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Carbs Slowing Down Weight Loss?

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I have been almost perfect sticking to my 1200 calories, exercising vigorously at least 4 times per week, yadda yadda yadda, and although I'm losing, it's a lot slower than I feel it should be. Never more than one pound per week. Often less. It consistently goes down, so it's slowly adding up, but still. My goal is 1.5 pounds/week, for a total of 40 pounds, with about 32 more to go.

I'm getting ready to turn 35, so my metabolism isn't as fast as it used to be. But I was wondering if my reliance on carbs might be the problem. I have a family who I try to eat with as much as possible (rather than making two meals), and it's unrealistic for me to stop eating carbs. Plus, I would never stick to a plan like that.

I eat cereal every morning, and one of my lunch staples is rice. It's all on plan, but I max out my carbs pretty much every day.

Could this be the problem? And if so, what in the world do I eat instead?!?!?!?!
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Replies

  • Akimajuktuq
    Akimajuktuq Posts: 3,037 Member
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    Most people on MFP are going to tell you it's just calories in and calories out. However, the macros are important for me. MFP has fat and protein set far too low and carbs set far too high in my opinion. You could experiment with different macro settings and see if reducing sugar/carbs might help. It helps many people. I get most of my carbs from veggies (no grains, legumes) and I am enjoying the best health I've had in years and I am losing weight.

    You can look at my diary, it's open to everyone. There are lots of things to eat that are low in carbs and sugar. You don't have to go as low as me, but increasing fat and protein will likely help.
  • shoniej
    shoniej Posts: 227 Member
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    My weight loss really took off when I took out the grains. Occassionally I will have oatmeal in the AM if I feel like I really need the extra and if I am working out those days. Other than that, I limit myself very strictly on that. I will make rice and pasta for my family but for me, I roast a huge pan of veggies and eat that with my meal instead. I also try to maintain at least 100 grams of protein a day. I feel like I have more energy eating like this as well. If I feel like I need a "carb boost" I grab an apple or fix me a bowl of fruit. So yes, I completely agree with Akimajuktuq!
  • msmithevv
    msmithevv Posts: 58 Member
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    I have to tell you I was stuck for quite some time. I reduced by carbs and it has helped. This was something my doctor told me to do. I didn't completely cut them out, just restricted them. Hopefully this will help.
  • Akimajuktuq
    Akimajuktuq Posts: 3,037 Member
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    I have to tell you I was stuck for quite some time. I reduced by carbs and it has helped. This was something my doctor told me to do. I didn't completely cut them out, just restricted them. Hopefully this will help.

    LOL, no one should completely "cut them out". Vegetables have carbs and fibre, I eat LOTS of them. There is almost no way to eat "no carb" (except the Inuit came close and they were healthy, pre-modern food era) and people like me get a bad rap because other people have the misunderstanding that I don't eat vegetables (I often eat more that SAD dieters). So, the fat and protein are most important, but keep the veggies!
  • sarahrbraun
    sarahrbraun Posts: 2,261 Member
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    I have been almost perfect sticking to my 1200 calories, exercising vigorously at least 4 times per week, yadda yadda yadda, and although I'm losing, it's a lot slower than I feel it should be. Never more than one pound per week. Often less. It consistently goes down, so it's slowly adding up, but still. My goal is 1.5 pounds/week, for a total of 40 pounds, with about 32 more to go.

    I'm getting ready to turn 35, so my metabolism isn't as fast as it used to be. But I was wondering if my reliance on carbs might be the problem. I have a family who I try to eat with as much as possible (rather than making two meals), and it's unrealistic for me to stop eating carbs. Plus, I would never stick to a plan like that.

    I eat cereal every morning, and one of my lunch staples is rice. It's all on plan, but I max out my carbs pretty much every day.

    Could this be the problem? And if so, what in the world do I eat instead?!?!?!?!

    switch to eggs and bacon/sausage for breakfast for a week and see what happens.

    I busted my booty in the gym and watched my diet for 3 months...and lost 7 lbs :(

    I cut my carbs from 200g+ per day down to 100g net ( total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols), actually cut my workouts by 30 minutes ( from 90 minutes to 60 minutes) and have lost 22lbs in almost 5 months. You just have to change your mindset, and it becomes fairly easy! I still go through the wendy's drive thru and get a burger, but I take off the top bun, and don't order fries. I still have A biscuit with my beef stew, but I only have one instead of the 2-3 I would have had in the past. Fruit is NOT a no-no, but I try to make it berries instead of apples or bananas.
  • nxd10
    nxd10 Posts: 4,570 Member
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    For me carbs are important. If I eat too many processed carbs (a) I get hungry and (b) I lose slowly.

    I try for 40% and always hit under 50%. Virtually all my carbs (except a banana a day and an occasional potatoe) are low glycemic (whole grains, beans, etc.)

    It makes a big difference for me and was not hard to do once I just started paying attention to it.
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,413 MFP Moderator
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    If you reduce carbs, you will just reduce a bit of water weight (like a total of 5 lbs).. but long term, there won't be much of an affect. Also, the reason you are losing less and less is because weight loss is a lot harder once you approach a normal weight (not your goal weight). Too aggressive of a goal and you will lose muscle. And muscle loss is detrimental to long term sustainment. Muscle is what makes you burn more and maintains a metabolism. The less you have, the slower your metabolic rate. Now, I would suggest adjusting macro's to 35% carbs, 40% protein and 25% fats as research suggest high protein diets are much more effective at weight loss but another key is, it helps maintain lean body mass. Also, as you approach your normal weight, you have to have a smaller deficit as seen below.

    If you have 75+ lbs to lose 2 lbs/week is ideal,
    If you have 40-75 lbs to lose 1.5 lbs/week is ideal,
    If you have 25-40 lbs to lose 1 lbs/week is ideal,
    If you have 15 -25 lbs to lose 0.5 to 1.0 lbs/week is ideal, and
    If you have less than 15 lbs to lose 0.5 lbs/week is ideal.


    The bigger issue you will have is not fueling the body to function best. You need to fuel your body to burn fuel. Most women I work with eat around 1700-2000 and men are around 2500-3200.
  • cuteazz1
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    Everyone will tell you not to do it,but I FIRMLY believe that dieting is not "one size fits all." Lower carbs has ALWAYS been the best thing for my body and I always share that with people when they ask,at the same time I tell them to experiment and find out what works best for them...and NO its NOT water weight..I am currently eating higher carbs until my living situation changes.
  • Supermel
    Supermel Posts: 612 Member
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    I would eat things like oatmeal, shredded wheat or any cereal that is fully whole grain, measure the milk and watched the sugar content and quantity of cereal.

    As for dinner meals, we found quinoa to be a great replacement for rice, as well as shirataki or miracle noodles (i get mine at local japenense market but can be found at many grocery stores) and spaghetti squash works great in place of pasta. I make our children a little extra real whole wheat pasta occasionally ... i am diehard low carb now and find that it really works for me.. but for about 6 months before that i watched my carbs closely, made them 'real' grain and skipped them at dinner as much as possible. Found it easy to eat burger with no bun, found it super easy to do taco salad instead of wraps/shells, found it easy to have pasta tomato sauce or alfredo on top of veggies and protein on a bed shiratki or spaghetti squash... this seemed to cover the main 'holes' in my diet. I don't miss bread or crackers at all.

    at the point that i ditched most carbs, the scale moved much quicker and my cravings after a few days also got much easier to handle.
  • llkilgore
    llkilgore Posts: 1,169 Member
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    At 1200 calories a day you're at the lower limit that MFP will give you, regardless of the the goal you set. Have you checked the projected weight loss stated on the goals page to make sure it really is 1.5 pounds a week?
  • jacksonpt
    jacksonpt Posts: 10,413 Member
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    With the little weight you have to lose, 1lb per week is about perfect! You say your eating 1200cals/day and exercising 4+ times a week - are you eating back your exercise cals?

    Your diary is closed, so I can't really offer any meaningful advice. I'd list an imbalance in macros as the problem before I do the mere pretense of carbs.
  • Flowers4Julia
    Flowers4Julia Posts: 521 Member
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    I'm definitely a lower carb success story...I eat higher fats and moderate proteins for both calories and energy.

    My carbs come ONLY from vegetables, some rice and some sweet potatoe. I tend to top out at 75 per day. NO whole grains, they seem to inflame my gut.

    Most of all eat clean foods, not stuff from boxes, etc.

    A calorie isn't a calorie, because calories from fats, proteins and carbs all affect the body differently.

    Best of Luck....experiment!
  • kcm105
    kcm105 Posts: 50 Member
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    My settings are definitely right. I said I wanted to lose 1.5 pounds per week, said how much I sit and how often I exercise, and let MFP do the rest.

    I think I may have to try and change it up a bit to see what works for me. My biggest worry about this is my ability to stick to it. I work full-time and have a family, and I just don't know if it's realistic for me to try and change my diet this drastically. For instance, getting up 20 minutes earlier every morning to cook breakfast is kind of a non-starter for me. I have to get up at 5:00 a.m. as it is.

    I don't want to open my diary, but I can tell you on a typical weekday I eat Multigrain Cheerios w/almond milk for breakfast, an instant rice bowl w/some added chicken for lunch, and a granola bar as an afternoon snack. I do this pretty religiously. Carbs, carbs and more carbs for sure.

    I eat these things because they fit into my lifestyle though. I don't have time to cook in the morning, and I don't know what alternatives there are for a to go lunch that don't involve lots of carbs. I can manage dinner, and I could change my snack as well, but breakfast and lunch are gonna be tough to figure out!
  • llkilgore
    llkilgore Posts: 1,169 Member
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    My settings are definitely right. I said I wanted to lose 1.5 pounds per week, said how much I sit and how often I exercise, and let MFP do the rest.

    Yeah, but that doesn't mean a whole lot if if MFP calculates that you'd need to net fewer than 1200 calories a day to reach your goal. Have you checked the goals page?
  • psuLemon
    psuLemon Posts: 38,413 MFP Moderator
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    Why don't you cook meat (dinners or lunches) at night and freeze them. Or even cook over the weekend. Protein is critical. Also, the more active you are, the more you need to eat or you will just make your metabolism slower and make weight loss harder due to muscle loss. And 1.5 lb is too aggressive or how much you have to go. And MFP is set up with no exercise in mind. So if you exercise, it adds calories which you should eat. Under eating can be a bad problem.
  • sarahrbraun
    sarahrbraun Posts: 2,261 Member
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    My settings are definitely right. I said I wanted to lose 1.5 pounds per week, said how much I sit and how often I exercise, and let MFP do the rest.

    I think I may have to try and change it up a bit to see what works for me. My biggest worry about this is my ability to stick to it. I work full-time and have a family, and I just don't know if it's realistic for me to try and change my diet this drastically. For instance, getting up 20 minutes earlier every morning to cook breakfast is kind of a non-starter for me. I have to get up at 5:00 a.m. as it is.

    I don't want to open my diary, but I can tell you on a typical weekday I eat Multigrain Cheerios w/almond milk for breakfast, an instant rice bowl w/some added chicken for lunch, and a granola bar as an afternoon snack. I do this pretty religiously. Carbs, carbs and more carbs for sure.

    I eat these things because they fit into my lifestyle though. I don't have time to cook in the morning, and I don't know what alternatives there are for a to go lunch that don't involve lots of carbs. I can manage dinner, and I could change my snack as well, but breakfast and lunch are gonna be tough to figure out!

    It takes 2 minutes to scramble a couple eggs with some precooked sausage in the morning.

    for lunch, either do a HUGE salad with romaine lettuce and lots of veggies with your chicken on top, or make a wrap with your chicken. I found Ole Extreme wellness tortillas, and they have 17g carbs per wrap, but 12g of that is fiber.

    berries are lower carb than apples or bananas.

    do your granola bar for snack, but make it a nature valley protein bar--10g of protein to keep you full, 14g of carbs ( 5g of which are fiber)
  • kcm105
    kcm105 Posts: 50 Member
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    My settings are definitely right. I said I wanted to lose 1.5 pounds per week, said how much I sit and how often I exercise, and let MFP do the rest.

    Yeah, but that doesn't mean a whole lot if if MFP calculates that you'd need to net fewer than 1200 calories a day to reach your goal. Have you checked the goals page?

    Hm, still not sure what you're getting at, but here's what my goals page says -

    Nutritional Goals:
    Net Calories Consumed* / Day 1,200 calories/day
    Carbs / Day 165 g
    Fat / Day 40 g
    Protein / Day 45 g

    Fitness Goals:
    Calories Burned / Week 1,140 calories/week
    Workouts / Week 4 Workouts
    Minutes / Workout 45 mins

    Target Calories Burned From Normal Daily Activity 1,850 calories/day

    Net Calories Consumed:
    Your Daily Goal 1,200 calories/ day
    Daily Calorie Deficit 650 calories

    Projected Weight Loss 1.3 lbs/ week
  • balancedbrunette
    balancedbrunette Posts: 530 Member
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    I noticed myself and even though my goal is quite small cutting carbs has helped a good bit, being a college student my diet was very carb centered last year and it wasn't even something I realised til I started thinking about it more.

    However, it can be hard to stay off it...lately I've noticed when i'm in a hurry I'll grab cereal for breakfast and I do eat whole grain bread at least once a day every day but it is a big lifestyle change, i'm watching my carbs but not cutting completely.
  • kcm105
    kcm105 Posts: 50 Member
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    Oh, and I meant to mention that I am, for the most part, adding back in my exercise calories. I come up a bit short here and there, but then again, I've gone over a bit here and there as well. Nothing major either way.
  • vicktoria339
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    Hi, i have tried a low-carb diet before bringing my level down to 160g per day from about 230g. While i found the weight did come off quite quickly, i also found tht as soon as i began to reintroduce other carby-foods back into my diet the weight loss slowed down dramatically. My expereince says that while a low-carb diet seems to work well, its a seemingly drastic new way of life - with very little bread and cakes!! - and needs someone with a lot of willpower for it to work more than a few months.