I am 42, 5’ 4”,165 lbs and wear a size 6. 13 months ago I decided to get serious about weight loss and my overall physical fitness. I consider myself to be a fairly healthy eater in that I don't eat candies or cookies, soda or ice cream. I consume anywhere from 900-1100 calories daily which keeps me plenty full. Daily menu includes weight control oatmeal and coffee (w/ splenda) for breakfast, fruit/veggies for snack, sandwich for lunch (minus the bread, wrapped in lettuce or tortilla) along with veggies or just a large salad. I drink water at lunch time and then throughout the evening along with plain green tea. I take a daily multi-vitamin and fish oil. Dinners vary and are healthy (lots of chicken and veggies) and I only eat the size of a salad plate. It may not seem like a lot of food but I do not ever find myself starving.
I work out in the gym every day at lunch starting off with either walking/jogging on the treadmill or using the elliptical for 20-25 minutes as a warm up before moving on to the nautilus and free weights. I also alternate days when one day I will work legs and others will be arms, back and abs.
When I first started I dropped 25 pounds right away. Now I find that I am not losing any weight and solely maintaining. If I skip the gym for a couple of days, it is obvious to me when I try on my clothes. I just recently started taking measurements to see if perhaps I am building some muscle and losing fat and that's what's making the scale stay put. I also just had blood testing done at my annual physical and nothing medically is out of whack. I am also not a couch potato as when I am not at work, I am enrolled in classes at my local college or I am busy doing chores around the house.
Not sure what else I can do. Ultimately would like to lose another 30-40 pounds. Any suggestions you guys have would be greatly appreciated.
I've heard (I am no expert!) that doing the same exercise routine every day can cause plateaus. It's like your body gets used to those motions and it becomes "too easy". I heard that to get over the plateau you need to do some completely different exercises that use different muscle groups to get your body startled by the new and different activity. I hope this helps.
To me this is a huge red flag! Anything under 1200 is considered a starvation level of cals, even if you don't "feel" hungry :( Your body is starving for nutrients and has shut down into preservation mode. You can't even maintain the muscle you have on this level of cals, let alone add any more. Your body eats away muscle for energy when you under fuel for your activity level.
At this point the only way to "fix" your metabolism is to eat a lot more cals, like at maintenance for several months. You may gain a few lbs doing this but once you get straightened out, you should be able to lower you cals a decent amount, like a 250-300 cal deficit to lose a few more lbs. You currently weigh 165 lbs or that is where you started?
Edited to add links:
Seconding that ..
As a woman you shouldn't eat less than 1200 kcal
and as a man you shouldn't eat less than 1500 kcal .
Even if you don't feel hungry, it is for your hormonal balance and health being .. Eating less will put your body directly in starvation mood, consuming muscles mostly and just burn as less as possible ..
I think w/e you lost first, it was muscles and water .. now your body will not allow you to kill it .. you also exercise .. so that on top give your body a more hard time !
You starved it, you also made it work harder ..
be nice to your body, and it will be nice to you ..
it is truly as simple as this !
I guess I've not considered that my body might actually be in starvation mode as it seems like I eat constantly throughout the day. Those links were great. Especially the mayo clinic link. I used their calorie calculator and based on my height, weight and physical activity level, it said I should be consuming 2150 calories per day. That's a scary number! The hard part will be figuring out how to increase my calorie intake in healthy manner and not simply add foods that might be bad just to boost the number. Thanks for the response and the links.
I have also heard that doing the same exercise routine will cause your body to become complacent. I feel it is important to always have the cardio included yet switch up the days alternating legs and upper body. I will do a little research and see what other routines I might benefit from.
To answer the first poster's question, my highest weight was 207. I knew when I hit over 200 it was definitely time for a change. When I started the new routine last year, I was around 190-192. Getting down to 130 is my goal at this point. Sure, I would love to be around 120. Don't we all envision ourselves with super model bodies! But, I would be completely happy and even healthy at 130.
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.
I would suggest upping your cals by 100-200 per week to let your body adjust a little more gradually. Might limit any weight gain and help your stomach adjust to more food. Healthy foods to add, raw nuts, nut butters, avocado, olive oil. Cal dense without a lot of bulk and if you have been low in fats this will help bring that up. Good luck :)
You might also consider changing to a full body strength training program that you do 3 times a week. I think you would get better results than a split program at this point. I am doing New Rules of Lifting for Women. I started in Jan and have lost about 10 lbs, mostly off my abd, where I need it the most! I average 1600-2000 cals per day depending on if I exercise or not. I do some cardio on alternating days with DVD's and/or interval training. There is also Starting Strengh and Female Body Breakthrough.
You shouldn't consume that 2100 kcal to reduce weight but more to maintain it .
if you want to lose weight then you should consume a little less than that and exercise .. this way you would get your body fueled enough to burn more :)
Oh how I can relate about being stuck on a plateau. I was hovering in the mid to low 150's for 6 months. Talk about stalled! Having had gastric-by-pass surgery in Aug 2010 I can't eat that much food at any given time.
I usually have a huge calorie deficit as I love to exercise. Looking over the past week my calorie intake ranged between a high of +344 to a low of -621 calories. I intentionally vary my caloric intake to keep my body guessing but the most recent thing I have done is interval training.It really seems to help Tina offers good advice. I find changing the level of intensity in whatever exercise I do has helped me get into the 140"s. I do circuit training one day (lower body) plus aerobic as well. ( Nu-step Machine or Rowing) Then circuit training (upper body plus aerobic the next. I may add Pilates, Yoga or water jogging depending upon the mood. Somedays I'll have my roomate drop me off at the health club and I'll walk back home (2.5miles) Because I had double knee replacement jogging is out but I seem to handle the walk back home OK.
I still have 18lbs to reach my goal. I would love to get to 130. Since I must be carrying close to 20 lbs of excess skin. (I have lost 162lbs since April 1st 2010) this might be unrealistic. I am feeling healthier now at 65 then I have felt in nearly 20 years.
Hope this helps. All the best, Sarah