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  1. #1
    Registered User OvercomerGirl's Avatar
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    Three Years In -- And SO Ready to get there!

    ABOUT ME
    I’m 5’6”, 247.5 as of this morning. My goal is 180. Body fat percentage, about 39. I’ve been on a weight loss journey for the last three years, but I have been overweight since I was a child. I have zero memory of ever being at a normal weight. I don’t know what that’s like.

    EXERCISE
    Three years ago, I fell in love with strength training. I’ve gone from 306 pounds to 247, and from a size 26W to a size 18W. But it’s taken three years (see photo attached) I’ve worked harder than I have in my life. I’ve worked up to 800 steps on Jacob’s Ladder, 238 pounds on sleds. That's just a sampling. I work really, really hard.

    I work out 4x week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday. I don’t work out on my low carb days. For the last couple of years , it’s been mostly strength training and a little cardio thrown in here and there. Two weeks ago, I switched things up so that I’m doing 3 days of cardio and 1 day of strength training (arms or legs).
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    Last edited by OvercomerGirl; 04-20-2021 at 09:07 PM.
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  2. #2
    Registered User OvercomerGirl's Avatar
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    DIET
    I have felt very, very lost with my diet in the last year. While the trainer is great with the exercise, I’ve felt very much on my own with the diet. Just before the holidays, I watched a YouTube video about reverse dieting. When the female bodybuilder said she weighed about 146 and was eating like 2100-2200 calories a day, a lightbulb went on for me. Because I was eating 1700-1800.

    I’ve been all over the gamut. I would lose for a while, but it would always stop. I decided to reverse diet and work my way back down. I also did some reading on carb cycling (because my body seems to adapt quickly to anything I do). Subconsciously, I felt myself relying on my workouts for weight/fat loss because I really didn’t know for SURE where or how I should be eating.

    CARB CYCLING BEGAN FEBRUARY 18TH - 252.1 LBS
    Here are my calories and my macro percentages:

    HIGH CARB DAYS (Monday & Friday)
    2523 calories: 26% protein (165g)/54% carbs (345g)/21% fat (59g)

    MODERATE CARB DAYS (Tuesday & Thursday)
    2200 calories: 31% protein (174g)/50% carbs (284g)/19% fat (48g)

    LOW DAYS (Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday)
    2175 calories: 33% protein (181g)/19% carbs (103g)/48% fat(116g)

    I attached a before and after photo of the first 7 weeks. You can see a difference! But I’m frustrated because seem to be in a never-ending stage of my body changing but the scale is hardly moving at all.
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  3. #3
    Registered User OvercomerGirl's Avatar
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    MY GOALS
    This Thursday starts Week 10, and I’ve barely lost 6 pounds. I’ve literally had friends who have posted that they’ve lost 30 pounds. It makes me feel like a failure and envious, even though I know I’m working SO hard. The changes do come in the photos, but I have to wait weeks to see those results. I’ve tracked the last 10 weeks of weights in Google Sheets. I know weight loss/fat loss is not linear, but I’d love to see a more pronounced general downward direction or more progress on the scale.

    MY QUESTIONS
    It seems like I end up in a recomposition stage all the time. How long does this last?

    Are my calories too high? I work a sedentary job as an administrative assistant. When I've tried a 1000 calorie deficit, my body puts on the brakes. I do seem to be losing fat right now, but I'm frustrated that this is taking WAY longer than I ever thought, and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Or... AM I doing anything wrong?
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  4. #4
    Registered User OvercomerGirl's Avatar
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    IN SUMMARY
    I’ve worked harder than I ever have in my life for the last three years. Sometimes the goal feels so far away and like it’s never going to get here, especially with the scale showing .5 pound loss per week (if that). I just don’t want to lose steam and give up. After three years, I’m ready to just GET there already and start learning how to maintain!! I’ve learned a LOT about myself, and that’s priceless. Every day is some level of stress because I have to THINK about every meal, but I’ve been committed and willing to do it. With all the effort and work, I guess I feel like I’ve come too far just to come this far.

    It's taken a long time to post to a forum again. The last time was a few years ago, and all I got was shaming. I’ve done over 40 years of that to myself already, and it’s never helped me lose an ounce. I walked away with the leaders on the forum congratulating each other for grounding me into pulp publicly and then calling it “tough love.” I expected to be shamed about where I found myself the day I walked into the gym. Instead, I found, “And? You can’t do anything about the past. It’s gone. We’re going to move forward.” And THAT has been what has helped me change. No more shame. I can hold my head up now.
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  5. #5
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    first off, you don't need to do carb cycling to lose weight. honestly it just overcomplicates things when you need to hit certain percentages instead of minimum amounts in grams. i don't know if it's something professional bodybuilders do, but very few recreational lifters do it

    you should just try eating 2000 calories per day for two weeks, make sure you're counting correctly. if your weight loss is too slow, you have to lower your calories even more. try to hit like 80-100 grams of protein and 50-70 grams of fat minimum. not to discourage you (just being realistic), your calories have been way too high if it took you three years to lose 60 pounds. i lost 50 pounds in 9 months (180 to 130 lbs) just by eating 1800-2100 calories per day, which was around 500 calories deficit (you can do a bigger deficit at that weight)

    what i'm saying is that you need to create a bigger deficit either by moving more or eating less, and you'll easily hit your goal weight in half a year
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  6. #6
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Congrats on staying with it. This is a serious forum so if anyone gives you any grief, drop me a private message. I don't read every post but I do take action against trolls if I know they are there. Most people here should give you genuine advice but be open to doing something different to what you did before. Too often people complain of lack of progress but then argue endlessly about changing anything they are doing ... hopefully you can see the futility of that.

    From reading your story it sounds like you need to reduce calories and accelerate the weight loss. Obviously this could come at the cost of strength performance in the gym and perhaps increased hunger.

    One suggestion I have is to stick to a somewhat restricted diet - where you only eat foods such as meat, eggs, vegetables (lots and lots of vegetables to bulk out each meal), some fruit, lower fat dairy products, beans, pulses, lentils etc. Avoid highly flavoured, salty or highly processed products completely if possible.

    The combination of protein, high fibre and low added sugar/fat should reduce the calorie density of what you eat and the avoidance of highly flavoured foods should help you avoid triggering your appetite.

    If necessary, reduce your eating times to only twice a day - and don't eat anything outside of those times. The body becomes entrained to set meal times and hunger should gradually reduce outside of those times.

    Good luck!
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  7. #7
    Registered User OvercomerGirl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    first off, you don't need to do carb cycling to lose weight. honestly it just overcomplicates things when you need to hit certain percentages instead of minimum amounts in grams. i don't know if it's something professional bodybuilders do, but very few recreational lifters do it

    you should just try eating 2000 calories per day for two weeks, make sure you're counting correctly. if your weight loss is too slow, you have to lower your calories even more. try to hit like 80-100 grams of protein and 50-70 grams of fat minimum. not to discourage you (just being realistic), your calories have been way too high if it took you three years to lose 60 pounds. i lost 50 pounds in 9 months (180 to 130 lbs) just by eating 1800-2100 calories per day, which was around 500 calories deficit (you can do a bigger deficit at that weight)

    what i'm saying is that you need to create a bigger deficit either by moving more or eating less, and you'll easily hit your goal weight in half a year
    WOW! That would be a dream . . . 50 pounds in 9 months! I TOTALLY have the mental "I can," and I've learned in three years -- you're not going ANYWHERE without that! I think I've made two mistakes, simply due to lack of guidance with my diet: 1. Calories that are too low (which caused stalling), and 2. Calories that are too high (which caused . . . well, obviously no results). The last calculator I used is why my calories are where they are. And because my body seems to stall, I decided to try carb cycling. But in the end, it may not have been that my body was adjusting, as much as being that #1 or #2 was the culprit as to why I wasn't making any progress. I used the Freedieting calculator I found on the sticky at the top of the Fat Loss forum, and it matches up with what you said -- I need to be eating at around 2000 for fat loss, and right now I'm eating 2200-2600. I also read the thread about figuring out macros, so I'll put all of that information into Eat This Much (which I LOVE!), and it'll create my menus for me like magic. Thank you SO much for your response!!!
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by OvercomerGirl View Post
    It makes me feel like a failure and envious, even though I know I’m working SO hard.
    Originally Posted by OvercomerGirl View Post
    I think I've made two mistakes, simply due to lack of guidance with my diet
    I don't disagree with the advice of the posters above, but I disagree with any idea in your head that you're doing things "wrong". You've lost about 60 lbs in 3 years, you're getting healthier, you're gaining muscle and you look better. This type of consistency and dedication is the opposite of typical wheel spinning you see from many people looking to lose weight or gain muscle.

    Sure, try to make improvements to lose weight more efficiently. But if at the current pace it takes you 3 more years to get to your goal weight, that's still a win in my book. Especially since IMO people who lose weight steadily over time rather than through quick dieting tend to keep it off in the long run. Don't view progress as failure. Just my two cents.
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  9. #9
    Registered User OvercomerGirl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Congrats on staying with it. This is a serious forum so if anyone gives you any grief, drop me a private message. I don't read every post but I do take action against trolls if I know they are there. Most people here should give you genuine advice but be open to doing something different to what you did before. Too often people complain of lack of progress but then argue endlessly about changing anything they are doing ... hopefully you can see the futility of that.

    From reading your story it sounds like you need to reduce calories and accelerate the weight loss. Obviously this could come at the cost of strength performance in the gym and perhaps increased hunger.

    One suggestion I have is to stick to a somewhat restricted diet - where you only eat foods such as meat, eggs, vegetables (lots and lots of vegetables to bulk out each meal), some fruit, lower fat dairy products, beans, pulses, lentils etc. Avoid highly flavoured, salty or highly processed products completely if possible.

    The combination of protein, high fibre and low added sugar/fat should reduce the calorie density of what you eat and the avoidance of highly flavoured foods should help you avoid triggering your appetite.

    If necessary, reduce your eating times to only twice a day - and don't eat anything outside of those times. The body becomes entrained to set meal times and hunger should gradually reduce outside of those times.

    Good luck!

    Thank you!! I was really apprehensive to reach out again. The problems I've had were on different forums. I needed a place to cut to the chase and get REAL answers about what I need to do, not shaming about how I got here. I'm not going to defend what I'm doing at ALL! I have a goal, so I see myself as the STUDENT. I want this so bad I can taste it. To have what you've never had, you must do what you've never done, period. You have to be willing to change, and I'm willing to do that.

    I love your suggestion about highly flavored foods! I'm a Southern girl, where flavored food reigns, so it's almost in my blood, but that makes TOTAL sense. The more you stimulate your palate, the more likely you are to overeat. The other responder suggested a 500 calorie deficit, which matches up to the calculator I found in the sticky at the top of the forum. I also read the part of the sticky about setting up my macros. I'm going to make the calorie and macro changes in my mealplanning site and be ready to roll tomorrow.

    With calories being lowered and not having as much energy, what do you suggest for fat-loss workouts? I switched to 3 cardio days and 1 strength training day two weeks ago. Should I stick with that? Finally -- thank you, thank you, thank you for the help.
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  10. #10
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Your exercise regimen is most likely fine. If you were closer to your fat loss goal I would say do more strength training because it becomes more likely that dieting causes muscle loss as you get leaner. But as of right now, it's just important to do any exercise that you like and can stay with. Other than that, it sounds like you are on the right track.
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  11. #11
    Registered User OvercomerGirl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by air2fakie View Post
    I don't disagree with the advice of the posters above, but I disagree with any idea in your head that you're doing things "wrong". You've lost about 60 lbs in 3 years, you're getting healthier, you're gaining muscle and you look better. This type of consistency and dedication is the opposite of typical wheel spinning you see from many people looking to lose weight or gain muscle.

    Sure, try to make improvements to lose weight more efficiently. But if at the current pace it takes you 3 more years to get to your goal weight, that's still a win in my book. Especially since IMO people who lose weight steadily over time rather than through quick dieting tend to keep it off in the long run. Don't view progress as failure. Just my two cents.
    Thanks EVER so much for your encouragement!! You're SO right in that the three years were in NO way a waste. And if it takes three more years and I still get there, I've STILL won. Forty years of bad habits take a LONG time to correct. I've learned so much about myself in that time, have learned to recognize the negative thinking and beliefs that have caused me to give up, and instead live by some new truths. One of them being that THIS way of life is the way my life is SUPPOSED to be lived. THIS -- discipline -- is supposed to be the normal. It's not a diet at all. It's simply the way I'm supposed to live. Getting that through my head has helped me so much; I don't look at this change as temporary, and I don't fight the process. Hopefully, the next 30-40 years -- God willing -- will be lived in the way it should have been lived all along.

    My reference to wondering if I was doing something wrong was really more about the last year. I go to a private gym owned by an exercise physiologist, and he's phenomenal when it comes to exercise, but he doesn't provide much diet guidance. So, it's the last year where I've found myself floundering without as much progress toward my goal. Beginning the carb cycling was my effort to find something to get me the rest of the way. But I've only lost 6 pounds, while I have friends who have lost 30 since January. I am absolutely elated at the overall changes in my body over the last three years! It's just that I haven't seen a whole lot recently, while I'm watching friends have faster and more recent movement. Thus, I wondered if I'm not doing something correctly for it to take this long. But I also acknowledged that I might not be doing anything wrong at all, and my journey is just my own! So, part of the reason for my post was to help me get another perspective on my progress and how to move forward than just what's in my head, and ALL of you have helped me achieve that!

    Sorry for the confusion; it took a while to figure out how to get my posts to show up....I had to keep shortening them, so some details were cut out for the sake of getting them to post! :/
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  12. #12
    I'm huge in Japan! xsquid99's Avatar
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    You're on the right track, but your calories are just a bit too high to see significant weight loss. For a 5'6" female you should probably be in the 1800-2000 zone consistently for weight loss, and I would definitely throw out the "carb cycling" as it unnecessarily complicates things. Its quite possible that even with accurate tracking you're still eating a bit more than you think, because food labels only need to be correct within 20%, so even if you're weighing everything meticulously what you think is 2300 calories could very well be 2600 calories or more.

    I would lower to 2000 calories for 3 weeks, no carb cycling, just try to eat a fairly consistent 2000 calories (+/- 100 or so) and see how that feels and see what kind of weight loss you see. If you're able to lose at least 1-2 lbs a week then you're right in the zone.

    The other thing you can do if you have a fairly sedentary lifestyle outside of the gym is to just incorporate some walking. I wake up in the morning and immediately get out of bed and take my dogs for a 45 minute walk. When I get home in the evening they get another 1 hour walk, and this is in addition to my 1:15 of gym time 5-6 days a week.
    All it takes is consistency, effort, proper nutrition, good programming, and TIME.
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  13. #13
    Registered User EiFit91's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    Congrats on staying with it. This is a serious forum so if anyone gives you any grief, drop me a private message. I don't read every post but I do take action against trolls if I know they are there. Most people here should give you genuine advice but be open to doing something different to what you did before. Too often people complain of lack of progress but then argue endlessly about changing anything they are doing ... hopefully you can see the futility of that.

    From reading your story it sounds like you need to reduce calories and accelerate the weight loss. Obviously this could come at the cost of strength performance in the gym and perhaps increased hunger.

    One suggestion I have is to stick to a somewhat restricted diet - where you only eat foods such as meat, eggs, vegetables (lots and lots of vegetables to bulk out each meal), some fruit, lower fat dairy products, beans, pulses, lentils etc. Avoid highly flavoured, salty or highly processed products completely if possible.

    The combination of protein, high fibre and low added sugar/fat should reduce the calorie density of what you eat and the avoidance of highly flavoured foods should help you avoid triggering your appetite.

    If necessary, reduce your eating times to only twice a day - and don't eat anything outside of those times. The body becomes entrained to set meal times and hunger should gradually reduce outside of those times.

    Good luck!
    I second this advice OP, I went from 230 lbs to 175 lbs on a very similar approach. Personally I am fine with 3 meals a day but I have big appetite increases from very sugary drinks/sweets and alcohol, so I try to completely avoid those while losing weight.

    If you find it difficult to always follow a restrictive diet over a long time period without any breaks, it's possible to be more restrictive on the weekdays and then slightly less restrictive on the weekends (so allow for some "snack" but only on weekends). It is very important to carefully track your calories and keep track of your average weekly calorie consumption, otherwise you may end up ruining your diet by relaxing it on weekends.

    I was also overweight/obese during my entire 20s and struggled for a long time with losing weight so I can definitely symphatize with your struggles.

    One thing those of us who have big appetites and have struggled with weight loss need to realize is that when you have dieted down to a healthy weight, you need to take the "maintenance" part as seriously as the weight loss part. Research shows that a very small minority of dieters manage to keep their weight down. Some may tell you this and say it's futile to lose weight, but I would recommend ignoring those people. I think weight regain can be avoided as long as you keep weighing yourself regularly, tracking your calories and keep similar diet habits once you have lost weight. The main reason why people regain weight is probably that they stop with the good habits after losing weight and then leave things to their natural appetite, which caused their weight problems in the first place...
    Last edited by EiFit91; 04-21-2021 at 10:27 PM.
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  14. #14
    Registered User OvercomerGirl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by xsquid99 View Post
    You're on the right track, but your calories are just a bit too high to see significant weight loss. For a 5'6" female you should probably be in the 1800-2000 zone consistently for weight loss, and I would definitely throw out the "carb cycling" as it unnecessarily complicates things. Its quite possible that even with accurate tracking you're still eating a bit more than you think, because food labels only need to be correct within 20%, so even if you're weighing everything meticulously what you think is 2300 calories could very well be 2600 calories or more.

    I would lower to 2000 calories for 3 weeks, no carb cycling, just try to eat a fairly consistent 2000 calories (+/- 100 or so) and see how that feels and see what kind of weight loss you see. If you're able to lose at least 1-2 lbs a week then you're right in the zone.

    The other thing you can do if you have a fairly sedentary lifestyle outside of the gym is to just incorporate some walking. I wake up in the morning and immediately get out of bed and take my dogs for a 45 minute walk. When I get home in the evening they get another 1 hour walk, and this is in addition to my 1:15 of gym time 5-6 days a week.
    Thanks so much for this! I started the 2000 calories yesterday -- I actually only got in 1600....it was a crazy day!! -- but I'm already on track for today and following my meal plan with my macro percentages/grams and will be heading to the gym shortly. I do weigh my food; the thing I love about Eat This Much is that it gives me the number of grams per item in each recipe, so I know how much to eat, but I hadn't thought about the 20% leeway on food labels possibly adding a factor to it as well. I hope lowering my calories won't affect my bursitis in my right thigh. For the last year, it's hurt ALL the time, hurt going up/down stairs, getting up/sitting down. It's like having second-day muscle soreness in your thigh perpetually. A few days after increasing my carbs, I suddenly noticed my thigh didn't hurt anymore . . . weird. Don't know what the correlation was, but it's felt great. If it comes back, I'm willing to put up with it to get my weight down, though, if that's what has to be. Can't have it all!
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  15. #15
    Registered User OvercomerGirl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by EiFit91 View Post
    I second this advice OP, I went from 230 lbs to 175 lbs on a very similar approach. Personally I am fine with 3 meals a day but I have big appetite increases from very sugary drinks/sweets and alcohol, so I try to completely avoid those while losing weight.

    If you find it difficult to always follow a restrictive diet over a long time period without any breaks, it's possible to be more restrictive on the weekdays and then slightly less restrictive on the weekends (so allow for some "snack" but only on weekends). It is very important to carefully track your calories and keep track of your average weekly calorie consumption, otherwise you may end up ruining your diet by relaxing it on weekends.

    I was also overweight/obese during my entire 20s and struggled for a long time with losing weight so I can definitely symphatize with your struggles.

    One thing those of us who have big appetites and have struggled with weight loss need to realize is that when you have dieted down to a healthy weight, you need to take the "maintenance" part as seriously as the weight loss part. Research shows that a very small minority of dieters manage to keep their weight down. Some may tell you this and say it's futile to lose weight, but I would recommend ignoring those people. I think weight regain can be avoided as long as you keep weighing yourself regularly, tracking your calories and keep similar diet habits once you have lost weight. The main reason why people regain weight is probably that they stop with the good habits after losing weight and then leave things to their natural appetite, which caused their weight problems in the first place...
    Thank you for this! I use Eat This Much, which helps me plan my meals a week ahead. I print them out and hang them on my fridge and stick to it. It really helps keep me on track. I have found it easier than remembering to track my foods in an app! :/

    Absolutely! I agree with you 100%! I know and have accepted that this is never going to end. It's not temporary. Food addiction is always going to be with me, and I'm going to have to battle it until the day I die. It feels unfair at times, but everyone's got a struggle, and mine is what it is. But as I told one of the other posters, I've learned to live by some new truths. One of them being that discipline is the way my life is **SUPPOSED** to be lived. I came to realize that I hated living disciplined with my food and exercising because I saw it as an interruption to my life. But the reality is that discipline and exercise is supposed to be the normal! I've related it to the balance of work and vacation. Going to work every day takes a disciplined life. And vacations aren't wrong. We need them. We can't get the two backwards. I lived my life on vacation for decades, so I saw disciplined eating as the interruption to my life. When I remind myself that the way I'm living now is the way I'm supposed to live, I don't fight the process. Strangely . . . that thought actually makes me relax and stay with it. Getting that through my head has helped me so much. Hopefully, the next 30-40 years -- God willing -- will be lived in the way it should have been lived all along. Thank you for sharing your journey!! I hope to be where you are one day sooner rather than later!
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    So great advice in this thread so far.

    Carb cycling is a waste of time, will over complicate the diet and that could and only most cases leads to people giving up.

    I noticed you mentioned 3 times that you think not eating enough calories preventing you from losing weight. And well it doesn’t work like that. There is no way if your deficit was say too low or a 1,000 calories you wouldn’t be losing weight.

    I also agree 1800-2000 calories should be a good starting off point with 140 grams minimum of protein and 60 minimum grams of fat. As for cardio try to get in at least 3 walking miles a day. Doing daily cardio and then weight training 2-3 times a week is a good routine to just get in. Getting active on the weekends can also be really helpful like going on a hike or picking up a sport.

    The best way to make sure your counting calories right is to not eat out, buy whole foods like eggs, meats, fruits, veggies, rices, oats, milk (not processed and weigh them out) it kinda sucks but can give you the best idea and track everything. If you were eating 1600 calories a day and not losing weight, you were counting calories incorrectly

    Keep it up!
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    Originally Posted by snailsrus View Post
    So great advice in this thread so far.

    Carb cycling is a waste of time, will over complicate the diet and that could and only most cases leads to people giving up.

    I noticed you mentioned 3 times that you think not eating enough calories preventing you from losing weight. And well it doesn’t work like that. There is no way if your deficit was say too low or a 1,000 calories you wouldn’t be losing weight.

    I also agree 1800-2000 calories should be a good starting off point with 140 grams minimum of protein and 60 minimum grams of fat. As for cardio try to get in at least 3 walking miles a day. Doing daily cardio and then weight training 2-3 times a week is a good routine to just get in. Getting active on the weekends can also be really helpful like going on a hike or picking up a sport.

    The best way to make sure your counting calories right is to not eat out, buy whole foods like eggs, meats, fruits, veggies, rices, oats, milk (not processed and weigh them out) it kinda sucks but can give you the best idea and track everything. If you were eating 1600 calories a day and not losing weight, you were counting calories incorrectly

    Keep it up!
    not to nitpick on the post, but isn't 140 grams of protein minimum a bit too much for OP? surely 140 grams is fine too and probably better for staying full, but maybe the minimum is more like 100 grams for her?
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    Originally Posted by faithbrah View Post
    not to nitpick on the post, but isn't 140 grams of protein minimum a bit too much for OP? surely 140 grams is fine too and probably better for staying full, but maybe the minimum is more like 100 grams for her?
    I was thinking better for staying full. 100 would probably be fine I am not so sure for strength/muscle growth while losing at 100 g a day but again not sure
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  19. #19
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    Originally Posted by snailsrus View Post
    So great advice in this thread so far.

    I noticed you mentioned 3 times that you think not eating enough calories preventing you from losing weight. And well it doesn’t work like that. There is no way if your deficit was say too low or a 1,000 calories you wouldn’t be losing weight.

    Keep it up!
    Thanks so much for this! More great information, and it's SO appreciated!! I sincerely appreciate the guidance encouragement! Unfortunately, I really did have an issue where I was eating 1000 calories (actually less than that) and wasn't losing. What I haven't shared is that over 12 years ago, I had gastric bypass. I lost steadily for 3 months and then nothing. No inches. No pounds. I got up every morning for months and weighed (you don't look for results if you're not doing something to warrant them), hoping, hoping, hoping every day that I'd see the scale drop, and every day being disappointed. Weight loss is both reward and motivation. I was obsessed. I was so afraid that if I didn't get the results, I was going to give up because, at that time, weight loss was the reward that kept me doing what I was doing. It's the reward that makes the work worth the sacrifice.

    I *felt* great! I could run 45 minutes on the treadmill without stopping. I amazed myself physically! But I could never get below 232 without dropping my calories even more...to 700. That's the only time I'd see the scale move. At that point, I realized something was really wrong, and that's where I drew the line. If I dropped to 700, what was I supposed to do when I stopped losing again? Drop to 600??

    But the most painful part about all of that was that no one believed me. I still have the diaries with my personal thoughts, heartbreak, weights and food logs. I have them but can't read them; it takes me back to a really sad place, and it's actually hard to even talk about this. I couldn't get help because no one could get past me telling them that I wasn't losing. You can't get help if the person you're going to for help thinks you're either a) lying or b) deceiving yourself. That's one of the absolute loneliest places in the world. I came out of that surgery with a PASSION to be the poster child for gastric bypass! I was SO angry that I'd spent 6 months in a class learning about gastric bypass (qualification for surgery) and had had myself cut open only to find myself stuck. I was angry with my body; I felt like it had betrayed me. I was despondent. I was depressed. And worse, when I needed help so that I COULD succeed, I found myself marginalized and alone because no one believed me.

    I drove over an hour to see the Southern California regional director of the bariatric program twice. I went to a dietitian recommended by both my surgeon and the bariatric program. I was eating 800-900 calories a day, and I brought them my food logs with arms outstretched, begging, "Please . . . tell me what to do!" Finally, after I went back to my surgeon a third time -- this time with my husband -- I couldn't take it anymore and started sobbing. When I finally settled down, he quietly looked me in the eye and said, "I think it's your metabolism." He didn't explain himself, and I didn't get any direction on where to go from there, but just the idea that someone believed me gave me a glimmer of hope, even if he didn't have all the answers. I didn't feel like such a criminal anymore.

    Last month, my college roommate from 25 years ago was flying through LA on her way to Hawaii, so I drove down to meet her. Over dinner, she told me she'd had bariatric surgery a year ago. Even though I hadn't thought about that time in my life for a long time, as she talked, I wanted to cry; it was like hearing my own story. She lost 10 pounds a month for 3 months and then nothing. She's currently eating 1000 calories a day and hasn't lost anything in a year. She, however, has gotten so desperate that she's asked her doctor to prescribe weight loss meds. It was a relief to finally . . . finally . . . talk to someone who was living my past reality.

    I finally just quit. I quit trying. I quit taking care of myself with the vitamins I was supposed to take. In some warped way, I felt like if my body wasn't going to do what everyone said it was supposed to, then why should I put the effort into taking care of it? It's actually really hard to tell this story because not only does it take me back to a place that I really don't care to go, emotionally, but it's scary because I'm very aware that it makes me vulnerable yet again; posting this puts me squarely back in the line of fire and makes my story the target of debate...

    That being what it is, no matter how unfair it felt or how angry I was, it's OVER. It's in the past, and I don't live at that address anymore. I moved from allowing myself to be a victim of my circumstances, to deciding to be an overcomer three years ago. If anything was going to change, it was going to start with me. I finally found the courage to pick myself back up, to start again, go it on my own for as long as I could, and . . . with this post . . . finally decide to trust people with my story and timidly reach out for help to succeed. *I* had to tell ME: "No! You're not going to accept defeat. You're going to figure out what it takes to get you there." I show up for myself now. Every breath at the gym, to me, is the sound of surviving.
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