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  1. #1
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    Slow weight loss

    I have been back on the bike since last summer.
    Worked out over winter in the trainer doing between an hour and 2 hours 6 days a week. Normal calorie consumed is 1600 with calories burned between 2600 and 3300. I have been tracking food using my fitness pal since January when I changed my eating habits.
    So far I have lost inches, clothes feel better and my times riding have improved 15 percent.
    Over the last 8 weeks my weight has only moved 4lbs.
    I obviously am going to stick with this, but getting frustrated at very little weight movement.
    I am 5'6" 221 lbs
    Yesterday rode two hours 30 miles and not afraid riding the miles.
    Just want to see this weight drop.
    Also my water intake is over 120 Oz.
    Is this normal or will I plateau before it starts coming off.
    Allan

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    If your counts and expenditures are correct, then I think your calorie deficit is too large and your body has gone into starvation mode. It messes with your metabolism to protect fat reserves.

    Fat cells do fill up with water before shrinking, but 8 weeks is a long time to maintain a calorie deficit that should drop 2-3 lbs per week and only drop 4.

    Try no or minimal calorie deficit for a week and then try to keep your defict around 500 calories and adjust from there. You will probably want to keep it less than 1000 calories if you're still looking at wanting significant weight loss. The human body can be really efficient when it needs to be, but there is a price to be paid.

    IANAD, so this is just me spouting advice I had been given in the past.

  3. #3
    Member thatcycleguy's Avatar
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    You're trading fat for muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat which explains your slow weight loss. I'm in the same boat as you. I took shirtless pictures day one of my winter workout and have lost very little weight over the past two months. My pictures now show that my routine is working as I'm much more defined and I've lost inches in my midsection.

    Keep up the hard work. You may want to take in more clean calories to reduce your defiect some to see a quicker fat loss but slower muscle gain. Just my .02

  4. #4
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    I have been back on the bike since last summer.
    Worked out over winter in the trainer doing between an hour and 2 hours 6 days a week. Normal calorie consumed is 1600 with calories burned between 2600 and 3300. I have been tracking food using my fitness pal since January when I changed my eating habits.
    So far I have lost inches, clothes feel better and my times riding have improved 15 percent.
    Over the last 8 weeks my weight has only moved 4lbs.
    I obviously am going to stick with this, but getting frustrated at very little weight movement.
    I am 5'6" 221 lbs
    Yesterday rode two hours 30 miles and not afraid riding the miles.
    Just want to see this weight drop.
    Also my water intake is over 120 Oz.
    Is this normal or will I plateau before it starts coming off.
    Allan
    I dropped 150+ lbs over a 2 yr period. There were lots of plateaus, and they can be frustrating, but you'll get there. Just keep in mind the simple fact that while calories in vs calories out works in the long run, daily (or even weekly) weight fluctuations are far more complicated. Losing 1-2 lbs a weeks aounds great, but it was a lot more like -5 lbs one week, +2 lbs the next week, unchanged the next week, etc/
    www.beancotton.com
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    Worked out over winter in the trainer doing between an hour and 2 hours 6 days a week. Normal calorie consumed is 1600 with calories burned between 2600 and 3300. I have been tracking food using my fitness pal since January when I changed my eating habits.
    How do you know you're burning between 2600 and 3300 calories? Those numbers sound optimistic to me...

    Aside from that, it sounds like you've hit a plateau. Or perhaps you're over-training? In any event, you probably need to change your exercise/diet routine, or simply take a week or two off: exercise a little less eat a little more, maybe gain back a pound or two then come back and push even harder than before.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Some hallmarks of falling into starvation mode metabolism are mood related.
    Crankiness, motivation flagging, and less sunny out look all the way to full blown depression.
    Sleep problems are also noted.

    In body building, some people swear by "cheat days" where they relax the calorie restriction (or food category restriction) for a day (some do weekly)... Others will increase their overall calorie target.
    You can "test" this by loosening up your calories up to equal burned for a day and see if you mood, energy and sleep improve.


    At a deficit of 1000 calories a day (that's 7k calories /week) or 2 lbs... You've been at this for 8 weeks (or ~16-ish lbs)..


    You could have (and should have) easily made up the 12lbs of weight loss just in improving your hydration (as you report). 40% of general population is persistently dehydrated this is defined of at least 10% body weight... People who were overweight were far more likely to be dehyrated and were observed to be more dehydrated then population overall.
    SO for me, I would have 26.5 lbs that I would gain just in improving hydration if I were dehydrated.

    Muscle goes on slowly, very slowly even if the intent is to gain muscle AND your on a calorie surplus. Trading fat for muscle is a comforting myth but doesn't hold up.

    Your health has improved immensely (reduction in risk).
    Your ability to do work this has improved immensely.
    You have properly laid the ground work in a healthy, sustainable manner.

    Personally, I would be massively proud if I made a 1/2 the improvement you've shown in such a short time! Heck 1/4!


    What are your goals?
    Are they weight?
    Riding capabilities or achievements?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    I get my calories burned from my Basis B1 and use my Calories burned and compare the calories burned on a ride against my Application on my phone that monitors heart rate, speed and cadence.
    I do know I was under hyrdated and only just picked up my water intake. I would never had guessed that would have been so much weight.
    My ultimate goals are to get in shape to ride a couple of centuries and finish having energy left.
    I want to get back in to shape so I can ride the hills without crawling over the top.
    On a weight goal, I want to get down to 165lbs which was my weight when I was fit while in the Military.
    For a person that is 5'6 that is still high, but I am built more like a power lifter than a cyclist. Broad shoulders and large quads.
    I am extremely happy with the results and when I was on the road last week during a break in the weather, I was ecstatic at increasing my average speed 1.3 miles on a 10 mile loop and felt good through the hills. I just expected some movement on the scales.
    Thanks,

    Allan

  8. #8
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Well, I think your calories burned estimate is WAY high but if you're only consuming 1600 a day it really doesn't matter.

    I would say mix up your exercise and do some cross training, if you don't already. Even just a 30 min. walk, get some different muscles involved.

    Other than that don't give up! Plateaus suck but everybody experiences them.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Well, I think your calories burned estimate is WAY high but if you're only consuming 1600 a day it really doesn't matter.
    I agree. And I want to add that you are doing a stellar job. You should be proud.

    I've used a similar app called Lose It! and also had great results. I'd guess there is an error in your calorie intake calculations. I ran into a similar thing... largely eating the same foods. I'd suggest you alter your diet.... change to new/different foods. Try bumping up protein and lowering carbs... or the other way around. RE-measure and/or scan all your food items. Maybe even drop a 100-200 calories from you daily intake. At one time I dropped down to 1200 calories for a while.

    Take this in strive.... it's all just part of the journey. Just keep pedaling and you'll get where you're going.

  10. #10
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    I don't buy most of the explanations above. Especially the one about starvation mode on 1600/day. I'm the same height and I was losing weight nice and steady when I was eating 1200-1400/day.

    I do suspect the possibility of compounded errors in calorie intake and expense. It's common to overestimate calories burned by exercising, though, in this case, just the RMR should be somewhere at 2000/day or higher. Intake may be underestimated, unless you're really anal about logging everything you eat. The more complicated your diet is and the more you depend on prepared foods (particularly fast food), the less precise you're going to get.

    I have several questions:

    * Is this basically a plateau, or did the weight go up at some point in the beginning, so you're 4 lbs down from where you started, but more than 4 lbs down from your peak in these 8 weeks?

    * Do you have waist circumference measurements 8 weeks ago and now?

    * Can you give an example of what your logs look like (a couple of days of food and exercise)?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    Hamster
    Ok
    12/27/13
    Around Chest 47
    Around Belly 47
    Top of each leg 30 31
    Biggest part of hips 44
    7 inches down from shoulder 14.5 14.5
    Neck 18

    03/03/14
    Around Chest 44
    Around Belly 44
    Top of each leg 28 28.5
    Biggest part of hips 42
    7 inches down from shoulder 14 13.75
    Neck 17

    Typical day
    Breakfast. Cup of cereal Honey Bunches of Oats, 1/3 Cup 2 percent milk
    Apple

    Lunch
    2 slices of Oat Bread, lite spread, 2 slices of Cheese, 2 slices of ham
    10 grapes

    Dinner
    Side Salad. 3/4 Cup of Mashed Potatoe, 8 oz chicken.
    Apple

    Most of my rides have been on the trainer due to Winter.
    1 hour average 16mph at various pace.
    Yesterday did 30 miles in 1:48 on the trainer.
    The same video I did at the start of this I did 24.3 miles in 1:48

    On the road I have a 10 mile loop Previous best 44:57
    Last week Saturday and Sunday in 55 degrees with Sweatshirt on I did it in 40:43 and 40:28.
    Starting weight was 228 Current weight is 121 started at 127
    I know that if I continue it should continue in the downward direction, just want to see my weight moving in the same direction.

    Allan
    Last edited by Pakiwi; 03-03-14 at 12:16 PM. Reason: sent too early

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    I don't buy most of the explanations above. Especially the one about starvation mode on 1600/day.
    I also don't buy "starvation mode". "Starvation mode" as is too commonly promulgated is mostly a myth. As you lose weight in a prolonged calorie deficit, your metabolism does drop some, but not enough to halt weight loss as long as a deficit is still present. Otherwise anorexics wouldn't get dangerously thin, etc. As you lose weight, you have both less mass to support so your base energy needs are down, and you have an adaptation so you need less calories to maintain than someone who was at your new current weight to begin with. So whatever deficit you had when you started (which was probably a smaller deficit than you thought) shrinks, and your loss slows down. So you have to either step up the workouts, harder/longer, or add different exercises (body gets efficient doing the same thing), or eat less (perhaps easiest), or a bit of both, if you want to continue at a higher rate of loss.

    Most likely your estimates for how much you burn are too high, and probably you are consuming more than you think. Studies show that even pro nutritionists will often underestimate by like 12-15%, and normal people often will underestimate as much as 40% or even more. Portion sizes are bigger than what's in the calculator app, or you forget extras like sauces/dressings, sugar in coffee, etc., or you forget to record some snacks. To get a truly accurate calorie intake figure you practically need to get a food scale and weigh everything to make sure your portion sizes are accurate. But it's probably not necessary to be that accurate, you could just try further cutbacks of maybe 10% and see if you get things moving a bit faster.

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    Starting weight was 228 Current weight is 121 started at 127
    Do you mean 221 and 227?

    Just going off belly numbers, I think you're down about 9 lbs of fat, and up a couple of pounds of water & muscle. So your real average deficit is somewhere around 500 calories/day.

    BTW, I don't see 1600 calories in this list. There's some uncertainty (e.g. "2 slices of cheese" could be 50 calories and could be 150 calories) but I see 900, 1000 calories tops. So I don't see how that can be typical. And like the person above said, if you're not weighing most/everything you eat, that's a big source of uncertainty that you don't need.
    Last edited by hamster; 03-03-14 at 01:14 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    Hamster
    Diary entry from MFP
    Bread Oat Nut Whole Grains 2 slices 240 cal
    Peanut Butter 1 tbsp. 52 cal
    Medium coffee 2 percent 40 cal

    Lunch
    Ham sliced regular 91 cal
    Bread oat nut Whoel Grain 240
    Swiss Cheese Sargento Deli 2 slices 140 Cal
    Mayo .5 tablespoon 45 Cal
    Spicy Nacho Doritoes
    140 Cal
    10 Grapes 16 Cal

    Dinner
    Vegetable Lasagne 1.5 Servings 594 Calories
    Total 1596

    How did you figure out the 9lbs loss in fat?
    Thanks,

    Allan

  15. #15
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    day by day, week by week, year by year, you will improve. patience my friend, patience. hopefully your physique continues to change as well. sometimes the number on the scale is less important than the shape of your body. at least that was the case for me.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephtu View Post
    I also don't buy "starvation mode". "Starvation mode" as is too commonly promulgated is mostly a myth. As you lose weight in a prolonged calorie deficit, your metabolism does drop some, but not enough to halt weight loss as long as a deficit is still present. Otherwise anorexics wouldn't get dangerously thin, etc. As you lose weight, you have both less mass to support so your base energy needs are down, and you have an adaptation so you need less calories to maintain than someone who was at your new current weight to begin with. So whatever deficit you had when you started (which was probably a smaller deficit than you thought) shrinks, and your loss slows down. So you have to either step up the workouts, harder/longer, or add different exercises (body gets efficient doing the same thing), or eat less (perhaps easiest), or a bit of both, if you want to continue at a higher rate of loss.

    Most likely your estimates for how much you burn are too high, and probably you are consuming more than you think. Studies show that even pro nutritionists will often underestimate by like 12-15%, and normal people often will underestimate as much as 40% or even more. Portion sizes are bigger than what's in the calculator app, or you forget extras like sauces/dressings, sugar in coffee, etc., or you forget to record some snacks. To get a truly accurate calorie intake figure you practically need to get a food scale and weigh everything to make sure your portion sizes are accurate. But it's probably not necessary to be that accurate, you could just try further cutbacks of maybe 10% and see if you get things moving a bit faster.
    I agree with this, though possibly not for the same reason. The body is a survival machine, it can drop your metabolism in order to respond to starvation, however it can also do the opposite, depending on how you are using it. If you were constantly on the run from enemies, how much sense would it make for your body to start shutting down on you, rather than unlock some of it's fat stores. It is totally different for people that go on starvation diets, and then work at a desk all day. Their body has no reason to believe you NEED that energy for survival. Same goes for muscle, if you are using your muscles, your body isn't going to sacrifice them, as far as it can tell, you need them. If you run or bike every day, to your body that would signal that you are using your body to try and obtain more food, or to escape harm, therefore those muscles are not expendable, but the fat is. If the muscles are not in use, then they are expendable.

    Are you doing full body workouts? It could be that your body is sacrificing muscles in other parts of your body to fuel the ones you are using for cycling. If you engage your whole body, your body should burn fat stores, not shed muscle. When i lost a lot of weight in the past I had to push hard to get my body into a weight loss mode, but after dropping my calorie intake while increasing physical activity, the pounds started flying off and I didn't reach a plateau until i was very close to an appropriate lean body mass.

    My personal recommendation would be to make sure you are working every area of your body, and do some kind of cycle, it may take a while to find what works for you. An example of a cycle would be, 1 week, increase weight lifting, increase calorie intake, with a bias towards protein. Next 2 weeks, drop calorie intake and increase cardio, while decreasing weight lifting. You may have to play with that a lot before you find what triggers your body to do what you want.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    Hamster
    Diary entry from MFP
    Bread Oat Nut Whole Grains 2 slices 240 cal
    Peanut Butter 1 tbsp. 52 cal
    Medium coffee 2 percent 40 cal

    Lunch
    Ham sliced regular 91 cal
    Bread oat nut Whoel Grain 240
    Swiss Cheese Sargento Deli 2 slices 140 Cal
    Mayo .5 tablespoon 45 Cal
    Spicy Nacho Doritoes
    140 Cal
    10 Grapes 16 Cal

    Dinner
    Vegetable Lasagne 1.5 Servings 594 Calories
    Total 1596

    How did you figure out the 9lbs loss in fat?
    Thanks,

    Allan
    Waist circumference is a pretty good predictor of body fat percentage. 1 inch of waist ~ 3 - 3.5 lbs of fat.

    Couple of pretty general thoughts. Switch from regular cheese to skim milk cheese, drop the mayo, that's 100 calories off your intake and you won't even notice they are gone. (With mayo and PB, gotta be careful, calories are so concentrated that you can easily get 100 instead of 50 by accident.) And, personally, I find that it's more comfortable and it's easier to keep overall calories low if I keep individual meals under 300 calories.

  18. #18
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    It is very difficult to lose fat consuming that many carbs per day.

    I've lost 26 pounds thereabouts since the New Year. I am loosely following Dr. Jack Kruse's cold thermogenics and a paleo diet. LSD 3-4 days per week.

    Today was typical.......

    Breakfast was a duck egg and three slices of local, fresh bacon. Two Espressos with two spoons of Organic coconut oil.

    Lunch was a protein smoothie with 1/3 banana and some Kefir with ice

    I had 4 almonds for a snack at around 3.

    Dinner was brussel sprouts, small green salad, and grass fed beef.

    Supplement help, too.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    I get my calories burned from my Basis B1 and use my Calories burned and compare the calories burned on a ride against my Application on my phone that monitors heart rate, speed and cadence.
    You probably need to divide these numbers by 2. Power meters are supposed to be relatively accurate at measuring calories burned. When I got mine, I noticed the numbers I got from it were around half what I got from every other HRM and website I tried.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    Most of my rides have been on the trainer due to Winter.
    1 hour average 16mph at various pace.
    Yesterday did 30 miles in 1:48 on the trainer.
    The same video I did at the start of this I did 24.3 miles in 1:48

    On the road I have a 10 mile loop Previous best 44:57
    Last week Saturday and Sunday in 55 degrees with Sweatshirt on I did it in 40:43 and 40:28.
    What sort of calorie burn are you expecting from these rides? I'm around 170lbs and burn a power meter-reported 550 calories/hr when averaging 16-17mph on a relatively flat route. Longer than an hour and I have to pace myself more, so my calorie burn drops to around 475-500/hr.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    I am getting 600 calories per hour reported and the basis reports 450-500 per hour which I would say is closer

  21. #21
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    I'm 5'8, 223lbs. I've lost 5lbs in 4 weeks by eating 2300 calories a day, 3 days a week I do Cardio (exercise bike, walking, snowshoeing), 3 days I do resistance training on my total gym. Never burning more than 400 calories. I do work a job where I'm on my feet MOVING all day, which is why myfitnesspal gives me 2300/day (and that is to lose 1lb/week so they tell me). I usually have 3-400 calories left each day after eating and exercise, so that helps, too.

    Your likely eating too little. Sure some people can do that, but I find a slow gradual loss the best without starving your body. I might have only lost 5lbs, but my jeans fit 100% better. 38's now fit perfect where before were almost too tight to wear. Shirts fit better, too. My 7 year old cycling shorts are now showing signs of stretched out, so I need new ones before spring! Less inches on my legs, butt, and waist. Weight is not as important to me as fitting into smaller clothes again!

    And it depends what KINDS of foods you eat. DO NOT deny your body of protein, good fat, and fruits and veggies. Take it easy on carbs, or you'll likely never lose much. Cut out ALL soda and most alcohol. By good fat I mean nuts, butter (in moderation), Olive oil... not the fat hanging off a steak, or most vegetable oils. Soy or Whey protein shakes are a good way to supplement your diet.

    Also, muscle weighs more than fat. If you had no muscle mass before and started exercising, sometimes you build muscle while burning fat, and your weight doesn't change much. But you SHOULD notice clothes fitting better
    2012 Diamondback Podium 2 - Ready for spring! :D
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  22. #22
    Senior Member Pakiwi's Avatar
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    Yes I absolutely feel clothes fitting better. Both on my legs and shirts. Even my wedding ring has a gap in it.
    Yes I know I need to cut down on my carbs.
    I know I will get there. Just would prefer to see a 2lb loss in a week.
    And it's hard when others around me lose 4-5 a week.
    I was doing a core workout but stopped while I picked up the mileage but will reintroduce that into my workout.
    Allan

  23. #23
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pakiwi View Post
    Yes I absolutely feel clothes fitting better. Both on my legs and shirts. Even my wedding ring has a gap in it.
    Yes I know I need to cut down on my carbs.
    I know I will get there. Just would prefer to see a 2lb loss in a week.
    And it's hard when others around me lose 4-5 a week.
    I was doing a core workout but stopped while I picked up the mileage but will reintroduce that into my workout.
    Allan
    Keep in mind that daily weight can easily fluctuate 2 lbs or more, so if someone's weighing weekly, what looks like a 5 lb loss may actually be no loss at all (i.e, last week weighted on a heavy day, this week weighed on a light day).

    The things that made the biggest difference for me when I started were:

    1) Cutting down or out sodas and alcohol
    2) Reducing carbs
    3) Tracking everything
    and related to 3: learning to spot innaccurate calorie estimates.

    For some reason, a lot of apps tend to dramatically overestimate calorie burn, and many people tend to dramatically underestimate food portions. So when you're starting, it's easy to look at an app and think you're running a calorie deficit when you're actually running a surplus. I try to use the most conservative available estimate of calorie burn and the most liberal estimate of calorie intake. That's worked for 2 1/2 years now, and it's helped me maintain my goal weight.

    Finally, any one week's numbers are relatively meaningless. Take a big ride on Sunday, then celebrate by eating something salty Sunday night, and your weight will be up on Monday despite the fact that you really did run a calorie deficit. But look at 4 or 5 weeks in a row of decreasing numbers and you'll know you're on to something.

    BB
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Astrozombie's Avatar
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    I found a stronglifting site that told me I need 2000 calories for basic function per day. It said I had to eat less than 3000 to be at a deficit (230lbs) there is no way TC is only getting 1600! He's probably be tipping over.....
    Assume nothing; Question everything

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