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LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
11/5/13 11:37 A

Weight does fluctuate and it's frequently due to fluctuations in the amount of water your body has. It's okay to weigh yourself every week, but, you shouldn't place too much importance to individual readings. The trend over time (meaning over months) is more important than what the scale says at a specific weigh-in. So, don't worry about what the scale said today. See what the scale says in a month or two.

You can definitely lose weight without exercise, but it will take longer. It will also take you a bit longer to lose weight because you only need to lose 40 lbs and it's easier to lose when you are heavier than lighter.

One thing that you really do need to consider doing is eating at least 1200 calories daily. The reason for this recommendation is because it's extremely difficult to meet your body's nutritional requirements and get all the vitamins and minerals that you need eating fewer calories than that. Actually, it's pretty difficult to do even at 1200 calories. There's no use in being thin but having health problems because you've developed deficiencies to get there.

Edited to add: When you weigh yourself, do so at the same time of day every time. Weighing in the morning, before drinking anything or having breakfast and after using the potty, is the best time. Food and water (and waste) in your body add weight to the scale. For example, a couple of cups (cups, not glasses) of water weigh a pound.

Edited by: LOVE4KITTIES at: 11/5/2013 (11:44)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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Posts: 2,489
11/5/13 10:26 A


Weight fluctuation is normal. Your body weight can change as much as 5 lbs in a single day due to fluid retention; hormones, the amount of sodium you eat, how hydrated you are, exercise, time of day you weigh yourself, amount of food in your digestive tract, etc. Many, many factors effect weight. Your weight is not just made up of fat, it is also made up of lean muscle/tissue and fluid. The scale is not always the best indication of your progress. Look for monthly trends rather than daily/weekly reads. Even when you are doing all the right things you will have weeks you lose, don't lose or even gain.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 11/5/2013 (10:28)
BJBOLICH SparkPoints: (1,172)
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Posts: 3
11/4/13 8:40 P

I found this message by looking for something about "gaining weight although staying within calorie limits". Over the past 7 years I lost 100 pounds just keeping an eye on the amount of fat i consumed, not eating in the evenings and no second helpings. I lived in another country for 15 of the months and upon returning to the U.S. I gained 40 pounds in 8 months.
For the past three weeks I have belonged to Sparkpeople and lost 5 pounds the first 2 weeks. Today I got on the scale and had gained .6 pounds in the past 7 days. I am extremely frustrated as for 4 of those 7 days my calorie count was under 1000 calories and the other 3 days were still below my maximum calorie count.
Exercising is not an option at this time as I have 3 herniated discs, plantar fascitus, sciatica and a brain tumor (Drs keeping an eye on it - my 3rd in 14 years) that causes dizziness.
I did not exercise before and lost weight so am not sure what is going on this time. Any help would be appreciated. I am hungry all the time.

7/28/13 9:50 A

I just added this exercising regime at the start of the month. I did not weigh myself prior to starting, as I usually never use a scale. Since it dawned on me about the calories, then I weighed myself, so it's something new, not something I've always done. I think by adding calories, I'll be okay! Thanks again!

7/28/13 8:33 A

If you have been maintaining your weight on 800-1200 calories daily, while burning 600 calories through planned exercise; and you are a nurse with a fairly active job---"then" the numbers are not adding up, especially when one takes into account your height and weight.

I once again encourage you to see your doctor for a complete physical.
I also am glad to hear you are going to track continually. I encourage you to weigh and measure all the foods and beverages you consume. You need to obtain an accurate assessment of what you are really eating each day.

SP Registered Dietitian

7/28/13 7:37 A

Thank you everyone! I probably should have expanded a bit more on my post. I am not trying to lose weight as quickly as I can. I actually am not really focused on that. I am trying to tone up what I have, and naturally by doing so, I will lose weight, but again, my primary focus is on toning. I just want to get in better shape. And, I've pretty much stayed in that calorie range for years, it's not something new for me. I am a nurse that works crazy hours, including OT, so drinking protein shakes twice daily and eating a 'sensible' dinner has been what I fit into my day. That said, when I went to the gym the other day I found I couldn't finish my usual routine, and that's when the calorie consideration came into play, as I never really thought about it. I love spark for their recipes and fitness ideas, so I thought I'd ask here. :). A friend of a friend suggested I use another site yesterday that was great for tracking, so I did. Seems I actually burn 916 calories everyday! And I was shocked at how many calories I should be taking in. This has been an eye opener for sure, and I am grateful to all of you who have reached out to help. Now that I am educated in the cal/exercise expense I shall do much better....just have to figure out how to add all those calories........

BITTERQUILL Posts: 1,639
7/27/13 12:57 P

I was speaking in inaccurate absolutes, and I apologize. I did not mean to imply that it is impossible, only "virtually impossible" ie very difficult, particularly with the way that the average dieter (like the OP) eats and works out.

I probably shouldn't have mentioned bodybuilding, as I'm far from an expert, but the intended purpose was to point out to the OP that bodybuilders, who make a *career* out of knowing when to eat more and when to eat less, still usually go into a surplus when their aim is to add lots of muscle quckly. I may have misinterpreted why they do what when (ha), but it still goes to show that, unfortunately, muscle grows a lot faster when you're lifting *and* eating at (the proper type of) surplus. Putting on muscle (beyond beginner gains) is a more complex metabolic process than just eating protein and lifting things, particularly if you are eating at a caloric deficit. For the average woman cutting calories and working out, it is not usually practical to assume that they will gain much muscle unless they put a bit more research into it.

For the average joe or an athlete whose focus is on general health and fitness rather than whittling out very specific body composition, it's not *usually* realistic to assume that one will gain *significant* muscle weight and lose *significant* fat weight at the same time, at least once you've gotten past the beginner phase (you're completely right about beginner gains). I felt that this was very important to mention because it only becomes *more* true if someone is eating too little, like the OP. Most people, whose diets are imperfect and whose exercise often focuses on cardio rather than lots of strength training, will lose at least a little muscle weight while burning fat, and the best they can do is minimize the ratio.

That doesn't mean that someone *can't* get stronger or dramatically improve body fat percentage while cutting calories, of course, nor does it mean that *nobody* gains *any* muscle as a beginner. But if you want to gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously, it generally takes a touch more focus than "cut calories very low, eat tons of protein, and work out," which is what the OP is doing. They are almost certainly eating too little to put on muscle.

Edited by: BITTERQUILL at: 7/28/2013 (14:46)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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Posts: 2,489
7/27/13 8:12 A

BITTERQUILL- "Most body builders, some of the most nutritionally obsessed people on the planet, still stick to cutting and bulking periods because it's so hard to do both at the same time."

You must remember.... we are not body builders. They are in a league of their own.

Body builders do cutting and bulking because they are already at their peak and have to concentrate on one goal at a time and do everything perfectly to squeeze out just a little more gain. This does not apply to beginner builders who will build muscle easily in their first year and do not require cutting and bulking cycles. They call this "beginner gains". In fact, if you are training properly and eating enough/getting adequate protein (no extreme deficits like the OP) there shouldn't be any reason the average person will not experience muscle gain while burning fat as a beginner. I do think there is some credibility to meal timing but I don't know quite enough about it to form a solid opinion, to be on the safe side I eat more on training days.

I've been training for a year now and my gains are just starting to slow. However, I'm quite content with the build I have now (don't plan on becoming a fitness model/body builder, lol). So as soon as I finish dropping my last 5 lbs I'll be looking to maintain both muscle and fat/weight. So I think the average person can achieve the build they want without ever having to worry about the cutting and bulking method of body builders. There may be the exception of men... where there's no such thing as too big or too muscular. ;)

IMHO, you shouldn't need to worry about cutting/bulking until after your first or second year of strength training.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 7/27/2013 (08:37)
BITTERQUILL Posts: 1,639
7/27/13 2:42 A

You are absolutely burning muscle, but that's a natural part of the weight loss process. It is virtually impossible to lose weight without losing at least a little bit of muscle at the same time, and even harder to lose weight and gain muscle simultaneously. You have to pay an obsessive degree of attention to every bite you eat, and exactly the time that you eat it. Even then, it's likely that you'll just maintain muscle mass while you lose fat weight, at best. Most body builders, some of the most nutritionally obsessed people on the planet, still stick to cutting and bulking periods because it's so hard to do both at the same time. As a female, it's even harder for you, naturally.

On an average of 1040 cals/day with a daily output of 600 calories (with another 1800 calories/day for your sedentary BMR), you have a caloric deficit of over 1400 calories per day. Not even addressing the fact that it is impossible for you to be getting the minimum macro- and micronutrients you need to keep you healthy on a diet that low, chances are very good that you're not getting enough calories in general.

When I started losing weight after my son was born, I weighed about what you do (and I am shorter). I was eating about 1400 cals/day and burning about 600 calories per day in exercise, and losing at a rate of over 2lbs per week. Since 2lbs a week is generally regarded as the upper weekly limit of safe loss for people who aren't severely obese (after the initial adjustment period), even that was a touch too low. You could increase your daily intake but 500 calories and still lose at a very rapid clip.

The fact that you're not losing now is likely due to water retention (especially if you've recently increased exercise) or metabolic damage from a state of semi-starvation (if you've been under-eating for a while).

7/26/13 7:20 P

If you enter your information here at Sparkpeople you will quickly learn that you are not eating enough food (as other members have already stated). Please follow your SP calorie range. You may want to turn on your SP meal plans to get ideas of foods to eat for meals and snacks.

SP Registered Dietitian

JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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Posts: 2,489
7/26/13 2:13 P

Not even close. You will be cannibalizing lean muscle on that amount. How do you not pass out eating that little and exercising that much!?

You need to eat close to maintenance if you want to achieve both simultaneously. You should not be creating a deficit greater than -20% to -10% TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and more optimally at maintenance on training days. It requires a calorie surplus to build muscle although beginners tend to be able to do both at the same time.... even still your body needs calories. That's not even enough calories for a sedentary average sized woman. You are burning a ton of calories and barely eating enough to sustain the calories you burn, let alone enough calories to fuel your body's basic functions.

No... just, no....

I don't even burn that many calories (only 300-400 cals per session) and I'm 5'2 119 lbs; I eat between 1400-2000 cals a day.

I agree with the PP, this will come back to haunt you. Continue on this path and you will slow your metabolism and your body is going to burn muscle as fuel. All that time in the gym will be wasted... worse still, it will actually be doing you harm on that little fuel.

We all wanted/want the weight off as quickly as possible... but faster is not always better and the success rate of people keeping the weight off that they lose taking this route, is quite frankly... dismal. You are going to lose the wrong kind of weight, you are going to slow your metabolism so you gain weight more easily than when you started, you are going to burn yourself out and don't even get me started on the havoc you'll be wreaking on your leptin levels which will lead to intense uncontrollable cravings and hunger. I was under eating for my activity level by mistake and I even experience crazy hormone imbalances that caused me to gain back 13 lbs once I reached my goal weight. And that was on an avg. 1400 cal diet.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 7/26/2013 (14:28)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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Posts: 1,379
7/26/13 2:03 P

I'm the same height (and for a time the same weight) as you, exercising similarly (a bit less, actually), and never ate below 1500 calories. Usually somewhat more. You don't need to starve yourself, really -- in the long run and maybe even the short, it's only going to hurt you. Eat as much as you can get away with and still lose (anything over a pound a week would be gravy, at your weight). Your body will thank you for it. Good luck.

7/26/13 1:45 P

I agree, you are not eating nearly enough. 1200 calories is the absolute bare minimum someone should be eating. With your 600 calorie burn a day, you probably should be eating at around the 1400-1500 calorie range, minimum.

7/26/13 1:13 P

That is not enough calories for a small person laying around all day doing nothing. You can do serious damage eating that little, especially with the large amounts of exercise you are doing.

I would suggest you set up your spark nutrition tracker and go by its recommendation. It only takes a few minutes and you will get the answer to your question. Good luck.

7/26/13 12:39 P

Please help! I burn approx 600cals/day working out. I usually consume between 840-1240 cals per day and about 110gm protein. Is this enough? I'm 5'8 and 164lbs. I'm hoping I'm not burning muscle instead. Thanks for any help. I'm really at a loss!! Brenda

Edited by: LUVMYSNOW at: 7/26/2013 (12:40)
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