5 month plateau-- advice please!

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Hello everyone, I have been plateauing for 5 months since losing 20lbs with MFP. I would really appreciate it if anyone could help me break this plateau or if you have gone through a similar experience. I’ve been reading MFP message boards about plateaus and the “so you want a nice stomach” post, but I still haven’t had much progress.

I started MFP April 2014 at 150lbs, now I am at 130lbs. In the beginning, I was eating 1200 calories and after exercise, I probably netted around 800. Sometimes I only ate 1000 calories, which was very bad, so now I tend to stay 1300 minimum. I would like to get to 125/127lbs, but can’t seem to shake this plateau. Even though the holidays I cheated and still am at the same weight. I took my measurements in the beginning of November and they are the same right now in January.

I use a Polar HRM with exercise and I change the settings every time I lose weight (which hasn’t been for a while obviously). I usually exercise 5x a week: treadmill walking/running intervals for 30 minutes and then a pilates video or workout dvd like Jillian Michaels for 30 minutes or a little more, depending on my schedule. I can only afford a home/dvd workout too, so I don’t have any gym memberships. Sometimes I change it up and do a yoga video instead of pilates.

I have my activity set at lightly active just to give myself some room, but I usually aim for 1200 as a base b/c I have a desk job. So I aim for 1200 and then depending on my exercise I eat ½ the exercise calories back.

I have also tried zig-zagging my calories, so one day I may be 1300-1400, then I am at 1500-1700. I wonder if I am even eating enough calories b/c I certainly gained muscle over the past year (dumbbells w/ workouts), but then again, maybe I’m eating too much? My food diary is open in case that helps.

Food allergies are also not a problem b/c I had a food panel done 3 years ago and have been good at avoiding my allergens, so I (hope) food allergies aren’t part of the plateau.

I also cook a lot and I am very strict about weighing/measuring my food for each meal, as well as calculating the calories for each recipe.

Sleep and stress may be part of this plateau, so I am trying to work on relaxing and sleeping more/better.

Thanks so much in advance for any advice!
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Replies

  • libbydoodle11
    libbydoodle11 Posts: 1,351 Member
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    I haven't read the replies.

    Try eating at maintenance for two weeks or so.
  • maxit
    maxit Posts: 880 Member
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    I would suggest attempting to meet your protein macro every day. You might be someone for whom fewer carbs would be helpful. Without changing anything else, see how it goes for a few weeks. The other piece, about reducing stress caused by insufficient sleep and whatever else is going on, sounds like a great plan.
  • markiend
    markiend Posts: 461 Member
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    I'd try altering your exercise regime for a month and see if your body has gotten too used to it all. Could be worth trying to shake things up
  • IsaackGMOON
    IsaackGMOON Posts: 3,358 Member
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    Height?
  • 2014loseweightnow
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    OK thanks for the suggestions! And my height is 5'6". For the protein macro, do I use the MFP reccommended amount?
  • sunnyside1213
    sunnyside1213 Posts: 1,205 Member
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    Are you getting enough water?
  • 365andstillalive
    365andstillalive Posts: 663 Member
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    If you're 5'6, you're well within the healthy range for your height (not that you couldn't lose/gain more if you wanted to). What your OP doesn't tell us is what recommendations have been for you; what do you maintain at? what deficit daily/weekly are you looking for?

    I'm between 5'6-57 and I'm a little heavier than you (low 160s), I'd say I'm lightly active and I maintain on 2100-2300 cals per day. I'm eating to lose 0.7-1lb per week so I eat around 1700 cals per day. I couldn't imagine eating as little as you are.

    The reality is that if you're eating as you say you are, something isn't adding up. Whether that's errors in your diary (I know you weigh everything, but often this is an answer), there's something medically wrong (think thyroid/hormones), or you just need to continue with trial and error.

    Everyone's body is different, but I'd encourage you to see a doctor if you really feel that you should be losing. They aren't exactly weight loss experts, but they'll happily run a blood panel, etc and could give you the answer. Other than that, you can always try switching up your exercise routine so that you change the forms of cardio you're doing, or you can consider a lifting program, or something fun like pole dancing which would be a combination of strength and cardio.

    To answer your question about protein macros; you can go with the MFP ones, or you can set your own based on your goals. I find that the MFP macros are a bit low if I'm working out; once I upped my protein I wasn't as tired or sore.
  • 2014loseweightnow
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    @sunnyside1213 -- I try to drink at least 8 cups of water a day. I carry around an 18oz water bottle with me and keep refilling it as needed, which averags maybe 4 times through the day. I drink about 2 bottles when I exercise, so I hope I've been getting 8-10 cups a day.

    @365andstillalive : I haven't tried maintaining, but MFP gives me 1870 a day for maintain. My goal is 1lb a week (1370 cal), since if I set it for 1.5 or 2lbs loss, MFP gives me 1200. I'm not sure about the deficit per day/week. I've just been trying to stay between 1200-1370 as a base and then if I exercise, only eat back 1/2 the calories. I've always been confused with how many calories my net should be after exercise. I've had my thyroid checked recently and it was normal, so I'll have to check with my doc about hormones or other factors.

    thanks again for all the help!
  • IsaackGMOON
    IsaackGMOON Posts: 3,358 Member
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    @sunnyside1213 -- I try to drink at least 8 cups of water a day. I carry around an 18oz water bottle with me and keep refilling it as needed, which averags maybe 4 times through the day. I drink about 2 bottles when I exercise, so I hope I've been getting 8-10 cups a day.

    @365andstillalive : I haven't tried maintaining, but MFP gives me 1870 a day for maintain. My goal is 1lb a week (1370 cal), since if I set it for 1.5 or 2lbs loss, MFP gives me 1200. I'm not sure about the deficit per day/week. I've just been trying to stay between 1200-1370 as a base and then if I exercise, only eat back 1/2 the calories. I've always been confused with how many calories my net should be after exercise. I've had my thyroid checked recently and it was normal, so I'll have to check with my doc about hormones or other factors.

    thanks again for all the help!

    If you're 5'6 and weigh in at 130lb, your body is probably thinking "I like this weight I do not want to go any lower", so weight loss will be a little harder.

    Going off of BMI, you're at a good weight. Whether you're satisfied with it though, is another story.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,261 Member
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    There's a lot going on here. At this point I would suggest you eat at maintenence for a couple of weeks. Like the 5'6"er above, I maintain at 2200. My activity level is fairly similar to yours. Eat between 2100 & 2300 calories for 2-3 weeks. That's 2100-2300 calories, period. Exercise but don't worry about how many calories you burn doing it. You may gain a couple of pounds of water weight but don't freak out. After 2-3 weeks keep your exercise level the same and eat 1850-2050 a week to aim for a half pound loss per week. Again , that's 1850-2050, period. Give it a couple of months and the weight will come off.
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,342 Member
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    jemhh wrote: »
    There's a lot going on here. At this point I would suggest you eat at maintenence for a couple of weeks. Like the 5'6"er above, I maintain at 2200. My activity level is fairly similar to yours. Eat between 2100 & 2300 calories for 2-3 weeks. That's 2100-2300 calories, period. Exercise but don't worry about how many calories you burn doing it. You may gain a couple of pounds of water weight but don't freak out. After 2-3 weeks keep your exercise level the same and eat 1850-2050 a week to aim for a half pound loss per week. Again , that's 1850-2050, period. Give it a couple of months and the weight will come off.

    ^^ Good advice
  • 2014loseweightnow
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    Interesting, @jemhh‌ so is eating at maintenance supposed to trick my body for a couple weeks, then cut calories to lose? Is .5 lb loss better than 1lb a week? After I've lost the weight, do I eat back up at maintenance? Thank you!
  • Liftng4Lis
    Liftng4Lis Posts: 15,150 Member
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    Why are you using cups to measure instead of weighing? Unfortunately, you're probably eating more than you think.
  • BWBTrish
    BWBTrish Posts: 2,817 Member
    edited January 2015
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    .
  • ana3067
    ana3067 Posts: 5,623 Member
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    Liftng4Lis wrote: »
    Why are you using cups to measure instead of weighing? Unfortunately, you're probably eating more than you think.

    I was also just going to say this. Wtf is 0.59 cup of a cup???
  • ana3067
    ana3067 Posts: 5,623 Member
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    Liftng4Lis wrote: »
    Why are you using cups to measure instead of weighing? Unfortunately, you're probably eating more than you think.

    I was also just going to say this. Wtf is 0.59 cup of a cup???
  • Dnarules
    Dnarules Posts: 2,081 Member
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    ana3067 wrote: »
    Liftng4Lis wrote: »
    Why are you using cups to measure instead of weighing? Unfortunately, you're probably eating more than you think.

    I was also just going to say this. Wtf is 0.59 cup of a cup???

    When I was actively logging, I would weigh my food. Then I would use proportions to convert to whatever serving size was listed in the database, rather than scroll through tons of options to find the one in grams/ounces if it wasn't readily available. The calorie amount was accurate, but it would probably look weird to an outsider. In this case, I would have upped it to 0.6 :).

    I'm not saying this is what the OP did.

  • meritage4
    meritage4 Posts: 1,441 Member
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    You may be at a good weight for height. Really. 130 lbs for a woman at 5 feet 6 is normal BMI. What does your doctor think?
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,261 Member
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    Interesting, @jemhh‌ so is eating at maintenance supposed to trick my body for a couple weeks, then cut calories to lose? Is .5 lb loss better than 1lb a week? After I've lost the weight, do I eat back up at maintenance? Thank you!

    Nope nothing about tricking your body. Lyle Mcdonald does a better job explaining in depth but your hormones adapt to you eating at a deficit and taking a maintenance break helps everything reset.

    Additionally, eating at 1200 is way too low for a woman of your height. There's absolutely no need for it. When you are this close to your goal you do not eat at a huge deficit. It is clearly unsustainable and not doing you any favors as it has been your goal through months of stagnant weight loss. Eat at a moderate deficit and you will be fine as long as you actually measure and stick to it.

  • Barbs2222
    Barbs2222 Posts: 433 Member
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    I just saw this on line and I saved it for myself because I tend to plateau every ten pounds or so. I love this picture of this person because I now realize I'll never care again.
    ijasd2edt2ef.jpg