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Over 50 years old, how to beat the plateau? Any ideas?

I'm 51 years old. I've lost 40 pounds since turning 50, then gained 8 back and have plateaued for 8 months. I'd really like to lose another 20 pounds, but between tracking every calorie & excercising regularly (HIIT and weights) I'm not sure what more I can do to kick it up a notch. Any ideas are welcome. I have my calories set to 1250/day and my macros are set to 40/30/30 (carb/fat/protein).
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Replies

  • hollythecook
    hollythecook Posts: 7 Member
    How tall are you?

    How much weight do you need to lose to be in your healthy BMI range?

    https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

    I'm 5'4" and 142.5 as of today, so I am in a healthy BMI range. I'm just used to being in the 120-125 weight range and would like to get back there if I can.
  • hollythecook
    hollythecook Posts: 7 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Whatever it is, I don't think age has much of anything to do with it. (Said from the perspective of someone whose weight loss started at age 59.)

    If you're perimenopausal or recently entered menopause, you could have some temporary water weight weirdness, but that shouldn't be a factor long term. If you're losing fat, even slowly, the fat loss should eventually outpace any water weight and show up on the scale.

    Answers to the questions above might be helpful, also:

    Did you start the HIIT and weights at approximately your current intensity/volume 8 months ago, too, along with calorie restriction?

    Do you feel at all fatigued, dispirited, cold? How is your workout performance - able to add volume to your strength training at a satisfactory level, keeping up the intensity during the HIIT without increased struggle, etc.?

    Are you eating back exercise calories, and if so, how do you estimate them?

    Have you literally seen no change (other than random daily fluctuations) in weight in 8 months, or is it more like frustratingly super-slow loss?

    I went through a premature menopause at age 21 so have been on replacement hormones for 30 years, which makes weight loss and maintenance a challenge, but I was able to do it until I hit about 49.

    I started the HIIT and weight training in February 2019, when I started this weight loss journey, so it is what helped me shed the 40 pounds initially. My teacher "mixes it up" a bit, but I feel like I'm in a slump. I have been very fatigued, and I have now moved down from 3 days per week to 2 days per week to see if maybe I'm not recovering well enough between workouts. Sometimes we go for close to 2 hours on weight lifting days, and I feel like that is way too much. On HIIT days, she also likes to do "active rest" in between 3 minute rounds (like pushups, situps, squats, what-have-you), but I have heard that a "tabata" style with true rest for like 15-30 seconds is better than active rest, and I'd actually like to suggest to her that we try that.

    I usually have a protein shake after my work out. I do tend to eat back some of my calories on work out days.
  • hollythecook
    hollythecook Posts: 7 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Whatever it is, I don't think age has much of anything to do with it. (Said from the perspective of someone whose weight loss started at age 59.)

    [snip]

    Do you feel at all fatigued, dispirited, cold? How is your workout performance - able to add volume to your strength training at a satisfactory level, keeping up the intensity during the HIIT without increased struggle, etc.?

    Are you eating back exercise calories, and if so, how do you estimate them?

    Have you literally seen no change (other than random daily fluctuations) in weight in 8 months, or is it more like frustratingly super-slow loss?

    I feel like some work out days are good and some are bad. There are days I feel really old and my body won't get down on the ground and back up very quickly. We don't continue to add weights. We use 8 pound hand weights and a 10 pound kettle bell.

    I have seen no change in 8 months other than weight gain of the 8 pounds.
  • hollythecook
    hollythecook Posts: 7 Member
    My solution is probably not for everyone of course but you did say “any ideas are welcome” :) Back when I was losing weight and more recently to lose 6 pounds that I accumulated after lockdown, what ALWAYS worked to get me out of a plateau was an 8 mile hike. Told ya it wasn’t for everyone! :D but every time the scale wasn’t budging after a few weeks I’d go for an 8 mile hike and a few days later after the retained water weight went down I’d begin to lose weight right on schedule again. I have also ALWAYS eaten back ALL my calories earned through exercise (I use the iRunner app to calculate exercise calories earned on the hike) I’m 45 years old, I’ve lost a total of 43 pounds and maintained that loss within a reasonable range for 6+ years. Not sure if this will help but I wish you luck on your health journey! :)

    I have done 2 hikes in the last 2 years that were between 10-12 miles and I injured myself both times. First one I injured my knees because it was just too far for me to hike, and the second one I lost 2 toenails (ouch!) because apparently you really need to clip them down if you're going to be hiking a long way or they will rub against the tip of your shoe inside and get lose. I feel like I'm falling apart! Age sucks. But I will try less miles and see. I just feel like I need a reboot of some kind, whether with food or with a different work out.
  • hollythecook
    hollythecook Posts: 7 Member
    At 1,250 a day and regular exercise, you should have seen some weight loss in the past eight months. If you open your diary, we may be able to provide some more specific help.

    Some basic troubleshooting: Are you using a food scale for solid food? Are you creating your own recipes and avoiding generic database entries? Are you having any "cheat" days or meals that you aren't logging? Are there any condiments or liquids you may not be logging?

    I try to log everything. I do create my own recipes. I try to capture all my condiments. I make my own mayonnaise for example. I have a scale but I usually go by cups. Like today, I had some brown rice so I input 3/4 cup, etc. Maybe I should start weighing in grams? Maybe that would be more accurate.
  • hollythecook
    hollythecook Posts: 7 Member
    Yes, weighing in grams will be the most precise. At first, it may feel tedious, but after a short while, it will become routine and commonplace.

    I weigh for cooking & baking. I should weigh for eating too! Thanks!
  • Diatonic12
    Diatonic12 Posts: 32,344 Member
    Plateaus happen and it doesn't matter what age you are. I hike because there's a mountain outside my door. You've lost your toenails and hurt your knees. Go to the swimming pool and lap it. If you don't know how to swim, you can still do it. There will be boards and noodles, swimming foam barbells. There is something about the water that's absolutely magic. <3 What it does for your skin, especially while you're losing weight. I've lost 100 lbs and the water, resistance....all of it will tighten you UP like a drum.

    If you don't know how to swim, put those foam barbells under your arms and hang on to the boogie foam board. Go forwards on your belly and come back on your back. Then exercise your arms with the barbells with water almost up to your neck. Take a water exercise glass. It will shape you and mold you. Swimming and hiking with a backpack. It worked for me.

    All movement counts. You have to find exercise you actually enjoy and can do for the rest of your life. Do everything on your own terms. Movement. Momentum. Me, signing up for another gym membership is like throwing money down one more rathole. I know myself.

    Getting off the couch and moving at some speed above zero with walking, hiking...swimming are things I enjoy. I ride horses but in the beginning, I wanted to move under my own steam. I kinda felt sorry for the horse. :#
    You can bust through that plateau. Don't let anything grind you down.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 22,395 Member
    Yes, weighing in grams will be the most precise. At first, it may feel tedious, but after a short while, it will become routine and commonplace.

    I weigh for cooking & baking. I should weigh for eating too! Thanks!

    There are some simplifying tips for using a food scale for calorie counting. It really should be easier and quicker (and make fewer dirty dishes!) vs. using cups/spoons, as well as being more accurate. There's some discussion of tips in this thread (ignore the joke-y clickbait title, it really is about using a scale efficiently):

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10498882/weighing-food-takes-too-long-and-is-obsessive
  • RunsWithBees
    RunsWithBees Posts: 1,507 Member
    My solution is probably not for everyone of course but you did say “any ideas are welcome” :) Back when I was losing weight and more recently to lose 6 pounds that I accumulated after lockdown, what ALWAYS worked to get me out of a plateau was an 8 mile hike. Told ya it wasn’t for everyone! :D but every time the scale wasn’t budging after a few weeks I’d go for an 8 mile hike and a few days later after the retained water weight went down I’d begin to lose weight right on schedule again. I have also ALWAYS eaten back ALL my calories earned through exercise (I use the iRunner app to calculate exercise calories earned on the hike) I’m 45 years old, I’ve lost a total of 43 pounds and maintained that loss within a reasonable range for 6+ years. Not sure if this will help but I wish you luck on your health journey! :)

    I have done 2 hikes in the last 2 years that were between 10-12 miles and I injured myself both times. First one I injured my knees because it was just too far for me to hike, and the second one I lost 2 toenails (ouch!) because apparently you really need to clip them down if you're going to be hiking a long way or they will rub against the tip of your shoe inside and get lose. I feel like I'm falling apart! Age sucks. But I will try less miles and see. I just feel like I need a reboot of some kind, whether with food or with a different work out.

    Ouch, ouch and ouch! :s I’ve not had any major injuries like that and I actually hike barefoot :# Maybe hiking isn’t your thing but there are other less impact exercises that you can do. I’m kind of a believer that I need to push myself just a little past my comfort zone to challenge myself but not past the point of pain or outright injury. Just keep trying things until you find something that suits you better. As stated in another post above, any and all physical activity counts. Also, do use a food scale to weigh out all your food. The small inconsistencies in calculations from simply eyeballing portions can add up fast :)
  • musicfan68
    musicfan68 Posts: 901 Member
    If you aren't weighing your foods, uou are eating more calories than you think. That is most likely why you haven't lost in 8 months.
  • glassyo
    glassyo Posts: 5,918 Member
    Yes, weighing in grams will be the most precise. At first, it may feel tedious, but after a short while, it will become routine and commonplace.

    I weigh for cooking & baking. I should weigh for eating too! Thanks!

    Yes! What you bake can weigh 10 lbs but it only counts towards your caloric goal if you ingest it! :)

    A couple of other reasons for the plateau....did you recalculate your calorie goal when you lost the weight?

    And this may be extreme since you said you eat some exercise calories back but are they maybe an over estimation?

    When I hit a year long plateau, it turned out my fitbit was grossly over estimating my exercise calories. Once I was shown an online calculator to...er...calculate them, I started losing again.
  • zebasschick
    zebasschick Posts: 415 Member
    2 hours of resistance training that never increases in resistance? that's very odd. i'd ask why - well, i wouldn't go for that in the first place, but if i had, i'd want to know the rationale behind such an odd plan.

    maybe it's time to stop working out at the gym since it doesn't sound like it's doing anything good for you and start taking brisk walks instead. i've always done best with walking of any cardio, and it tends to build and strengthen my legs, as well.

    how much protein do you eat overall per day? a protein shake can be useful - how much protein is in that shake? - but having enough protein throughout the day can "feed" your muscles, and not having enough can leave you fatigued and weak. and if you're doing cardio and aren't doing keto, some carbs will fuel your workouts.

  • nanastaci2020
    nanastaci2020 Posts: 1,016 Member
    Yes to the food scale!

    Assuming you have ruled out medical reasons (thyroid, PCOS) that could hinder weight loss, the short answer is you are eating more than you think. A gain of 8 pounds in 8 months is about 117 calories per day over maintenance. At age 50, height 5'4" and weight 134 (approximate weight 8 months ago) your bmr would be about 1200 so you'd burn roughly 1500 daily before exercise, assuming your normal life is fairly sedentary.

    The difference between eating 1250 daily on average and 1617 daily on average: could pretty easily come about from estimating portions. The rice in the cup is a great example. I did some cooking with jasmine rice this past weekend, so I know that it has 160 calories in 45 grams (dry weight) which the label says is 1/4 cup. If I made 3x that much and erred by 5-10% (used more in weight than I intended) that 480 calories could be 500-530. A 20-50 calorie here and there: adds up quickly when your margin of error is small.

    So use a food scale. I also suggest having a small notebook or dry erase board in the kitchen to jot down #s. I often prelog and then go back later and firm up quantities from estimated to actual. And if your regular life is 'sedentary' then look for ways to increase normal daily activity.

    Other than that, for when you do exercise: be cautious about how much of the calories you eat back. It is a hard line to find the right balance. You don't want to overestimate your burn, but you also don't want to eat back more than you actually 'earned'.

    I try to log everything. I do create my own recipes. I try to capture all my condiments. I make my own mayonnaise for example. I have a scale but I usually go by cups. Like today, I had some brown rice so I input 3/4 cup, etc. Maybe I should start weighing in grams? Maybe that would be more accurate.