Girlfriend not losing weight on deficit

Hi folks.
You all have guided me to good results, and I'm so confident in the cut/bulk & progressive overload progress I've made huge progress over 2 years...

However i have tried to implement this for my gf who is trying to improve composition/lose fat.

Her stats are 169cm and 62kg i think.

We calculated a maintenance of 1700 cals, and set a target of around 1200 daily, which she met for about 8-9 weeks. She walked 6 miles a day Mon-Fri which apparantly burns 500 cals-ish, so we added those 500 on meaning on these days she'd eat 1700 cals.

She thinks she hasnt lost weight and may have in fact gained some.

Also, side note - the effort and faith she put in the process over 9 weeks to see no results has resulted in loss of confidence and now has uncertainty about how to lose weight.

Side note 2 - she didnt lift in this time period and ate chocolate/cake when she felt like it - but calories are all that matter for weight loss right?

If i can get a good reason here i should be able to get her back on it.



  • Alluminati
    Alluminati Posts: 6,209 Member
    How was she measuring her food? Using a scale increases the accuracy of calories being consumed in order to get into a deficit. Relying on cups, spoons, eyeballs to measure can be tricky and can prevent or knock one out of a deficit. Also if she started new workouts recently, fluid retention can mask weight loss as well.
  • Carlos_421
    Carlos_421 Posts: 5,128 Member
    tracymayo1 wrote: »
    First problem I can potentially see is that if MFP gave you 500 extra calories for the walking - you generally shouldn't eat all of them back. maybe 50% at most.
    Second, how did she track her calorie intake?
    Did she WEIGH all solids with a scale?
    did she measure all liquids with spoons and measuring cups?
    everything... every morsel in her mouth?
    Was it logged on here? would she be willing to open her diary so other more knowledgeable people could review and see where there may be other errors?

    You say she *thinks* she hasn't lost and has potentially gained... did she weigh herself before starting? then every week to check? Weight loss isn't linear... maybe using a program like below pictured Weight Grapher will help her when she can see the weight loss TREND over time... not every week will show a loss... and sometimes a gain will be there...

    Just want to point out that the bolded advice is simply due to the fact that calorie burns from exercise are typically overestimated (not as big as the online calculator says they should be).
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    1. She "thinks" she hasn't lost weight?
    2. How accurately is she tracking her intake. A slice of cake is pretty calorie dense and I know I always feel cheated when I go with the actual serving size suggested on pre-bought cake packaging.
    3. How are you calculating 500 calories for the walking?
    4. 1200 is probably too aggressive anyway but I strongly suspect there's a lot of inaccuracies here.
    5. I might also suspect she could be eating things she's not logging when not in your presence, particularly if this weight loss is primarily being motivated by you and she's not especially committed herself.

    I think this is a good summary. I'd just add in the fact that women can have water fluctuations that mask fat loss, especially when already at a lower weight. Between her lower activity level and logging errors, her deficit is likely pretty small. Add to that doing nothing to keep muscle (no lifting) and a possible increase in carbs (is the cake eating a new thing?) along with hormone fluctuations and I can see how she may have lost a pound or two of fat but ended up feeling softer instead of leaner.

    But this really is all just a bunch of guesses since you've provided no solid numbers.
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,741 Member
    jemhh wrote: »
    Also, why would a 5'7" 136 pound woman be using a 500 calorie deficit?

    None of this is making sense to me.

    I second this... plus with those stats she definitely doesn't burn 500 cals walking...
  • rugratz2015
    rugratz2015 Posts: 593 Member
    In recent months I have lots of people tell me I've 'lost' loads of weight - I haven't 'lost' much weight in the last 6 months, however, I have toned up, got stronger and dropped a dress size. Losing weight isn't all about the scales - she should also be looking at her physical measurements, they can be more of an indication of how she's really doing.
  • Lounmoun
    Lounmoun Posts: 8,427 Member
    Well, lots of things like saying you think she weighed something when she started but don't know and she thinks she hasn't lost weight but doesn't know, eating back all the exercise calories. It doesn't sound like she knows much for sure and that isnt helping.
    She is a healthy weight. Her weight loss will take more accuracy and time.
    She should weigh herself regularly on the same scale preferably in the mornings after using the bathroom before eating or drinking anything.
    She should take body measurements to see if measurements are changing. Fit of clothes is another measure of progress.
    She should use a food scale and log as accurately as she can if she has not been losing. She may be consuming a lot more than she thinks.
    She should realize that she may retain water due to things like high sodium meals, exercise routine, period, ovulation and this will show up on the scale.
    She should eat only a portion of exercise calories... maybe half to account for overestimations of burns.
  • cerise_noir
    cerise_noir Posts: 5,468 Member
    edited October 2016
    Agreed with all of the above. 500 calories is far too high for 6 miles of walking. Cut that in half. A 500 cal deficit is too steep, go for 250 cal deficit (and start lifting, definitely) plus weighing all foods that aren't liquids on a digital food scale. She also needs to download this app and log and weigh her own food. And, she needs to actually weigh herself.

    Chocolate cake is absolutely fine as long as she weighs her portions and logs correctly using the nutritional info on the packaging. No cups/spoons unless it's for liquids.

    As your gf is at a healthy weight, perhaps eating at maintenance and starting a progressive heavy lifting program is better for her instead of eating at deficit.