Q: But, I feel like I'm doing everything right, and still not getting results – I am at a weight loss plateau. What if I'm already at my “true” maintenance?
A: Ok, so your training is spot on. You're lifting heavy, and close to failure, & not going crazy on the cardio. Let me first say that, it's good that you're not going crazy on the cardio, which becomes a HUGE plus, as you'll see the closer you get to your goal. You'll be happy that you still have the cardio “trump card” to pull on those stickler last few pounds (which is when I would recommend pulling that card – keeping that phase short and sweet), most women tend to do the opposite. They go for the cardio factor (because they like to see the higher burn #s), and eat next to nothing, then when they hit a weight loss plateau all you can do is eat EVEN less and do EVEN more cardio, thus weight loss takes over your life, and you're always on a diet. Sad, but true – I've been there & it ain't pretty…..
Even if your current eats look awesome, and my original thoughts were, “Hey, if this were ME, I'd be losing”…therein lies the problem, it's not me. So if we find out your true maintenance (TDEE), we can then skew the macros in your favor and start melting some fat. *If* by some freak of nature we find that you're already eating pretty close to your maintenance, then it could mean that your body has decided that 30 is the new 40…or, rather 1600 is the new 2000, know what I mean? If this has happened, then it's up to you what road to take. You can take the 2 steps forward 2 steps back approach (drop the cals further so that you will start to see results, then plateau again), or start over, and reset your metabolism (which will take longer, but will allow you to eat more in the end). Another option would be to continue doing what you're doing (if you're at you're actual “maintenance”) and go through a gradual body recomposition (which could also be what's happening now). This will obviously take the longest amount of time, but no further changes will need to be made.
Was there ever a point in time where you were losing? if so what were you doing? When you first started MFP, do you remember the cals it set for you? (BTW, a minor increase/decrease in weight, could have very well been because of how heavy you're lifting- my scale weight fluctuates constantly because of how I lift. You may want to get in the habit – if you're not already- of weighing yourself on a rest week, or after you've had a couple days off of training to make sure your body has had time to release any water retention)…
Q: There was a time where i was actually losing weight….It was a 1200 cal diet and cardio for 45-55 min every day of those 5 days. I think i lost like 3 lbs that week? then i went back up to what MFP suggested my cals to be, and the weight creeped up 2 more lbs from where i started.
A: Wow 1200 cals! Thank God you kicked that diet to the curb! Can you imagine if your metabolism got stuck there, and that's the most you could eat?! Whew. Smart thinking. I don't know why every darn diet out there for women, tries to throw the whole 1200-1400 cal plan at us and act like it's new and innovative. Of course if you eat like that, you'll lose..but for how long?