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I'm stumped. I'm 32 yrs old and my weight has gone up and down over the last 10 years but I've never had trouble getting it off when I workout and count calories. I'm currently 5'5 160 lbs. My normal/ideal weight is 135. I've been working out 5-7 days a week, strength and cardio (when it's 7 days I generally just walk a mile or two with my dog) eating 1100-1300 calories of healthy, non processed, whole foods, no sweets or junk, I'm mindful of macronutrients, drink 32-64 oz of water every day (water is the only thing I drink except for 1 or 2 cups of black coffee in the morning) I don't drink alcohol or smoke and I get at least 8 hrs of sleep a night. It's been a month of dieting and working out now and I haven't lost even a single ounce, and my clothes fit me exactly the same. What could I possibly be doing wrong here? I've scoured articles online and it's always "too much" of something (exercise, water, calories) or "not enough". I'm frustrated and disheartened! Please help!!

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  • You're probably not eating enough. Combined with working out as much as you are (so your burning even more than you eat), your body is likely down regulating your metabolism, making it harder to lose weight. Calculate your TDEE and then eat at 10% - 20% below that to lose your weight.
    – Alex L
    Nov 7, 2015 at 21:10
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    I'm going to disagree with @AlexL and the rest of answers here and say that your issue is probably that you're miscalculating the calories that you're eating. I don't care how much your metabolism slows down by having such a huge caloric deficit (which is not healthy, as pointed out): if you truly were on 1200 calories while working out every day of the week for 30 days you would have lost a shit-ton of weight. Hell, you'd have lost it while in a coma.
    – erictrigo
    Nov 10, 2015 at 16:17
  • @Antrim: not necessarily true. When I first started trying to lose weight a few years ago I frequently ate less than 1200 calories along with cycling 30+ miles every day or so. My weight only decreased for about 6 weeks doing that, before it stalled.
    – Alex L
    Nov 10, 2015 at 18:01
  • @AlexL I don't know what was your weight or stats, and that may have been possible if you were really small. Otherwise, it's likely you miscounted your calories. Cristey's BMR is around 1400-1500 kcal/day, and that's without accounting for the 5-7 days a week of exercise. If she had been eating 1200 kcal/day for a month, she definitely would have lost weight.
    – erictrigo
    Nov 11, 2015 at 8:53
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    I think you're the one getting confused. It doesn't matter how much her metabolism gets slowed down because of the huge caloric deficit, it will not be any slower than while in a coma (which is what her BMR would be), and based on my decent guess of her BMR I'm saying that she'd be losing weight even in that situation.
    – erictrigo
    Nov 11, 2015 at 12:54

4 Answers 4

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Like @AlexL, I'm worried that you're not eating enough, and that your body is adapting by shorting some processes, rather than burning fat.

What you have to understand, is that in order to be healthy, you have to have a healthy diet. Too many people try to lose weight by trying diets that exclude this and that. The problem there is that they're excluding important nutrients, vitamins and minerals, simply because the food also has, say, sugar.

You seem to be in the habit of counting calories, and that's very good! But try to make sure of these things;

  • Your diet includes sugars. Good sources are fruits. Bad sources, I think you know.

  • Your diet includes fats. Good sources are fish, nuts, seeds, and for dinner, use olive oil when you fry meats.

  • Your diet includes proteins. Good sources are meats and fish. Again, dinner should cover this.

If you cover all this, and keep track of your calories, you'll be able to tweak it. For instance, if you try consuming 1500 calories/day for a month(*), and your weight stays the same, lower it to 1400, and try that for a month.

(*) When I say a month, that's because noticable changes take a while. Any fluctuations in weight from week to week should not be used as a statistic, because it's subject to far too many factors.

And as always, any venture to change your body is NOT going to yield results in just a few months. I always say, give it a year. It sounds like a lot, but if you can't stay disciplined for a year, whatever you accomplish in one month, is going to be lost the next. For the changes to be permanent, you need to keep your discipline. This goes for all of us, whether we're losing or gaining weight.

I sincerely wish you all the best, but you're the one who has to go fetch.

Pep talk over.

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The answer to your question might be- you're lacking some calories. You should eat at least 1800 a day if you're on a diet. Normal intake for grown men is around 2000 calories a day. If your body is spending more energy than it has, it's possible that, after some time, your body will react. That means that your body will be too "afraid" that it won't get enough energy, so it will store all the calories it can. The result is, you're not losing any weight (or you just don't see the changes). So, the main recommendation for you is - eat more!

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eating that amount of calories and training 5-7 days a week could force the body to go into starvation mode and stockpile whatever weight it can in order to counteract the effects of malnutrition.

alternatively, if you've been doing the same stuff forever you could be in plateau mode - where you're so accustomed to your current program that you're going to realize diminished returns until you move on to something new.

what's your macro ratio look liek? you could try a high-fat/low-carb macro ratio. supposedly good for weight loss, but i wouldn't recommend it without adding a couple hundred gross calories, first. unless you want to be really tired and irritable all the time.

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Thanks everyone, for your input and advice!! I want to first mention that, I am a stickler for measuring everything. I use a food scale, measuring cups/spoons etc so that I know EXACTLY how much food I'm eating. Not only for the sake of calorie counting but also portion control and to keep track of my macros ingested as I intend to lose weight the healthy way and not just a "crash" diet. So the chance that I'm miscalculating and OVER eating was very slim. I have lost 20-30 lbs a couple of different occasions before in my life so I'm no stranger to how this works. However, in the past I was not AS active as I have been this time around. Therefore, 1100- 1200 this time was just not enough fuel. I took @AlexL 's advice and upped my calories to 1400-1500 a day. Since then, 4 days ago, I've lost 4.5 lbs. Every morning I wake up in down another pound. I don't expect to stay on that trend DAILY but at least the scale is moving now!! I also added a protein shake to my daily routine. So far so good and I'm feeling pretty optimistic!!! ☺️

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