Eating More and Losing More
It has to happen at some point. You think you're doing everything right, cutting calories, working out 6 days a week and generally being healthy. And the scale doesn't move! Your clothes don't fit any different. And most likely, you're incredibly frustrated.
I feel like that's been me for the last 6 months. I workout out dilligently (pretty much all cardio), I was watching my calories and I had a big calorie deficit. And the SCALE WOULDN'T BUDGE! In fact, it went up about 5 lbs in that time. WTF!
And then I started chatting with other MFP friends that were near their goal weight, and I noticed a trend. A lot of them were weight training. Most of them were eating 1600, 1800 even 2000 calories a day... and losing weight or inches or both! What is going on here!?!? So I bought a book to help me figure it out: The New Rules of Lifting For Women (as I talked about in my last 2 blogs). The most important thing I got out of that was I can't keep starving myself.
Yep, that's really what it boils down to. Working out 5-6 times a week, burning 500 calories and eating 1200 a day means my calorie deficit is around 1000. Which would be awesome, if I still weighed 215 pounds and needed to lose 75 lbs. But now I'm at 155 and I want to lose around 5-10 lbs, or at the very least replace some fat with muscle (which the scale is terrible at determining).
So, the starvation is over. The book recommends that I eat 1650 calories on rest days and 1950 on workout days. That's an extra 500-700 calories! And the key is to make sure those calories are a good balance of carbs, protein and fat (I'm at 50c/25p/25f) but the book recommends 30% protein and the rest split between carbs and fat (I'm working up to 30% protein). And honestly, I feel better. I can do my entire workout and not feel dizzy. I eat snacks throughout the day to keep my metabolism going. And I'm sticking to 3 New Rules workouts a week, with 1-2 cardio days mixed in.
I know results take time, but the scale really is down 2 entire lbs from last Friday and I've been eating MORE! I'm not ready to call this a complete success, but I'm really interested to see where I am at the end of Phase 1 (which is 6 weeks long).
So, if you're stuck in a rut, eating and working out like crazy but not losing, try and take a step back and look at your calorie deficit. It really shouldn't be more than 500 calories if you're close to your goal. Your body just can't handle it. I set my MFP number to a 1/2 a week weight loss (gives me 1680). Its something that I really struggled with the first few days because it goes against everything I programmed my brain to believe. Less food, more exercise, more weight loss. Until that just didn't work anymore. I know I've said this before, in a blog that still is near the top of the Blog list. And honestly, I managed to convince myself otherwise. But following that advice, I got to my lowest weight and lowest pant size EVER! It's not a coincidence, it's math and genetics and how your body works. It just sucks that I forgot all of it and spent the last 6 months doing the wrong thing.
I hope this advice helps those of you who are at the point that I am. I'm not advocating buying this book, but balancing strength training with cardio and eating MORE to fuel your body can be the secret to getting the body you've been wanting all along. The scale might not be the low number you were aiming for, but measurements will tell a completely different story. Besides, only you see the number on the scale. The rest of the world sees how awesome your body looks :)
If you're wondering where I got my calorie numbers from, I took my BMR (which MFP calculates for you) and I multiplied it by 1.5 for non-workout days and 1.7 for workout days. Then I subtracted 300 calories from each for "Fat Loss" (its what the New Rules book recommended so I'm going with it). It's taking into account workout calories.