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4 months in, feeling unsure...
09-25-2015, 03:55 PM
Post: #1
4 months in, feeling unsure...
Hi everyone. I'm new to posting on the site, but I started my metabolism reset mid-May.

I am 37, 5'2", and currently 165lbs, which is the highest I have ever been.

Pre-EM2WL Background: In 2003 I started lifting heavy and cutting carbs. I was around 125lbs then. I did a bulk and then cut again in 2005, getting down to 117, best shape of my life, carb-cycling. I ate 1200 2x week, 1500 3x week and 1900 2x week.

After that I averaged about 1500-1900/ day, VLC (less than 50g/day) for a few years, and then I dropped down to 1200-1500 per day until 2011. My weight stayed between 125-135 during this time. In 2011 I dropped down to 1100 on the advice of a trainer and was closer to 125 again. I then maintained at about 1200-1500 again. Still low carb. I continue to lift heavy throughout all of this, three times a week.

In 2013 I found gokaleo, and I upped my carbs and calories to about 1800, and put on about 20 lbs, mostly in my belly. This freaked me out, and I dropped back down to 1200 - 1500 cal and low carb. The weight didn't move, and in March of this year, I tightened up the quality of my diet and increased metabolic training, and dropped some of the extra weight, getting down to 140.

In May I found this site and rediscovered gokaleo and decided to do a metabolism reset. During this time I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto's hypothyroidism.

My Reset: I started by immediately jumping to 1900 cal per day. I took a few weeks off from the gym. I then went up 100 cal every week, because my TDEE was estimated at somewhere between 2300 and 2600 per day. 2600 would definitely be workout days, as I am not all that active on the other days. I live in a driving city, and I spend a good deal of time sitting, or laying down.

I got a Fitbit so I could better track TDEE, but the Fitbit almost always gave me sub-2000 numbers. I changed my gender to male, since I have more muscle than the average female, and that gave me numbers closer to recommended calorie calculators'.

I was at 2500, but felt that my weight was slowly creeping up continually -I was now at 155, which was 15lbs higher than my largest BEFORE 2003. I dropped to 2400 thinking that must be my TDEE, but the scale continued to climb. So I dropped down to 2300 and it looked to be stabilizing at about 160. I just got back from a week in Europe where I walked 15000-25000 steps per day, and didn't track food, but probably ate between 2000-3000/day and I got home to find I had gained 5lbs in that week, putting me at 165.

I don't know what that means, but I am feeling pretty frustrated with the process right now. I feel like 125/130 is a great weight for me, and when I started this journey I was about 10lbs heavier than that. And now in 4 months I am 35-40lbs heavier and I have never had that much fat to lose in my life. I literally have rolls of fat on my back and I feel like it is harder to not start cutting already. I don't expect to drop down to 1200, by any means, but I do feel a pull to drop to 2000 and restrict the carbs to just around workouts and see what happens, because I am about 5lbs away from not wanting to leave the house. I like eating cookies and bread, but not as much as I liked feeling comfortable in my own body.

I apologize for making my first post be so whiny, but that's where I am right now.

I feel like 2400 and even 2300 are too high, since my weight does not plateau, only continues to climb steadily. I have tried holding steady at each of those numbers, with steady gains over the course of several weeks. I am thinking I should drop down to 2200 and see if my weight stabilizes or drops, because maybe 2200 is my TDEE and I have just been overeating since June when I first got 2400? I don't know. I feel like all I have done is needlessly pack on 30lbs.
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09-26-2015, 03:28 PM
Post: #2
RE: 4 months in, feeling unsure...
First of all, welcome! So glad you have found us over here and have started trying to determine your TDEE.

I totally understand your frustration at this point, so let's see if we can troubleshoot things... First of all, I would not worry about the weight gain after your trip to Europe. That fast weight gain was almost certainly just water weight and will probably disappear over the next week as you return to a normal eating pattern and schedule. And definitely don't go the low carb route ... you will definitely drop about 5 pounds initially, but it will be 100% water weight. What we need to do is determine your TDEE. Have you read our Metabolism Reset Guide? If not, definitely recommended reading and you can find it on our Home Page under the Start Here tab.

What are you doing in terms of your workouts? And, when you ran your numbers through a calculator what activity level did you use?

What I would do to begin with is: reset your FitBit using the female setting and see what kind of numbers you are getting. There is always a chance that if you "spend a good deal of time sitting, or laying down" that those numbers may be closer to reality. If you are seeing slow steady gains at 2300 and 2400, there is nothing wrong with dropping down to 2200 to see if things stabilize (just don't drop carbs at the same time because that would definitely result in a water weight loss, and you would not have a true idea of how your body was reacting to the intake adjustment...) Just change one thing at a time and make sure you are giving it enough time (like 4 weeks) to see how your body reacts.

Before you start cutting, you definitely want to determine your TDEE first so that you have a starting number off of which you will take that 10 - 15% cut. I know you are discouraged, but all of this experimentation has just been getting your metabolism revved up, so it's certainly not wasted time...

Looking forward to hearing back from you and hearing more about your progress...

Anitra Soto
Team EM2WL
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer
ISSA Certified Specialist in Senior Fitness

My EM2WL Journey: http://eatmore2weighless.com/never-too-old-anitra/
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09-26-2015, 04:52 PM
Post: #3
RE: 4 months in, feeling unsure...
Hi!

Thank you so much for responding to my post. And thank you for the words of encouragement.

I have read the metabolism reset guide as well as most of the other articles and forum posts on the site.

Workouts are basically the same as they've been for the most part for the last decade, which is lifting weights 30-60m, three times a week. I lift heavy (250# deadlift, 185-200# squats and 100# bench for 6-10 reps) although this week I figure I should focus on slightly lighter weights with more volume to take advantage of the extra calories. There is the occasional yoga, but that would be once a week at the most right now.

When I used the online calculators I would either put low (non-workout days) or moderate (workout days) activity levels. I just reset the fitbit so that it says that I am female, and my calorie expenditures are seriously all over the place for the last month (NOT counting Europe week, because that was not accurate as daily activity), with the lowest being 1707 (2465 steps), and the highest being 2734 (12615 steps). My average is probably 7-8k steps, but of course, floors climbed and workouts add calories, so trying to figure out a true TDEE is so frustrating. Blurgh.

I will try dipping to 2200 for a few weeks, without changing anything else. However, I was about to start arial yoga classes (wheeee!) and would most likely be doing that 2-3/week... Do you think I should eat 2300 those days and 2200 the rest? Should I be eating 2200 on rest days and 2400 on gym days? Or should I just hold 2200 for a few weeks no matter what? So many variables. <shakes fist at sky>
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09-26-2015, 08:31 PM
Post: #4
RE: 4 months in, feeling unsure...
Personally, I prefer having the same caloric goal every day, but many people choose to eat more on workout days and less on rest days. I find that when I do this that I find myself missing those calories on my rest days, so I simply prefer to keep the same target each day and if I am really hungry after a hard workout, then I will just allow myself to eat a bit more that day.

As far as the Fitbit, does it e-mail you your weekly summary with averages? I would go by those averages get a starting point in determining your TDEE. I know you said your lows were 1700 and highs 2700, but what are you getting for averages over the course of a week or a month? I would work off of the averages and not stress about the day to day ups and downs. One caveat here::: I have *no idea* how the Fitbit is going to gauge that aerial yoga.... That might be interesting to see how it interprets that activity.

Awesome job on the strength training - impressive numbers! Are you/have you been doing some type of a periodized program?

Whatever you decide to do calorie wise, just pick a number and stay consistent for at least a month. Consistency really is key, especially during this phase where you are trying to figure out your numbers.... If you have those Fitbit averages, let us know what those have been running.

Anitra Soto
Team EM2WL
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer
ISSA Certified Specialist in Senior Fitness

My EM2WL Journey: http://eatmore2weighless.com/never-too-old-anitra/
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09-27-2015, 11:09 AM
Post: #5
RE: 4 months in, feeling unsure...
I'm not sure if one receives averages in the Fitbit emails, as I've already deleted them, but I averaged the last few weeks (again, excluding vacation) and my newly adjusted Fitbit says that I am burning 2200... so I think it's safe to go ahead and aim for that number everyday.

As far as weights go, I have not done a structured periodization, but I do change things up every 6-8 weeks, sometimes heavier and 4-6 rep ranges, sometimes lighter 10-12 reps, and then back to 8ish range. I also mix it up between full-body and splits. Prior to the reset, I would also throw in metabolic training or HIIT from time to time.
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09-27-2015, 11:20 AM
Post: #6
RE: 4 months in, feeling unsure...
Yeah I get weekly e-mails from Fitbit with my total steps, calories burned and weekly averages.

Sounds like you are on the right track! It's certainly worth a shot going to 2200 and seeing how your body responds. The good thing about what we are doing here is that nothing is irreversible. It's all just tweaking the numbers and making adjustments as needed...

Anitra Soto
Team EM2WL
ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer
ISSA Certified Specialist in Senior Fitness

My EM2WL Journey: http://eatmore2weighless.com/never-too-old-anitra/
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