It doesn't make sense!

Monday, January 30, 2012

I've been with SP for a little over a year. In that time, I have learned so much, such as what a BMR is, how many calories I should be eating, how much exercise I should do, etc. It's been great.

But I've always been puzzled about one thing.

Up until last year, I pretty consistently gained 4 pounds a year. From college at 150 pounds to last year at 230 pounds, was about 20 years.

During those 20 years, I had a few periods of a few months where I would exercise but I usually stopped after a few months. I went on Weight Watchers 2 or 3 times for a month or two. But I never really lost any weight. A few pounds here and there but never much and that was mostly because I didn't try very hard and didn't stick with anything for very long.

Instead, I did no exercise except for normal life (such as walking up and down stairs with loads of laundry, walking around the mall, playing with my kids, swimming a tad in summer, going to amusement parks, etc). I also ate everything I wanted. My main lunch consisted of going to the work cafeteria and having a cheeseburger with mayo and french fries (with extra mayo for dipping!) and a diet Coke. For dinner, we would go out or have pasta. Yummm, I love pasta, especially with pesto or a bacon and egg sauce. I also drank tons of beer.

And through 20 years of this, I would gain about 4 pounds a year. Four pounds a year while not exercising at all and eating anything I wanted. That's not bad....!

Fast forward to 2011. I decided to lose weight and got serious about it. I started tracking my food and tried to keep my calories to 1400-2000 calories. I've completely cut out beer. I've switched to fruits and vegetables and whole grains. I still splurge occassionally but nothing like before. I've started exercising and now do about 60 minutes per day, 6 days a week, of the elliptical or Leslie Sansone Walk Away The Pounds videos.

And it worked -- for a while. In the first 6 months of last year, I dropped about 50 pounds. But I have not lost anything in the past 8 months. I've lost and gained the same 5 pounds a few times, but I am really struggling to break this plateau I'm in.

IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. Eat whatever I want (lots of fattening foods and no veggies and lots of beer) with no exercise at all, and gain 4 pounds a year. Now I've drastically reduced my calorie intake and am exercising like crazy and nothing.

IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE to me. Does it make sense to you??? If so, can you explain it to me???
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It's easy to plateau after a big loss I am having a heck of a time breaking out of the 270s after losing 100+ pounds you just have to stick with it. If you haven't add some strength training to your cardio to build muscle that will help you bur calories. I know it's frustrating but you are doing AWESOME!!!!!

    3194 days ago
    Are you still eating in the same calorie range as you were when you started?

    A heavier body requires more calories just to maintain. 50 pounds can be around a 200 calorie per day difference. So as you lose weight, if you're still eating toward the higher end of the range, you can end up maintaining the lower weight even though you want to keep losing.

    If you were able to look back over those 20 years, you would probably find that the amount of food you ate was slowly increasing - a little at a time to maintain the higher weight because your body would tell you it was hungry. (And also, outside your control, over 20 years the serving sizes eating out have grown, so that same plate of pasta is now notably more.)
    3194 days ago
    Hang in there. I do hate to say it but you must also keep in mind that you are older now. I NEVER exercised and never watched what I weighed. I would gain a couple pounds a year but nothing major. I was able to hold that pattern for a long time. I always heard as you aged, it was harder to lose weight. I am finding that to be true. I also find that I can put it on more quickly.

    When you hit that dreaded plateau, just keep telling yourself that you are healthier now than you have ever been. That is really what it should all be about.
    3195 days ago
    I understand completely!
    I workout, track my food, do all of the "stuff" so I can lose... not too fast! Not so fast! I lost 11 pounds last year and kept it off... woohoo... I keep fighting the same 2 pounds right now... my calorie intake is at the lowest you can go to be healthy - 1200 - 1550... I am mostly on the low side every day. I have now upped my exercise to 50 mins, so we will see in another 30 days if I can lose. I have no hormones and I have no metabolism... a dead thyroid and a hysterectomy took both. grrr.. Keep on keeping on!

    emoticon jean
    3195 days ago
    Yeah I totally know how frustrating a plateau can be. I have thought numerous times that maybe this is just the weight my body is happy at!
    I know you track your food and are dedicated to your workouts. Maybe it's time to shake things up with your diet and fitness plans. Have someone look at your journal for a couple of weeks (usually you can get free appointments with a nutritionist or dietician) they might have some input (not enough calories, too many calories from carbs etc) as to what you could try.
    Try some interval training or a different setting on the elliptical. Something that challenges you. Sign up for a few personal trainer sessions if you can afford it (they will usually look at your food too).
    As long as you are being completely honest with your tracking and estimating/calculating your calorie burn right you should have success eventually!
    Keep it up, you are doing great... you will get through this!!
    3195 days ago
    We all hit plateaus and they are so frustrating. If you have been doing the same elliptical and exercise videos for a while then you need to change it up. What used to be challenging for your body is now easy. Your muscles remember the movements and, even though you might be sweating, they are not working as hard. Do you do strength training at all? Building muscle is one of the best ways to burn extra calories because, even at rest, muscle uses more calories than fat. You don't have to get "ripped", but I'd recommend started strength training. If you don't go to a gym you can use dumbbells at home. 2.5 or 5 lbs to start. You need to surprise the heck out of your body so it snaps out of its comfort zone and starts working again.
    I have read that "normal weight gain" as we age and our metabolism slows is 1 lb per year or 10 pounds per decade, so 4 pounds per year really was a lot. It's great that you have changed your lifestyle and even if you aren't seeing the kind of changes on the outside that you want right now, believe me that your heart, lungs, liver, brain, intestines, etc ALL thank you! They are much healthier because of your food choices and hard work with exercising!
    3195 days ago
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