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This has been an ongoing battle for me since I started running, but for the past 12months I've been on a weight plateau and it's driving me absolutely mad. I apologise for the lengthy post - but any advice would be much appreciated!!!

Last year as I finished uni, I'd gotten my weight down to around 12st 9lb... I've been running fairly intensively since then, and my weight has gotten as low as 12st 6lb, but usually hovers around the 12st7-9lb mark. So over the space of 12months I've lost virtually no weight at all.

I'm aware people tend to have a natural weight that they'll sit around, but when I still have visible fat reserves, and I'm running a lot of miles, and eating what I feel is pretty sensibly - why is my weight not going down?!?!

I always have my 3 meals a day and some snack in between to keep the metabolism ticking over -

breakfast consists of porridge, dried fruit, semi skimmed milk, and a banana (I used soya instead of cows milk for several months, but found it made no difference).

morning snack Usually consists of a banana, and some form of oaty/fruity bar thing, possibly an apple too.

lunch varies a bit, but when at work usually consists of a salad with meat, an apple, and a banana. At the weekend it's usually sarnies or a baguette or something.

afternoon snack i'll often treat myself to a small choccy bar or something, then an apple as well (if I haven't eaten it in the morning)

2nd afternoon snack? If I know I've got a hard training session, I might have a slice or two of jam on wholemeal toast.

evening meal I tend to eat later than I'd like to, around 8:30-9pm, this is due to my partners commitments until 7pm, and me running with the club or playing football from 7pm. meals vary massively but are usually of decent size and relatively healthy. (cottage pie, spag bol, pasta dishes, healthy (low-fat) home-made curries etc)

I probably eat near to my 2500kcals a day (I'm about to start keeping a food diary again to keep track of this) - but with all my added running mileage, why can't I shift the weight?!?! I've heard about the 'starvation theory' where if you're not eating enough calories your body goes into starvation mode and hangs onto fat stores, but I certainly don't think I'm starving myself, and even if I hold onto fat stores, the energy has to come from SOMEWHERE?!?!?

Please guys, let me know your thoughts because this really is driving me nuts. I know I'm a reasonably healthy weight for the average man, but as a runner wanting to be competitive I'm way heavier than I'd like to be!!
 

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Hi Richard

The only thing I could see was your evening meal is very late, after you have eaten it how long is it before you go to bed?

This could factor as the body hasn't had time to digest it and it will just lay in your stomach, have you perhaps tried having a larger lunch and lighter evening meal?

TT
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I tend to aim for bed around 10:30pm... though it can be as late as 11:30... usually I'm tucked up by 11 though.

I had considered maybe having a larger lunch - but struggle for ideas because it needs to be something I can prepare beforehand and bring into work - there is a microwave to heat stuff up with though?
 

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Hi Rich!

Erm - I could put a big DITTO under that post!! I was actually going to post something very similar! I have 'plateau'd' as well - and its REALLY ANNOYING!! Particularly as I am running about 30k ish a week (at least) and I have been avoiding naughty snacks. I had gone down to about 10 stone when I had a 'healthy' faze about 4 years ago - but that was when I was walking to work a lot (about 3 miles) and going to the gym and running there. I have also reached that age now (women will understand) when it is sooooooooooo hard to lose weight! I am 5 ft 10 - and apparently a healthy BMI - but like you don't understand why things aren't moving in the right direction again.

I saw a doc last week actually - and they are doing some blood tests (might be worth you doing that - just to be sure) - but worst case scenario is hypothyroidism.....underactive thyroid gland, which leads to water retention and weight gain.

Isn't running just anaerobic though - so actually you need to do more low intesity exercies to burn fat (aerobic). Also - looking at how late you eat your biggest meal of the day - might be worth having a lighter 'supper' instead and having more for breakfast/lunch. I know I do it too - especially meals with loads of rice or pasta late on... but maybe this is the problem......
 

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you could try breaking you daily food amounts up... so rather than 3 meals with snaks have 6-8 similar sized meals (obviously smaller than ur currently eating)
 

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I would have thought that the amount of running you do would mean the specifics of your diet and when you eat would be marginal. It may well be that the weight you're at is your natural weight. I don't know how heavy you were before, but you might have excess skin rather than fat left on your body. I have flabby bits on my stomach still, but it's not fat. It's just excess skin.

It does seem strange that you have been at a plateau for 12 months now. Longest for me was 3 months. If you really want to lose more, you might try throwing in some new forms of exercise to shock your body a bit and get it burning more fat. But your diet looks pretty good and you are running 40 miles a week, so you shouldn't be reaching a plateau unless that's where your body thinks it should be.
 

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You dont say if you drink or not, but what is your alcohol consumption per week? I plateaued around 12st 6 - 12st 4 and even with good diet and increased mileage I could not get much below this. I have recently stopped drinking 2 times a week to 1 times a week, and I got over my little hurdle (basically going from 2 bottles of wine to 1 bottle of wine a week)... I now float around 11st 12 to 12st :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
oooh, apologies... forgot to add about liquids... generally at work I'll have a couple of cups of coffee a day, and several mugs of fruit tea. At the weekends I'll drink normal tea instead of my coffee @ work... in the evenings I just drink water or occaisionally OJ.

Alcohol intake is minimal - I don't drink other thank the odd mini binge every 3-4 weeks or so where I'll have around 14-17units. Obviously there's the odd mega binge too, but probably only a couple of times a year.

I've not had a body composition test done, and would be interested to find out where I can get a decent one done - I have gadget at home that supposedly works out your body fat percentage, though I've since learned that it sort of measures electrical resistance in your body or something is pretty inaccurate, being thrown off by things such as how clammy your hands are? :lol:

Sweaty - if things don't improve I'll be looking to speak to a doctor, though I don't feel any other ill effects so wouldn't expect to have any abnormalities - but I guess they're more likely to know than I am!

JBBury, I know what you're saying about the body finding a natural plateau type thing - when I started running I was 15st 7lb, but I'm sure my body can't plateau at what's only marginally deemed to be a healthy weight! and beyond this 'natural weight' thing, I don't understand how I can burn more calories than I consume but still not lose weight? that just defies logic doesn't it?! I suppose the flabby bits could partially be excess skin - I'd have thought it was a little 'thick' to be skin - bloody annoying though!

Thanks for your thoughts so far guys/gals - please keep them coming!
 

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Hi,

I have had a similar issue until recently- I go to the gym between 3 and 5 times a week, do a mixture of things (weights, running, cycling etc...) and eat/drink heathily but was still quite over weight at 13st 3 ish (I'm female and 5 foot 5!)

Started seeing a personal trainer recently because I really wanted to understand where I was going wrong. He suggested a few things but the one that has worked is cutting down/out on carbs.
Since doing this I have lost a stone (12st 2lb this morning! whoop!) in around 5/6 weeks.

So to give you some idea of what this means my daily diet looks something like this:

Breakfast- Protein shake (I drink this because its quick and easy but you could replace this with 4 bits of bacon or some eggs? basically anything with lots of protein!)

Lunch- a tin of tuna mixed with some salad cream and sweetcorn

Afternoon snack- Protein shake (again because its quick and easy but you could change this if you would prefer something else- just avoid the carbs!)

Dinner- fish/meat and veg (no potatoes, rice pasta etc...) or spag bol etc... but without the pasta
basically what I would have eaten before just with the pasta, potatoes, rice etc... removed!

I hope this helps

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
sounds like you were on the atkins diet hedgehog? I may be tempted to cut down my carbs, but not completely remove them - an see if that works. I've always loved my carbs and been of the understanding that carbs are THE food type for runners?

Anyone any further thoughts on this?
 

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i had my body comp test done at springs health spa... i think it cost about £40 and they stuck a couple of things on my legs, weight, height etc...
it came out that my
actual weight: 15st 6
weight without fat 13st 6

which basically meant that i was 80% muscle/ stuff thats meant to be there and as such fitted into the normal/ acceptable cat. even though according to BMI etc my target weight should have been around 11st and my current weight bordering on obease...

basically what im trying to say is that maybe you dont have anything more to loose
 

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I can dream. I have plateaued at 15 6. I know this is diet and alcohol and will get back on top shortly.

You may need to separate your goal. What is a good diet for maintaining performance may not be good for weight loss. I have decided weight loss comes first and once I am where I want to be I will improve my running.
 

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sounds like you were on the atkins diet hedgehog? I may be tempted to cut down my carbs, but not completely remove them - an see if that works. I've always loved my carbs and been of the understanding that carbs are THE food type for runners?

Anyone any further thoughts on this?
as far as i know the atkins diet removes all carbs from the diet (veg for example isn't allowed) just alot of meat, cheese, eggs etc... (all quite high in fat) the difference here is still on the healthly eating- fish, veg etc...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good point Hrun... certainly something I will start to consider in more depth!

Hedgehog, thanks for your input - combined with Hrun's comment it's looking like a very tempting suggestion of diet change to help weight loss.

Beasty - I sincerely hope there's some more weight to go yet - I'm buggered if there isn't! I've just fired an email off to the fitness centre @ Warwick Uni since they mention body composition testing/analysis as part of a fitness assessment there. No idea if it's available to the public though...
 

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Richard,

I am the same, i work out about 5-6 times a week but i am still the weight i was before i started running, if anything slightly heavier, i only consume a little extra a day than i used too.

If i want to lose a few pounds i know how too but not sure if its wise for a very good runner, in the evening i cut out bread or potatoes this seems to help me loose the bulking effect i sometimes have, but i am not sure at your level of running this would be good, as you of course need the carbs for a long/fast run... you could replace the carbs you take out of course with protein high dinner perhaps ??

I would love to get under 9 stone but i dont think i will, unless i reduce myself to not eating, then i would not be able to run.

Weight loss is horrible :(

I argue with myself every day about it, even to the stage where i am paranoid about it.

the hardest thing is to keep at the constant weight you want to be at.

If anything Richard i think possibly you dont eat enough in relation to what you are burning, perhaps you should eat more little and often i eat small amounts about 6-8 times a day.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
at times Leece I do wonder if I'm eating enough... but surely if I wasn't eating enough, I'd be losing weight? be it muscle mass, or fat... something would have to give surely?

Luckily I'm not one to be too concerned about my overall appearance (though i'm not a dirty slob either :p) - I'm a 'healthy' enough weight and my desire for weightloss is certainly not for aesthetic reasons.

I tend to have my snacks a lot because I struggle to prepare 3 meals a day, let alone 6-8 smaller ones?! what do you guys have?
 

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personally:

0730: cereal
1000: 2x toast with honey
1200: butties, snackajacks
1400: apple
1800:normal food (although if at running club this is 2030 - 2100 ish
 
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