8 Weeks of Increased Calories, Up 10lbs and Gaining

I know I’m beating a dead horse. I’ve tried to look for a situation similar to mine in the forums and in EMTWL forums, and I couldn’t find anything where they continuously gained after 8 weeks and never leveled off.

I went from eating 13-1400 calories total to 17-1800 calories total in the beginning of May. I visited a dietitian and she recommended the increase along with starting a weight training program. My initial visit was because I was gaining on 1400 as well as binging probably once a week.

It’s 8 weeks in and I’m still gaining. Everyone else seems to taper off after 4 weeks or so and start to lose or maintain. Lucky for them :/ I’m 21, 5’5”, currently 150lbs. I started this at 140, so in 8 weeks, I’ve gained 10lbs. I know it’s not muscle because my clothes don’t fit and I feel soft and flabby.

I would consider myself lightly active. I don’t lift heavy. I started in May, I lift between 5-15lbs M-F for around 15mins a day, dif muscle groups each day. Monday I do a 20min cardio session with just HIIT type moves (jumping jacks, squats etc.), W&FSa I do the elliptical at 8 resistance for 15 mins, and TThSu I just walk the treadmill on an incline for 20 mins. It sounds like a lot, but I usually burn only 150-200 cals daily and net 15-1550. I waitress on the weekends, but it's a banquet hall, not a restaurant so it's not really a lot of work.

I watch my macros, drink at least 10glasses of water daily, watch my sodium, I’m regular as far as bathroom things are concerned, normal thyroid, etc. I know about glycogen, but most people say it’s only a 3-7lb gain. I don’t have a TOM, since I haven’t had a period in 3 years (we’re working on figuring that out, all of my hormones are normal, as are the reproductive organs themselves according to an ultrasound, don't take birth control or anything but that rules out TOM gains).

I started at 140 in the beginning of May and weekly, my gains have been 143.6, 144.0, 147.4, 147.8, 148.4, 148.0, 149.2 and this morning was 150.8.

My question is, has anyone else experienced consistent gains like this and do they ever stop? I was 125 in January, so basically, I feel like an elephant. I am just hoping for ANY happy endings or any insight to why this is happening. I had a bioimpedance analysis in May and I was 23% bodyfat, but I feel like this is inaccurate since I looked at bodyfat pics and I look more like I would be around 25-28, so maybe 17-1800 is too much for me?

I don't want to drop down to 13-400 again because I wasn't losing on that, and I feel like it's not enough anyway. I'm just stumped. I'm at a loss of what to do. Keep eating this much and ride it out or lower my intake a bit?

Replies

  • Bettyeditor
    Bettyeditor Posts: 327 Member
    First of all, I just want to give you a big hug! This is a difficult stressful situation and I feel for you! You've been on my friend list for a while so I know how disciplined and consistent you are with your eating and your exercising. I'm so sorry this is happening and I'm also eager for you to find the solution!

    Here are a couple of things that stand out to me:
    1) Eating at 1300-1400 calories with a weekly binge taught your body to expect fewer calories than it requires on a regular basis, and taught your body that any increase in calories was very temporary and that it needed to convert every ounce of excess calories to fat and store it for the lean times.
    2) Your body is still exhibiting the signs of chronic deprivation, even at 1700 calories. I know that there can be a lot of reasons behind not getting your TOM, but the most basic/common one is insufficient nutrition/calories.
    3) You have a slight misperception/expectation about raising calories: No one experiences the "leveling off" off the weight gains unless they eat at FULL TDEE/MAINTENANCE. That same effect is not in play if you just "eat more." Your body ONLY gets the message to stop gaining if it consistently gets EVERY single calorie it needs based on activity. So don't expect that same effect with just raising calories versus doing a metabolism reset.

    It sounds like what you are experiencing is a confused, messed up metabolism. The best course of action seems to be a metabolism reset. That will unconfuse your body and get off this cycle of gaining.

    Your body seems to be crying out for more calories. The fact that it gains consistently on more calories makes it clear that your body feels that you needs them. Feels so strongly that you need them that its storing fat like a bear preparing to hibernate during a long winter. Your body acts like its waiting for the "other shoe to drop" -- waiting for the next long winter of calorie deprivation.

    If I were in your difficult situation, I would do a metabolism reset. I know that eating EVEN MORE is the most scary thing possible to consider right now, and I know that its so hard to have all your clothes be tight. But sometimes our bodies need that. I have seen my husband who never tracks food and never counts calories and who just intuitively eats well (he was munching on a plate of raw kale just last night) and who works out like 6 times a week his whole life... i have seen his weight go up for a few months sometimes and then down again. As much as 25 pounds. My theory is that his body is doing it's own bulk-and-cut cycles intuitively, LOL. I'm sure you have seen young people go through pudgy stages and lean stages as they grow. Sometimes pudgy while body is preparing for a growth spurt, then leans out during the growth spurt. I also have a girlfriend who packed on about 30 extra pounds right before she got really sick. Dealing with her illness, she could barely eat and the 30 pounds came off during her recovery and later she was GLAD that she had them so that she didn't fall 30 lbs underweight during that time. The body is a mysterious and amazing thing but keep this in mind: your body has two priorities 1) health/survival and balance/stasis. Everything that your body does, including gaining 25 pounds on 1300 (plus binges) and on 1700 is does for your HEALTH. Your body doesn't care about dress size or bikini season. Just about survival. As scary as it sounds, my advice to you is to TRUST your body and give it what it so clearly seems to want and need: plenty of healthy calories and healthy nutrition. Your body may by trying to heal your TOM issue and needs the extra body fat to do so. TRUST your body and allow it to heal.

    If you have the means to do so, I would recommend getting a device like a BodyMedia Fit to measure as precisely as possible how much you burn each day and then I would eat exactly that (and err on the side of a bit more rather than a bit less) for eight weeks. That is long enough to teach your body a new pattern and reassure it that it can trust you to provide all the calories and nutrition that it needs.

    In your case, I would put your weight loss goals on the back burner for a bit and put health/healing first. Please don't hate me for this advice! LOL I hope that you can see that I practice what I preach. I'm going through health issues right now so even though I would prefer to lose 2 pounds a week, I'm keeping my deficit very small and only losing 1 pound a week. And I'm ready to abandon weight loss and just eat full TDEE if that's what I need to heal. We have the whole rest of our lives to get skinny, but what good is skinny without health and strength?
  • sylo1609
    sylo1609 Posts: 36
    I had a quick look at your diary and the last week seemed good to me, both in terms of calories and macros.
    Since you describe yourself as lightly active, I understand your concern of gaining weight slowly but constantly.
    I have recently read a book where it, in simple words, said that your metabolism adapted to your calorie intake ... but I have experienced the same problem as you, although I'd only increased my calories for 1 week, not 8. Which worries me, to be honest :S
    Are you overestimating execise calories / logging precisely enough?
    Please keep me informed on your progress! :)
  • Dani19711
    Dani19711 Posts: 33
    You have been upping your calories way to fast. Your body needs time to adjust. Since you're not lifting heavy, I doubt that the weight comes from added musle mass.....

    Your exercise is not enough to get results. 15 - 20 minutes a day of which 2 times hitting the weights is not gonna get you far. I would trow in a little more efford. Weighttraining is needed to add musclemass which ups your BMR. A minimum of 3 times a week for 30-40 minutes will do, the non lifting days are for cardio, medium intensity for 30-40 minutes or 15 - 20 minutes HIIT.
    Calories should stay as is for now.

    In case you want to up them again take more time. An increase of 100 kcal every 2 weeks will work like a charm. Your body didn't ajust your metabolism overnight, so you shouldn't want to either.
  • GKoz004
    GKoz004 Posts: 87
    You have been upping your calories way to fast. Your body needs time to adjust. Since you're not lifting heavy, I doubt that the weight comes from added musle mass.....

    Your exercise is not enough to get results. 15 - 20 minutes a day of which 2 times hitting the weights is not gonna get you far. I would trow in a little more efford. Weighttraining is needed to add musclemass which ups your BMR. A minimum of 3 times a week for 30-40 minutes will do, the non lifting days are for cardio, medium intensity for 30-40 minutes or 15 - 20 minutes HIIT.
    Calories should stay as is for now.

    In case you want to up them again take more time. An increase of 100 kcal every 2 weeks will work like a charm. Your body didn't ajust your metabolism overnight, so you shouldn't want to either.

    Thanks for all the suggestions! Since I've already increased, do I just stick with it? Or should I lower then gradually increase?
  • GODfidence
    GODfidence Posts: 249 Member
    10 pounds =35,000 excess calories/8(number of weeks)=4375(per week)
    /7= 625 excess calories per day. Considering you're only eating 1800 then
    That means your bmr is around 1200 which seems low.
    I would say talk to your doctor,sometimes it can be a health issue
    That causes weight gain or stalls weight loss.
    I can't imagine gaining weight at 1800 calories.

    Id say since you're gaining,eat the same but lift weights instead of cardio.
    Then the weight you would put on would be a higher percentage of muscle as opposed
    To fat.
    Plus, lifting makes your body look better IMO.
    Good luck!
  • haymancm
    haymancm Posts: 280 Member
    Your sodium looks really good & so does your potassium. I calculated your BMR to 1446 based on your information. So, I would try to eat around that many calories/day before eating back some of your exercise calories. Do you have a HRM for your cardio workouts? How many steps/day are you walking, is it more than 10k?

    I would up your water intake from 10 8 oz glasses/day to about 19 or more, half your body weight in oz, especially w/ workouts.
  • DancingMoosie
    DancingMoosie Posts: 8,469 Member
    I would increase the weights lifted and increase cardio to 30-35 min. at a time. Your weights are not heavy enough to do much of anything.
  • lilpoindexter
    lilpoindexter Posts: 1,122 Member
    I would jack up the cardio. Forget about weights if you want to lose fat. Spend the time you have for exercise on cardio.
  • cingle87
    cingle87 Posts: 717 Member
    I would jack up the cardio. Forget about weights if you want to lose fat. Spend the time you have for exercise on cardio.

    Actualy I think you will find most people would advocate lifting to loose most fat, but a combination of 3:2 3 lifting 2 cardio will serve you well
  • kazsjourney
    kazsjourney Posts: 263 Member
    Seeing as you are not having your cycle...before worrying about weight loss I would be focusing on that. I saw your hormone levels etc are fine...have you been referred to a gynae or a endocrinologist? The reason why your not having your cycle may have to do with why your not losing weight.
  • GKoz004
    GKoz004 Posts: 87
    Your sodium looks really good & so does your potassium. I calculated your BMR to 1446 based on your information. So, I would try to eat around that many calories/day before eating back some of your exercise calories. Do you have a HRM for your cardio workouts? How many steps/day are you walking, is it more than 10k?

    I would up your water intake from 10 8 oz glasses/day to about 19 or more, half your body weight in oz, especially w/ workouts.

    I do have a Polar FT4 and I usually burn maybe on the high end 180cals but usually 150ish in a workout and my BPM is generally 160-ish. I do wear it when I do the weight training but only burn maybe 50-70cals.

    I don't have a pedometer, but I don't think I walk 10,000 steps unless its a particularly busy day at work. And 19glasses seems kind of excessive! I guess what's adding a few more, but I figure since most of my diet is generally clean, I get a lot of water from fruits and veggies as well?
  • GKoz004
    GKoz004 Posts: 87
    Seeing as you are not having your cycle...before worrying about weight loss I would be focusing on that. I saw your hormone levels etc are fine...have you been referred to a gynae or a endocrinologist? The reason why your not having your cycle may have to do with why your not losing weight.

    I've recently had blood work done as well as an ultrasound and a transvaginal ultrasound and everything checked out to be totally normal. I'm waiting to get the (probably hefty) bill for all of the stuff I got done last month, but an endocrinologist is on my list as soon as I can afford one :/

    My levels from 2 years ago were post menopausal, and as of last month, they're on the lower end of normal, so I'm hoping maybe it'll just magically come haha.