2 year plateau and confused about differences in calories



  • wilsoje74
    wilsoje74 Posts: 1,720 Member
    I hate to break it to you, but it's likely your food intake. If you aren't losing weight, and you aren't weighing food, that is the first place for you to start. If you've never done it, how would you know you're guesses are pretty accurate? If you think there is a medical condition involved, get tested and find out, so you can get proper meds and nutrition advice.

    And....someone who has been thin all of their life is actually a perfect person to take advice from. They're obviously doing something right.

    I think there is a lot more to being thin or heavy than just doing something right. If you look at my family, we're all built like football players. We're not meant to weigh 120 lbs.

    Not an excuse, but you can't put the skin of a WV Beetle on a Ford Explorer.
    thin people are not always naturally thin. They develop habits that cause them to it overeat. They are active. They limit bad food.

    Really? Because I know a lot of thin people that eat like crap and are skinny anyway.

    I think you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.
    are you around these people 24/7? Yes they may eat like crap but then later they may be exercising or eating very light the rest of the day. It's basic science of calories in and out. People who eat too many calories are overweight. People who dont are thin. It's math and science.
  • WBB55
    WBB55 Posts: 4,131 Member
    I am very open to suggestions. What I"m trying to explain is that I make good choices and that's why I'm frustrated.

    I know the answer everyone likes to give is...

    Don't eat out
    Don't eat junk
    Don't eat processed....

    But I don't. That's just the thing. I eat healthy foods and get no where. I eat out and eat the healthy choices, not taken in by the illusion of a salad being healthier than a chicken breast or whatever. I am well-educated and have had just a few upper level science classes in my life, so I know what is good and what isn't.

    Hence my frustration.

    I really don't feel like anyone is listening to me.

    We ARE listening. We aren't doctors, so you have to take the things we say with the proverbial grain of salt. This is what's happening with you, and TONS of people every day have the exact same problems you have, until they make the changes they need to make.

    (1) you are eating more calories than you think you are
    (2) it's hard to lose weight no matter what you do if all the food you eat was either made by someone else, or came in a package with an ingredients label
  • slk_5555
    slk_5555 Posts: 177 Member
    I had a similar weight loss pattern to you for a good few years. I also thought I was accurately weighing & tracking - partially because I thought I was getting good at 'guessing'. About 5 weeks ago - someone encouraged me to weigh absolutely everything - fruit/veg/slice of bread/salad dressing/chocolate bars. 5 days a week I had a home made salad & my 'guestimates' on salad dressing & toasted nuts which I sprinkle on top, meant I was underestimating this 'salad' by about 200cals every time I ate it. There were a few other regular items which were being underestimated enough to wipe out the 3500 cal deficit I needed to loose 1lb per week. Believe me it soon ads up.

    I'm 5 ft 7 and currently 188lb I try to net about 1650 per day - I now weigh absolutely everything & have lost consistently for the last 5 weeks (ie since weighing). I also know from experience that if you are eating out or at a cafeteria - you will never really know the true nutritional values of what you are having - that takes it back to guess work.

    I understand your frustration - I have been there & its no fun. If you really want to succeed, then make sure your cals in & cals out are accurate - if the maths is right - the scales will start moving.
  • Mommagoose4
    Mommagoose4 Posts: 126 Member
    You sound a lot like me!
    In 2012 I lost 62 lbs - I have since gained some back on the plateau I had been on since July of 2012.
    I don't know what has changed...but this week the weight has started to come off. I have upped my calories & decreased my exercise due to a leg injury. Now I am still walking anywhere from 5-14 miles a day Mon - Fri
    If you want a friend who understands feel free to add me (with a msg saying from this post)
    I hope you find something works.
  • Just_Ceci
    Just_Ceci Posts: 5,926 Member
    When I hit a plateau, I upped my calories a little and changed up my exercise routine. I had been pretty much only riding the bicycle, so I started running (Couch to 5k). That did the trick.

    Do you have your weight loss goal at 2 lbs per week or less? I started with mine at 2 lbs, then dropped to 1.5, then to 1, and eventually to .5. (Trying to find my maintenance level now.)

    Change things up a bit and be patient.
  • Bethie_J
    Bethie_J Posts: 43 Member
    I'm sorry that you're getting frustrated and feel like no one is understanding.

    Generally, when someone comes here looking for advice as to why they're not losing, it frequently is an issue of consuming more calories than they think.

    If you are sure that you're measuring everything and correctly logging, then I recommend seeing an endocrinologist. There are a multitude of hormonal issues that make weight loss very slow and frustrating.

    Good luck! :flowerforyou:
  • annebmontreuil
    annebmontreuil Posts: 1 Member
    Sunshine: I am with you 100%. I too am on 1200 calories a day and hungry lol. I lost 18lbs the first 2 months of my diet and since then (1month) I too have plateu. I looked it up and basically it said "if what you are doing is not working- - change it up. You body and mine has gotten used to your diet and excersize program and is protecting you against loosing weight. You need to confuse things. Vary your calories. Eat very little one day (no bread, pasta ect) mostly fruit , veggies yogurt, lean meat. The next day eat more. carbs, maybe sugar. Also change your excercise. Do something different. It is working for me. I looked it up on the web. Good luck hon.
  • andeey
    andeey Posts: 709 Member
    First, get yourself a full blood panel workup, including Thyroid (T3, T4, Antibodies - you have to ask for each of those sub tests). If anything is outside the norm, get to an Endocrinologist and work directly with them, not a GP or OB/GYN. Metabolic issues are extremely difficult to manage and likely to require you to modify the numbers you are calculating, (i.e., if your calculated TDEE is 2,400, someone with metabolic issues might actually really be 2,200).

    Calculating TDEE:


    Second, spend time reading these links. Many, many smart and successful MFP folks have done a lot of leg work and cut through the crap to put valuable information into a nice little format for you to review.


    Good luck and let the "she was always skinny" "how do you know?" comments go ... focus on why you're here, which is to get some advice on how you can get back on track with your weight loss.
  • jofjltncb6
    jofjltncb6 Posts: 34,417 Member
    Weigh and measure everything (even if it's inconvenient) for a while.

    Until you do that, you honestly have no idea how much you're eating.

    Can people make progress without weighing and measuring everything? Absolutely. But when people *stop* making progress, this is the most likely solution to getting things back on track.
  • Cathalain
    Cathalain Posts: 424 Member
    How is your exercise regimen? You'd said that you were working out previously. Did you do just cardio, strength training, a mix? Are you working out currently?
  • action_figure
    action_figure Posts: 511 Member
    Several months. I don't use a digital scale but when I eat at work I ask them what the measurements are...it's a cafeteria so that's pretty easy for them. The rest is a pretty good estimate, and I know I tend to overestimate the portions because I'm afraid to underestimate.

    There's your problem. Estimation in a cafeteria is a bloody nightmare. Get yourself a digital scale. Weigh your food for two / three weeks or so. I bet you will get a huge education about portions. If not, then what have you lost? Two weeks? Also, you probably will have better luck if you make your own food and bring it for a bit to have total control over it. Also, try to squeeze in a bit more activity if you can. Take the stairs at work on one break, or at lunch. Can you walk to work or are you like me, in one of those horrible cities that has no decent public transit?
  • sunshinesoprano
    sunshinesoprano Posts: 66 Member
    She's a really skinny person and an OBGYN so I'm not sure this is really her forte.

    Dat reverse discrimination

    No, that's being realistic that an historically thin person has no idea what it's like to have a lifelong weight struggle.

    If I said I hated her because she was skinny, that would be discrimination.

    you've known her since birth?

    As I've stated before, we've discussed it.
  • arrseegee
    arrseegee Posts: 575 Member
    Summarising my thoughts:

    1. Get your thyroid checked and treated if you have a thyroid problem.
    2. If the advice from your OB hasn't worked for two years then see someone else, preferably someone who is qualified to advise you on nutrition, I.e. dietician or nutritionist. If you think it's another medical issue that's preventing weight loss then go see an endocrinologist or even a general practitioner to get a referral to the appropriate person.
    3. From my own experience, even being university-educated in the field of nutrition didn't stop me from putting on 45 lbs and i have still learned a lot from people on MFP that has helped me to lose weight. The responses you are getting are quite direct but many are not unhelpful. Things like weighing your food - for vegetables etc. it's not so bad but if you are estimating the weight of anything that has got a lot of calories then even a underestimation of 20 grams or a quarter cup can make quite difference to total calorie intake. So, get a scale and weigh everything.

    My main advice would be to go and talk to a dietician so that you can feel a little more trusting of the information you're being given. Get your thyroid checked. Keep an open mind about what the dietician is saying to you even if she is skinny, or if she is obese. If someone who you are paying for advice isn't listening to you then get a second opinion and do it quickly.

    Keep at it. And good luck.
  • sunshinesoprano
    sunshinesoprano Posts: 66 Member
    How is your exercise regimen? You'd said that you were working out previously. Did you do just cardio, strength training, a mix? Are you working out currently?

    I work out at least 3 days a week currently, at least 45 minutes, cardio, lifting, etc.
  • _HeartsOnFire_
    _HeartsOnFire_ Posts: 5,304 Member
    People have given you some reallllly great advice.

    Eating out, packaged food, not weighing everything all leads to inaccuracies.

    Not saying you can't eat out here and there, but I think if you started weighing things you'd see there is a huge difference. I was shocked when I got a food scale.

    If you're going to continue to eat out, each time make sure you eat less than what they bring you (not saying you don't do that now...if you do, then leave more).

    It may help to dedicate Sundays to making your lunches for the week. That's what I do.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Now I am not calling you insane, but it sounds like you are doing this very thing.
  • DebbieLyn63
    DebbieLyn63 Posts: 2,650 Member
    I have been basically plateaued for the past year myself. But I know exactly WHY. I have been eating at MY maintenance level over time. Sure there are periods of time that I stay within my calorie goal, but then there are days that I don't log, or don't measure and log as accurately as I should, or fall back on 'eyeballing' it, because "I have been doing this for 2 years and I know what I am doing".
    And then of course there are the days when I just eat what I want to eat and don't worry about the calories.

    Reality can be a bitter pill to swallow. Weight loss is HARD for most people. It takes complete honesty and dedication for some people to be successful long term.

    The people who are harping on measuring and logging, are doing so because they have been there. Many of us have gone thru the times of feeling sorry for ourselves because 'we are doing everything right and it is not working'. It IS frustrating. Life isn't always fair. We see other people appear to eat way more than we do and they are naturally thin. We see other people that are our size that eat WAY more than we do, and it may piss us off for various reasons, and we may be tempted to just say screw it, I'm just going to eat what I want and stay fat!

    I went thru the pity party for years. I gained my weight after a disabling injury put me in a wheelchair. I had the best excuse in the world for gaining weight. But at the end of the day, I was still 80 lbs overweight, and I was the only person who could decide to do something about it.
    Motivation and drive helped me lose the first 50 pounds. Then it got hard. And I got complacent. I waiver back and forth between being happy with the progress I have made, and thinking this is 'good enough' and then saying, NO, it is NOT good enough and I need to get the rest of the weight off.

    No one can tell you the magic formula that will work for you to lose the rest of the weight. They can make suggestions based on what has worked for THEM or others they know, but you will need to figure out what works for YOU.

    What you have been doing for the past 2 years apparently is NOT working for you. Actually, it is working for maintenance, which is good, as maintaining can be the hardest part of weight loss. But if you are not finished losing weight, then you MUST change some things.

    Bottom line is that you are not eating at a calorie deficit, consistently over time.

    If you haven't had your thyroid levels checked recently, then have them checked.

    If you have truly been logging everything you eat, accurately for the past few months, and have been maintaining, then add up those total calories eaten for a few weeks, divide by the number of days, and you will get the calorie number that is now your daily maintenance.

    If that number is 2000, 1800, or 1600, whatever. Then that is your new maintenance level.
    You have lost 50 pounds, so you simply cannot maintain on as many calories as you did when you were heavier.

    One tip I can give is this. Your profile pic shows that you tend to carry your weight more in your midsection. This can put you at higher risk for insulin resistance. You may want to get your fasting blood sugar levels checked, and be tested for insulin resistance.
    If you ARE insulin resistant, then you will need to lower your carb levels. Insulin resistance is one situation where it DOES matter WHAT you eat in addition to how much.

    If you are having trouble staying under your calorie goal, then find foods that help keep you feeling fuller longer. Higher protein, fiber, and healthy fats, will all help you to not be starving. Filling up on high fiber veggies will help as well, if you are used to a higher volume of food.

    Online BMR calculators only give you an ESTIMATE of your BMR and TDEE. Trial and error is going to tell you your ACTUAL numbers, so don't get caught up in the hype of figuring out your numbers from a website.
    Most of the calculators are set up for someone at an average weight and body fat %. If your BF% is higher or lower than average, then those numbers will be OFF for you. You can use the Katch-McCardle BMR calculator, which uses your BF% to figure your BMR, and this will give you a more accurate number than MFP. But again, it will only be an estimate.

    So, You can choose to continue doing what you are doing, and becoming frustrated, or you can decide to change some things and see what happens.

    The question comes down to how badly do you want it? (I ask myself this question as well!)
  • Cathalain
    Cathalain Posts: 424 Member
    I work out at least 3 days a week currently, at least 45 minutes, cardio, lifting, etc.

    Hmmm. Let me ask you this - do you tend to stick to the same type of "routine"? The same machines, same type of weights, etc.? I've noticed, for me, that my weight loss stalls out sometimes if I don't do different exercises, because my body's become "conditioned" to what I'm doing, know what I mean? If I do the elliptical + treadmill for days, weeks at a stretch, my body will more or less get used to it.

    I force myself to "change up", even when I don't necessarily like the exercise I'm doing. I HATE doing the stair machine, but I'll do it because it's different and my body will "wake up", go, "huh? oh hey, this is different". It sounds silly but sometimes a "shock" to the system actually gets it back into gear. It does for me, anyway.

    Just a thought.
  • sunshinesoprano
    sunshinesoprano Posts: 66 Member

    One tip I can give is this. Your profile pic shows that you tend to carry your weight more in your midsection. This can put you at higher risk for insulin resistance. You may want to get your fasting blood sugar levels checked, and be tested for insulin resistance.
    If you ARE insulin resistant, then you will need to lower your carb levels. Insulin resistance is one situation where it DOES matter WHAT you eat in addition to how much.

    This photo was actually a little deceptive. My waist circumference is 37 inches now. Most of my weight is in my legs.

    Thank you for your advise and non-judgemental comments.
  • CogFu
    CogFu Posts: 5 Member
    Do a detox week. Reboot your system & push passed the plateau. No coffee (only detox tea), no sugar (other than fruit), no dairy, no grains. Eat every 3 hours each meal have a protein (no red meat), carb (fruit or veg) & fat (nuts, olive oil, avocado slice). DOUBLE your intake of water (key). Cut any pops (including diet) or eating out (even cafeteria). Prep your meals in advance. Bring them to work. Introduce high quality protein shakes as your snacks for mid morning & after workout. NO CHEATING or you HAVE to restart the week.

    Switch your workout routine to 5 days a week (weekends off) weights for 30m then low intensity cardio (jog, bike, elliptical) for 30m following MWF; high intensity cardio 30m (sprinting intervals, rope, rowing) then low intensity cardio for 30m on TT.

    Let me know after a week - i'd like to see your results... if you are as serious as you claim.

    Good luck!
  • jenmom2myboys
    jenmom2myboys Posts: 321 Member
    She may be skinny because she eats the appropriate calories and exercises. Also if you dont feel she is competent to give you advice then see a Nutrionist.