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Finally Teachertoo's journal
11-11-2016, 02:24 PM
Post: #1
Finally Teachertoo's journal
Trying to get some help and advice and I finally realized that maybe this is the place to get some help. ;-)

Good morning EM2WL community, (warning long post but in need of analysis)

I feel the need to post here again and ask for clarification on what my next steps should be. I know that Emma gave me good advice (thank you!) last week to stick it out at this level for a month before making a decision. I want to post a thorough summary of my entire journey (for me to process) and also to see also if there is anything I might be missing that you all can point out to me. :-) (A lot of my questions have been posted in the "welcome" section of the forums, but I just realized there are journals. ;-))

I am 37 years old, 6'0" tall, and my current weight (today) is 177.2lbs. Starting weight on the day this journey began was 160 lbs. I have been lifting heavy since 7-18-16 3 times a week. I do Schuler and Cosgrove's "Strong" program in their new book. I do about 10 minutes if interval work after each workout.

I started upping my calories on 6/26/16 after finding this site. I jumped right up to 1963 that day (I am not sure exactly how long I had been eating low calorie-it was never intentional. For about one month before starting this journey I was set on MFP at 1450, but some days during that month I would get maybe 1100 calories. Prior to that it was 3 months of 1800 (going over that some days) while I was doing p90x3 and I didn't lose any weight). Prior to April 2016 (when I started p90x3), I do not know how much I ate on a given day. I was very strict paleo and not losing any of the last bit of body fat that I wanted to lose and I also wasn't developing the muscle that I wanted to see. I had eaten paleo style for 5 years prior to this maintaining my weight of 155 lbs for 5 plus years. I never counted calories and I was an avid runner, running 3-4 days a week.

I have been a carb conscious eater since 2003. I did Atkins in 2003 and lost 30 lbs VERY quickly. I never regained this weight (until my first pregnancy in 2008) and I gained 60-70 lbs. Probably because I was then eating ALL the carbs (because they made me feel better). After the baby I tried low carb again in 2009 but couldn't lose a drop!! It just didn't work for me. So I ate healthy carbs, whole grains etc and eventually lost some weight when I started running. And then I got pregnant with baby #2 in 2010. I did not gain as much this time (only 40lbs). Probably because I hadn't been strict low carb when I got pregnant. After having this baby in 2011, I found whole food style eating and became very aware of the foods I did not want my family to consume on a regular basis. I also went dairy free because baby's colic was much better when I cut out dairy while nursing. I lost all the baby weight this time around very quickly because I started running at 6 weeks postpartum, and I cut out ALL dairy and was only eating whole, unprocessed food. So we went paleo sometime in 2011. I lost another 20 lbs of stubborn weight that I hadn't lost since before the first pregnancy. I was very happy with my clothes and the way my body looked. I felt good running and my confidence was high. When I had a big event coming up, I would be really strict. I ate (what I thought were) healthy carbs- tons of fruit, veggies, sweet potatoes and squash. I did not eat any grain unless I was "cheating". Even with the confidence, I still saw my "problem areas" in the mirror and wished I could have more "toned" abs or "sculpted" arms. ;-)

Fast forward to 2016. My husband and I started P90x3 in April because we wanted to cross-train for a half-marathon in June and we wanted all the results promised by the Beach Body people. Needless to say, my before and afters look basically IDENTICAL. I was so frustrated. I started in April at 157 and ended in June at about 157. Then my research began and I came across this site.

Here are my weight/calorie stats to the best of my ability and according to Happy Scale: Also, these are amounts that I entered into MFP, but I didn't ALWAYS enter everything I ate but I would mentally add up for what my calorie goals were at the time. I tried to be as accurate as possible.

June: gained 1.7 lbs in 5 days. I really had no calorie aim goal at the time. I just knew my TDEE was 2187 for my height and weight. I ate 1963, 2419, 2202, 2673, 2223 for those 5 days.

July: gained 5.2 lbs in 31 days. I think I was aiming to eat at 2200/2300. I ate 2350, 2311, 2831, 2447, 2383, 2379, 2281, 2340, 2174, 2137, 2187, 2460, 2215, 2109, 2200, 2206 in July. I did not keep exact track on all days because we took two camping trips during that month but I made sure I was eating over 2100 each day so I wouldn't trick my body.

August: gained 1.5 lbs in 31 days. (I am a teacher so I went back to work here so my activity level changed a bit.) I also did not keep track on MFP but I knew each day to not eat less than 2100 so I wouldn't take two steps backward in this journey (I have no idea why thats the number I focused on.) I ate 2134, 2389, 2321, 2100, 2155, 2170, 2212, 2309.

September: gained 4 lbs in 30 days. I was aiming to eat at 2500- so the days where it was less, I probably had another little something to get me to 2500 and I didn't record it. I ate 2240, 2427, 2419, 2542, 2344, 2324, 2356, 2446, 2400, 2360, 2487, 2451, 2507, 2456, 2338, 2367, 2575, 2514, 2440, 2508

October: gained 2.2 lbs in 31 days. I was 2300 for about a week and then aimed to be at 2400. I ate 2385, 2491, 2442, 2310, 2188, 2549, 2932 (yikes!), 2229, 2209, 2300, 2467, 2408, 2300, 2485, 2334, 2273, 2360, 2336, 2440, 2636, 2324, 2337

November: gained 1.3 lbs in 11 days. I've been aiming to eat at 2400 like was suggested to me and I wanted to stay in reset if I am in fact in reset. I didn't want to delay that.


Bottom line, I am sooooooo tired of gaining weight. I feel like every time I think I have a handle on this whole process, I get another curve ball and I am confused again. I kept at 2400 for the last 4 weeks and I think that might be too high or my metabolism is still slow. Either way, I feel like my lower belly looks bloated all the time! I don't know if it is the increase in eating grains or what. I still don't eat dairy and I still really believe in a paleo lifestyle. I am, however, trying to meet my macros everyday but I usuallly can only get about 150 g of protein a day.

If you stuck with me and read all of this to the end, THANK YOU! I think I will post this in the journal section also if that's ok?? But if you have any tips, advice or plan to help me level off that would be great!

Finally, how much weight gain is attributed ti muscle gain?? If I am lifting heavy, are all gains fat? I don't know how to figure this out.
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11-11-2016, 03:00 PM (This post was last modified: 11-11-2016 03:00 PM by West.)
Post: #2
RE: Finally Teachertoo's journal
Although the scale didn't budge when you did P90X3 did your measurements change?

During the reset it's important to track everyday and as accurately as possible, not entering everything even if you mentally added it can lead to big discrepancies especially if you estimated/ didn't weigh. Think you need to nail down your tracking. Your on the right lines - as it is about the avg overall not just one day.

To your question at the end about distinguishing muscle gains from fat gains? Tape measure and pics are your best friend not the scale.
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11-11-2016, 03:09 PM
Post: #3
RE: Finally Teachertoo's journal
Hi, I'm glad you started a journal...will be reallly helpful for you to refer back to. I'm sure there are some moderators or those with more experience with lifting heavy (which I have not gotten to yet) who can address your technical questions, but hopefully I can help you come up with a plan to help you figure this out. In reading through your summary, it doesn't come across as if you were especially methodical about your approach. Honestly, I think in these first stages of finding and confirming TDEE that's what you need. And what was your thought process for increasing calories? Did you just do it haphazardly? Did you allow your weight to stabilize before increasing? You also said "Also, these are amounts that I entered into MFP, but I didn't ALWAYS enter everything I ate but I would mentally add up for what my calorie goals were at the time. I tried to be as accurate as possible." It's really easy unless we have a LOT of practice over a long period of time to underestimate what we're eating....

Having been one of those who took (and is still taking) the turtle approach to reaching TDEE, hopefully I can help you with your questions. I plugged the following into the calculator: 37 year old female, 6'0", 177 pounds. That gave me results of BMR = 1583 calories, TDEE with light activity = 2176 calories, TDEE with moderate activity = 2453 calories. According to your figures, you're eating well over BMR. That's the first step and you've already surpassed that. Congratulation! You never want to go below that. Based on your activity level, I think you're much more moderate than light, so somewhere around 2500 is closer to your TDEE that you will work towards confirming, slowly and methodically.

Anyway, in my journey, what I did was just follow the Metabolic Reset Guide, and that's my recommendation to you. From my own journey, I can say that those directions are really pretty accurate:

"As you are going through the process, gradually increasing your daily caloric intake 100 calories a week, keep an eye on the scale. Generally, as you make these increases, you may see the scale jump up a pound or two, and then during the course of the week, it will generally trend back downwards, often ending up right back where you started, pre-increase. As you get closer and closer to your calculated TDEE, you may find that it takes a bit longer for your weight to stabilize and drop back down. At this point, if you find that happening, you may want to take it a bit slower. Then if your weight has not stabilized and dropped back down by the end of the week, wait until it does before making any further increases.

Once you are at or near your calculated TDEE, watch for slow and steady increases on the scale which do not stabilize over time. If you do start seeing gains like this, you have most likely surpassed your TDEE, and which point you can back down on your intake by 100 calories or so and you should be right there — at your true TDEE."

When it says "If your weight has not stabilized and dropped back down by the end of the week, wait until it does before making any further increases" and "watch for slow and steady increases on the scale which do not stabilize over time"...the operative words wait and time = about 4-6 weeks between adjustments, which was (and continues to be) a real mental struggle for me since I was used to the pretty regular, 100 calorie weekly increases. It took me about 12 weeks to increase my calories from 1500 to 2500. I'm currently in week 14 of confirming TDEE, bouncing from 2500 (1 week) to 2600 (2 weeks) to 2700 (4 weeks) to 2600 (5 weeks) to 2575 (1 week) to 2575-2600?? this week, so the second part is actually taking longer than the first part. And it was hard to see the increase for a part of that time (184 pounds to 187.5 pounds) after even seeing some slight losses during the previous 12 weeks...and now no loss...even though that is the definition of TDEE.

Also, don't be too tied to the calculator...Just go based on what you observe. You may find that 2176 or 2453 is below what your confirmed TDEE is. Don't try to convince yourself otherwise...I did that around 2300 calories and lost several weeks when I could have been increasing calories. Also, you may hit plateaus where you hold steady...but if you don't hit that slow, steady increase, you're not at TDEE. And slow, steady may be a trend line of .1 or .2 pounds a week.

Can you post your chart from Happy Scale? What is it saying? If you have a computer, maybe try TrendWeight. I don't use HappyScale (don't have apple), so don't know all its ins and out, but I do know with TrendWeight, I can change the start date for its calculations...so when I change my calorie intake, I can change the start date to that date and find that it is more accurate. If you have a fitbit and are logging your weight, TrendWeight will suck that data right in.

So, my advice is to really commit to methodically logging and measuring, at least for the time being. The more data points (i.e. daily weighing) you give the trend apps, the more accurate they are. The more you log, the better picture it gives of what you're actually ingesting. We all are working towards the day when we don't have to log everything, but I think it's crucial to begin with. Pick a calorie amount that you feel comfortable with...I'd say somewhere around 2100. And then start the process above. If after a week, you are at the same weight or lower, go ahead and increase 100 calories. Stay at that level until you stabilize, etc.

Be kind to yourself and know that you can do this and you will be a success. Be patient and take the time to do it right. You can read posts from so many who tried to work through this first part as quick as possible and when their cuts did not work, found themselves right back here, confirming TDEE.

Hope this helps and makes sense. Maybe refresh your memory and re-read the metabolic reset guide. I do it quite regularly just to motivate/encourage myself and see where I'm at in the process.
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11-14-2016, 02:08 AM
Post: #4
RE: Finally Teachertoo's journal
Ok....I FINALLY bought a food scale and used it today! That felt good, but I found that my portion sizes were pretty much right on with what my estimates had been. I will continue to use it and see what happens. My calories today (including a little splurge or Ben and Jerry's tonight) were 2318. I am going to try and stay at 2300 for the next month?? I am supposed to start my cycle in 2-3 days so I am a few pounds heavier than I've been all month.

How do I know when I have started reset?? Only when I know the exact TDEE, right? I feel a little depressed about that because I had given myself a timeline of a January cut. And I was excited to try and see some of the muscle I have been building to show through the layer of fat a little. Now that seems unlikely. Any encouragement?

Also, my measurements are going up so I know I am gaining fat along with the muscle. I don't see how that wouldn't happen with eating a surplus in calories, which is clearly what I am doing.

Finally, my Garmin that I wear daily gives me an average daily calorie burn of 2186.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate anyone taking the time to read this. :-)
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11-14-2016, 06:33 PM
Post: #5
RE: Finally Teachertoo's journal
(11-14-2016 02:08 AM)teachertoo Wrote:  Ok....I FINALLY bought a food scale and used it today! That felt good, but I found that my portion sizes were pretty much right on with what my estimates had been. I will continue to use it and see what happens. My calories today (including a little splurge or Ben and Jerry's tonight) were 2318. I am going to try and stay at 2300 for the next month?? I am supposed to start my cycle in 2-3 days so I am a few pounds heavier than I've been all month.

How do I know when I have started reset?? Only when I know the exact TDEE, right? I feel a little depressed about that because I had given myself a timeline of a January cut. And I was excited to try and see some of the muscle I have been building to show through the layer of fat a little. Now that seems unlikely. Any encouragement?

Also, my measurements are going up so I know I am gaining fat along with the muscle. I don't see how that wouldn't happen with eating a surplus in calories, which is clearly what I am doing.

Finally, my Garmin that I wear daily gives me an average daily calorie burn of 2186.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate anyone taking the time to read this. :-)

Hi teachertoo

I'm a teacher too! What do you teach? I teach people who would like to enter the early childhood sector. They have to be qualified to a Certificate III level before they can start working (or at least be studying it). So, I'm a teacher of teachers, in a way!

I can't help much because I'm at the same stage as you are with the TDEE search. I have total empathy for the frustration of having planned to cut in January. It's getting warmer here (I'm Australian) and I feel like a big ball of blubber! It won't stop me doing anything I like, but it's just sweatier and more uncomfortable with the inner-thigh sweating / rubbing etc.

I use Garmin also - a vivosmart (I think). My actual TDEE is much higher than the daily calorie burn that my Garmin gives me. I think it averages around 2000, while I am currently eating 2600 and may be overshooting TDEE a little bit.

I am finding this a long and frustrating process, however nothing else has worked long term, so fingers are crossed that this does! The hardest part is working through the frustration, I think!

All the best,
Annette (zana / noodle / netty ... woman of many nicknames!)
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11-15-2016, 08:14 AM
Post: #6
RE: Finally Teachertoo's journal
(11-14-2016 02:08 AM)teachertoo Wrote:  How do I know when I have started reset?? Only when I know the exact TDEE, right? I feel a little depressed about that because I had given myself a timeline of a January cut. And I was excited to try and see some of the muscle I have been building to show through the layer of fat a little. Now that seems unlikely. Any encouragement?

Also, my measurements are going up so I know I am gaining fat along with the muscle. I don't see how that wouldn't happen with eating a surplus in calories, which is clearly what I am doing.

Hannah has been very insightful above about finding TDEE, I'm sure her journal would be a good read for anyone starting out.

As for putting in placed /having the expectation a timeline will usually work against you. Slow down. It's not a race. Enjoy the moment, feeding your body right, getting some gains happy whilst finding TDEE and the reset. The reset is one thing you don't want to rush.

Measuremenst going up don't always mean your gaining fat! Topping up glycogen stores especially if they have been severely depleted will add size to the measure and weight to the scale.
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11-15-2016, 11:41 PM
Post: #7
RE: Finally Teachertoo's journal
(11-14-2016 06:33 PM)zanyzana66 Wrote:  
(11-14-2016 02:08 AM)teachertoo Wrote:  Ok....I FINALLY bought a food scale and used it today! That felt good, but I found that my portion sizes were pretty much right on with what my estimates had been. I will continue to use it and see what happens. My calories today (including a little splurge or Ben and Jerry's tonight) were 2318. I am going to try and stay at 2300 for the next month?? I am supposed to start my cycle in 2-3 days so I am a few pounds heavier than I've been all month.

How do I know when I have started reset?? Only when I know the exact TDEE, right? I feel a little depressed about that because I had given myself a timeline of a January cut. And I was excited to try and see some of the muscle I have been building to show through the layer of fat a little. Now that seems unlikely. Any encouragement?

Also, my measurements are going up so I know I am gaining fat along with the muscle. I don't see how that wouldn't happen with eating a surplus in calories, which is clearly what I am doing.

Finally, my Garmin that I wear daily gives me an average daily calorie burn of 2186.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate anyone taking the time to read this. :-)

Hi teachertoo

I'm a teacher too! What do you teach? I teach people who would like to enter the early childhood sector. They have to be qualified to a Certificate III level before they can start working (or at least be studying it). So, I'm a teacher of teachers, in a way!

I can't help much because I'm at the same stage as you are with the TDEE search. I have total empathy for the frustration of having planned to cut in January. It's getting warmer here (I'm Australian) and I feel like a big ball of blubber! It won't stop me doing anything I like, but it's just sweatier and more uncomfortable with the inner-thigh sweating / rubbing etc.

I use Garmin also - a vivosmart (I think). My actual TDEE is much higher than the daily calorie burn that my Garmin gives me. I think it averages around 2000, while I am currently eating 2600 and may be overshooting TDEE a little bit.

I am finding this a long and frustrating process, however nothing else has worked long term, so fingers are crossed that this does! The hardest part is working through the frustration, I think!

All the best,
Annette (zana / noodle / netty ... woman of many nicknames!)

Hi Annette! I teach elementary school, specifically 6th grade in the US. I totally appreciate your empathy with the TDEE situation. Cheers to hoping we find it soon! ;-)
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11-15-2016, 11:46 PM
Post: #8
RE: Finally Teachertoo's journal
(11-15-2016 08:14 AM)West Wrote:  
(11-14-2016 02:08 AM)teachertoo Wrote:  How do I know when I have started reset?? Only when I know the exact TDEE, right? I feel a little depressed about that because I had given myself a timeline of a January cut. And I was excited to try and see some of the muscle I have been building to show through the layer of fat a little. Now that seems unlikely. Any encouragement?

Also, my measurements are going up so I know I am gaining fat along with the muscle. I don't see how that wouldn't happen with eating a surplus in calories, which is clearly what I am doing.

Hannah has been very insightful above about finding TDEE, I'm sure her journal would be a good read for anyone starting out.

As for putting in placed /having the expectation a timeline will usually work against you. Slow down. It's not a race. Enjoy the moment, feeding your body right, getting some gains happy whilst finding TDEE and the reset. The reset is one thing you don't want to rush.

Measuremenst going up don't always mean your gaining fat! Topping up glycogen stores especially if they have been severely depleted will add size to the measure and weight to the scale.

Thank you for your reply and advice. I know I need to be more patient. I enjoy the eating, I just want my pants to fit better again. I am holding out hope that the weight I gained would be "temporary" like everyone told me on here....but I am wanting that to be a very quick turnaround. Logically, I understand that it isn't going to be as fast as I want it to be. I am definitely a perfectionist and a bit of a control freak, so when things feel chaotic and out of my control, I tend to panic and overanalyze. I am working on that, but I know I still have a lot of work to do. ;-)
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11-16-2016, 06:07 PM
Post: #9
RE: Finally Teachertoo's journal
Ignore the calendar and confirm your TDEE the first time around instead of rushing it and ending up right back at the same point six months from now. Really, when you think about it, what is so special about January or any other month? Our body doesn't care, it will take its own sweet time healing and the stress of worrying about an arbitrary date could actually set you back. I can empathize...this journey is a challenge, but one we can all meet.

I would stay at 2300 for the next month, but post an update each week and let us know what your weight and the trend apps are indicating as it is possible that some adjustment (up or down) might be indicated.

I am a Type AAAA, melancholy, perfectionist, control freak as well....nothing wrong with it, we just need to recognize we actually are not in control and learn to relax.
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11-16-2016, 08:41 PM
Post: #10
RE: Finally Teachertoo's journal
Don't rush a cut that is the worst thing you can do. How long have you been doing your rest for? I know it is so tempting to do a cute but most times it can make things harder and take longer!!!

My biggest mistake...2 times!!!

No old roads lead to new destinations.
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