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My scale...unfortuntely
, it's no April Fool's joke

Monday, April 01, 2013

So today I was hoping the scale was pulling some kind of April Fool's joke on me. Alas, I don't believe that's the case. I weigh 208.2 pounds, the same weight I saw on March 1st.

I am a little bummed by this. I know focusing on the scale is not ideal and I've preached this many times. But I assumed for me, that meant I may only see as little as half a pound lost for the month. Not the EXACT same number.

Slow weight loss has not been an issue for me until recently. I dropped the first 50 rather easily. Last fall's attempt went a little slower, but I still averaged 3-5 pounds lost a month. Now though, it seems like my body just does not want to cooperate. I've only lost 3 pounds since January 7th. Each time, I've followed SP's recommendations on calories and exercise minutes. I've even used a HR monitor this time and discovered SP was overestimating my exercise calorie burn, so with a more accurate measure, you'd think I would definitely see results, right?

I've eaten at the high end of my calorie range, but even that should've resulted in a loss according to the good old calories in/calories out. In fact, in looking at my calorie deficits in March, I should have theoretically lost about 3 pounds for the month.

1) I do moderate to high-intensity cardio 1.5 - 2 hours a week along with moderate/high-intensity ST 1 - 1.5 hours a week.
2) I eat about 1900 - 2000 calories on average daily (SP recommendation: 1600 - 1950)
3) I burn about 1800 - 2000 calories a week.
4) I alternate workouts - I have 3 different ST workouts. I switch up my bike with distance, intervals, and hill workouts. I also switch up swim workouts with distance, speed, and drills.
5) I am almost always in the 70 - 85% range of my MHR when I do work out.
6) My carb/protein/fat ranges are almost exactly the same as they have been before when I saw a better scale result.

I know with the bigger focus on ST that weight loss will be slower. Since I will lose less lean muscle along with the fat, it's going to be slower. But slower does not equal nonexistent, right?

This is the first time I've ever struggled with a slow weight loss, so I guess I'm just kind of flummoxed about the whole thing. I think I would have been thrilled to see even a half pound loss. But for it not to move at all? I don't see how a plateau could be happening because I really haven't lost much weight this time around. I've dropped about 3 pounds total in almost 3 months. I don't think I've lost enough for my body to up and decide to plateau.

As for NSV's this month:

1) A total of 3.25 inches lost - 2 inches in my waist, half inch off both hips and calves, and a quarter of an inch off my thighs (the stubborn ones of the bunch)
2) A half inch gain in my right arm, BUT I know it's muscle because I can see it when I flex my arm.
3) Clothes fit like they did when I was at 203 last fall. I weight five pounds more, but it's obvious that I've got more muscle.
4) My half-mile lap swim time went down by at least 2 1/2 minutes.
5) I can hold steady at 15.9 mph on the bike for a good 20-30 minutes as opposed to having to cycle between 15.9 mph and a slower speed.
6) I can use the 50 pound barbell for squats, deadlifts, and chest presses.
7) I've moved from 5 pound dumbbells to 10 pound ones.

These are all great things. And if I could do everything I want to do at this weight, I'd be OK with the scale not budging. The thing is, I'm pretty sure that I'm not at my ideal body weight. I'm not looking to even get to 150 at this point, which would put me in the normal BMI range. I'm really OK with being a little overweight if I am healthy and putting on some serious muscle. But at 5'5, even with a large frame and a tendency to have an athletic build, 208 is still not a "little" overweight. There's still a lot of fat on my body, and unfortunately it still hinders me from doing some of the things I want to do.

I love Zumba, but I just can't get fast enough to follow the moves precisely because of this extra weight I'm lugging around. My brain sees me doing it, but my body just can't quite get there yet. Rock climbing is something I eventually want to try, but the more weight I have on me, the harder it is going to be. And my knee gives me so many problems with all the extra weight on it that running is going to continue to be an issue for me no matter what kind of shoes I end up with. The thing is, I can do all of these things (except the rock climbing, I'm nowhere near strong enough for that yet) but I get frustrated because I really can't go all out like I feel I could if I was about 30 pounds lighter.

While I'm thrilled to see the muscle gains, I don't have a good way to measure body fat percentage right now so I can't see the difference there. And even if I could, the thing is, I'm still going to have to start dropping some weight at some point. I don't think I'm going to replace 30 pounds of fat with 30 pounds of muscle. That's not realistic, is it?

I guess I just don't know if it's normal to see no weight loss after 3 weeks of starting a big ST program. SP's calorie recommendations have never failed me up to this now it's like do I cut my calories by a few hundred? Do I stay the course?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    As long as you are losing inches you are doing something right! Don't let it frustrate you so much. Just keep on doing what you are doing. mix up the food and workouts may help!
    1876 days ago
    This is the toughest part of changing to a healthy lifestyle of more exercise (ST & Cardio) and eating's kind of like weight lifting. At first we make great and rapid progress....then we peak and we have to just stick to it, pushing through very few indicators of success.

    It sucks, but it's reality!

    You successes are huge, the body measures, the clothes, the times, the weights moved....maybe not as sweet as seeing the scale move, but you gotta love the shadows and muscle definition breaking through!

    I don't have enough smarts to give you and advice on changes to make....I'll just encourage you to stubbornly stick to your plan and keep doing all the right things you've been doing!
    1876 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/1/2013 9:42:54 PM
    It's normal - if you start strength training, you will gain weight. I bought an Omron body fat analyzer to calculate my BF and lean body mass, and I no longer pay attention to the scale. You're going to hear a lot of suggestions, and here are mine. You don't have to listen to me. I'm not a nutritionist, and I'm overweight, so it's not like "it's worked for me" or anything:

    1) Drop the long, slow cardio. Do high intensity intervals, if anything. Walking is also nice, especially after you to 10-20 minutes of intervals.
    2) Maintain your calorie intake around 1800-2000 calories per day.
    3) Eat more protein (lots of protein - like 1-1.5 grams per lb of lean body mass) and fat, and fewer carbs (cutting out bread, rice, other grains)
    4) Move heavier weights. High weight, low reps - you want to build strength and muscle to keep your metabolism burning.

    And then...

    Measure your body fat, take measurements of your body, take pictures, and give it six weeks. If you freak out and start dropping your calories, you are just going to slow down your metabolism even more.

    I haven't succeeded yet, but I can tell you - I spent a loooong time doing what "they" told me to do - cut calories, exercise more, drop calories when you plateau, etc... and IT DIDN'T WORK. For years. And I know probably 30 other ladies on SP alone that are in the same boat. I'd rather eat and be chunky than starve and be chunky. I'm trying something new. Want to join me in dismantling the Empire, or what? ;)
    1876 days ago
    Oh my . . . you need to focus on the NSV'S! Those are wonderful! Don't give up. The scale will catch up.

    1876 days ago
    First of all, you had fantastic NSV for the month! WTG!

    Ahh yeah...plateaus. Well as you've read on my blog, it took me 10 years to work through it. You don't have a 10 year weight loss 'plan' without a lot of plateaus. Don't get discouraged! Stay on it!

    Personally, I do carb and calorie cycling. I shift between high and low. If you decide to drop your calories, in my non professional opinion, it's a bad idea to stay low cal a long time. Your body will eventually lower your metabolism to match your calorie intake - very very bad! Same with high calorie, strangely enough. Our bodies are very clever about adapting to whatever we eat and how we train.

    In my personal experience, if I'm not dropping fat, then rebooting on the low end of my carbs for a week (or more) sometimes does the trick.

    The last bit of advice I have it to comb through your food logs. Even if you think you're eating a healthy diet, if your body isn't getting what it wants, it will not respond. I was following all the recommendations, but it turned out my dietary needs were different.
    1876 days ago

    Comment edited on: 4/1/2013 4:59:37 PM
    I echo alot of what was said here. Eat a little less. recognize that it might be water weight. (I gain 3-4 lbs for my monthly cycle). I know high stress can also make my body hold on to weight. How are you relaxing? You might want to practice your faith/meditation on a regular basis and see if that helps as well.
    Blessings on your journey
    1876 days ago
    I feel you. My body plateaus all the time for no apparent reason. Sometimes after a big loss. Sometimes after a gain. Sometimes after very little change. I've nearly accepted it. (NEARLY. HA.)

    I think it's perfectly normal - look at how many inches you lost!! Obviously the ST is working. I mean, OBVIOUSLY. You lost 2" off your waist!!! HI??? I can't tell you why the scale is not moving, but it's probably some combination of muscle gained and water retained. I can "gain" 6 pounds overnight. I've done it repeatedly. And then lose it again over the next few days.

    Don't make yourself crazy. Keep doing what you're doing. When the scale says something stupid, just flip it the bird, as long as your measurements are still going down.

    Another thing to consider - TOM. I weigh myself CONSTANTLY, don't know if you do, but I always weigh the least around 2-4 days after TOM starts. So depending where you are in your cycle, you could be just holding on to water that's masking your fat loss.

    But anyway. Yeah. My advice? Flip it the bird. Send it the double deuce, if you like (That's both birds, simultaneous.).
    1876 days ago
  • INAFFIT319
    How frustrating. You're doing everything right, but the scale isn't showing it. I've been there. Sounds like a plateau. Have you updated your goals on SP to reflect your current weight and activity level? If so, the best advice I can give is change something. You could try lowering calories, like others have suggested, even a decrease of 100 calories should make a difference, or you can change your workouts, even just adding 10 more minutes to your cardio sessions could give you the boost you need.

    Good luck!

    1876 days ago
    Woohoo! You're doing awesome! Yes, it is possible to not lose scale weight when starting a strength routine- you're body could be storing up extra glycogen. But more than likely, you've hit a plateau or it is time to lower your calories a wee bit. I find SP over exaggerates how much fuel my body needs, so I personally don't trust it for myself.

    You didn't mention how your water is doing? Are you getting in 10 glasses a day? Are you barely getting in your 8? Water can make a big difference in weightloss stalling.

    What matters is that you've had some AWESOME NSVs and you are well on your way to goal! Maybe have a peek at all these suggestions and see what is most likely to be the offending culprit :)
    1876 days ago
    emoticon You are kicking butt with the exercise!! I am impressed!!
    emoticon Maybe lowering your caloric intake some will give you the boost you need. Also, consider swapping out a particular food you eat often with something else.

    1876 days ago
  • DAWNESS0404
    I would suggest playing around w/ your calories.... I have a lot of trouble losing when I am at the high end of my calorie range. For me, I find the best success losing when I stay on the lower end the majority of the week and then do 1 or 2 days at the high end of my calorie range, I usually save those high end days for the weekend!
    1876 days ago
    I'm sorry you are frustrated with the scale - I can identify. I am very impressed with your fitness/exercise level, though - you are workin' it! I wonder what would happen if you cut your calories by 100 a day? It just might be the kickstart your body needs. I don't want anyone to be hungry - I don't want MYSELF to be hungry! As an emotional eater, I get really weird and scared about cutting calories. But if I am honest with myself, I know I probably have 100 calories here or there I could trim. Just a thought. You are doing AWESOME. Don't doubt yourself!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1876 days ago
    First, don't be discouraged. Second, look for some additional know you already did with what the machines say you burned vs. what you actually burned according to your heart rate monitor. One thing I found was making sure you really check and measure your food correctly. Another is to eat less processed foods and more real foods - like an apple vs. apple sauce or fruit roll ups. Another thing I found helpful was taking my measurements. If you don't like or want to do that, have a slightly snug pair of pants that you try on every few weeks to see what progress you're making. Also, I would try eating your entire calorie range and not just the top part. My metabolism is too slow and I don't lose when I eat at the top. My trick is to eat at the bottom 2/3 of my range, but a couple of days a week if I'm really hungry (not just bored or emotionally overeating), I allow myself to eat to the top. Filling foods like soups, salads help too.

    Good luck with everything!
    1876 days ago
    Great NSV's! It sounds like you did have a good month -- maintaining is better than gaining, as you know. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in my experience, a lack of losing can almost always be traced back to diet (sounds like you're definitely getting enough activity). As I get smaller, my BMR goes down and I can't eat as much as I used to and still lose. I definitely would not lose weight at 2000 calories a day at 208 (I was just where you are now back in February). When Spark calculates your Base Metabolic Rate, they include their estimate of how many calories you burn per day doing trivial tasks. This obviously can vary from person to person which also means that their guess for calories for you could be off by as much as 300+ calories a day. I would go to the lower end of the range for two weeks and see what happens. Hope this came off as friendly advice and not judgment, it is intended as the former! I've been in your shoes many a time, friend, and understand the frustration. emoticon
    1876 days ago
    Your gym should have the tools to measure body fat, ask them. I think you may not have seen a loss because of the extra ST program you're doing. Also, your calorie intake is on the high side. Can you bring it down by 100-200 calories slowly? I weigh a lot more than you but am 3-4 inches shorter and burn 2500-3000 calories weekly and my range is 1340-1700. I generally eat about 1400 calories daily and do pretty well without feeling hungry or that there are things I can't have.
    1876 days ago
  • CHERIJ16
    It sounds like you have a good handle on everything. I don't know all those specifics. I know about BMI and mine has gone from obese to overweight. I have only lost 12 pounds but I feel better. My clothes fit better. But I am stuck on the same weight I have been for 2-3 weeks.
    I guess all we can do is persevere. emoticon emoticon
    1876 days ago
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