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TOPIC: Frustrated -- gaining weight on 1200 calories + exercise

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May 15, 2013 6:02 PM
So, I'm getting really frustrated. I started working with a personal trainer about a month ago and have been exercising (cardio and circuit training) ~3 times a week. About two weeks ago I started sticking to 1200 net calories a day. Since I started restricting calories, I have somehow managed to gain 2 or 3 pounds! I know that muscle weighs more than fat, and it's likely that I'm putting on muscle, but that's an awful lot of muscle in such a short period of time. I don't think I look much different, my clothes aren't fitting much better or worse. What is going on? Has anyone else had this experience?
May 15, 2013 6:04 PM
this has happened to me, and yes I hated this, but then there was a drop and those numbers were history. This will happen for you.
Seriously
  28501218
May 15, 2013 6:18 PM
Most likely you're retaining water to repair your muscles after tough workouts.

I didn't gain weight when I started working with my trainer but my losses slowed considerably. I have been losing fat for sure though based on measurements and looks.

Another option is that you're overestimating your calories burned in your work outs.
Edited by omma_to_3 On May 15, 2013 6:18 PM
  7246266
May 15, 2013 7:01 PM
Thanks for the input!

I'm being very careful to avoid overestimating calories burned during workouts -- if anything, I think I'm underestimating. I also tend to end up coming short of my 1200 net calorie goal most days. I go over my goal occasionally but at the end of the week I'm below target.

I have had a few bouts of retaining water for a couple of days after a particularly vigorous workout -- the 2 to 3 lb gain is AFTER all that water flushes out. With the water weight, I am the heaviest I have weighed in years, which is depressing. Without it, I'm still heavier than before I started making any kind of effort to lose weight.
May 15, 2013 7:08 PM
http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=8311&sc=128
  23635181
May 15, 2013 7:09 PM
By the way- muscle doesn't weigh more then fat. It is like a pound of feathers or a pound of brick. They weigh the same- but like brick, a pound of muscle takes up less space so you will look smaller. But hang in- it doesn't happen overnight!
May 15, 2013 7:12 PM
Try upping your calories for a few days and see if that helps.
  34160483
May 15, 2013 7:53 PM
you need to list some basic info like your height, weight and goal weight for anyone to be able to give any sort of helpful advice.
May 15, 2013 8:01 PM
I'm 5'2" and I fluctuated between 115 and 116 lbs before I started any attempt to lose weight. I'd like to be between 105 and 108. As of this morning, I am at 118.
May 15, 2013 8:02 PM
How much were you eating before you restricted to 1200?
  20607316
May 15, 2013 8:04 PM
You're already at a healthy And LOW weight. Your body doesn't want to lose more.
  14793149
May 15, 2013 8:07 PM
QUOTE:

By the way- muscle doesn't weigh more then fat. It is like a pound of feathers or a pound of brick. They weigh the same- but like brick, a pound of muscle takes up less space so you will look smaller. But hang in- it doesn't happen overnight!

You know what she meant.
Every body knows a pound weighs a pound.
A square inch of muscle weighs more than a square inch of fat,
So technically muscle DOES weigh more.
May 15, 2013 8:09 PM
If you don't eat enough you will stall out or gain weight, such as in your case. So set up your calories right.
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/975707-fat-loss-tactics-guide
  11390926
May 15, 2013 8:11 PM
QUOTE:

You're already at a healthy And LOW weight. Your body doesn't want to lose more.


I'd agree with this.

If you are looking to "tone" then I'd stop worrying about the scales, resistance training, adequate protein, eat around maintenance.
May 15, 2013 8:13 PM
QUOTE:

You're already at a healthy And LOW weight. Your body doesn't want to lose more.


This. You are already at a very good weight. If you don't like the way you look still, and want to decrease body fat, start lifting heavy weights. It's the best way to lower body fat and look more "toned". You will not get bulky, I promise.
May 15, 2013 8:18 PM
that depends on her bone structure/frame. I'm also 5'2, I weigh under 110, but I have a rather tiny frame so the extra weight really shows up on me.
May 15, 2013 8:44 PM
I think, people at that that low of a weight wanting to lose are unhappy with their body composition, not necessarily weight. I would seriously look into eating at enough cals to maintain your weight but lifting heavy in addition to moderate cardio instead of restricting calories.
  633092
May 15, 2013 8:48 PM
QUOTE:

How much were you eating before you restricted to 1200?


I'm not sure, but it was a lot. I changed jobs in January. Previously I was doing biomedical research, under a lot of stress and not eating much during the day. Now I work at a startup that has catered meals every day and lots and lots of junkfood everywhere. Since changing jobs in January, I've gained about 8 lbs.

QUOTE:

If you don't eat enough you will stall out or gain weight, such as in your case. So set up your calories right.
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/975707-fat-loss-tactics-guide


Thanks, this is helpful. According to this, I should be eating closer to 1550 calories a day. Thing is, on days that I exercise, I end up eating 1450-1550 calories a day anyway, does this mean I should eat 1550 every day, even when I don't work out?

QUOTE:

that depends on her bone structure/frame. I'm also 5'2, I weigh under 110, but I have a rather tiny frame so the extra weight really shows up on me.


My frame is small-ish, I guess. I don't quite look right at this weight, my hips are much wider than they were and my pants don't fit. Honestly that's the thing that is the most motivating to me -- I don't want to give up half my wardrobe because I gained a little weight.
May 15, 2013 8:52 PM
Is it muscle weight? Get your body fat checked and your Body Mass Index. If your body fat is going down, then you are probably gaining muscle weight. When you have muscle, your body burns more calories at rest.

Also, are you overcompensating by eating a little more food because you are exercising? Sometimes we eat more because we say "I can eat that ice cream, because I exercised today." Calories and weight tend to add up that way.

All the best to you.

Visit http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/body-fat-measurement?page=2
Edited by goldengirl111 On May 15, 2013 9:01 PM
  18545669
May 15, 2013 8:57 PM
QUOTE:

I'm 5'2" and I fluctuated between 115 and 116 lbs before I started any attempt to lose weight. I'd like to be between 105 and 108. As of this morning, I am at 118.


You are the same height as me and you are trying to drop down to the very bottom of our healthy weight range.
WHY?
If you gain lean muscle and lose fat, you will weigh more than this...

I am currently on 101lbs and am hoping I will get to 110lbs through gaining enough LBM.

1200 kcals is very low even for our size. Aim for 110lbs as your goal for now.

What levels of protein, fat and carbs are you sticking to in your current diet?
Edited by chocchillimango On May 15, 2013 8:58 PM
May 15, 2013 8:59 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

If you don't eat enough you will stall out or gain weight, such as in your case. So set up your calories right.
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/topics/show/975707-fat-loss-tactics-guide


Thanks, this is helpful. According to this, I should be eating closer to 1550 calories a day. Thing is, on days that I exercise, I end up eating 1450-1550 calories a day anyway, does this mean I should eat 1550 every day, even when I don't work out?


Yes you don't eat calories back with this method.
  11390926
May 15, 2013 9:16 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I'm 5'2" and I fluctuated between 115 and 116 lbs before I started any attempt to lose weight. I'd like to be between 105 and 108. As of this morning, I am at 118.


You are the same height as me and you are trying to drop down to the very bottom of our healthy weight range.
WHY?
If you gain lean muscle and lose fat, you will weigh more than this...

I am currently on 101lbs and am hoping I will get to 110lbs through gaining enough LBM.

1200 kcals is very low even for our size. Aim for 110lbs as your goal for now.

What levels of protein, fat and carbs are you sticking to in your current diet?


I'm just aiming to get back to what I weighed around this time last year. I miss my old clothes!

About 45% of my calories are from carbohydrates, about 40% from fat, and about 15% from protein. I have a sugar problem, an awful lot of my calories are coming from ice cream and overly-sweetened yogurt. I also have one or two glasses of wine once a week. I realize the sugar and alcohol aren't helping, but the sugar especially is very, very, very hard for me to take out of my diet completely.
May 15, 2013 9:25 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I'm 5'2" and I fluctuated between 115 and 116 lbs before I started any attempt to lose weight. I'd like to be between 105 and 108. As of this morning, I am at 118.


You are the same height as me and you are trying to drop down to the very bottom of our healthy weight range.
WHY?
If you gain lean muscle and lose fat, you will weigh more than this...

I am currently on 101lbs and am hoping I will get to 110lbs through gaining enough LBM.

1200 kcals is very low even for our size. Aim for 110lbs as your goal for now.

What levels of protein, fat and carbs are you sticking to in your current diet?


I'm just aiming to get back to what I weighed around this time last year. I miss my old clothes!

About 45% of my calories are from carbohydrates, about 40% from fat, and about 15% from protein. I have a sugar problem, an awful lot of my calories are coming from ice cream and overly-sweetened yogurt. I also have one or two glasses of wine once a week. I realize the sugar and alcohol aren't helping, but the sugar especially is very, very, very hard for me to take out of my diet completely.


Sugar an alcohol are not the enemy (in moderation) :)
Your protein level is too low if you are looking to spare lean mass while losing fat.

Try going for 25% or thereabouts if it comes to about 2 - 2.5g per kg of your target BW (100 - 125g).
Carbs and fats you can work out based on how you respond to both. If you keep carbs as is, decrease fats to 30%.
I'd probably go for at least 125g protein per day and keep that fixed.
That's actually a good starting point.

A higher level of protein will also help keep you satisfied and should help curb some of those sugar cravings :)

Definitely up your kcals as per previous posts. Dieting to lose, try to aim for around 10-15% below your maintenance to start with. Factor in your activity levels in to maintenance.
Edited by chocchillimango On May 15, 2013 9:26 PM
May 15, 2013 10:00 PM
QUOTE:

Sugar an alcohol are not the enemy (in moderation) :)
Your protein level is too low if you are looking to spare lean mass while losing fat.

Try going for 25% or thereabouts if it comes to about 2 - 2.5g per kg of your target BW (100 - 125g).
Carbs and fats you can work out based on how you respond to both. If you keep carbs as is, decrease fats to 30%.
I'd probably go for at least 125g protein per day and keep that fixed.
That's actually a good starting point.

A higher level of protein will also help keep you satisfied and should help curb some of those sugar cravings :)

Definitely up your kcals as per previous posts. Dieting to lose, try to aim for around 10-15% below your maintenance to start with. Factor in your activity levels in to maintenance.


I am pretty sure the gain is from putting on muscle mass though! Do I really need more protein if I've put on 3 lbs of muscle (or more if I have lost ANY weight from fat) in two weeks? I'll definitely up my calories. I'll try increasing protein too and see what happens...
May 15, 2013 10:05 PM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Sugar an alcohol are not the enemy (in moderation) :)
Your protein level is too low if you are looking to spare lean mass while losing fat.

Try going for 25% or thereabouts if it comes to about 2 - 2.5g per kg of your target BW (100 - 125g).
Carbs and fats you can work out based on how you respond to both. If you keep carbs as is, decrease fats to 30%.
I'd probably go for at least 125g protein per day and keep that fixed.
That's actually a good starting point.

A higher level of protein will also help keep you satisfied and should help curb some of those sugar cravings :)

Definitely up your kcals as per previous posts. Dieting to lose, try to aim for around 10-15% below your maintenance to start with. Factor in your activity levels in to maintenance.


I am pretty sure the gain is from putting on muscle mass though! Do I really need more protein if I've put on 3 lbs of muscle (or more if I have lost ANY weight from fat) in two weeks? I'll definitely up my calories. I'll try increasing protein too and see what happens...


3lb of lean mass in 2 weeks. Highly unlikely... no way. I'm sorry. That is just way too fast for it to happen.

ESPECIALLY at the low level of kcals and protein you have been consuming.

Just as a sidebar ... I am gradually increasing my kcals as I try to gain lbm and have a TDEE (my BMR + activity factored in for maintenance) around 1650kcals per day. I am sitting now on 1765kcals per day and increasing this gradually every week.

It took several months to put on just over 1kg (almost 2.5lb) of lean mass through consistent eating and training.
It's a slow process for women in particular.n But I gained minimal fat in that period so lean bulking basically.

you want to lose fat but retain as much of your lean mass as you can while you lose fat (or gain a bit if possible).
Edited by chocchillimango On May 15, 2013 10:08 PM

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