Calorie wikiNutrition 101Shop

Community inspiration

anyone else feeling discouraged?

I've been working out 3-4 days a week 20-40 minutes cardio plus 30 mins of weights. I've been eating very well- lowfat, low carb, high veggie, no sodas, no alcohol, very limited sweets for over 2 months and I've lost nothing.

how can that be? what I am not doing right? I have not increased my caloric intake (its decreased) and I've increased my workouts from 1-2 days a week (sporadic) to religiously sticking to workouts including 10K races, biking, etc..

Anyone else feeling like they're trying damned hard and getting no where??

Wed. May 25, 7:03pm

Add comment  
Sounds counter-intuitive but try taking a week off from working out. A friend of mine did this and lost the last 5 pounds after struggling for a long time. She works out religiously. I do 6 weeks working out, 1 week off. I lose a few pounds every time I stop for the week.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005, 7:33 PM

Add comment
I don't have any advice, but I have noticed lately that the mornings that I wake up the heaviest are the ones after a good workout the day before. I don't eat any differently on those days - anyone have any ideas as to why this happens??

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 7:07 AM

Add comment
Replacing fat with muscle

Often times people will work out religiously and not 'loose' the weight that they want to, but they may notice that they are toning up nicely. My guess is that you are replacing your fat stores with muscle and thus not losing weight, but simply becoming toned instead.

I think taking a break for a few days may help. You can rest your body and give it a chance to recharge and you might see a difference. Also, how much are you trying to lose? It could be that you have hit the hardest plateau to beat, the last 5-10 lbs left before you hit your goal. Keep up the great workouts and you'll meet your goals. I just know it!

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 7:24 AM

Add comment
It's possible you're not eating enough? When your body doesn't get enough intake, it slows your metabolism down.

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 7:27 AM

Add comment
Not enough calories / Heart Rate Monitor / Mix it up

You may not be eating enough. You need to fuel your activity. 10Ks and biking burn a lot more calories than just 3-4 days a week of cardio and weights. A good estimate which I learned from a personal trainer and registered dietician is that you need 10 calories for every pound of body weight in order to MAINTAIN your weight. So at 180 pounds you would need 1800 calories per day. You shouldn’t be at more than a 500 calorie deficit per day, it will slow your metabolism. Perhaps estimate your calories as you log meals in your food journal. You can also use to estimate the calorie burn for your workouts.

If you’re doing a lot of weight training that you didn’t do before, you could be increasing muscle mass while decreasing fat. Your weight won’t change but your measurements would. How are your clothes fitting? Go to and create a profile – track your body measurements once a month to watch improvement that is not related to weight.

I would suggest investing in a good heart rate monitor (HRM) and perhaps a book on heart rate training. Go to for info. I bought a Sally Edwards HR training book on Amazon for under $10. A good HRM will estimate your calories burned while you work out. Especially useful for running and biking where you can burn A LOT of calories.

Also consider switching up your diet and/or exercise routine every 6 weeks or so. Our bodies get accustomed to our routine and “mixing it up” a bit will do wonders. Same with foods – eat more fruit or dairy, make lunch your big meal of the day instead of dinner, eat bigger breakfasts.

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 8:33 AM

Add comment
About Post-Workout Weight Gain

In response to this post:
I don't have any advice, but I have noticed lately that the mornings that I wake up the heaviest are the ones after a good workout the day before. I don't eat any differently on those days - anyone have any ideas as to why this happens??
Thursday, May 26, 2005, 7:07 AM

When you work out hard, your muscles retain water to repair themselves. This is also related to your body replenishing the glycogen stores in your muscles. So the day after a hard workout it is not unreasonable to notice your weight is up one or two pounds. After a 100 mile bike ride my weight could be up 4-5 pounds. It goes away in a few days - just concentrate on staying hydrated.

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 8:36 AM

Add comment
more info from original post(er)

First off thanks for all the advice,suggestions :)
to follow up on a few things mentioned...

Some facts on me:
I currently weigh 130lb and am 5'3". I used to weigh 123lb (lean strong girl) before I had my son. I lost all the baby weight but over the last year I've been slowly inching up to this current weight, more than I have ever weighed. I'd like to get back down to 123 lbs.

I do not believe in losing a lot of weight all at once (clearly I can't anyhow) I believe that it should happen gradually but I'd think I would have lost maybe 2lbs in two months. I think that's very conservative.

Muscle vs. fat:
I've read very mixed opinions on the concept of fat weighing more than muscle. So while I like the idea that its just that I am replacing fat with leaner muscle somehow I'm not buying it. Can someone follow up with some hard scientfic facts and not just lore?

Caloric intake:
I did start tracking my caloric intake last week. Its interesting that now that I'm tracking it I realize those snacks (of raw almonds, slice of chesse, 1/2 apple,etc..) can add up to over 300 cals in just snacks on top of an average of 300-400 cals per meal. I've been shooting for 1200 cals a day. Does that seem like enough considering my goal (lose 10lbs in 3months?)

Varying workouts:
I've been switching it up cause I know the body (and mind) can get bored so I think I'm on the tip on that one.

Varying foods: yeah this is a good one. I realized after starting this PeerTrainer thing that I was eating pretty much the same set of foods day and day out and that clearly that had to be the area that I could change (cutting down on snacks, altho healthy) and learning the difference between FULL and satiated. I think this is the biggest area that I realize I can improve upon.

Heart Rate Monitor:
I'm on that I ordered one yesterday :) good call tho!

Resting: I do usually take 2 days off in the week. Is that enough? Should I take 4-5 days off? I find I'm so used to working out that I feel restless if I don't. anyone else get that feeling?

Thanks again.

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 9:40 AM

Add comment

You should try increasing your cardio. Instead of doing 20-40 min, do 30-50. Don't do less than 30. If you want to tone up, lift weights. If you want to burn flab, increase cardio.

But wach out, because you're appetite may increase. Make sure you snack on things like raw vegtables and fruit. Salads are great.

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 10:22 AM

Add comment
Yes, I think you should take an ENTIRE week off. 7 days. Just try it. My friend is a triathelete and she lost 5 pounds doing just this. And I mentioned, I lose a few pounds every time I do it.

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 11:23 AM

Add comment
Re: muscle vs. fat.

Never thought about this. This is so interesting and indisputably true. Thanks for sharing.

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 11:24 AM

Add comment
To the poster who said toning up = lifting weights and burning flab = increase cardio...

This area isn't cut and dry. Muscle burns more calories, even while resting, than fat. Yes, cardio is fantastic, and I agree that upping cardio from 20 to 30 minutes would definitely be helpful. But continuing a program of lifting is a good way to lose and maintain weight.

It's a disservice to the community to make black and white statements that aren't true.

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 11:47 AM

Add comment

oh, yes! i'm discouraged, all right, but not giving up (yet?). i've been working out since february & not only have i not lost any weight, i have actually gained fat. i can't even fit into my old clothes anymore. i think i am getting a handle on what is causing the problem. first of all, ever since i began working out, i noticed that i am often hungrier than i was before i started my routine. so i'm eating more now than i had been eating. i also think that i now tend to reward myself with junk food even though it's only a little bit. i have to get better about these things or my workouts will be for naught.

my routine: i have been doing the elliptical trainer for 1-2 hrs/day, 4 days/week or walking/jogging on the treadmill for that period of time. or i walk/run w/ a friend outside. 3 times/week i do weights.

by the way, speaking of discouragement, i have seen NO visible improvement in my arms even though i have been working out for months now with weights. everyone else i know sees results in 4 weeks, doing the same routine that i do. i think my problem may be that i have a layer of fat on my arms that they don't have. ??? i think i have a very low lean-body mass but my weight seems "normal" to people who don't take body-fat into consideration. i'm 5'7 & weigh 140. also, doctors have actually told me that i have underdeveloped muscles.

the other very weird thing is that whenever i work out with friends, they write to me the next day telling me how sore they are. i am NEVER sore even though i work out as much or even more than they do.

just thought i'd share these disconnected thoughts...

Thursday, May 26, 2005, 10:00 PM

Add comment
Sounds like dehydration and overtraining

to me. But I'm no expert...


Thursday, May 26, 2005, 11:58 PM

Add comment
from original poster

Just had to share I bought a heart rate monitor last night! I'll keep u posted on how it works and if I see a difference in my workouts. I am riding 20 miles tomorrow and doing a 10k on Monday. Then I am taking a week off per your advice.
I'll probably hula hoop tho :)

I'm a hopeful and I appreciate all your feedback. What a great FREE service!!

Friday, May 27, 2005, 8:58 AM

Add comment
measure yourself

I do the scale and measure myself because somedays even though i'm heavier the measurement is the same or less.

Friday, May 27, 2005, 12:40 PM

Add comment
I'm just curious what happened here. Did you take some of the advice?

Did anything change? Update please!

Monday, June 13, 2005, 7:44 AM

Add comment
update from original poster

Thanks for asking. Amazingly the scale STILL reads between 130-133. I can't seem to drop down into the 120 range (where I used to be). However, I do feel stronger. My arms are leaner and my midsection is finally thinning out a bit. I have a shortwaist so most of my pants are low waisted so I havent really seen a difference in clothing size either. Its weird I KNOW I am losing weight even the scale isnt showing it.

I've been using the HR monitor and I'm stunned at how SLOW I have to move to stay in the "zone". I'll be honest that I'm not staying in the zone often at all. I'm training for some races and I can't train walking! I love using the monitor tho to gauge my activity and get a better idea of caloric use.

All and all things are going well its just a long process and it seems the older you get the longer it takes to see results. Its just a fact, for me anyhow and that's fine.

Thanks for asking. Once I break back into the 120 range I'll let you know.

Monday, June 13, 2005, 9:18 AM

Add comment
To the Original Poster

#1 Get a book on heart rate training to go with that new monitor. I'm a spinner and (fairly new) avid long distance cyclist (century rides) and it is absolutely AMAZING how following a heart rate training program will improve your fitness. Sally Edwards writes a lot about HR training, but many cycling coaches do, too. Since you cycle and run, perhaps find one geared towards triathletes?

#2 Go to the library and check out "Women Weight and Hormones" by Dr. Elizabeth Vliet. I don't know your age, but I can tell you that once you hit your 30's, your hormones do a change up on you and most of our doctors (even female) do not understand the connection between estrogen and fat. I'm 34 and was stuck on a horrible plateau for months - following weight watchers to the letter and exercising 5x per week and nothing moved (I had also begun suffering from migraines and insomnia). Well guess what, after some testing with my primary care physician and then much resistance from my gyno, I made some changes (for me it was medication) and lo' and behold the plateau broke and the migraines disappeared. Haven't had one since and it's been about a year.

I am most certainly not offering a diagnosis, but suggesting that this might be worth exploring, especially as some of these issues arise after having kids. At any rate you would be educated on the topic and could rule it out.

About Women Weight and Hormones:

#3 Go to and use the site to track your body measurements. If the scale cannot offer successful feedback, then your measurements (and HR monitor) will!

Good luck and keep going. You will prevail, it just may take a bit longer than expected.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005, 10:13 AM

Add comment
One more thing to the OP

Make sure that you are using the right formula for calculating your optimal HR zone. The general formula is flawed - based on my age, my HRM "thinks" I'm at 85% at 158 when in fact it's more like 172 for me.

Use this formula to figure your MHR more accurately..

(Before you get out of bed in the morning - for at least 2-3 mornings in a row, take your resting HR to use in the formula here.)

226 (for females, 220 for males)- age - Resting HR = HR range

Whatever you come up with, then mulitply it by the percentage of your MHR you want to find( 65%, 75%, 85%) then add back in your Resting HR. That will produce a more accurate number for you.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005, 10:23 AM

Add comment
from OP

Thanks for the info on the HR stuff. I did borrow the original Sally Edwards HR book. I think it needs to be updated! Nonetheless I read thru it and have plans to go to a track do the running test to figure out my max HR.

FYI: my resting HR is 60.
So based on the calculation you gave
85% of Max HR = 201
75% of Max HR = 185
65% of Max HR = 168

These are definitely higher than the age calculation and seems to be more fitting for me! I assume this must have been some where in the HR book I just haven't found that yet. weird.
Thanks for the info.

Regarding the hormones, post-baby, aging stuff.
I've read up on a lot of that stuff. If things don't continue on their *positive* route then I will look into it. For now, I think its going fine, just slow but all good things are worth working towards :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005, 12:57 PM

Add comment

Related Content:

How To Lose Weight- The Basics
Weight Watchers Points System
The Fat Smash Diet
The Eat To Live Diet
The Beck Diet Solution
How To Get The Motivation To Lose Weight


How To Be Successful Using PEERtrainer

How To Burn Fat
Online Weight Loss Support- How It Works
Does Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?
Tips On Using PEERtrainer
Visit The PEERtrainer Community
Diet and Fitness Resources


Weight Watchers Meetings
Learning To Inspire Others: You Already Are
Writing Down Your Daily Workouts
Spending Money On A Personal Trainer?
How I Became A Marathon Runner


Preventive Health

How To Prevent Injuries During Your Workout
Flu Season: Should You Take The Flu Shot?
Are You Really Ready To Start PEERtrainer?
Super Foods That Can Boost Your Energy
Reversing Disease Through Nutrition

New Diet and Fitness Articles:

Weight Watchers Points Plus
How To Adjust Your Body To Exercise
New: Weight Watchers Momentum Program
New: PEERtrainer Blog Archive
Review Of The New Weight Watchers Momentum Program

Weight Loss Motivation by Joshua Wayne:

Why Simple Goal Setting Is Not Enough
How To Delay Short Term Gratification
How To Stay Motivated
How To Exercise With A Busy Schedule

Real World Nutrition and Fitness Questions

Can Weight Lifting Help You Lose Weight?
Are Protein Drinks Safe?
Nutrition As Medicine?

Everyday Weight Loss Tips

How To Eat Healthy At A Party
How To Eat Out And Still Lose Weight
The Three Bite Rule
Tips On How To Stop A Binge