Looking for Advice.. weight loss plateau

Options
DreamingOfDahlias
DreamingOfDahlias Posts: 5 Member
edited April 4 in Health and Weight Loss
5'2" 34 Yr old Female..
CW: 122 lbs.. SW: 145.. GW: 115-118?

I workout 5 days a week (lift/strength train for 35-50 mins, end with 20 mins cardio on stationary bike) | focus on macros of: (40/40/20) 125 grams protein 55 grams fat 62 grams carbs. Consume roughly 1200-1400 calories a day depending on how I feel. I practice intermittent fasting (fast for 16-21 hours a day) and switch up my hours to keep my body from falling into a routine.
I have been stuck at 122 lbs since beginning of January.. I have a "smart scale" that measures more than weight.. Not sure how much I should rely on it but it has only budged slightly down (.3 - .4 on fat percentage) and ever so slightly up (.1-.2 on muscle mass).. BMI is 22.6 Body fat is 25.4 (clearly I have plenty to lose lol) muscle mass is 34.7. Overall weight loss has been over a 2 year period (145 to 122), I understand as we get closer to goal it slows but it's been ridiculously slow going as of last fall. I still have plenty of fat in my midsection/arms/thighs to lose.
I do have hypothyroidism (on meds) which has made my weight loss very hard and slow going. I also was 145 (my heaviest) postpartum, so struggling to get back to pre-baby body. Any suggestions? What would you do? Help!
Tagged:

Answers

  • ddsb1111
    ddsb1111 Posts: 810 Member
    Options
    Hi there. How are you tracking lately? Do you use a food scale and log everything with calories? As you probably know, calories are the only thing that matters in terms of weight loss. It’s soooo tough to lose that last little bit, I’m telling you. Personally, I had to take 3 months and focus on this and only this to get there. There’s just so little room for error when there’s not much left to lose.

    I would triple check your logging, choose 1 lb a week as a weight loss goal, and get it really dialed in. If you want to take it slower, and enjoy the process more, you can reduce it to .5 lbs a week. My problem with that was natural fluctuations made it hard to see progress, so I wanted to just get it off and move on with my life.

    As far as your hypothyroid, if you’re medicated it should be a non issue. Don’t let that get in your head. Weight loss is hard for everybody, and you can absolutely reach your goal by tracking accurately and being consistent.

    Congrats on the 23 lb loss, you’re almost there.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,568 Member
    Options
    Might need a diet break. The body adapts to the calories it takes in daily and sometimes to adapt if calories are low enough, resting body metabolism lowers. You burn the most fat at REST (not exercising) so a lower resting metabolism slows to a crawl for some.
    Try eating say 1600-1800 calories for a couple of days in a row or a week and then go back to your previous and see if that helps it to move again.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 35+ years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

    9285851.png
  • DreamingOfDahlias
    DreamingOfDahlias Posts: 5 Member
    Options
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    Hi there. How are you tracking lately? Do you use a food scale and log everything with calories?.

    Thanks so much for your response, yes I track everything with a food scale meticulously. Im borderline obsessed at this point with why i cant get the scale to budge.
    I focus on protein, then fats and try to do as low carb as possible. I’ll keep at it and thanks again! Im so happy with 23lbs lost. I’d honestly be happy with my current weight but Im not happy with the excess fat around my midsection. So i keep chugging along! :)
  • DreamingOfDahlias
    DreamingOfDahlias Posts: 5 Member
    Options
    ninerbuff wrote: »
    Might need a diet break. The body adapts to the calories it takes in daily and sometimes to adapt if calories are low enough, resting body metabolism lowers. You burn the most fat at REST (not exercising) so a lower resting metabolism slows to a crawl for some.
    Try eating say 1600-1800 calories for a couple of days in a row or a week and then go back to your previous and see if that helps it to move again.

    Thank you for your response! I have wondered if I’m not eating enough… i will try to increase calories for a few days and see if it helps kickstart something. I see talk of 1200 calories being too low for women but I’m short and every calculator I do for TDEE shows to eat around 1200-1300 calories for a deficit. Im perfectly happy with the scale number, im not so focused on the #, my original goal was 125.. but Im not happy with the Bodyfat percentage nor excess fat I still have hanging around. Thanks again!
  • AdahPotatah2024
    AdahPotatah2024 Posts: 1,086 Member
    Options
    Well, I know everyone has different goals, body shapes, etc. But, *if it were me*...
    I would focus on body acceptance instead of losing another 5 pounds. It sounds like you work out a lot and eat well. Is your waist less than 30 or 31 inches? I am 5'2 and that is mostly what I keep track of,now, instead of pounds.
    I have had really good results with pilates to get toned and would jump rope if it didn't hurt my knees. Also, I would either eat 1500-1800 calories per day or just stop counting calories as I tend to eat pretty healthy.
  • tomcustombuilder
    tomcustombuilder Posts: 1,708 Member
    Options
    Have you lowered your weekly calories since you started at a heavier weight?
  • ahoy_m8
    ahoy_m8 Posts: 3,053 Member
    Options
    ddsb1111 wrote: »
    Hi there. How are you tracking lately? Do you use a food scale and log everything with calories? As you probably know, calories are the only thing that matters in terms of weight loss. It’s soooo tough to lose that last little bit, I’m telling you. Personally, I had to take 3 months and focus on this and only this to get there. There’s just so little room for error when there’s not much left to lose.

    I would triple check your logging, choose 1 lb a week as a weight loss goal, and get it really dialed in. If you want to take it slower, and enjoy the process more, you can reduce it to .5 lbs a week. My problem with that was natural fluctuations made it hard to see progress, so I wanted to just get it off and move on with my life.

    As far as your hypothyroid, if you’re medicated it should be a non issue. Don’t let that get in your head. Weight loss is hard for everybody, and you can absolutely reach your goal by tracking accurately and being consistent.

    Congrats on the 23 lb loss, you’re almost there.

    Love this comment. If it were me, I would shoot for 0.5lb/week as your goal. Your BMI is low, so it is going to be slow if you want to conserve the muscle you have. Yes, scale fluctuation makes it hard to see progress. Very true. You have to be patient, but op -- you obviously have patience! Well done so far, BTW. My BMI is around 20 and I lose at this pace. You have to look at trends, not isolated data points.

    Also love @ninerbuff "s diet break idea. Even at a 250cal daily deficit, I need a break after ~10 weeks. I don't know how to say it, but I just feel deficit weary. 250cal doesn't make a life changing difference, but over time, it does make a difference!

    Lastly, have you considered a recomp? Also takes patience, but it would get you what you want: More muscle and less fat at your current weight.
  • DreamingOfDahlias
    DreamingOfDahlias Posts: 5 Member
    Options
    Well, I know everyone has different goals, body shapes, etc. But, *if it were me*...
    I would focus on body acceptance instead of losing another 5 pounds. It sounds like you work out a lot and eat well. Is your waist less than 30 or 31 inches? I am 5'2 and that is mostly what I keep track of,now, instead of pounds.
    I have had really good results with pilates to get toned and would jump rope if it didn't hurt my knees. Also, I would either eat 1500-1800 calories per day or just stop counting calories as I tend to eat pretty healthy.

    Im not so focused on the scale number, moreso body fat percentage and the excess fat that still remains around my waist.
    My waist is 28 inches but I still have a spare tire lol 🙈 my original goal weight was 125 but I persisted down because I wasnt happy with how i looked nor how clothes fit. “Muffin top” or skinny fat lol.
  • DreamingOfDahlias
    DreamingOfDahlias Posts: 5 Member
    edited April 4
    Options
    Have you lowered your weekly calories since you started at a heavier weight?
    I’d say the opposite. I’ve been eating closer to 1400 vs 1200 calorie’s when I increased weights. I find myself hungrier.. I focus on clean proteins and low carb. Lots of eggs, chicken/beef/pork.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 32,382 Member
    Options
    5'2" 34 Yr old Female..
    CW: 122 lbs.. SW: 145.. GW: 115-118?

    I workout 5 days a week (lift/strength train for 35-50 mins, end with 20 mins cardio on stationary bike) | focus on macros of: (40/40/20) 125 grams protein 55 grams fat 62 grams carbs. Consume roughly 1200-1400 calories a day depending on how I feel. I practice intermittent fasting (fast for 16-21 hours a day) and switch up my hours to keep my body from falling into a routine.
    I have been stuck at 122 lbs since beginning of January.. I have a "smart scale" that measures more than weight.. Not sure how much I should rely on it but it has only budged slightly down (.3 - .4 on fat percentage) and ever so slightly up (.1-.2 on muscle mass).. BMI is 22.6 Body fat is 25.4 (clearly I have plenty to lose lol) muscle mass is 34.7. Overall weight loss has been over a 2 year period (145 to 122), I understand as we get closer to goal it slows but it's been ridiculously slow going as of last fall. I still have plenty of fat in my midsection/arms/thighs to lose.
    I do have hypothyroidism (on meds) which has made my weight loss very hard and slow going. I also was 145 (my heaviest) postpartum, so struggling to get back to pre-baby body. Any suggestions? What would you do? Help!

    For one thing, I'd suggest re-thinking some of your preconceptions.

    Let's say your body fat really is 25.4%. By many standards, that's at the low end of average body fat for a woman your age, very close to the fitness range (21-24%). Here's the ACE ranges:

    https://www.acefitness.org/about-ace/press-room/in-the-news/8540/demystifying-body-fat-percentages-a-healthy-range-explained-medriva/

    source: https://www.acefitness.org/about-ace/press-room/in-the-news/8540/demystifying-body-fat-percentages-a-healthy-range-explained-medriva/

    Some other sources differ a little, but none I've seen are going to call 25.4% "plenty to lose". Women tend to start having serious health problems somewhere in the teens.

    Also, yeah, the scales aren't a very accurate gauge. They may outline a trend over many weeks (if you ignore outlier readings), but the absolute percent isn't very reliable.

    I agree with a post above saying that weight loss has challenges for everyone. I'm severely hypothyroid (properly medicated), in menopause, and old (59-60 during weight loss, 68 now). All of that is alleged to be weight loss doom, but it wasn't. Once I figured out what to do, and stuck with doing it, I lost weight fine. The only point in thinking about an obstacle (like hypothyroidism) is to figure out how to get over, around, through or otherwise past it to our goals. Anything else is an unproductive use of time and energy.

    For hypothyroidism, the worst case scenario is that we may require slightly fewer calories than someone who's not hypo. (Clinical results suggest about a 5% calorie penalty even if not properly medicated, IMU. That makes things a little more difficult, but not impossible.)

    You got good advice above about options going forward.

    What kind of split are you using for the same strength training? If you're doing the same routine 5 days a week, that's not a great plan, because recovery is where the magic (rebuilding) happens. At BMI 22, adding some muscle is more likely to improve appearance vs. losing a few more pounds of fat, IMO . . . but it does take patience, and is less likely the bigger your calorie deficit.

    If it were me, I'd keep going, maybe with the diet break then a small deficit or even maintenance calories; optimize the strength training program if it isn't there yet; and proceed patiently.

    Best wishes!

    P.S. Intermittent fasting and switching fasting hours are great if you subjectively find it helpful.
    I've seen no evidence personally that either of those is essential or even important for weight loss or muscle gain (might even be counterproductive for the latter).

    The idea that we need to switch things up regularly to keep our body guessing . . . is pretty much pure mythology, as far as I know.

    The only nugget of truth in there is that we have to keep challenging our current capabilities in order to keep making progress. I've been doing the same fitness activities for over 20 years now. I did them when I was obese and stayed obese; I did them while losing and lost fine; I still do them now and maintain. I can make progress in fitness doing those very same activities . . . I just have to go faster, more often, for longer, or with more intensity to keep it challenging. It works fine.