I feel like I've messed up and I'm confused and frustrated
I am 34 years old, 5'7" and 195lbs. I am fairly muscular and I exercise doing approx 2 hours of body conditioning (with weights) and approx 2 - 3 hours of cardio per week. I have hypothyroidism and take synthroid and I have PCOS and take metformin 1000 mg per day.
I started doing low carb about a year ago and lost 25 lbs. I was limiting my calories to 1200 a day (because that is what my tracker was telling me I should do). Weight loss was PAINFULLY slow, until it all but stopped. Depressed, I stopped the diet and went completely off plan during the holidays gaining 11 lbs back. YIKES!
The start of the year I recommitted myself to eating low carb. I easily lost all the 11 lbs I gained, but I cannot seem to lose anything else. The first month I was limiting myself to about 1200 - 1400 cal and less than 30 net carbs per day. When I stalled out I started to read online and I found the fat to fit radio show and how eating drastically below your basal metabolic rate was bad, so I upped my calories to 1900 for a week and the pulled them down to right at 1600 per day (20% below my total caloric expenditure). During all this time I am eating about 63% fat, 27% protein & 10% carbs. The carbs I eat come from berries max 1 serving/day, veggies and nuts.
I don't understand how I can create a caloric deficit, exercise regularly (and work hard, I might add!) keep my carbs low and not lose anything.
It honestly makes me want to cry. The more I read the more confused I get...is it adrenal burnout, is my body having trouble converting T3...could it just be IR.....did the years of super low calorie diet wreck my metabolism to where I have to cut calories to less than 1000/day to see results?
I whole heartdly believe in low carb, so I hesitate to try something else but I am tired of giving it my all and not getting any results.
A typical day's food for me:
Bfast: 2 eggs in coconut oil 2 stips bacon, coffee with truvia and tablespoon cream
lunch: either tuna, chicken, or egg salad with mayo & lettuce or meat with salad (roast chicken, Italian sausage, pork loin)
Snacks: Mid morning - 1 oz raw almonds, mid afternoon - 1 string cheese
Dinner: Meats & veggies like roast chicken & green beans made with butter, "spaghetti" made with spaghetti squash ground beef & low sugar pasta sauce, post roast and salad (no flour), pork loin or pork chops with half a small sweet potato & salad etc.
Snack: full fat greek yogurt with truvia and strawberries every now and then I will add some sugar free chocolate chips when I need something chocolate.
I am not hungry...heck I wasn't hungry at 1100 -1200 calories but I feel psychologically deprived because I can't do things with my friends and miss out on celebrations and that I would be perfectly fine with that if I were getting results, because it's worth it. However, missing out on life, trying so hard and not getting results SUCKS!
:hugs: You are not alone. I am not alot of help but I wanted to lend support.
You have a lot of things going on that can hinder weight loss. Go easy on yourself. Think positive and you will see some reults. I would say 1200 and 1300 is too low. My thyroid acts up terribly at calories that low.
Join us on the nk thread.
Have you tried NK?
Welcome Amanda and sorry you are struggling. I wish I had some answers for you. The one thing that stands out is your hypothyroid. When was the last time you had that checked?
I had my thyroid checked about 6 months ago and all was well. I'm on a pretty high dose of synthroid 150mcg -I've been hypo for 15 years and my levels have been stable for the past several years after an increase in dosage.
I think maybe my fat isn't high enough and carbs low enough. I'm going to make those tweaks and see how I do. :)
I really appreciate the support because it can be very lonely in real life when you've got people around you that don't believe in this WOE that say "of course you aren't losing weight, look at all the butter you eat."
I'll join you on the nk thread.
I would suggest going back to induction, to see if your weight loss picks up. If it does, you can add carbs back in, but keep an eye out for trigger foods - for example, berries, sweet potato and yogurt are all higher on the carb ladder, and could be causing the stall. Over on the nutritional ketosis thread there's lots of info about figuring your ideal protein intake - if you're eating too much protein, your body will convert it to glucose and that can stall you out as well.
Meanwhile, don't let the turkeys get you down. ;D Many people are not going to understand a low-carb diet, but you've made good progress, so stick with it! This is just a bump in the road - you'll get back to losing once you've figured out what your body needs. That can take time, but you'll get there.
You might want to try starting at induction like suggested. Your diet would be considered high in carbs for some people. I know I have a heck of a time going above 25g, and your menu would be way to high for me. Also I wouldn't be able to handle that much protein, without reducing my carbs to below 10g which is basically no carb based foods at all.
The exercise is great but do not do more than you are doing right now. Too much exercise can work against you if because your body learns to become very efficient at storing fat to use for energy later during exercise. This makes taking time off from exercise, a serious challenge because the body doesn't regulate this ability accordingly. What you can do that might help is break your cardio sessions up to 20min a day for 7 days a week. This will keep your body in a catabolic state and out of the anabolic state which is when the fat storing occurs. It doesn't work for everyone, but you could try it and see how that goes.
Unfortunately im no expert and dont think i could be helpful, but just wanted to wish you all the best and hope everything gets on track for you!
I've been lurking until now, but after reading your post I felt I had to reply.
First, HUGE hugs to you. :hugs: I know how maddening stalls can be. You're also dealing with thyroid and PCOS issues, which, as you are well aware, can make weight loss slower. Notice I said slower, not impossible. You can and you will do this.
I cannot say that I have had to deal with the same medical issues as you, but I have been dealing with slow weight loss and stalls, and I have come to realize that when stalls happen it is not so much my body trying to fight me, as it is my body trying to send me a message - that I need to make tweaks and change up my strategy in order to get the weight loss moving again. That's part of the reason I have started reading the information here in the NK forum - to see if higher fat and more moderate protein ratios might help me. You should never be afraid to change things up if you need to. Think about it. YOU are changing, metabolically and weight-wise, so your diet may have to change with you. You haven't "messed up", so please be kind to yourself.
When I get frustrated or depressed about slow weight loss or a stall, the way I get out of it is by empowering myself. It sounds incredibly corny, but to me, knowledge is absolute power. Read, research, and learn as much as you can about low carb approaches. I strongly recommend Gary Taubes' "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It" because it explains the science behind low carb very well, especially for people with impaired metabolisms. He also smashes to bits the calories in/calories out theory of weight loss that you seem to be subscribing to. How many calories you take in does matter, but not nearly as much as the quality of those calories.
Others have suggested reading books by Atkins himself, Eades, and Volek and Phinney. I've also enjoyed watching "Fat Head" and "Science for Smart People" by Tom Naughton. Read what other people have done to break stalls as well. I have found there is a wealth of experience on this site and the people are incredibly friendly and supportive.
Let's also put another of your worries to rest - recent studies have shown that the idea that you can permanently damage your metabolism through yo-yo dieting or low calorie dieting is simply untrue. PCOS and your thyroid issues obviously indicate some issues with your metabolism, but that has *nothing* to do low calorie dieting.
As others in the thread have mentioned, you definitely have some room for tweaking. You may want to ease up a bit on exercise, particularly the cardio. Extended sessions of high-intensity exercise can be counterproductive for weight loss, because they can make you store fat more efficiently and increase levels of cortisol, which can absolutely stall weight loss. Keep up the weight training, because building muscle will help you keep blood sugar levels in check, but I would dial back the cardio a bit and see what happens - shorter sessions, maybe not quite as intense, and take a day or two off from exercise each week.
You might also want to try and tweak your eating. Maybe increase fat a bit more and try a few weeks without the yogurt or berries. You may need to work up to sweet potatoes, which are delicious and nutritious, but pretty carby. Add in lower carb veggies and don't skimp on butter or dressing.
Low carb can also affect your thyroid hormone levels, so it may not be unreasonable to have it checked again if you have other symptoms which might indicate a change in your meds is needed.
When I read about you feeling isolated and feeling like you can't join in on celebrations with your friends, it makes me so sad. Are they not supportive of your WOE? Please don't isolate yourself, because that will just make you more depressed. Spending time with your friends doesn't always have to be about food, and even when it is, I can usually find *something* I can eat at a restaurant. Don't be afraid to ask the server if a dish can be prepared to your specifications. I have *never* had anyone refuse to do this. Low carb and a healthy social life can be compatible.
Hang in there!
Hi Dani! Thank you so much for your post. I'm glad you came out of lurkdom to lend a hand. This board has really awesome people. :hugs:
In the past two days I have significantly upped my fat and lowered my carbs and I am now losing weight again. It was like a big giant DUH! I guess I thought that because I had been doing low carb for so long, I could eat some of the more "healthy" carbs out there, but I was also eating way too much protein I think.
When I talk about missing out on celebrations, it isn't that my friends exclude me, but none of them eat the way I do. So if there is a happy hour I'm invited to, I know it will be *incredibly* hard for me not to snack, and there are usually never any low carb friendly things to snack on at HH. Or if there is a birthday or retirement celebration, I usually stand there and watch everyone else eat cake and live a "normal" life, while I know that if I give in its going to be a spiral and I'll lose control. That depresses me. In my mind I would like to be able to eat those things in moderation and have them not wreck my body, but I know that is probably not likely. It's a reality I can accept when I'm making progress, but when I'm stalled out and watching everyone else "enjoy" those things it makes me want to say "Well, maybe I'm just meant to be fat?" I know that's not true, though, and the reason I'm eating this way isn't because of a vanity thing, I have serious family medical issues I am trying to head off - but that's hard to remember at the time those feelings strike, ya know?
Good for you! When in doubt, add more fat. :)
Glad to see the scales are moving again for you, that is great news!
I'm sorry you've been feeling down on your luck about being "excluded".. I have no advice for that, but I truly hope you can work through it. :)
For those office parties, like birthdays and retirement, plan ahead - make a low-carb cake with whipped cream frosting and take it to share with anyone who doesn't want to be eating sugar. There's always 2-3 women in any given office on a diet, and most of them won't eat the regular cake, either. You can enjoy yourself and also share with the other health-conscious members of your office.
Planning ahead also works for happy hour. Research the restaurant and figure out what you can enjoy that won't put you off plan. If you can, buy an appetizer and eat just the l0w-carb parts (sliders are a good choice, or nachos or tacos - just skip the chips). If there's nothing on the menu that works for you, take along pork rinds or cheese sticks in your purse to munch on. The key is to not find yourself in a position of not being able to join in the good times with your friends - that's what leaves you feeling left out. And modify your other meals that day so you're not spending your time worrying about how the meal out is damaging your "diet".
The good news is, with practice it gets easier. You already have the right attitude: this is something you are doing for your health, and in the long run you're going to be so much better off because of it. The weight loss is almost a bonus, but it's a lovely bonus, and I guarantee in time your friends are going to be making jealous comments about your new figure. That makes up for a lot of awkward social situations.
Merry Kate has got it right!
I was following Nutritional Ketosis for a while and found it too restrictive for those "everyday" celebrations. Work and social life are hard to manage without being the "odd person out" all the time. Since I don't have any health or metabolic issues (i.e. carbs aren't really a problem though I prefer to keep them lower), I have gone to a hybrid incorporating Intermittent Fasting and calorie/carb cycling that has been satisfactory for me. Basically eating within a time frame so I maintain 14-18 hours fasting between dinner and my first meal the next day, plus I have 2 days a week of lower calories (500-800). I keep an eye on carbs and cals, but don't really count anymore. Have maintained easily, which is the goal right now and I couldn't be more pleased.
Since you seem to have some other health issues, it may not be a solution for you if the carbs are really a problem, but certainly worth looking into - fasting and cycling can work for any way of eating, including NK - it seems to shake things up, so to speak.
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