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I want to believe...
01-31-2018, 10:27 PM
Post: #1
I want to believe...
First off, my apologies for such a long post. I've been trying to shorten it for ages, but I can't get it any shorter than this while still explaining my situation fully.

I started this most recent attempt to lose weight in August, 2013, when I was about 260. Using My Fitness Pal, I managed to lose about 60 lbs. in a year by cutting calories and doing cardio 4-5 days a week for 30-45 minutes a session. Looking back, I figure MFP had me at about a 30% reduction from TDEE. I had considered adding in strength training, but I wasn't mentally ready to join the local gym until I had lost some weight first. After I joined, I lost another 5 or so pounds, but eventually, the scale stopped moving. My measurements pretty much stopped changing, too, probably because I was down to 1450 calories a day, and I hadn't increased my calorie limit to accommodate the lifting I’d added in (not to mention the fact that I'd stuck a huge fork in my metabolism by employing such a big cut in calories for a year). In May, 2015, I decided to do a reset, which lasted about 6 months and resulted in a 32 lb. gain. I wasn't able to do a proper reset with heavy lifting all over, either, as I'd developed tendonitis, and I couldn't lift heavy up top without aggravating it. (I did some upper body lifting at home with lighter weights and resistance bands, though.) To complicate things even further, 2/3 of the way through the reset, my gym closed. My membership was transferred to another location, but as it wasn't very convenient to get to (and I need all the help I can get with working out), I didn't go very often, and I eventually quit; however, I continued to work out at home using DVDs, bands, light weights, and videos online that incorporated some bodyweight exercises.

After the reset, I cut calories by 10% for 8 weeks, then increased the cut to 15%. I essentially stayed the same. I can only guess that I wasn't tracking properly, though I try my best to track as accurately as possible. A new gym opened in the old one's location, and I joined about 2 months into the 15% cut (March, 2016). By then, I had had acupuncture and had gotten rid of the tendonitis, so I was able to start regaining upper body strength. I got frustrated and cut more so I could see the scale move again. My measurements changed, but not a whole lot. I treaded water for the next year or so while I tried to figure out what to do next.

In July, 2017, I did a two-week diet break to shake things up, and then I sought out a dietitian through work and explained my situation to her. Her first piece of advice was to cut calories even more. She told me to eat no more than 1450-1600 calories a day, do more cardio, and not to eat any of the calories I burned off. I was 222 at the time, so the daily limit she gave me was under my BMR. I was so upset, I could barely get off the phone without crying. I knew that couldn't be right. I decided to check my TDEE by having my stats done via BodPod. That confirmed the TDEE calculated on Scooby’s calculator. The dietitian who did the test also said to eat 1800 calories a day, but she recommended that I eat some of the exercise calories back. I still wasn't buying that limit, so I decided to do another reset, especially since I didn't have any chronic pain preventing me from lifting. It took about 5 weeks to get to maintenance, since I was already eating at about 2100 calories.

I just completed week 21 of the reset, and I decided to start cutting again, as well as what the rest of my strategy should be (i.e. how long to cut, when to do diet breaks, and when to do a bulk phase). This is my current routine:

Sa – 10 min. cardio as warm-up, 45 min. upper body lifting at gym, 20 min. moderate cardio (occasionally done as HIIT)

Su – 10 min. cardio as warm-up, 40 min. upper body lifting at gym, 20 min. moderate cardio (occasionally done as HIIT)

M – 5 min. warm-up, 40 min. of upper body lifting with Powerblocks, 20-30 min. of moderate cardio (occasionally done as HIIT)

T – 5 min. warm-up, 30 min. of lower body lifting with Powerblocks, 20-30 min. of moderate cardio

I don't currently do anything W-F, but I'm considering adding yoga or moderate cardio on Wednesday. Since I officially weigh in on Fridays, I use Thursday as a total rest day because I don’t want to do anything that will cause me to retain water ahead of the weigh-in.

I’m not always good about doing cardio, though according to the EM2WL (and Girls Gone Strong) philosophy, I shouldn’t be doing a ton of cardio. The scale has been moving up, if it moves at all. My measurements have all increased or stayed the same. My clothes are fitting more tightly. I try to eat as much protein as I can, but I very rarely come within 40 grams or less of my goal, which is roughly 180g/day. There are lots of times that I think that I'm the exception to the rule, and what works for so many others isn't going to work for me. All I have to keep me motivated are a slight rounding in my shoulders, a ridge of fat on my butt that's gone down, and the success stories I keep reading about other women who've made progress by eating more. There’s a guy at my local gym who commented a while back that I looked like I’d lost weight. I’m not sure if he’d say that these days, but that’s something else I cling to, too. There's a couple at my church who did some sort of expensive monitored diet program and had some pretty good success with it, but the husband is terrified of going off the diet and gaining anything back. I know that feeling, and I don't ever want to feel it again, but there is a small part of me that wants to go back to severely cutting calories. I haven’t had my thyroid or hormone levels checked recently, but there were no obvious issues when I last had them checked, which was when I was still basically treading water. I have a spreadsheet that shows my weight, if that would help. I’m currently at a daily goal of 2400 and have been for a week. That's only slightly under my reset limit of 2570, but it’s about a 15% cut from EM2WL’s TDEE. I'm trying to be patient, but since neither my weight, nor my measurements, are decreasing, and my clothes are fitting tighter, I'm having a hard time keeping the faith. Any advice or insight you may have to offer is welcomed.

Height: 5'5"
Weight: 242.2
Age: 42
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02-01-2018, 11:50 AM
Post: #2
RE: I want to believe...
No need for apologies!!!!! And kudos for not ignoring your guts when your were recommend eating below BMR. There's so much to talk about reading your post that I'm afraid I may leave stuff behind or to overwhelm you will all at once. So its best to just go by parts.

First, are you familiar with the concept of EM2WL phases? Probably you are, but if not here is the link to the newest blogpost:

Second, you are doing the right thing when you pay attention to your body changes, even if they seem small at first. The changes will show or appear in a certain order or in the spots we wish. Focusing on what is changing or improving rather that what is not is a great stepping stone.

Cardio is not a must. We always say "cardio for fun, weights to transform" because that's the reality. With weight you may not see huge burns on a fitbit as you may see with cardio, but the gain is much more. Be from afterburn effect, the look that more muscle gives you (you will look "toned", not just a slimmer version of yourself) or the metabolism increase. Besides all the other healthy benefits.

It's awful how certain programs and diets will truly open the gates for a disordered relationship with food. No one should ever live in fear that if they stop a certain diet they will regain all the weight. Actually, even if the stick to it, eventually the will regain, adaptation will happen and their bodies will rebel and they will need to eat even less and move even more just to try to maintain. If the success is just temporary, it was not successful. Stay your course, lean on us for support, seek like minded folks. You've got this and this will work for you.

We love this Forum, but if you feel like you need more, check out our Facebook community, it allows us to have live interaction, live videos and more (which unfortunately the forum doesn't let us do):

Tereza Toledobig grin lovestruck
Team EM2WL
Certified EM2WL Personal Trainer and Coach
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