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Weight Loss Plateau? Help!

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  • briscogunbriscogun Member Posts: 1,049 Member Member Posts: 1,049 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 have the Apple Watch as well and find that my strength training workout calorie burn figures are WAY over stated. The watch uses heartrate to calculate burn and when I'm working out I may only be lifting/exerting myself for 30 seconds but my heart is pounding for much longer. My watch doesn't know I stopped lifting because my heart is still going going going. I'm sure that it is over-crediting me with calories burned by at least double.

    Also, I think someone else said it but if your weight has been the same for 2 months then you have found your maintenance calories. So maybe look at your logging, or you are eating back too much exercise calories that you aren't truly burning?
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,866 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,866 Member
    FWIW, I think the MFP estimate for strength training (under "cardiovascular") is not terrible, especially compared to some of the other possible estimating methods. If it's a regular reps/sets sort of thing with a couple of minutes between sets, use the "strength training" one (for the whole time period, no need to exclude the normal rest times). If it's a continuous flow of lower-weight but higher-rep work, perhaps with cardio intervals between strength exercises, use "circuit training".

    (These are based on reseach, and use a METS-based estimating method, so they didn't pull them out of thin air. The biggest flaw is that it's gross calories (includes calories you would've burned just doing normal existance) rather than net calories (just the delta from the exercise), but that's numerically trivial in the big picture, for common strength exercise durations.)

    Useful background: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/Azdak/view?id=hrms-cannot-count-calories-during-strength-training-17698
  • sydneykr2143sydneykr2143 Member Posts: 14 Member Member Posts: 14 Member
    briscogun 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 have the Apple Watch as well and find that my strength training workout calorie burn figures are WAY over stated. The watch uses heartrate to calculate burn and when I'm working out I may only be lifting/exerting myself for 30 seconds but my heart is pounding for much longer. My watch doesn't know I stopped lifting because my heart is still going going going. I'm sure that it is over-crediting me with calories burned by at least double.

    Also, I think someone else said it but if your weight has been the same for 2 months then you have found your maintenance calories. So maybe look at your logging, or you are eating back too much exercise calories that you aren't truly burning?

    Thank you for the input! After reading I’m wondering if my watch is overestimating the calories I burn or if I need to change things up calorie-wise
  • sydneykr2143sydneykr2143 Member Posts: 14 Member Member Posts: 14 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    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?

    My goal weight is 130 so I’m getting pretty dang close
  • globalc00globalc00 Member Posts: 103 Member Member Posts: 103 Member

    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?

    Calculating calorie intake is a lot easier than exercise. Instead of trying to figure out how many calories your burning and accuracy of apple watch, you can stop just stop eating back 200 exercise calories assuming it doesn't leave you in a depleted state. Keep everything else the same and in 1 month you should lose around 2 lbs assuming you are not eating back 200 exercise exercise calories every day.




  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,866 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,866 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    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?

    That's a really good point.

    OP, you have a good plan with weighing at the same relative point in each menstrual cycle, generally speaking, when it comes to computing average weekly weight loss.

    However, if daily weighing is not stressful for you, it might help you to see what causes your own personal random-ish fluctuations in scale. For example, if you'd been weighing daily as you started your strength routine, and as you added more volume to it, you might have seen some scale jumps soon after that would suggest water weight is part of the current picture (or have seen no unusual effects, suggesting that it wasn't, so tending to confirm an 'eating at maintenance' interpretation).

  • sydneykr2143sydneykr2143 Member Posts: 14 Member Member Posts: 14 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    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?

    That's a really good point.

    OP, you have a good plan with weighing at the same relative point in each menstrual cycle, generally speaking, when it comes to computing average weekly weight loss.

    However, if daily weighing is not stressful for you, it might help you to see what causes your own personal random-ish fluctuations in scale. For example, if you'd been weighing daily as you started your strength routine, and as you added more volume to it, you might have seen some scale jumps soon after that would suggest water weight is part of the current picture (or have seen no unusual effects, suggesting that it wasn't, so tending to confirm an 'eating at maintenance' interpretation).

    I weighed myself daily at one point but mentally it did not work for me so I decided against weighing myself daily.
  • sydneykr2143sydneykr2143 Member Posts: 14 Member Member Posts: 14 Member
    kimny72 wrote: »
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    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?

    OP, I wanted to highlight this. At 5'5 143, you are barely overweight. You will realistically avg around a half lb loss per week, and that small loss can easily hide behind normal water weight swings on the scale for weeks at a time. And as others have suggested, you're eating a bit more than many women your size can eat and stay in a decent deficit.

    I'd suggest cutting a couple of hundred calories off your goal and see if after another 4 weeks you don't see a change. Focus on hitting your protein, fat, and fiber goals and play around with meal timing if you struggle with hunger.

    I'm 5'5 and started at 140ish lbs, and it took me over a year to lose 15 lbs. While I felt heavy at that weight, i just was not heavy enough to sustain the type of deficit needed for consistent weight loss. I was eating around 1600 cals, but I'm prob not as active as you are :smile: I'm not saying that to discourage you, just as an example that you might be eating a bit much and to let you know that as close as you are to goal, patience is necessary and baby steps should be celebrated. Hang in there!

    That makes sense. I think you’re right! Thanks for the advice!!
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member Posts: 25,882 Member Member Posts: 25,882 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!

    Ah, thanks for clarifying. It's almost certainly a case of over-estimating your calories burnt through exercise. Since your overall calorie goal seems already to be on the highish side, it looks like that will be enough to cancel out your deficit.
  • Jacq_quiJacq_qui Member Posts: 343 Member Member Posts: 343 Member

    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.

    This makes sense to me. I hit a plateau and my weight didn't budge for a couple of months. I felt like I was at maintenance. I unlinked my fitbit from MFP and within two weeks the scales started to move. Whilst I can't be 100% certain it was that, I know how different the estimates are from MFP and fitbit turn out! (Suspect the true figure lies in the middle but as long as the scales move, I'm not too worried). Could be worth trying if you've tried everything else you can think of anyway.

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 21,866 Member Member, Premium Posts: 21,866 Member
    msalicia07 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I think there's a crazy myth somewhat common among women of a non-current generation (i.e., women my age) that there's something extra feminine and virtuous about eating as little as possible, in pursuit of slimness. I do think it's possible to train your body to get by with less fuel, but I think that "getting by" is not ideal.

    OTOH, I also think that some younger women don't realize how few calories some older, smaller, less active women truly require . . . especially but not exclusively if they have a history of extreme yo-yo dieting, coupled with the fairly common low-protein diet that also tended to be followed by some types of women in decades past. It's a fact that female athleticism is much more common in recent years, at least in the US: Many of my age peers went to K-12 schools where there were literally no organized competitive sports for young women. Gym classes mostly existed, but often fostered low aspirations. Those things have later implications.)

    Any notion that any particular level of calorie need is . . . somehow more virtuous? . . . is misplaced, IMO; and that applies whether we're talking about lower needs or higher needs. (Please notice that I wrote "needs". Over-restricting, in context of an individual's actual needs, current weight, and goals, is generally a bad plan. What constitutes "over restriction" is very individual.)

    I do think it's possible that OP is eating above maintenance, but the notion that extremes of abstemiousness are necessary or desirable . . . is weird, IMO. I think a person is most likely to thrive - be in the most robust health - eating the maximum number of calories possible, while still achieving sensible weight management goals.

    This couldn’t be more true. Older women AND men see it as some attractive characteristic if women “eat like a bird”, as I’ve heard my father say. I’ve also heard older men comment more about the type of food women eat, along with portion size, than men my age or younger. I personally have never had my eating habits so openly discussed, at a table in front of everyone, more than when I sit with older people. No wonder why some people are closet eaters, so as not to be shamed for eating at all. Especially since the type of food and the amount in that sitting does not equate to eating more than you need to reach your goals, whatever that might be.

    Sure, some men believe it, too.

    Just an observation: You write this as if the person you were responding to (me), who was actually arguing *against* ultra-low calories and for calorie maximization . . . was not an actual older woman (or close enough, at age 65).

    Believing myths is rarely something done by a whole demographic groups. Believing myths is done by individuals. Sure, some myths are more commonly believed in some demographic groups.

    Possibly all the older people you know believe this particular myth. Trust me, that belief is not universal among older people.

    P.S. If it were universal, how to reconcile it with the concurrent mythology about how granny tries to feed younger people all the things, all the time? Heck, even many decades back, my Aunt Margaret (herself obese) would bring out all the snacks and drinks and try to get me to eat aallllll of them, when I was a young woman. She also made these "highballs" in a tall glass, some kind of spirits with Coke or whatever, that had about 3 fingers of liquor, a few ice cubes, and a splash of Coke to fill, and would try to get me to drink multiples. Further, she consistently refused to let her doctor weigh her, because "it was none of his business". She was a treat! But I digress. Older people do that. 😉😆
  • natasor1natasor1 Member Posts: 248 Member Member Posts: 248 Member
    Specialists figured out that additional calories come from people own fat, bc of that people loseing weight
  • PsychgrrlPsychgrrl Member Posts: 3,151 Member Member Posts: 3,151 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!

    Those exercise burn estimates seem really high, though. Burning 10 calories a minute or more for an entire workout is really rare. And even more unlikely for weight training than cardio.

    Fitness trackers are a great help, but they are still just estimates.

    Another suggestion is to weigh more frequently. Hormones, food waste, and water retention all play games with us and the scale. It is possible the few days you’ve weighed in are during a more upward swing (bigger meal, hormones, change in workout, haven’t pooped). If you use a weight trending program like Happy Scale (iPhone) or Libra (Android) and get some daily (ish) data points in there, it can predict your future weight loss trend pretty reliably.
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