Weight Loss
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Am I exercising too much to lose weight?


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Hey all.  So I've been trying to lose weight for some time now.  I log everything I eat into the site and keep track of my activity as well so I know my calories burned.  I'm 23, 5'5" and weigh 130 lbs.  I want to lose about ten pounds - I know I don't NEED to lose weight, I just want to because I'm very uncomfortable at this weight (I had an ED when I was 15 and ever since have maintained a weight of 115, until last year when I had a minor relapse and gained all this weight).  So for about 9 months I've been in recovery, and my doctor said I could slowly lose this weight.  

I have been eating about 1800-2000 calories a day, healthy foods.  I've been doing straight cardio for a minimum of 2 hours of the elliptical 6 days of the week.  I usually do more time than that, and also try to go for walks.  I've had a deficit of 900-1200 calories every day except two - one day I was sick (I broke even) and the other was my day off (400 cal deficit).  I weighed 127 at the beginning of the week - now I'm 131!  It was the same time of the day and same circumstances (empty stomach, after going to the bathroom, and naked).  

According to the numbers, I should be losing weight. 

Why am I gaining weight and not losing it?  Is my goal to lose 2 lbs. a week too high or something, and my body is holding on to anything it can?  I always thought one could lose that amount a week in a healthy manner.  And just to throw this out there it's not hypothyroidism - I got tested last week and it came back negative.  

Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing this to happen?  I'm getting really depressed about it, and a part of me doesn't want to go the gym anymore.  I just don't know what to do =(

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2 lbs per week really isn't realistic when you are losing vanity lbs.  Your body tends to fight you more with large deficits.  I would cut back on the cardio and add a whole body weight lifting routine 3 days a week to your exercise program.  This will help you maintain muscle and lose inches.  I think it has the most effect on body shape.  A deficit of 250-500 is probably the better way to go at this point.  Frankly unless you totally love exercise, I would burn out quickly on 2 or more hrs per day. Now there is no way you actually gained 4 lbs with that deficit so you must be retaining water for some reason.  Look at your foods, any high salt stuff in the last few days, sore muscles from exercise or monthly fluctuation depending on your cycle.  It's not unusual for women to retain fluid around TTOM.  I think your cal range is good.  You definitely don't want to trigger your ED again so moderation is probably best.  It may take a little longer, but you can get there.

Original Post by livvey33:

According to the numbers, I should be losing weight. 

Why am I gaining weight and not losing it?  Is my goal to lose 2 lbs. a week too high or something, and my body is holding on to anything it can?  I always thought one could lose that amount a week in a healthy manner.  And just to throw this out there it's not hypothyroidism - I got tested last week and it came back negative.  

Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing this to happen?  I'm getting really depressed about it, and a part of me doesn't want to go the gym anymore.  I just don't know what to do =(

I had a good weekend, ate around 1700/1800 calories each day and did a fair bit of exercise meaning I had a deficit of more than 700 calories each day.

I weighed myself Saturday morning and again this morning and my weight is up 3 pounds. But of course, it isn't really, it is just natural fluctuation and next time I weigh myself it will probably be 4 pounds down.

Moral - a single weighing is of no importance, what is key is the trend.  

Oh my gosh, this is funny. I am in the exact same situation and in fact I just posted about this too! I'm 5'4, 130 ish pounds and used to be 120 but gained 10 from binging a few months ago... can you believe these past 2 months I've been trying to LOSE and working out and eating right diligently and havent lost a single pound... I"m eating what you are, around 1700 or 1800, and working out like you not 2 hours straight but 1 hour of cardio and half hour of weight lifting, and I'm gaining! I went from 127 to 133. I could not have gained this much muscle in like 3 weeks first off, and secondly, I keep in check with my diet and calories that I'm so sure its not my diet. I'm very particular about it. 

 

I used to eat lower like 14-1500 and obviously did not lose anything and the trainer at the gym told me that I burn 2500-3000 calories a day (seriously doubt it?) so now I've begun eating upwards of 1700, 1800, 1900 and resuming my work outs. However, like I said, it just seems that I gain, which is really really depressing to me. 

I'm starting to think that intense exercise is making my body stressed out and hold onto its fat stores, but I just don't know. How frustrating! On top of all that, I don't even get a period,. Its been half a year... Can you imagine the stress my body is going through. Arg. Sorry for the little rant anyways. If you find whats going on... please let me know. 

I'm going through the exact same thing as well.  I was aiming for a deficit of 7000 calories a week to lose two pounds (I have a bmi of 22).  I noticed I wasn't losing weight and was bloated every day (and it's not TTOM).  The past week I cut my daily deficit down by about 350 calories (about -900 calories), and I've already started to notice the difference.  I'm not bloated like I was before.  Now I'm just waiting to see if I lose weight.  I too, love to exercise, and instead of cutting back on my gym time I actually added the 400 calories to what I eat.  I know, that seems odd - feeling slimmer by eating more.

As tina0367 said, 2 lbs. is not realistic when you are at a healthy bmi (which you are).  When you don't need to lose weight your body gets confused, and tries to hold onto everything.  Hence the bloating.  Also, someone told me that with such a large deficit when you're only trying to lose vanity lbs. you will burn muscle and store fat, which is not what you want.  Someone told me on one of my posts - similar to yours actually - that when you are trying to lose vanity lbs., you should aim for a daily deficit of 250-500 calories max (I know I mentioned mine is around 900, but I wanted to slowly decrease my daily deficit to see when I would start to lose weight - I still want to lose as much as I can per week).

As others have said, 2 lbs a week is unrealistic. It's healthiest to lose no more than 1% of your body weight per week - so 1-1.5 lbs a week would be a more attainable goal. It might come off slower since you are already a good weight for your height. I would recommend lifting weights as well - you will not bulk up - to keep your strength. Reaching your goal weight slower with some muscle left will look a lot better and be healthier and easier to maintain than reaching it rapidly but losing muscle and becoming "skinny fat".

Also, there's no need to do 2-3 hours of cardio a day, unless you're training for a marathon, which since you're using an elliptical I'm guessing you are not. That's overexercising and evidence that you aren't fully recovered from your ED, and it's probably stressing your body into storing fat to survive. Talk to your doctor about appropriate cardio levels.

Thanks all for your responses!  I actually called my doctor, and got the number of a therapist to start talking about everything.  

I still do want to lose a few pounds, and decided to cut back on the exercise to only have a deficit of 500 calories a day (for 1 lb. a week).  I did notice that the bloating has reduced immensely, and I'm hoping to see the scale go down (slowly, but surely I'll get there).  

I know this is kind of off subject, but I have another question.  Today I had an off day and ate quite a bit more than normal (2700 calories - not to make excuses but it's ttom lol).  So I did my old habit of exercising for 2.75 hours today.  According to the website, I burned an extra 1710 calories on top of my BMR (1534).  Therefore, I would still have a deficit of 500 calories. Does this make sense - is the website calculator correct?  I normally go by the website and it has always been correct before.  I guess it's just a shock (and a relief) to still have my desired deficit even though I ate a substantial amount.  

No, you're eating too much and not varying your exercise enough. Try eating 1200-1500 cal MAX and doing 1 hour of cardio (or 30-45 min in your max. heart range) and 1-hour strength training 3x/week. You won't bulk up. Good luck. 

Given her history with ED, that's quite silly advice, stupid really
Original Post by ncefspin:

Given her history with ED, that's quite silly advice, stupid really

Luckily, the OP hasn't logged in since August 2011...

I blame the small screen on the iPad for missing that one ;)

Last year, I did cardio over two hours a day plus lifting in the evening and gained. And I mean intense cardio. When I did basketball I worked out 5 hours a day, and gained. Yeah I was eating unbalanced, but I think over doing cardio is just counter-productive. A good 20-40 mins of intense cardio gives me the best results, along with lifting. And also it gets boring af, I never wanna see a stairmaster again lol!!

Since upping my cals to 1700 I have added an extra 30 mins of cardio. I get anxious that eating more will cause me a gain. This post is helpful. Maybe moderation is key otherwise we will all feel like we're chasing our tails. I do believe what helps with weight loss is eating clean healthy unprocessed calories. I also have experienced cheat days to b epic!
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