One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

ASK RONI Q&A

Ask Roni: Eating too little?

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Hey there! I just love the work you do to help people realize their dreams are possible. I appreciate how real you are about this journey. Congrats on your 1/2 marathon too!

I have a question about points and exercise. I am 5’7″ and this morning the scale said 196.7. I have completed week 4 of the couch to 5K program this morning. On the days that I don’t do couch to 5K I am doing Jillian Michals 30 Day Shred video and 20-30 minutes on the elliptical. I have only seen about 2 pounds of weight loss. I am following WW by myself, I’ve done meetings and online before but I’m a mostly stay at home mom (I work one weekend a month as a social worker at a hospital) so I cannot afford to pay right now. I have been giving myself 27 points per day. I am getting SO frustrated to be exercising SO much and not seeing significant weight loss…do you think my points are too much, too little? Advice appreciated.

:)

Sincerely,
Elizabeth

Hi Elizabeth!

WOW you are really attacking the exercise front, aren’t you? Awesome!

One thing you need to take into account is that you are building some major muscle. That’s good. When you are working out like that sometimes the scale will not be your friend. But that’s ok! What’s your goal? is it to reach some stupid number on the scale? or is it to look and feel your best?

I only ask because sometimes I think we let the pursuit of that number actually hurt our efforts. Remember it’s about focusing on the change and not the result (sorry, I could help myself since I just psoted that quote. ;)

That being said I think 27 points may be too little. Although, it may be a good guide to help you stay accountable don’t stress too much if you feel the need to add a point or two here and then. I’m not a dietitian, a Weight Watchers leader, or even a trainer so take my advice with a grain of salt.

A few things to thinks about… Are you keeping a food journal? Drinking enough water? What are you eating? Are you following the healthy Guidelines? Those are just a few things I can think of off the top of my head but I’m sure others will chime in with some advice as well.

What do you guys think? Is Elizabeth eating too little?



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Discussion

There are 35 comments so far.

    Alexandra

    May 17, 2010

    I do think, from the information available, that she IS eating too little. I’ve found that when I get a good bit of exercise, I need to eat most–if not all–of my weekly points in addition to my daily points. I’d suggest she try dipping into her weeklies and see what happens.

    Alexandra

    May 17, 2010

    I meant that to lose weight in a week, I need to eat most/all of my weeklies.

    Alexi

    May 17, 2010

    Hey Elizabeth! I’m following WW and i’m also 5’7″ and I’m 195 lbs and I get 25pts/day + 35 flexies + work out pts so I’m guessing you may need to eat a little more if you’re working out as much as you say you are… I’m a stay at home mom as well and my sole way of working out right now is walking. I’ve lost 23lbs in 9 weeks so the program works! :)
    With that being said, you really need to listen to your body… if you work out and you’re legitimately hungry, I think you need to listen to that. I agree with Roni though and I think you need to maybe post what you’re eating to make sure you’re eating the RIGHT things and not just switching from regular cookies to fat free cookies… load up on fruits, veggies, and grains and you’ll definitely see a loss! :) good luck friend

    Sarah

    May 17, 2010

    It does seem that she is eating too little but she also may want to have a work up by a dr – could be a thyroid issue.

    I’m 5’8″ weight 189.8, and I only get 24 points a day. When I was in the 190s I got 25 points a day. Then you get the 35 extra points per week to use each day as you wish. I usually use about 3 or 4 extra points a day from these on top of my 24 points… so I’m eating about at 27 points a day. I exercise 6 days a week – 4 days running and 2 days at Curves right now, b/c I’m also training for a 5k. I’m lose on average 1 lb a week. You have to remember that weight loss really varies per week. A patterm I’ve noticed with myself is that I won’t lose and then lose like .5 of a lb, and then next week lose 2-3 lbs. Hang in there whatever you do!

    Michele

    May 17, 2010

    I hate to say that I am not the person to answer this. I have been working out like a fiend and eating about 15 points a day to lose 10 pounds! I am supposed to be eating 18 points a day.

    s

    May 17, 2010

    i think she should count her workout points as activity points and eat them for a week and see if she gains or loses. if she gains that week, then she will know she’s at the right pts level, and if she loses, then she should be eating more points. it’s a win/win :)

    Reinaldo

    May 17, 2010

    I don’t know points, but my 2 cents: don’t focus in fat loss yet with the c25k yet. You are just on week 4 and if I were you, I’ll see it as a journey to finish that 5K and THEN those workouts will mean maybe 500 cal per run at the begining and even more later on. On week four is like, maybe 200/250 cal? Just finish the program, and then you can use those 5K runs to really make a calorie deficit. If you can’t pay a gym right now, consider search online some bodyweight workouts that will put some fat-burning muscle on you! There are so many freeweight exercises you can try, and some programs too (google 100 pushups, 20 chinups, 200 squats). I think you might kickstart your metabolism with some resistance exercise, along with the cardio. And I think a DVD wont cut it, because you always do the same routins everyday without adding more reps.

    liz

    May 18, 2010

    I agree with Reinaldo. There’s no way you’re doing enough exercise to build muscle yet, it’s so hard for women to build muscle. The main thing is don’t be discouraged and keep going with it. I reckon you’re probably eating the right points (though I don’t get how it works it the states, seems much more straightfoward in the UK!)Sounds to me like u need to jump start your metabolism! Ww works as a diet on its own without exercise but let’s face it they’re a great combo. Resistance is the way forward and eating filling foods- might be useful to ask one of the ww leader bloggers to have a look at your food diary? Main thing keep on truckin! You can do it!!!! Best of luck, liz x

    Kerry

    May 18, 2010

    ELizabeth is getting a lot of physical activity which is great! There are so many benefits besides weight loss, so be confident that you are doing very good things for your body!

    I might ask Elizabeth what she’s eating, and if she’s hungry often? 27 points seems like it may not be enough, but a good combination of healthy foods (vegetables, fruit, whole grain, etc.) is also important. Although points are WW’s method to guiding a diet, I think it’s also really important to listen to what your own body is telling you.

    A. Hart

    May 18, 2010

    Hi, I think that Elizabeth should stick with the plan, but make sure she’s eating ALL of her activity points. I got into a rut with that when I was losing (now lifetime member). I would work out and I thought if I didn’t eat all of the points I’d lose faster…WRONG! Switch things up, don’t do the same routine all of the time. Keep the body guessing with activity and food. Eat some of the Weekly points too. Just make sure you’re accountable and journaling what you eat. Eat the filling foods and I usually eat every 2 to 3 hours (not full meals, but veggies, vitamuffins, healthy snacks) to get my metabolism going. Good luck.

    Lisa

    May 18, 2010

    I find that in order to lose weight I need to stick as close as possible to my daily points (plus activity points if I work out – never giving myself more than 4 points) without touching my Flex points during a week. If I use all 35 of my Flex points I don’t really see anything happening. Of course, when I end up using those points it usually because of some food that is really bad for me, so that might be the bigger problem.

    You really need to play with the system and figure out what works for you. Just because the formula says xx points, doesn’t mean you have to stick exactly to that. It should be close, but 1-2 points can make a difference – and yes, even being under by 1-2 points because you don’t want to deprive your body.

    Good luck

    Christine

    May 18, 2010

    Maybe try counting calories for a week? Seems like you should be eating 1600-1800 calories a day because you exercise so much. Also, I read a book called Health at Every Size and the author talks about how sometimes it is more than just calories in and calories out–also about hormones and genetics.

    Ortal

    May 18, 2010

    Honestly I dont think its too little. 27 points is ABOUT 1350 cals a day. I am on a maedically supervised diet of 500-800 cals a day and I lose weight. I know its extreme but it works for for me. But I digress.

    My suggestion would be to count and measure EVERYTHING. all too often I know I say thats “about” 3oz and “about 1 cup of rice” and those extras can really add up. Drink your water, eat your protein before you work out, and Im sure itll come off in time. Write it down, eat your veggies, and congrats on the amazing fitness regimen.

    Renee B.

    May 18, 2010

    I am also a graduate of the C25K program and for the life of me could not lose wieght while I was breaking into running. I was also doing WW at the same time and found that I was CONSTANTLY hungry, even if I ate my APs. I wanted to listen to my body and eat more, but found that mentality counterproductive to losing weight, especially when eating more meant going over my Pts allowance. My whole life I subscribed to the “eat less, exercise more and lose weight” mentality… and it wasn’t working. So, I gave up WW all together and decided to try something new. I realized that I had found the flaw in the Points system…. I could eat whatever I wanted just so long as I stayed within my points range. And the truth is that I WAS eating whatever… 100 Cal pack here, light popcorn there. I followed a sensible daily diet of lean meats and high fiber, but ate too many highly processed snacks that were loaded with carbohydrates. I would eat something and then be starving or craving something sweet soon thereafter. It wasn’t until I cut out all of the foods that were stripped of all of their natural nutritional value (foods crammed with white flour and sugar… this means most breads, pastas, chips, potatos, 100 Cal packs) that I finally started to stay full. Now I follow something similar to the WW Core plan (altho I still have no association with WW). I eat whenever I’m hungry, don’t count a single point… I don’t even journal… I eat about 2-3 servings of fruit a day, 3-4 veggies and all of the lean meats and proteins I want to and I am finally, FNALLY losing weight. I have tons of energy now and I’m eating more than I was on WW!
    Now, granted, I don’t know how Elizabeth is spending her 27 pts each day, but from personal experience I would have to say that perhaps it’s not the amount of food that she’s eating (whether too little or too less) that’s stalling her success. Right now she is exercising a lot and needs nutritious food, rich with protein, fiber and natural nutrients. Instead of experimenting with the number of points she is using, maybe she should try changing how she uses her points for a few days and see what happens.

    Sharon

    May 18, 2010

    What you are eating may be more important. The amount of points seems reasonable. Check how many carbs you are eating. So many light foods or “healthy” foods contain a lot of carbs. Make sure you’re not getting more that 50% of your daily calories from carbs. (at 1350 calories or 27 points that would be roughly 168 carbs per day range). I’m not saying to eat carb free.. just watch that your diet isn’t made up of too many carbs (greater than 50% of your diet). Get your protein and lot’s of fiber. Stick with it. Progress of any kind is awesome. (I have to tell myself that too! :)

    A Little Coffee

    May 18, 2010

    I actually thought the same thing as Reinaldo: your C25K is really going to help you be able to run. But it’s not a big calorie-burner at this point in time, in fact I actually doubt it’s as high as 200 calories on Week 4. I would couple it with some weight lifting afterward.

    amanda

    May 18, 2010

    My suggestion is to re evalate the types of foods you are eating with your points. If you are eating what I call useless foods like 100 calorie packs or other prepacked foods I would try to avoid them. Try to eat healthy snacks like apples, eggs, yogurt, cheese, veggies with hummus, nuts, etc. I am not up to date on my weight watcher points anymore but you might want to vary your points per day. I know there was a system back when I was doing weight watchers (2005 time frame) where you would change your points every few days and some days would be higher than others. This keeps your body guessing.

    Sandi B

    May 18, 2010

    Reinaldo and A Little Coffee: I don’t know, my running tracker says I’m losing over 400 calories every time I run on week 4. I find these numbers consistent on several different calorie burning trackers.

    I’m not going to be too much of help, as I have the same exact problem. I started following meal plans on Spark People because I couldn’t lose one pound doing the same exact type of workouts and I lost 3 lbs the first week. Last week, nothing. This week, we’ll see.

    I did however learn that I was not eating NEARLY enough protein. So maybe trying pre-planned meal plans through WW or Spark People or something similar will help. Good luck!

    shannon

    May 18, 2010

    Michele you may not be losing the 10 pounds as fast because 15 points is way too little. You’re body is probably trying to hold onto the extra weight because of the lack of food it is getting. 15 points is less then 800 calories a day which is not much at all.

    REST!

    May 18, 2010

    I have taken my personal training certificate after reaching my goal weight by loosely following WW and exercising. Took it more for the general knowledge, and have no desire to be a personal trainer, but it was really informative, and has changed my perspective on a lot of things!!
    One thing that I was taught, that I found totally hard to wrap my head around, was the concept of RESTING!! You ABSOLUTELY need at least 1 day of rest during the week where you do NOTHING. Don’t take your dog for a 1 hour walk, don’t jump on the treadmill for a quick 20 mins… do NOTHING. My teachers words were “be a SLUG”. Your muscles need to recover. It is well known that muscle is more metabolically active than fat, and therefore burns more calories than fat. Calorie burning potential of our muscles can only help us lose weight if they are allowed to reach their fat burning potential… which means giving them sufficient time to recover!
    There are tons of articles online on the issue that can explain it a lot better than I have here. You should also look into how many days you should be resting… it is likely more than one.
    It’s great that you are working out so much, and so intensely, but take a day or two and recover. Not only will it help you to not burn out, it will help you build that muscle that you are working so hard on!!!
    Just my thoughts :-)

    TWoP_Fan

    May 18, 2010

    Renee, I really liked your comment, I think I’m going to have to do what you did. I’m eating too much processed, not enough whole foods. Thanks for the motivation!

    (And as always, thanks for the blog, Roni!)

    rollercoaster

    May 18, 2010

    Has anyone ever heard of the Wendie Plan? Here is an excerpt from the page:

    The Wendie Plan is very simple. You follow a simple plan of eating. You eat your regular foods that you have on WW. You work within your point range. You drink the water, get some exercise, etc., etc., etc. What is different? You alternate the amount of points you use each day. What could be more simple?

    Google ‘Wendie Plan’ if you want to hear more. It makes a lot of sense and could help you jumpstart your body to start losing weight. I love theories that encourage less black and white thinking and more gray because everyone is so different and need different things.

    MM

    May 18, 2010

    I think she is eating too little for the amount of excercise she is doing. She should also make sure she is adding healthy fats like olive oil, avocado, walnuts, etc. in there……

    Talysa

    May 18, 2010

    I had a slow go to goal…then added points for maintenance and the weight started falling off! I even had to be told that I could not lose anymore or couldn’t make lifetime. I went from 23 points to 25 for maintenance…I always exceeded those 25 by a few and STILL lost more than when I was trying to lose. I’m convinced now that I was not balancing what I was burning vs. what I needed for fuel. You def need more! I’d say bump it up to 29 and see how that works.

    pat

    May 18, 2010

    throw the scale away. it will do wonders for you.

    elizabeth

    May 18, 2010

    Hey guys! Elizabeth here!!

    Wow, thanks for all the input. I have lots to think about. I actually wrote this question about a week ago, and I have taken a little break from ALL the exercise. I was feeling really run down and aching. I had to listen to my body and I am still exercising most days of the week just not doing all that I was. I am also trying to eat foods in their most whole form. I feel like I am starting to see the difference in my clothes and I will let this be my guide more than the number on the scale.

    I am not stuck to reaching a certain number for weight. I do know that I am not comfortable where I am. I remember the weight coming off slow after my daughter and the same now after my son. I have had thyroid checked and its normal.

    Its a funny thing…this journey I’m on! Nice to have support from others, even if you don’t know me :)

    Lisa

    May 18, 2010

    I don’t know enough about WW to comment but when I spoke to a nutritionist recently, she said I was eating too little calories. I exercise A LOT and she said I need to feed my body to do that. She advised me to not eat really lightly on rest days (like I had been).

    Jessica

    May 18, 2010

    I think I could have written Elizabeth’s question about a month ago. I was doing a ton of cardio (exercise bike and fast walking), and I thought, “Hey, this will drop weight.” And I got nowhere! The best thing that happened was when I picked up the kettlebell and doing the Shred on alternating days. I think my body was craving strength training. Then the weight started to fall off.

    I also competely agree about rest. When I first started doing kettlebells, I was recommended to wait about 48 hours between each session. Doing more sessions during the week didn’t necessarily mean I would get better results.

    I’ve been using SparkPeople to track my food. It’s nice because, at the end of the day, I can get a nutrition feedback. I can see what nutrients my food contains, and I can get a better idea of where to steer away from. Also doing that food report gets me 2 points, but that’s a whole other story. :)

    Laura Jane

    May 18, 2010

    I really think the proper amount to eat in order to lose weight depends on the person. For my body, I definitely would not increase the number of points. 1350 calories is very reasonable for 30 mins of cardio a day. Like some others have suggested, often, I’ve found that I get a little lazy about measuring things and am underestimating the amount of points I’m eating. Also, I have found that I need to eat lots of protein and some fat to keep me full. Several years I was doing WW (successfully at that time because I stuck to the program) and was about your weight. I was sticking to my points but was eating mostly all super low fat or not fat foods that also had very little protein – so mostly carbs. When I started eating a lot more lean means and protein and also added in a little bit of fat, I felt SOOO much fuller and better. Also, I found that I didn’t need to increase my points for doing 30 mins of cardio a day, but for an hour or more of intense cardio in a day, I really did need to eat at least some of my activity points to avoid feeling hungry.

    Renee B.

    May 19, 2010

    @TWoP_Fan You’re welcome :o) It’s the easiest “diet” in the world (for me) to stick to cuz I don’t feel like I’m trying to lose weight. I eat when I’m hungry… Lean and Green, baby! I missed the carbs at first, especially the cereals and breads, but 2 months into it I don’t mind giving them up. My body (and strangely my mind) feels SO much better! … and I was just in it to lose weight! :o) Good luck to you!

    At the end of the day it all comes down to calories in vs calories out and it will be that way until the end of time. :>)

    roni

    May 20, 2010

    You know I agree with you HOWEVER finding a balance of calories in vs. calories out that satisfies your body and MIND so you don’t eat additional calories and blow the whole equation is the balancing act.

    So she me be eating too little which is causing her to want to binge, nibble, whatever which is actually pushing her calories in more then her calories out. Where as if she ate a little more through out the day the deficit would still be there.

    Jamie

    May 21, 2010

    Not every calorie is equal… if you are eating lots of high quality protein (chicken breasts, eggs, etc…), tons of veggies and fruit while limiting the carbs (only complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice, barley, whole wheat, etc…) and staying away from processed foods while adding in healthy fats (real butter, EVOO, coconut oil) you will nourish your body and feed your muscle while burning fat (which is optimal). I’ve done WW in addition to a whole lot of diets… I’m currently doing part clean diet with Nourishing Traditions food in addition to daily circuit training… I’m down 15lbs in 4 weeks.

    I definitely agree that getting your thyroid checked is a good idea… go see a Naturopath and see about getting Natural Throid.

    I also journal everything I eat and drink. This ensures I know exactly whats going in because what I “think” I ate vs. what I actually eat are not the same.

    Good luck!

    Jamie

    May 21, 2010

    Oh, one more thought… I just read that Elizabeth already had a thyroid check… if you had standard blood work at the Docs, it may not give you a clear picture. A ND will have a much better idea if what is going on with you is actually a thyroid issue and can help treat it naturally. I’ve learned that we are all so different that having a standard lab test isn’t always accurate… they don’t give the whole picture!