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Weight Loss Plateau? Help!

sydneykr2143
sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
Hi all,

I’m not quite sure what’s going on. I’ve been stuck around the 143 lb range since early October and it hasn’t really budged. Here’s a little example:
Friday, Oct. 2nd: 143lbs
Monday, Nov. 2nd: 142.6 lbs
Monday, Nov. 30th: 143 lbs

I weigh myself on day 7 of my cycle, first thing in the morning. I’m female, 26 y/o and 5’5. My calorie goal is technically 1,860 but is higher due to eating back exercise calories - so I would say I eat an extra 200 or so at least.

I currently am weight training Mon, Wed, and Fri, cardio on Tues and Thurs and Sat. Sunday’s are typically active rest days so I’ll do stretching, yoga or a light walk.

This past week I started school in person (T-TR & Sat) and have been up on my feet more than I did before so my daily activity level will be going up.

Am I eating too much? Too little? Any changes to my exercise routine? Any advice or tips would be very much appreciated!
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Replies

  • hesham_x21
    hesham_x21 Posts: 3 Member
    Hello, maybe you're macros aren't right? what's usually your Carb/Protein/Fat ratios ?
  • sydneykr2143
    sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
    hesham_x21 wrote: »
    Hello, maybe you're macros aren't right? what's usually your Carb/Protein/Fat ratios ?

    Thanks for responding! My macros are carbs 233 (50%), protein 93 grams (20%), and fat 62 grams (30%). That’s what MFP automatically gave me!
  • sydneykr2143
    sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
    jpforbesii wrote: »
    Are you weighing your food on a scale? That is the biggest contributor to plateaus that I have seen.
    Yes I am!
  • sydneykr2143
    sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
    Also wanted to note.. I have felt hungrier/less satisfied the last few weeks
  • Leonie_M234
    Leonie_M234 Posts: 56 Member
    It's really frustrating isnt it! although I've had success with weight loss, the last stone is proving to be tough. I have started weightlifting more intensly in the last month, and just keep going up and down even though I am in a defecit.
    Although it's true that the most common culprits are inaccurate logging or overestimation of exersise calories. I also think that water retention from weight lifting occurs. I remember last year when I had a plateau for over a month and then....literally overnight lost 4lbs! if you are sure you are doing everything right, stay with it and I am sure it will come off : )
    Be great to hear from other members who had plateaus and then suddenly it came off!
  • sydneykr2143
    sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
    It's really frustrating isnt it! although I've had success with weight loss, the last stone is proving to be tough. I have started weightlifting more intensly in the last month, and just keep going up and down even though I am in a defecit.
    Although it's true that the most common culprits are inaccurate logging or overestimation of exersise calories. I also think that water retention from weight lifting occurs. I remember last year when I had a plateau for over a month and then....literally overnight lost 4lbs! if you are sure you are doing everything right, stay with it and I am sure it will come off : )
    Be great to hear from other members who had plateaus and then suddenly it came off!
    It’s rough!! I forgot to note that I shifted to primarily weight lifting a little over a month ago and have been lifting heavier over the last week.. could that be a culprit?
  • Dogmom1978
    Dogmom1978 Posts: 1,583 Member
    If you weigh your food on a food scale (NOT measuring cups/spoons) AND you are picking accurate database entries, my next guess would be that you are overestimating your calorie burn through exercise.

    How long are your strength training sessions? Intensity level? How many calories do you put that you burn?

    How long and intense are your cardio sessions? What cardio are you doing? How many calories are you saying you burned?
  • Leonie_M234
    Leonie_M234 Posts: 56 Member
    One more thing I put your details into a TDEE calculator and it seems like perhaps your cals are a bit high.
    https://tdeecalculator.net
    I got your maintenance at about 2175, if you take 500 off that for losing 1 pound that gives you 1675. Obviously I know MFP just gives you the base cals and then you add on the exersise, but the two should roughly balance out I find
  • sydneykr2143
    sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    If you weigh your food on a food scale (NOT measuring cups/spoons) AND you are picking accurate database entries, my next guess would be that you are overestimating your calorie burn through exercise.

    How long are your strength training sessions? Intensity level? How many calories do you put that you burn?

    How long and intense are your cardio sessions? What cardio are you doing? How many calories are you saying you burned?

    My strength sessions is usually towards 60-75 mins. I track how many calories I burned through the Apple Watch so I figured it’s pretty accurate - same thing with all workouts

    My cardio sessions are typically 15-30 mins. I typically do treadmill workout an incline - 30 mins at 2.5-3 speed, and like 10-12 incline. I’ve started doing like a 14 incline recently. Typically burn around 250-280 calories. On Saturday’s I do a cardio dance workout typically and that’s around 12-15 mins and I usually burn around 80-100 or so calories.
  • sydneykr2143
    sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
    With the weight training it’s about the same, maybe a bit more depending on what I’m doing!
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    If you weigh your food on a food scale (NOT measuring cups/spoons) AND you are picking accurate database entries, my next guess would be that you are overestimating your calorie burn through exercise.

    How long are your strength training sessions? Intensity level? How many calories do you put that you burn?

    How long and intense are your cardio sessions? What cardio are you doing? How many calories are you saying you burned?

    My strength sessions is usually towards 60-75 mins. I track how many calories I burned through the Apple Watch so I figured it’s pretty accurate - same thing with all workouts

    My cardio sessions are typically 15-30 mins. I typically do treadmill workout an incline - 30 mins at 2.5-3 speed, and like 10-12 incline. I’ve started doing like a 14 incline recently. Typically burn around 250-280 calories. On Saturday’s I do a cardio dance workout typically and that’s around 12-15 mins and I usually burn around 80-100 or so calories.

    I think what the Apple Watch is tracking is your total calorie burn (including the calories you'd be burning just by sitting on the couch) during the time period in question, so if you're eating all of those back, you will be double-dipping (as MFP gives you the calories you'd be burning anyway upfront as part of your goal). My hope is that someone who is more experienced with the Apple Watch will be able to give you specific confirmation, but it might just be that your estimates for calories burnt through exercise are too high and that you're cancelling out your deficit. If you feel that your logging is solid and your estimate of calories in is accurate, then the next logical step is to take a closer look at your estimates for calories out on the working assumption that you aren't burning as much as you think you are.
  • sydneykr2143
    sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    If you weigh your food on a food scale (NOT measuring cups/spoons) AND you are picking accurate database entries, my next guess would be that you are overestimating your calorie burn through exercise.

    How long are your strength training sessions? Intensity level? How many calories do you put that you burn?

    How long and intense are your cardio sessions? What cardio are you doing? How many calories are you saying you burned?

    My strength sessions is usually towards 60-75 mins. I track how many calories I burned through the Apple Watch so I figured it’s pretty accurate - same thing with all workouts

    My cardio sessions are typically 15-30 mins. I typically do treadmill workout an incline - 30 mins at 2.5-3 speed, and like 10-12 incline. I’ve started doing like a 14 incline recently. Typically burn around 250-280 calories. On Saturday’s I do a cardio dance workout typically and that’s around 12-15 mins and I usually burn around 80-100 or so calories.

    I think what the Apple Watch is tracking is your total calorie burn (including the calories you'd be burning just by sitting on the couch) during the time period in question, so if you're eating all of those back, you will be double-dipping (as MFP gives you the calories you'd be burning anyway upfront as part of your goal). My hope is that someone who is more experienced with the Apple Watch will be able to give you specific confirmation, but it might just be that your estimates for calories burnt through exercise are too high and that you're cancelling out your deficit. If you feel that your logging is solid and your estimate of calories in is accurate, then the next logical step is to take a closer look at your estimates for calories out on the working assumption that you aren't burning as much as you think you are.

    What I do is for each exercise I pull up the specific workout I’m doing and track it that way - so separately from the calories I burned already!
  • Dogmom1978
    Dogmom1978 Posts: 1,583 Member
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    If you weigh your food on a food scale (NOT measuring cups/spoons) AND you are picking accurate database entries, my next guess would be that you are overestimating your calorie burn through exercise.

    How long are your strength training sessions? Intensity level? How many calories do you put that you burn?

    How long and intense are your cardio sessions? What cardio are you doing? How many calories are you saying you burned?

    My strength sessions is usually towards 60-75 mins. I track how many calories I burned through the Apple Watch so I figured it’s pretty accurate - same thing with all workouts

    My cardio sessions are typically 15-30 mins. I typically do treadmill workout an incline - 30 mins at 2.5-3 speed, and like 10-12 incline. I’ve started doing like a 14 incline recently. Typically burn around 250-280 calories. On Saturday’s I do a cardio dance workout typically and that’s around 12-15 mins and I usually burn around 80-100 or so calories.

    I think what the Apple Watch is tracking is your total calorie burn (including the calories you'd be burning just by sitting on the couch) during the time period in question, so if you're eating all of those back, you will be double-dipping (as MFP gives you the calories you'd be burning anyway upfront as part of your goal). My hope is that someone who is more experienced with the Apple Watch will be able to give you specific confirmation, but it might just be that your estimates for calories burnt through exercise are too high and that you're cancelling out your deficit. If you feel that your logging is solid and your estimate of calories in is accurate, then the next logical step is to take a closer look at your estimates for calories out on the working assumption that you aren't burning as much as you think you are.

    What I do is for each exercise I pull up the specific workout I’m doing and track it that way - so separately from the calories I burned already!

    MFP has inflated calorie counts for exercise imo. Different things work for different people, but I deduct 20% off assuming error and log it that way so that I don’t overestimate my calories burned. I do not use an Apple Watch though, but I suspect that was said above is correct and that it’s taking into account the calories you would have burned just living in addition to exercise calories.
  • sydneykr2143
    sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    If you weigh your food on a food scale (NOT measuring cups/spoons) AND you are picking accurate database entries, my next guess would be that you are overestimating your calorie burn through exercise.

    How long are your strength training sessions? Intensity level? How many calories do you put that you burn?

    How long and intense are your cardio sessions? What cardio are you doing? How many calories are you saying you burned?

    My strength sessions is usually towards 60-75 mins. I track how many calories I burned through the Apple Watch so I figured it’s pretty accurate - same thing with all workouts

    My cardio sessions are typically 15-30 mins. I typically do treadmill workout an incline - 30 mins at 2.5-3 speed, and like 10-12 incline. I’ve started doing like a 14 incline recently. Typically burn around 250-280 calories. On Saturday’s I do a cardio dance workout typically and that’s around 12-15 mins and I usually burn around 80-100 or so calories.

    I think what the Apple Watch is tracking is your total calorie burn (including the calories you'd be burning just by sitting on the couch) during the time period in question, so if you're eating all of those back, you will be double-dipping (as MFP gives you the calories you'd be burning anyway upfront as part of your goal). My hope is that someone who is more experienced with the Apple Watch will be able to give you specific confirmation, but it might just be that your estimates for calories burnt through exercise are too high and that you're cancelling out your deficit. If you feel that your logging is solid and your estimate of calories in is accurate, then the next logical step is to take a closer look at your estimates for calories out on the working assumption that you aren't burning as much as you think you are.

    What I do is for each exercise I pull up the specific workout I’m doing and track it that way - so separately from the calories I burned already!

    MFP has inflated calorie counts for exercise imo. Different things work for different people, but I deduct 20% off assuming error and log it that way so that I don’t overestimate my calories burned. I do not use an Apple Watch though, but I suspect that was said above is correct and that it’s taking into account the calories you would have burned just living in addition to exercise calories.

    Thank you, that’s helpful!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 22,367 Member
    Where did you get that calorie goal: MFP? TDEE calculator? Personal trainer? Dietitian? Experience?

    If from MFP or a TDEE calculator, what did you select as your activity level, and why? How fast are you expecting to lose weight? Were you losing weight at this calorie level before October (how fast)? Did your daily life activity level or exercise change significantly around then?

    Reason for all these questions: There are various reasons body weight could stabilize, but the longer the time period, the more likely that the reason (in a healthy person) is that one is eating maintenance calories. I'm also 5'5", but lighter (125) and lots older (65), so I have some idea what the numbers might be.

    You seem to be eating around 2100 (1860 + 200). Looking it up, using the Sailrabbit TDEE calculator**, a woman your size/age could expect to burn 2100 calories (including exercise) somewhere around "Moderately Active, Physical Work, Exercise, or Sports 4 to 5 Days a Week, Construction Laborer" or a bit less active than that. Humans vary, though, around the population mean - i.e., individuals can vary up or down from the mean values the "calculators" spit out, though most of us are close.

    You didn't comment on the type/length of your cardio, and strength training doesn't tend to be huge calorie burner, so it may also be relevant how you're estimating exercise calories, too.

    Bottom line: You could be eating at maintenance calories, especially if you've been going at weight loss for quite a long time (months) or losing fast earlier on (because of adaptive thermogenesis, more or less). *IF* you're eating at maintenance calories, the general answer would be to eat a little less, or move a little more. *IF*.

    (**https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/)

    Your macros are reasonable IMO, but that's not a likely reason for plateau in any case. Fat loss is all about calorie intake vs. calorie expenditure (BMR + daily life + exercise), especially short term. Water weight and digestive contents are important variables in scale weight, and more dynamically/dramatically variable than body fat level (let alone muscle). But if it's been two months at the same weight, water retention and digestive contents are less likely reasons (though not impossible).
  • globalc00
    globalc00 Posts: 103 Member
    From your post. I would say you have found your maintenance exercise/calorie ratio. All you need to do is increase exercise and keep eating the same. Or eat less and keep exercise the same. Or a mixture of both. Depending how much you want to lose, just adjust your weekly exercise or intake by 3500 calories per pound.
  • sydneykr2143
    sydneykr2143 Posts: 14 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Where did you get that calorie goal: MFP? TDEE calculator? Personal trainer? Dietitian? Experience?

    If from MFP or a TDEE calculator, what did you select as your activity level, and why? How fast are you expecting to lose weight? Were you losing weight at this calorie level before October (how fast)? Did your daily life activity level or exercise change significantly around then?

    Reason for all these questions: There are various reasons body weight could stabilize, but the longer the time period, the more likely that the reason (in a healthy person) is that one is eating maintenance calories. I'm also 5'5", but lighter (125) and lots older (65), so I have some idea what the numbers might be.

    You seem to be eating around 2100 (1860 + 200). Looking it up, using the Sailrabbit TDEE calculator**, a woman your size/age could expect to burn 2100 calories (including exercise) somewhere around "Moderately Active, Physical Work, Exercise, or Sports 4 to 5 Days a Week, Construction Laborer" or a bit less active than that. Humans vary, though, around the population mean - i.e., individuals can vary up or down from the mean values the "calculators" spit out, though most of us are close.

    You didn't comment on the type/length of your cardio, and strength training doesn't tend to be huge calorie burner, so it may also be relevant how you're estimating exercise calories, too.

    Bottom line: You could be eating at maintenance calories, especially if you've been going at weight loss for quite a long time (months) or losing fast earlier on (because of adaptive thermogenesis, more or less). *IF* you're eating at maintenance calories, the general answer would be to eat a little less, or move a little more. *IF*.

    (**https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/)

    Your macros are reasonable IMO, but that's not a likely reason for plateau in any case. Fat loss is all about calorie intake vs. calorie expenditure (BMR + daily life + exercise), especially short term. Water weight and digestive contents are important variables in scale weight, and more dynamically/dramatically variable than body fat level (let alone muscle). But if it's been two months at the same weight, water retention and digestive contents are less likely reasons (though not impossible).

    Thank you for the advice!!

    I did end up commenting on cardio later in the comments - I do three times a week - 2 out of the 3 days I walked on the treadmill at an incline for 30 minutes (typically 2.5 - 3mph) and my incline is typically 10-12). The third day I typically just do a 12-15 min dance cardio workout.

    Between the two, how could I “do more”? For lifting, just lift heavier, more reps?
    What about cardio?
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 857 Member
    Wait, do you only weigh yourself once a month? Then how do you even know you’re in a plateau. Also seems like you’re just retaining water from lifting. Start weighing yourself every day to see the real trend. You might not even be in a plateau. Also, you don’t have much weight to lose so expect it to come off slower than before because it seems like you’re down to the last few pounds?
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 22,367 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Where did you get that calorie goal: MFP? TDEE calculator? Personal trainer? Dietitian? Experience?

    If from MFP or a TDEE calculator, what did you select as your activity level, and why? How fast are you expecting to lose weight? Were you losing weight at this calorie level before October (how fast)? Did your daily life activity level or exercise change significantly around then?

    Reason for all these questions: There are various reasons body weight could stabilize, but the longer the time period, the more likely that the reason (in a healthy person) is that one is eating maintenance calories. I'm also 5'5", but lighter (125) and lots older (65), so I have some idea what the numbers might be.

    You seem to be eating around 2100 (1860 + 200). Looking it up, using the Sailrabbit TDEE calculator**, a woman your size/age could expect to burn 2100 calories (including exercise) somewhere around "Moderately Active, Physical Work, Exercise, or Sports 4 to 5 Days a Week, Construction Laborer" or a bit less active than that. Humans vary, though, around the population mean - i.e., individuals can vary up or down from the mean values the "calculators" spit out, though most of us are close.

    You didn't comment on the type/length of your cardio, and strength training doesn't tend to be huge calorie burner, so it may also be relevant how you're estimating exercise calories, too.

    Bottom line: You could be eating at maintenance calories, especially if you've been going at weight loss for quite a long time (months) or losing fast earlier on (because of adaptive thermogenesis, more or less). *IF* you're eating at maintenance calories, the general answer would be to eat a little less, or move a little more. *IF*.

    (**https://www.sailrabbit.com/bmr/)

    Your macros are reasonable IMO, but that's not a likely reason for plateau in any case. Fat loss is all about calorie intake vs. calorie expenditure (BMR + daily life + exercise), especially short term. Water weight and digestive contents are important variables in scale weight, and more dynamically/dramatically variable than body fat level (let alone muscle). But if it's been two months at the same weight, water retention and digestive contents are less likely reasons (though not impossible).

    Thank you for the advice!!

    I did end up commenting on cardio later in the comments - I do three times a week - 2 out of the 3 days I walked on the treadmill at an incline for 30 minutes (typically 2.5 - 3mph) and my incline is typically 10-12). The third day I typically just do a 12-15 min dance cardio workout.

    Between the two, how could I “do more”? For lifting, just lift heavier, more reps?
    What about cardio?

    Sorry, missed the later comment while writing!

    "Do more": Probably more viable on the cardio front. Increase duration, frequency or intensity - whichever you can better fit into your life, while keeping good overall life balance (enough time/energy for job, school, chores, social life, etc.) and avoiding persistent post-exercise fatigue.

    If that's not possible while keeping life balance & good energy, then reducing calorie intake a bit would be an alternative.

    If hungrier, consider experimenting with food choices or timing to get better satiation. (Strategies that work tend to be very individual.)

    Even re-reading the posts that happened while I was typing the previous reply, I'm still unclear on how you're estimating your exercise, and how that relates to how you got your base calorie goal.

    You say you're getting exercise calories from your Apple watch, but also say you're "pulling up the specific exercise" - do you mean pulling it up in your Apple watch, or in MFP? If you're getting your strength exercise calories from Apple, and the watch is using heart rate to estimate them (which I dunno, because I'm not an Apple user), then there's a very, very good chance that they're overestimated. Heart rate increases during strength exercise for reasons that have relatively little correlation with calorie burn.

    Also, where did your 1860 goal come from? Specifically, did you consider your exercise as part of your activity level setting, when you got that base 1860 estimate? If so, you could be double-counting exercise.
    It's really frustrating isnt it! although I've had success with weight loss, the last stone is proving to be tough. I have started weightlifting more intensly in the last month, and just keep going up and down even though I am in a defecit.
    Although it's true that the most common culprits are inaccurate logging or overestimation of exersise calories. I also think that water retention from weight lifting occurs. I remember last year when I had a plateau for over a month and then....literally overnight lost 4lbs! if you are sure you are doing everything right, stay with it and I am sure it will come off : )
    Be great to hear from other members who had plateaus and then suddenly it came off!
    It’s rough!! I forgot to note that I shifted to primarily weight lifting a little over a month ago and have been lifting heavier over the last week.. could that be a culprit?

    Yes, that could be relevant. Personally, I typically add about 2 pounds of water weight when I resume regular strength training, and hang onto it until I stop doing strength training again. Different people have different effects, both in how much water weight, and whether it drops off between workouts or hangs around longer term. Given this change in strength training, it may be worth sticking with your current routine for another month or so before making changes. (The water weight won't keep increasing and increasing, from this - eventually, if there's fat loss going on behind the scenes, it'd show up on the scale.)

    You still haven't - unless I missed that, too - said how active your daily life is (job, school, etc.). The exercise activity you've described + an average near-sedentary job + school that doesn't involve miles of walking daily . . . may not rise to the level of the number of calories you're currently eating and still allow for a deficit.