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DMARTIN302 SparkPoints: (75,250)
Fitness Minutes: (105,447)
Posts: 127
2/10/13 9:48 P

SWIMOM, I totally understand the T3 thing. I'm on T4 & T3. My new (and now former) endocrinologist looked at my meds and asked why I was on T3; didn't matter, before even drawing my labs, he said I don't need to be on it anyway and to stop it. I had horrible muscle aches and other symptoms within 18 hours that I restarted them and felt better within 12 hours. I hope to find a wonderful endocrinologist like you have! Hang on to that one. They're rare!

SLIMMERKIWI, you also raise a good point about bone density. I'll bring that up at my next appointment. I think it's been 5 years since my last scan. Fortunately, I have good insurance, but I've contemplated the research subject anyway, because I'm having such trouble finding a good endocrinologist. But because of this thread, I have renewed vigor towards finding a new doctor. Thanks everyone for your support!

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (243,576)
Fitness Minutes: (41,124)
Posts: 26,599
2/10/13 1:55 A

DMARTIN302 - WOW - you are doing so much, and seeing so little in return.

One thing that has crossed my mind regarding the calorie intake and your exercise - have they checked your Bone Density at all? If not, I would be inclined to ask them, because it is possible that by trying to get on top of the weight/calories, you COULD possibly be putting your bone integrity at risk, as an unintentional trade-off.

Good luck, and I endorse the comments suggesting that you seek other opinions of qualified people. IF it costs you where you are and cost is an issue, you might be able to put yourself forward as a 'research' subject for a big teaching/university hospital.


SWIMOM Posts: 366
2/10/13 12:56 A

As a long time hypothyroider myself, I can relate to the difficulty with energy and such. If it weren't for the wonderful Endo I have now, I'd still be feeling like a slug, unable to muster up the energy to get through a typical day. Turned out I have a T3 conversion disorder which meant T4 alone was not going to help. I had to have T3 also. I hope you find a Doc who listens and takes action. Good luck and hang in there.

MLS616 Posts: 157
2/9/13 11:36 P


I had a look at your food tracking and I would suggest more whole foods, less processed foods and low GI.
Rice 1/2 cup at a time only, lean meats (fish, chicken breast), a few nuts, berries, apples, few carbs at dinner, etc.

Sounds like you're doing a wonderful job of looking after youself though and you can take pride in that accomplishment!


DMARTIN302 SparkPoints: (75,250)
Fitness Minutes: (105,447)
Posts: 127
2/9/13 7:18 P

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful responses! You've given me the spark I need to continue seeking more medical opinions. The thyroid drives the metabolism, and I know my thyroid doesn't work right, so I really, really feel that righting my thyroid will right my metabolism, too (particularly when the nutritionist, family doctor, and personal trainers think so, too). Now, if I can find an endocrinologist that is willing to work with me, that would be awesome! It's comforting to hear from others who have been through this weight loss/healthfulness journey that something seems amiss. Thank you!

Mooslady, your story is particularly helpful. I do feel like every time I cut my net calories (whether by eating less or exercising more), my body adjusts quickly. I'm staying right at around 157, regardless of what I do. It wouldn't be so bad if my body chose a lower set point, but with the excess fat on my thighs and middle, you'd think I would lose SOME of it easily! I like your doctor's words about surviving the famine in the Middle Ages!

I'm looking at changing the proportion of macro-nutrients, too. Right now, that means increasing protein per the nutritionist, which is replacing a number of carbs (my range is 110-160g). You raise a good point: everyone's body doesn't react the same to diet (both calories and macro-nutrient composition) and exercise (whether strength, cardio, or combination).

MOOSLADY Posts: 208
2/7/13 8:00 A

I had a similar experience. I initially dropped weight with decreased calories and increased exercise but then plateaued above a normal weight. So I did exactly as you did and decreased calories more and increased exercise. Over 4 years I slowly ate less and less. I actually lost muscle and gained weight. I was down to 600 calories/day and 90+ minutes of exercise and after a couple of months I looked like death. Finally my doctor told me that I was going to end up with malnutrition before I lost the rest of the weight and to eat more.
The issue is that our metabolisms are not static. Some people's can adjust to less calories with amazing efficiency. Mine did! So every time I reduced calories, my body lowered its energy expenditures proportionally. So I started eating more, and yes I gained weight although it was only 6 pounds. Then my weight stabilized and after a year of not stressing my body, I have lost almost another 10 pounds by limiting my carbs to between 100-150 and doing less exercise. I can't say that lowering carbs is your personal answer but after you give your body a rest try different proportions of macro-nutrients and see if anything changes. In my doctor's words, "Congratulations, you would have survived the famine in the Middle Ages" .
Don't let people tell you that you that everyone loses weight with less calories and more exercise. It is only a partial truth. Even now I am maintaining a 155lb body and moderately active lifestyle on 1350-1500 calories. In theory, my bmr should be nearly 1500 but I suspect it is closer to 1100. So NO, you are not crazy or doing anything wrong. Yes, this has happened to other people. Please don't eat less and less and work out more and more, you will likely end up malnourished. Listen to Archimedes, and eat your veggies and up your calories and while you may not lose any more weight, you will likely get the muscle back and generally be in better health.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,231
2/7/13 7:40 A

The only thing I could add.... I have a lot of respect for doctors and other medical professionals. BUT. My own personal experience has been, that sometimes you have to really search out one who is willing to go "above and beyond". Sometimes they *seem* to be uninterested in anything/anyone/any problem that doesn't have a quick-fix, standard-type answer. Like I said, JMO, based on my own personal experience, not trashing the profession as a whole.

You really may need to get a second opinion.

CAROLYNM1975 Posts: 96
2/6/13 4:26 P

I wanted to also suggest that you look into getting a 2nd or 3rd opinion or more if necessary. Something sounds very off here. The calories seem extremely low and the amount of exercise you are doing excessive. You obviously know that something isn't right and you know your body best. Keep searching until you can find someone who will listen.

DMARTIN302 SparkPoints: (75,250)
Fitness Minutes: (105,447)
Posts: 127
2/6/13 2:38 P

Thanks, Mssruth!

Archimedes, normally, I'd say you're right about not enough calories with the increased exercise. Except, just before I increased the exercise, I did up my calories for 10 weeks, and gaining about 5 lbs, which is about what one would expect (increase 200 calories/day * 10 weeks = 4 lbs).

I had my resting metabolic rate tested at the hospital, and it is 1010 cal/day, about 350-500 less than expected. If I eat a net of 1200 calories per day, that would be exactly what my body needs to maintain a sedentary lifestyle so no weight loss will happen. The only way weight loss will occur is to create a deficit, so the net has to be 1000 calories or less per day to see even slow weight loss. Therefore, keeping on the same 400 calories per day exercised (which is seriously doubted by the nutritionist and endocrinologist but supported by my HRM and personal trainers), I should eat 1100 calories or less to safely lose about 0.75 pounds per month (prescribed by the endocrinologist, nutritionist, and family doctor, emphasizing the OR LESS part, with 800 per day not out of the question). I'm just having a bit of trouble getting below 1300 calories per day. I'm hungry! Even a couple of clementines and an apple for snacks is about 150 calories that takes me from on target to 1300 calories.

As far as energy, since I've started at the gym, this is the most energy I've had in a long time. I have good days and bad, just like anyone else. But I'm napping less, which is a big indicator of increased energy.

As far as non-scale improvements, they're pretty bleak, too. First the good:
* I can see and feel more muscle in my legs, waist, and arms
* I'm somewhat stronger than I was before, though I peaked on the weights and had to take 5-20 pounds off of most machines in the last month.

Now for the other changes that aren't positive:
* More muscle has INCREASED my waist, arm, and thigh measurements, requiring me going back to larger clothes that don't fit better.
* Slower distance running a mile (was 12:30, now 14:00)
* Average/max heart rate during cycling or running hasn't declined. The average is still 144, the max still 170 (using 220-age, 170 is supposed to BE the max).
* Increased body fat %, from 29% to 34% (though the personal trainer thinks the original measurements were incorrect).
* No appreciable change in blood chemistry; cholesterol, triglycerides, etc., are all similar to before (and slightly elevated).
* Blood pressure is unchanged at 110/60 (not gonna get much better) and resting heart rate is unchanged at 43 (and I'm NOT a "fit" athlete deserving of the low pulse rate -- that's the hypothyroidism, according to every medical professional except the endocrinologist).

If my doctors can't figure out why I'm not losing weight, then I wouldn't expect anyone on a message board to be able to figure it out, either. But I'm getting mixed signals from my doctors. I think that dropping an additional 100 calories per day (on average) and adding an additional 400 calories per day in exercise SHOULD result in weight loss, but several doctors seem to shrug that off as if it were a feeble effort at losing weight and I should do more. I think it's been a very significant effort on top of what I already have been doing for 2.5 years, and more testing should be done. I just need a reality check to ensure that I'm not crazy. I just need to determine where to put my energies, whether I increase my workouts beyond 8 hours a week (which does NOT thrill me), or to try to convince doctors to further investigate what's wrong (which looks to be an uphill battle).

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (195,782)
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Posts: 26,959
2/6/13 11:30 A


I'm no expert, so please take anything I say with a grain of salt. If professionals are having a hard time determining why you aren't losing weight, it's going to be even harder for us to help you.

One thing I've learned from my own weight loss experience is that if a person increases the amount of exercise, they do, they should increase the amount they eat. As you mentioned in your own numbers, if you're eating 1100 calories per day and burning 400 with exercise, that means there are days your body is only getting 700-800 calories for the day. That's not enough calories to sustain a healthy adult woman.

So, once again, my personal opinion is that if you're going to increase the amount of exercise you do, you should eat more so that your body is "netting" at least 1200 calories per day. This will ensure your body is getting all the vital nutrients it needs plus supply the calories you need for energy.

Because it strikes me that if you've been eating say 1300 calories a day for so long, you must be physically drained. Do you feel fatigue ? Have you been unusually tired ? food = energy and no food = no energy. So, with so low a caloric intake, I have to wonder if you've been feeling really tired. I'd be drained if I ate that much each day. As I lost weight, I was probably eating 1700-1800+ per day along with the exercise I did.

Why aren't you losing ? That's not a question I can answer.

However, one thing to watch for is the changes to your body with the increase in activity. So, even if the scale doesn't budge, you should see other changes with time. Some of these changes will include your clothes fitting better because of inches lost. You should notice an increase in cardiovascular endurance. If you can walk or run a mile faster today than you could a month ago, that's an improvement. Can you carry more bags of groceries without getting tired ?

Even if the scale doesn't budge, if you keep exercising, you're going to notice subtle changes.

Shoot, a good strength training program could help you lose 1-2 clothing sizes without the scale budging. So, do keep up with your strength training. Increasing lean muscle will help you decrease body fat.

Once again, my personal opinion is that a woman shouldn't have to starve herself to lose weight. Have you ever had your BMR calories tested professionally ? If not, ask your doctor to have the test done. It's an oxygen test. They'll put you on a treadmill, put an oxygen mask on you and then they'll measure how much oxygen you expend while exercising. It's a piece of information that could help your doctor figure out why you aren't losing.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,231
2/6/13 11:07 A

Just wanted to say that I read your post, too-- I feel your pain. But I have nothing to suggest, as it sounds like a metabolic disorder (but I'm not a medical professional so really that's only a guess). I'd only suggest you keep working with medical professionals, and don't hesitate to get a second opinion on things.

DMARTIN302 SparkPoints: (75,250)
Fitness Minutes: (105,447)
Posts: 127
2/6/13 9:49 A

Hi Kandolaker! Thanks so much for your support. Just having someone else thinking that I'm doing enough to expect results is so helpful!

As far as my weight range, the mid 130's is probably a good weight for my frame per the series of doctors and specialists. Given that I'm holding pretty firm at 155-157, sadly I'm still quite a ways out from where they'd like me to be.

KANDOLAKER Posts: 1,902
2/6/13 9:15 A

Wow - I don't think it is unreasonable at all to expect some weight loss with all of your effort. I don't have any answers as to why - but I give you 100s of kudos for sticking with it. I would say something is up, but I don't know what it would be.

While I'm not of any help - I wanted to let you know that I feel you pain and I wish you the very best. Do any of the specialists have a weight range where you should be? Are you already in the right zone?

DMARTIN302 SparkPoints: (75,250)
Fitness Minutes: (105,447)
Posts: 127
2/5/13 10:31 P

Apologies for the length, but I'm really frustrated.

I've been tracking everything I've eaten for 33 months. I've averaged 1320 calories during this time; most recently I'm trending a bit towards 1400 average. About 3 months in, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism as a direct result of gaining weight despite a 700 calorie cut in calories. "Just do some cardio and the weight will fall off," said the doctor.

I began running about 30 months ago, first 2x/wk, then 3x/wk for 30-40 minutes with a long 60-90 minute session every couple of weeks. It was erratic, because I'm a fair weather runner. But the weight started coming off slowly -- at the rate of about a pound and a half a month. Slow, but progress.

About 15 months ago, weight loss stopped. Thyroid tests are supposedly "normal," though I have a number of other unresolved symptoms. I tried eating less with no results; tried eating more (for 10 weeks) and I gained weight commensurate with the extra calories eaten. It's unlikely that a lack of weight loss was due to "starvation mode."

Last summer, I bought a road bike and began biking for an hour in addition to the running (again, weather permitting). Still no weight loss. "Just add strength training, that'll melt the weight fast," says the doctors. Four months ago, I joined a gym. The personal trainer took my measurements, weight, strength and other baselines and formulated a strength training program that includes weight machines 3x week (takes about 40 minutes, weight range is 40-211 lbs) and a core class 2x week. With the weather turning, outdoor running and cycling is minimal, so I've added two 45 min cycling classes (my trainer teaches these) and do different cardio machines 3 other times a week for 30-45 minutes. After 2 months, there was no weight loss.

I met with a nutritionist who said that my diet was fine and I should be losing weight (IF I was tracking properly -- and I am, as measuring cups, spoons, and scales are the serving utensils of choice in this house). I'm eating mostly home-cooked food with 5-7 servings of produce, following the protein/carb/fat ratio as suggested by SparkPeople. Then my metabolism was tested and it's very low: only 1,010 calories needed at rest. I should see an endocrinologist to get my thyroid meds fixed, and in the interim, eat 900-1100 calories if I really am exercising what I say I do (and yes, I do, and have the HRM/GPS records to prove it); if I stop exercising, drop my intake to less than 800. I'm still working on getting down to 1100 calories per day. That's awfully difficult. I have knocked off 100 calories per day, and still NO WEIGHT LOSS.

The nutritionist (who works with the trainer) also suggested that my trainer retest me to compare to my baseline. Sure enough: no weight loss, a good increase in bicep strength, gained inches in my thigh and hip, less than 1" loss in my waist, and a fat percentage that went UP from 29% to 34% (likely due to an initial measurement error, the trainer said).

Five weeks ago, I added swimming into the mix with my trainer, and now I'm swimming 4 times a week for 30-45 minutes instead of a couple of the cardio sessions. I've also bought a fluid trainer for my bike so I can workout at home on my road bike, right now, about once a week. And I started struggling with the weights. After increasing at a nice, steady pace, I'm starting to have to take 5, then 10, and now up to 20 pounds off of the machines and still sometimes can't complete the 2 sets of 15 reps. I'm getting weaker.

AND STILL NO LOSS ON THE SCALE. I've had to buy LARGER shorts due to the increase in my hips and thighs due to muscle building (though the shape is a bit better), so no, clothes are NOT fitting better. I'm getting demonstrably weaker on the weight machines. My heart rate is still in the same exercise range (averaging 144bpm in cycling classes and running) and still is 42 bpm for a resting heart rate. Blood pressure is still 110/65. Cholesterol and other labs are unchanged, except TSH, which is creeping upward. The endocrinologist says there's "nothing wrong," (so what about my other hypothyroid symptoms??!!) so the only way to lose weight is to "eat less and exercise more." He confirmed that the 800-1100 calorie range set by the nutritionist is appropriate for me.

In the last four months, I've increased my cardio from 1-2 hours a week to 5+ hours a week, added strength training for an additional 2.5+ hours a week, and dropped my caloric intake by 100 calories per day (and I'm almost down to 1100 this past week). Am I crazy in thinking that I should see SOME progress on the scale or SOME decline in inches or body fat? Or do I still need to "give it more time?"

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