hormones? Normal. My life isn't overly stressful.
MichelleGeorge - Thanks for the tips, my co-worker is trying Shred. I'll see if I can borrow her book and check it out.
1/24/14 9:06 A
OK, I'm no dietician but I can relate something that I've learned over the last 2 years to you. I'm with you on the frustration, you do all you can to eat right and are still struggling but sometimes your body just refuses to cooperate so you need to shock your system. So i'd suggest change up your routine! What has worked for me is to change the timing and amount of my meals.
I used to have three decent healthy meals and 3 snacks a day - I struggled to just get a pound off a week, then someone suggested I make it 6 small meals, so instead of eating an omelete and turkey bacon for breakfast, a salad with cheese and 4oz of chicken for lunch and a well rounded dinner with a few small snacks in between, I mixed it up. I'd have a boiled egg for breakfast with salsa; yogurt, berries & granola 2 hours later; salad with just an ounce or two of chicken at lunch; tomato, avacado & chicken 2 hours after that; a couple of ounces of protein and grilled veggies for dinner and then tuna on a portabello mushroom with cheese a couple of hours after that - I felt like I was constantly eating but it was smaller amounts, 200-300 calories per meal I never felt hungry and the weight just peeled off, some weeks depending on my exercise level, I could lose up to 3lbs a week.
If you need a guide to this, I would suggest the Shred diet, I have the book at home and I have to say, it's great! It includes some great smoothie and soup recipes that you can make.
One more thing as I piece all this together... You said you have already done all the typical wt loss suggestions (stop fast food, stop the regular pop, etc) What was your heaviest weight ever??
Fitness Minutes: (1,035)
1/24/14 7:38 A
Thanks for the reply, Becky.
I have been using the SP tracker, but I just started this week. Previously I had been using MyFitnessPal to track my food. This week I used the SP meal planner to choose two sets of meals and alternating between them which is typical of my past planning. Makes it easier to shop. I spend 15-20 hrs a week just commuting, so I have to do all my meal planning and cooking on the weekends. Without having 2-3 weeks of tracking to go by, I can tell you that I typically shoot for a 45-30-25 Carb-Protein-Fat ratio. I wake up at 4:30 am to catch my train and usually have a peice of fruit with my vitamins before leaving the house at 5:30. I have a cup of coffee when I get into the office (around 7) and eat my main breakfast around 8-8:30. A typical breakfast is an egg-white omelet or overnight oatmeal made with unsweetened almond milk, berries, and protein powder. Lunch is at noon, usually I like to make a soup, salad or veggie chili with beans. Then I have a small snack before leaving the office, usually around 2-2:30. I go to kickboxing before dinner, so that meal is usually eaten around 7pm. My dinner menu is the most variable, but I try to keep it around 400 cal. By the end of the day, I'm usually around 1200-1250 cal total. Weekends are a little more fast and loose, but I still stick to the 1200-1250 cal range. I hope that is enough info.
As for my exercise plan, I used to do a routine of weights and cardio at the gym. That was dreadfully boring however and really affected my consistency. Then I found the kickboxing gym, that is a lot more fun and I find myself going more consistently. Each class is a 60 min. combination of cardio and strength training. They mix rapid punch and kick combinations on the heavy bag with calesthenics like push-ups, sit-ups, squats, burpees, planks, etc. I have been going to these classes for about three months now and I do see more muscle definition in my arms and legs. I know soccer is mostly a cardio endeavour and most people dismiss the horseback riding as not really being exercise, but I beg to differ! You try getting an 1000 lb animal to go over a fence (when he'd rather not) using mainly just your legs! ;-)
I hope that gives a better picture. As I said, my job is mostly a sedentary thing, but I do quite a bit of walking during my commute and when the weather is better, I usually spend my lunch hour walking around the city.
Edit 1: The whole thing is just so frustrating. I see people just eating whatever the hell they want and I get jealous as hell. My metabolism seems to be so slow that I have to count every morsel that goes into my mouth and it's just so mentally draining. But I know that if I didn't do this, I'd be 300 fricking pounds and I have nightmares about being that lady with the Rheumatoid Arthritis who's confined to a damned scooter chair before I hit 50. It just feels like my whole life is revolving around this problem.
Edit 2: Also, I feel like most weight loss advice is aimed towards folks who have a lot more to lose than I do. "Stop eating fast food." Um, been there, done that. "Drink more water!" Yeah, already there. When you've already made all the obvious lifestyle changes and you're still seeing no progress, then what do you do? Whip out the scientific scale and start measuring your food to the nanogram? REALLY?!?
Edit 3: I really shouldn't post to message boards before I've had my coffee...
I would really like to see 2-3 weeks of your complete nutrition tracker. Have you been using your SP Nutrition Tracker? Do you want to make it public? Do you need the steps?
I can tell that you have very active planned exercise; however, if the rest of your day is sedentary 1200-1300 may be correct. On the other hand, you may need about 1400-1500 for weight loss. And while you describe a diet of very wholesome foods; seeing the actual foods and totals can really help with tips and suggestions by myself and other members.
My other input is about your fitness. Is your exercise plan bringing about any change in muscle, a decrease in inches, pants fitting more loosely? A good program should not only burn cardio calories; but also some conditioning, strength training. Any changes???
Becky Your SP Registered Dietitian
1/23/14 8:49 P
Bump for Becky :)
Fitness Minutes: (1,035)
1/23/14 4:21 P
"Thank you!" To everyone who has responded so far. I think just knowing others are out there is big help. I'm hoping for the SP dietician to respond when she gets a chance. I'd love to get her take on it.
Edited by: DAKOTAGRRL77 at: 1/23/2014 (16:32)
1/23/14 3:46 P
Dietician Becky comes on here a lot, she will come on and answer this - she's really the best one to answer this.
Without knowing your foods (public tracker), I'm struggling with the fact that you are eating 1,200 cals a day, and exercising, yet not losing weight. My gut reaction is that you're not eating enough.
Hang in there.
1/23/14 3:29 P
Yes, you need to eat more when you exercise. 1-2 lbs a week is average, it might be more than that or it might be less. Sleep is important to recovery as well.
Fitness Minutes: (85,402)
1/23/14 2:35 P
Your nutritionist is wrong. I'm 5'2 and my starting weight was nearly the exact same as yours (165 lbs). I ate an average of 1500 cals and lost 60 lbs in 8 months. Lost an average 1-2 lbs/week.
Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 1/23/2014 (14:35)
1/23/14 2:35 P
"If you want to lose any weight, you can't eat more than 1200-1250 cal/day, regardless of exercise and even then you should only expect to lose 0.5 to 1 lb a week."
I'm having an issue with that statement. So, if you did 2 hours of cardio everyday, you'd still be able to only eat 1200-1250 calories a day?
Fitness Minutes: (4,595)
844 1/23/14 2:23 P
i didn't really read the post, but I have just one question for you-- Why are you on this journey? That is what your past attempts were missing. Mine certainly were. But since I have discovered my BIG WHY, failure is not an option and i find that i don't need to restart. Yes, there have been bad days or bad weeks, but not enough to through me off the wagon.
You know how to do it. You know that exercise is important and the right foods are just as important. But if your mind is truly not in it, there is no way you can succeed.
Is your stress normal? You need stress to live day to day, but it is increasingly bad or hard to control, then you will not lose weight. Stress causes hormones like cortisol which hangs on to the fat. Considering that-- are your hormone levels right? It may be worth checking that too.
Fitness Minutes: (1,035)
1/23/14 11:56 A
I just joined Sparkpeople and was very impressed so far with the amount of helpful info here. To help me get off on the right foot, I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out why my weight loss efforts have historically been so unsuccessful. It seems like I've been doing all the right things, but clearly I'm missing something. So here's the backstory:
I'm 36, 5'2" and currently 160 lbs. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis (well-controlled taking methotrexate only), but no other documented health problems. My thyroid is normal and my hormone levels are also normal. I have a sedentary job, but am very active otherwise. I ride horses twice a week (hunter/jumper), take a 60 min. cardio kickboxing class w/heavy bag work 3-4x a week, plus soccer when in season. I avoid processed foods and eat organic as much as possible, also little to no "factory meat." (They should just make my paycheck out to Whole Foods ) I don't drink diet soda. I don't use artificial sweeteners or flavorings b/c they make my RA flare. I drink plenty of water, eat enough fiber, etc. The one thing I know I fall down on a bit is getting enough sleep, but I've really been making an effort to get more.
More and more, I'm starting to think that my food intake is the problem. I went to a licensed nutritionist about 6 months ago who told me "If you want to lose any weight, you can't eat more than 1200-1250 cal/day, regardless of exercise and even then you should only expect to lose 0.5 to 1 lb a week." It was hard to hear because I had been sticking to that level of calories and using a food diary to keep track for a long time with no results. In fact, I had slowly gained 5 lbs after a few frustration-fueled slips here and there. Now when I joined Sparkpeople, my recommended calorie range was given as 1200-1550 (no fitness). I started using the meal planner (because it is excellent!) and automatically I omitted a few items a day to keep the total calorie count in the 1200-1250 range regardless of exercise like the nutritionist told me to do. I'm wondering if this is the wrong approach and what the "professional" told me 6 months ago was not right. Given my fitness activity level, should I really be eating more?
Sorry for the long-winded post, I'm just really frustrated. Any help/advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
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