True maintenance, plateau, OR 'starvation mode'?

So...I my weight has been teetering back and forth between the same 3 pounds for over a year. I'm 42, female, 136# (as of this morning) and would *love* to get down to 130.. (i'd adore 125, but only if its healthy -- most of my adult life was spent at 125). I have been only eating anywhere from 1150-1400 for a very long time. There have been some days of 1500-2500 here and there...just not consistantly. Per the Scooby website, my TDEE is closer to 2000 (based on my activity level).

I am wondering why the hell I am just maintaining and such a large 'cut'. Could it be that my metabolism is 'broken'? I tend to not totally buy into the whole starvation mode thing -- mainly because I have extra visable bodyfat. My current bf % is 20-21, btw.

I do not lift weights...not my thing. I do yoga and calethetics, and other body-weight exercises.

Anyhow my real question is: should I really RAISE my calorie level to LOSE? OR is this my true maintenance level, therefore, lower? Neither seem like very good options! Guess I'm scared about the first one. Tried it once before...and *gained*.

I also used to have a BMF, and gained with that as well... sold it on eBay.

Thanks for any advice anyone with similar experience may offer.

Replies

  • Dave198lbs
    Dave198lbs Posts: 8,810 Member
    your plateau is now a year long?

    go have your thyroid checked and get a complete physical
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,389 MFP Moderator
    It could be hormonal (pre menopause, pcos, thyroid, etc..) or it could be that you are at a very healthy weight and body fat based on your age. And it may be that if you want to cut more, you will need to start heavy weight training. Have you look at a body pump other type of resistance training class? But if your TDEE is 2000, then try to consitently eat 1600. Adjust the macro's to 35% carbs, 40% protein and 25% fats. High protein diets are much better for weight loss.
  • norcal_yogi
    norcal_yogi Posts: 675 Member
    your plateau is now a year long?

    go have your thyroid checked and get a complete physical

    yeah.... did that.... all perfectly 'normal'. i'm in great health.... but yes, peri-meno..
  • julesan902
    julesan902 Posts: 79 Member
    Maybe try intermittent fasting. Pick a set hour period throughout the day (say 2pm-8pm) and consume your calories between that time. Rest of the day, your body is burning that fat. Sometimes doing IF is the solution for those pesky pounds.
  • Dianecg
    Dianecg Posts: 44 Member
    I've read that some have success with varying their calorie intake so that there are several days of lower intake followed by a day or two of higher intake and so on. This seems to snap some people out of plateau mode.
  • lenoresaari
    lenoresaari Posts: 500 Member
    How do you figure TDEE?
  • bms34b
    bms34b Posts: 401 Member
    First of all, congrats to you for the self control of eating that low for a year without seeing noticeable results. That would discourage me.

    I experienced something like this; I plateaued for a good two months at 123 (I'm 20 and 5'6") while eating 1300 calories daily, and I was super consistant. I wasn't losing anything. I couldn't understand how I would not lose at such a significant cut! Then, seemingly unrelated, I was very tired and feeling sickly often enough that I had to stay home from some classes. After further thought, I decided I wasn't eating enough and my body didn't have the energy for my daily life with the diet I was eating.

    I upped my calories slowly, and yes, gained about 3 pounds, but I could make decisions on food without being so stingy with the cals and I felt much better.

    Months later, I started lifting heavy and trying to eat with a cut. I gained about 4 pounds (unhappily). I've been trying to combine heavy lifting with a greater cut and eating 30% protein until a recent back injury.

    If what you're eating isn't negatively affecting your energy, I suggest keeping the calorie level similar but switching to a higher protein diet. Because of what proteins are composed of, your body has a much harder time chemically turning this into anything other than muscle or waste.

    Hope this is helpful! Summary: eat more protein.
  • mmapags
    mmapags Posts: 8,934 Member
    I may be wrong but I think your metabolism and hormones have down regulated due to so long and so low a calorie restriction. You are well below your BMR, which in and of itself is not and issue if it is done short term. But you are talking a year. I think what is needed is to go to maintenance for at least 2 weeks, maybe a month. You may well put on a couple of pounds during this. then go back to a REASONABLE deficit. Like TDEE - 20% to start. If you are not losing after 3 weeks, go down another 5 %. If not losing again, then another 5% but that would be max.

    If this doesn't do it, you may well have cause a metabolic adaptation that will mean you need to eat lower than what is listed above but may have difficulty dropping any further. This would be a consequence of eating so far below you body's requirements for so long. I'm truly sorry if that is the case.
  • norcal_yogi
    norcal_yogi Posts: 675 Member
    bump...? any others? thanks!
  • norcal_yogi
    norcal_yogi Posts: 675 Member
    First of all, congrats to you for the self control of eating that low for a year without seeing noticeable results. That would discourage me.

    I experienced something like this; I plateaued for a good two months at 123 (I'm 20 and 5'6") while eating 1300 calories daily, and I was super consistant. I wasn't losing anything. I couldn't understand how I would not lose at such a significant cut! Then, seemingly unrelated, I was very tired and feeling sickly often enough that I had to stay home from some classes. After further thought, I decided I wasn't eating enough and my body didn't have the energy for my daily life with the diet I was eating.

    I upped my calories slowly, and yes, gained about 3 pounds, but I could make decisions on food without being so stingy with the cals and I felt much better.

    Months later, I started lifting heavy and trying to eat with a cut. I gained about 4 pounds (unhappily). I've been trying to combine heavy lifting with a greater cut and eating 30% protein until a recent back injury.

    If what you're eating isn't negatively affecting your energy, I suggest keeping the calorie level similar but switching to a higher protein diet. Because of what proteins are composed of, your body has a much harder time chemically turning this into anything other than muscle or waste.

    Hope this is helpful! Summary: eat more protein.

    have you lost the weight you gained by adding cals and heavy lifting? thanks for sharing your story, btw.
  • ktrn0312
    ktrn0312 Posts: 723 Member
    bump
  • Emile_Jarreau
    Emile_Jarreau Posts: 29 Member
    It may also be the intensity of effort. Many times some us believe we are working hard based on perceived exertion level. Like the typical "I'm sweating so i must be losing fat, right?"

    Not so fast.

    What may have happened is the body has adapted to the workload and either needs a push with more increased set/reps with the body weight workouts or the need to add some additional cardio to speed metabolism.

    Myself, i just walk and listen to audio books daily for 5-6 miles. Everyday.

    I catch up on some really interesting subject with audio and lose fat at the same time.

    Hope that's helpful :)
  • slkehl
    slkehl Posts: 3,801 Member
    Don't be afraid of a little weight gain from bumping up your calories! Try to go for maintenance for a full week, then try a deficit again (maybe less drastic, like .5 lb a week at first)
  • Try this:

    http://www.everydayhealth.com/have-a-weight-loss-plateau-let-me-help.aspx

    You may be at your perfect weight for your age with a body fat of 20-21%. Sometimes it helps to eat at maintenance calories for a week and back off a little on the exercise. Our bodies get used to the same old thing.

    Good luck!

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  • norcal_yogi
    norcal_yogi Posts: 675 Member
    thanks all for your responses! still have things to consider... prob just need to jump up my calories to TDEE then drop...and see what happens.

    while i was looking around in the forums, i came across this calculator...it's awesome, imo.

    enjoy!

    http://www.1percentedge.com/ifcalc/