Exercise and Calorie Deficit

Hey everyone it's my first my post here and I am really struggling. I have been on a weight loss journey for over a year. I have lost a total of 27 lbs (not complaining) but now I am at a point where I am eating 1,560 calories per day AND working out 5 days week (3 days of resistance training 30 minutes) and 2 days of cardio (45 minutes). I use the MFP app and log all of my food and I weighed in at 197 lbs in March and have not lost a pound since then if anything my weight has slightly increased to 199 and holds steady. I don't know what else to try. I have tried the very low carb high protein diet and was barely taking in 1200 calories a day which helped with the initial weight loss, but I stalled with that, then decided to up my calories and start working out. (I have been doing this since Mid March with NO change). I have also increased my carbs (complex carbs, brown rice, peas, carrots, whole grain bread) and measuring serving sizes. I have an appointment to see a nutrionist in July. Oh,and I have also have Hypothyroidism and I do take mediciation. I know weight loss is possible because I've lost 27lbs, but I cant' understand how I can be in a deficit (according to MFP, and work out 5 days a week and still NOT lose weight)..

Definitely feeling frustrated, but not giving up.

Thoughts?

Replies

  • aranchmom
    aranchmom Posts: 183 Member
    edited May 17
    I am in the same shoes. Hypothyroidism which is well-controlled, (actually just lowered my meds as I was in the hypo range) and just not losing. I eat 80% very healthy, rarely go over calories and when I do it's by a couple hundred cals, not huge binges. My weight is creeping up and I am so frustrated.
    I was recently diagnosed with Hashimotos, I wonder if it has something to do with it? I'm at a loss...
  • Maxjay1
    Maxjay1 Posts: 2 Member
    if you just started working out remember that muscle weighs more than fat and also remember that the more muscle you build the more fat you'll burn. I had to be reminded of this by my exercise friends....numerous times, then I tried on a pair of pants that was tight and they were a little bigger. keep going.....the weight will drop.
  • musicfan68
    musicfan68 Posts: 985 Member
    Maxjay1 wrote: »
    if you just started working out remember that muscle weighs more than fat and also remember that the more muscle you build the more fat you'll burn. I had to be reminded of this by my exercise friends....numerous times, then I tried on a pair of pants that was tight and they were a little bigger. keep going.....the weight will drop.

    If she just started working out, she hasn't gained any appreciable muscle that would make her weigh more. She most likely is retaining water from new exercise to help repair muscles. As your body adapts to the exercise, you will lose this and see a drop in weight, provided you are in a calorie deficit.
  • curwhibbles
    curwhibbles Posts: 138 Member
    Just wait! Your results are lagging. It’ll happen, if you are working out and in deficit. Your body will fight it, but it will come. It’s in a surprised state right now….
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,812 Member
    Maxjay1 wrote: »
    if you just started working out remember that muscle weighs more than fat and also remember that the more muscle you build the more fat you'll burn. I had to be reminded of this by my exercise friends....numerous times, then I tried on a pair of pants that was tight and they were a little bigger. keep going.....the weight will drop.

    Also remember that for a man, a really good rate of muscle mass gain, under ideal conditions, would be around 2 pounds of new muscle mass per month. (For women, half that might be more realistic, i.e.. a pound a month.)

    Ideal conditions include a good progressive strength training program (weight lifting, or bodyweight strength), followed faithfully; overall good nutrition (especially but not exclusively adequate protein); relative youth; and a calorie surplus (i.e., gaining weight overall, not losing it). Under other conditions, muscle mass gain can still occur, especially for those new to strength training, but would be expected to be slower.

    Strength training specifically, and exercise generally is absolutely worth doing. Even keeping the muscle mass we have is useful. (Overweight/obese people are likely to have more muscle mass than thinner similar people who are equally active/athletic.) It's just from carrying the extra body weight through the world.

    On top of that, strength gains for someone new to strength training are much faster than muscle mass gain, and strength is useful. Those strength improvements come from neuromuscular adaptation (NMA), which is basically better recruiting and using muscle fibers we already have. The body will typically do a lot of that before it devotes resources to growing new muscle fibers.

    There can even be appearance improvements before mass gain, kind of tightening things up, and improving posture; plus the water retention that comes with new exercise (for muscle repair) can create a bit of "pumped" look, so muscles appear more prominent or defined. Good stuff!

    The bottom line, though, is that a realistic rate of muscle-mass gain isn't very likely to mask a reasonable rate of fat loss on the bodyweight scale, when most people consider half a pound a week of fat loss the minimum satisfying rate (and even that can take several weeks to show up quickly on the scale amongst normal multi-pound daily water weight fluctuations).

    It's true that muscle does burn more calories at rest compared with fat, pound for pound. Most recent research seems to suggest that the difference is that fat burns 6-10 calories per pound per day at rest, while fat (which is also metabolically active) burns about 2-6 calories per pound per day at rest. With a difference of 4 calories per pound per day at rest, and muscle pounds relatively slow to achieve, the big payoff IMO is that when we're stronger, it's easier and more fun to move more, in daily life as well as intentional exercise, and those movement calories are a much bigger magnitude.

    I suspect that if OP were temporarily stalled after a couple of weeks, it'd be water retention from new exercise, and maybe from the body's reaction to a new way of eating (which can also change the average amount of food in the digestive tract on its way to become waste, which has a scale weight as well). For women of the relevant age, monthly hormonal cycles can also have a major multi-pound effect on the scale. It's not the most common pattern, but some women report that they're only see a new low weight once a month, at a particular point in their cycle. Increasing carb intake (even from very nutritious, useful foods) can increase water retention, too. (There's a reason they're called carboHYDRATES - our bodies need some extra water because of the biochemistry of how they're digested/metabolized.)

    This is a really good read on the subject, for those who haven't seen it:

    https://physiqonomics.com/the-weird-and-highly-annoying-world-of-scale-weight-and-fluctuations

    People here on MFP discussed that article in this thread, shared some experiences:

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10683010/the-weird-and-highly-annoying-world-of-scale-fluctuations/p1

    OP, since you've been stalled longer than a month, that may be part of the picture, but there may also be something else in the picture.

    The idea that there's a "starvation mode" where the body holds onto fat at low calories - that's nonsense. However, at extreme low calories, there can be some adaptive thermogenesis, basically the body thinking it's in a famine and slowing down some less life-vital processes like hair/nail growth, dropping body temperature a tiny bit, leading us to fidget less (worth up to a couple hundred calories daily in some people, according to research) and to do less in daily life because of subtle fatigue (examples would be putting off more effort-intensive home projects, feeling less interested in non-exercise hobbies that involve movement, etc.).

    Info about adaptive thermogenesis in this thread, especially in the first few posts from the thread's OP:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/1077746/starvation-mode-adaptive-thermogenesis-and-weight-loss/p1

    There's also an effect of long-term or extreme calorie restriction that leads to creeping water retention that hides fat loss on the scale. More information about that and related topics is in this thread:

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10604863/of-refeeds-and-diet-breaks/p1

    The definition of "extreme" or "long-term" calorie restriction can vary by person. A year at 1200-1560 could potentially lead to some of that.

    I'm sorry you're going through this, OP: Figuring out what's causing a stall and reversing it can be really frustrating, can require a lot of self-honesty, research, experimentation. With persistence, I'm sure you can find a route through this. I'm cheering for you!