Absolutely no weight loss whatsoever!(83 Posts)
So about 4 weeks ago, I decided to cut down on what I eat. I stopped eating all 'junk' foods like crisps, chocolate etc. I'm mostly a vegetarian and am now eating something like half or two thirds of what I previously ate. Yet I'm not losing any weight at all.
I'm 50 and 5ft 7in and weigh 12 stone. I want to return to about 11 st 6lbs, which was my weight that stayed fairly stable after I'd given birth to twins 12 yrs ago. So it's not like I'm trying to lose vast amounts and am quite relaxed about being plump and rounded, on the whole.
Pre pregnancy, I was 10st 7lbs for years and years. I've never been slim but I've always had a reasonable waist and accepted my chunkier lower half.
But now the weight creeps up and up and no amount of cutting down what I eat has any impact at all. Just after each period starts, I lose maybe one pound for about a week or so - and then it just goes back on. I used to get a 4lbs weight loss around that time but it's now as if my body doesn't do the water loss drop and just keeps it all in!
Currently, a typical day's eating is this:
3 cups of tea with a total of about half a cup of milk across those cuppas
2 marmite rice cakes with cottage cheese and a soft boiled egg
2 tablespoons of rice with salad leaves, tomatoes, celery, spring onion, a few pine nuts and a light sprinkle of grated cheese, with a drizzle of olive oil and soya sauce
Half a piece of fried salmon with salad, as above
2 bananas, one apple, a raw carrot
Watered down fresh orange juice
No alcohol (don't drink at all).
I have no idea what calories I'm eating but it's certainly a lot less than I was and yet I'm maintaining my weight. A few years ago, this kind of eating would have meant I lost easily half a stone within a few weeks. Not anymore.
I refuse to cut down so much that I end up feeling light-headed and irritated and feel my body needs a decent amount of food for health reasons. Yet I also think that if I eat less, in fact I sometimes think, even if I eat nothing, I still won't lose weight!
It's almost like my perimenopausal body has decided to cling on for dear life to all the weight it can accumulate and just won't budge! I'm fairly active but don't have any extra time for formal exercise. I swim and am constantly rushing around up and downstairs and heavy lifting, clearing up etc etc. So if I eat any less than the above, I get very weak and dizzy and don't feel healthy.
Do I just accept that at 50, I'm permanently a different weight and shape forever - or is there a sensible, healthy way of losing about half a stone and staying there?
You can look online and try and find your tdee (the total energy you theoretically expend in a day) and that will give you an idea of how much you need to eat to lose some weight.
Thanks for the advice. I've just looked up my TDEE and it says 1897 calories. So that presumably means that eating less than this should mean I lose weight.
Is the above typical day's food intake really 1897 calories? I just don't know how many calories there are in different foods/meals but I do know that what I'm eating is considered a very restrictive diet to many.
Can anyone else on here, who is very well versed in calorie counting, tell me if my typical day's intake, above, adds up to 1897 calories?
Try downloading myfitnesspal.
I have now lost over 6 stone using it.
I was so unaware what calories was in the things I was eating.
I ate lots if fruit and veg. In fact fairly healthy foods.
Portion control was way out.
Amount if cheese and carbs was way out.
Hidden calories. As in bought yougurts ( only eat low fat natural now. Have you seen the sugar in ordinary ones!)
It has really chaned how I eat
Exercise might help. Do you do much? Swimming and housework don't count! Not much anyway
Blag I'm close in age to you and have the same problem. I recently completed some medical diet research at imperial where they discovered that as i restricted my calorie intake so my metabolic rate went down to match the calorie intake. Metabolic rate is supposed to adjust by up to 10% when dieting, but mine dropped by over 30%.
Google enhanced metabolic efficiency and you'll find my MN thread moaning about it. And when I exercise I end up almost in hibernation afterwards as my body tries to keep the balance. Even my temperature drops significantly when I diet. And I can't adjust metabolic rate myself - even weightlifting (the most metabolically affecting activity) adds only 3% to your rate. Thyroid is working perfectly - in fact my whole body is working in beautiful harmony to maintain my weight no matter what I do. Have tried normal diet levels, crash diets, even 'normal' 1.800 calorie eating, all the same result (if anything, am more active and healthy at 1,800 but mentally i then think im 'not trying' in terms of addressing my size, which is not a good space to be in). I've been low carbing with no simple carbs at all for close to a decade, now. Zilch effect of course.
I feel as if people like us should be the Guinea pigs for researchers to identify some of the triggers to what are pretty spectacular hormone defence actions, but there is fuck all research going that I can find.
It's going to be very slow given your age.
Did you weigh yourself at the start? Have you lost nothing at all?
I'll do a detailed calorie count of your day's intake in a mo, but the things that jump out at me are
2 bananas. TWO!!!! Depends on size, but probably over 100 calories each, and have the most sugar of all fruits.
Sprinkle of grated cheese - how much exactly? Cheese calories can mount up all too quickly.
Fried salmon - could you grill it or steam it instead? Also, white fish will be lower in cals.
Pine nuts - how many? Again, very dense in calories, so it's easy to go overboard on nuts and seeds.
I'm 53 and have lost 25kg in the last 11 months using MFP and eating around 1700 cals/day.
Currently going through menopause, doing no exercise.
You need to start weighing/measuring everything that you eat and recording it.
Next time you are at the doctors you could ask for a thyroid test. The thyroid can influence your metabolism, making it hard to lose weight. I am hypothyroid, meaning low or no hormone and have to take a supplement. I'm just fascinated by how whatever I eat my weight stays the same (far too much) as if its beyond my control!
Isatdownandwept, sorry, I only read your post after. It is fascinating, and along the same lines as mine!
actually, swimming and housework are exercise. Any movement is exercise and uses calories.
just not as much as we would like. :-(
That's around 2,000 calories there OP - so you'd need to reduce that by 500 or so to start dropping pounds.
I know its really frustrating when this happens.
Unfortunately when you get older its harder to lose weight yet its so easy to put on!
What your eating sounds absolutely fine, very healthy. If your not losing weight on it, I would suggest researching the calories like the others suggested. Don't make it all about calories though, its easy to become obsessed.
A lot of foods you presume are low calorie - actually aren't. You will be surprised by what you find.
I would suggest have a decent sized breakfast, something like porridge or weetabix. Something thats going to keep you going for most of the morning. If you have this with skimmed milk or even better, soya then its not going to be any more than 300 cal? I'm just guessing, may be a little more. Bottom line is, its low cal anddd will keep you full.
Then for lunch again have something decent and something thats going to keep you going until dinner. For dinner I would fill most your plate up with veg - filling and healthy. With perhaps some fish or lean meat :-)
If you fancy desert then perhaps some yogurt and blueberries?
Try to stick to healthy, filling low calorie meals. You need to keep your metabolism up if you want to lose weight.
Combine that will swimming twice a week and I'm sure you will see a difference!
Don't get disheartened if your don't see a result straight away. Every body is different, I personally do not lose weight instantly - it comes of gradually. But afterall, thats the most healthiest way!
This is my typical day to day eating. I don't have any chocolate, crisps. biscuits, takeway, tea, coffee, fizzy drinks. Im very strict due to how I used to be and its now just become a part of my lifestyle. Of course I will occassionally treat myself to some haribo (my weakness!)
Try not to think of it as a 'diet' as it then becomes some sort of punishment and short term thing. Try to introduce better diet and exercise and see it as a lifestyle change.
Sorry I always get carried away on these topics!
Don't fry the salmon. It is an oily fish that is delicious even when steamed (cooked over slow fire in a bit of water).
Bananas are said to be about 100 kCal but that is for a 100 g banana. I just weighed the smallest banana in my kitchen and found that it is 130 g. Two of my larger bananas could easily add 360 kCal to your daily intake. Have some blueberries or an apple instead.
Don't grate cheese on your salad and measure the olive oil you are "drizzling". You might be surprised how much it is.
And exercise! It will not only spend the calories but it will increase your metabolism and you will feel great, as well.
My advice to you is this. Stop trying to lose weight and start focusing on doing healthy things, only healthy behaviours can change your body - culling calories can not be considered a healthy behaviour.
The problem with counting calories is that it makes you neurotic and can end with eating disorders; counting calories may work in the short term but you down regulate your metabolism and unless you are able to stay on low calories for the rest of your life you will always put the weight back on.
If you focus on eating healthy, whole foods your body will find its best version naturally, without you having to constantly think about how much you are eating.
Counting calories doesn't make you neurotic A good dietitian prepared a balanced low-calorie diet for me some years ago. I lost heaps of weight with it and kept it off. Nobody got neurotic as a result.
Sorry, but "2 bananas. TWO!!!!" does sound a bit neurotic. Its a banana, not crack laced chocolate filled doughnuts.
OP's posted daily diet won't add up to 2000cals unless they are enormous portions. Like HUGE.
My comment wasn't directed at you, it was to the original poster. I apologise if you felt it was - 5% of people do have success with long term calorie restriction, that would make an awful lot of people, millions in fact, but it does mean that 95% of people are not.
For most, calorie counting simply ends with a down regulated metabolism followed by binge eating from feeling restricted, this is well documented.
Eating healthy foods, like bananas, allows the appetite to self regulate as the neuroendocrine system is not interfered with.
The problem most of us experience is based on the consumption of refined, processed and sugary foods; eating less of them is not the answer.
The food industry has way to much to lose if this message ever became mainstream - so it won't. I just hope more people begin to understand how to look after their bodies better.
This is a public forum. I don't have to feel your comments are aimed at me to answer them.
"The problem with counting calories is that it makes you neurotic" is a silly statement that is demonstrably wrong. If you have any proof for this allegation that everyone who has ever counted calories ended up with a mental disorder, please share. If not, accept that you were wrong and move on.
Your concerns about calorie restriction makes you sound like you think "restriction" can only mean severe restriction.
With moderate restriction, there is no binging because you are not hungry and you don't feel "restricted". And there is also no depressed metabolism, especially if you start to exercise.
" I just weighed the smallest banana in my kitchen and found that it is 130 g. Two of my larger bananas could easily add 360 kCal to your daily intake"
If you need evidence of the problems caused by calorie counting please visit any number of eating disorder charities and websites that are available on the web.
Some people have eating disorders following diets and not only calorie-counting. That doesn't mean everyone who follows a calorie restriction diet will be neurotic - a ridiculous claim.
A friend of mine followed the Ducan diet and ended up with a life-threatening colon infection & condition. Am I saying "Ducan dieters end up with colon problems"?
I don't go around counting calories, by the way. I have lost my weight, kept it off for years, and now can figure out how much to eat of what without calculating the calories.
"5% of people do have success with long term calorie restriction, that would make an awful lot of people, millions in fact, but it does mean that 95% of people are not."
"The problem with counting calories is that it makes you neurotic and CAN end with eating disorders"
If you eat healthy, whole foods your body will self regulate; nobody needs to count calories.
The digestive system, the endocrine system and the immune system are all compromised in a calorie deficit. Thyroid function also gets down regulated - I doubt anybody wants this.
When you eat whole foods that can be digested and absorbed correctly your body will up regulate leptin, the hunger hormone, telling you when you are full - it will also improve thyroid function and become anabolic - in a restricted state the body is catabolic - hence you will lose muscle.
Eating processed foods in smaller quantities will do nothing but make you a smaller version of yourself temporarily; if you desire long term change to all health processes(not just weight loss) this is a dreadful method of achieving it.
The key to sustained weight loss is to maintain strong metabolic processes by eating healthy, whole foods.
I profoundly disagree with your comments suggesting limiting olive oil - a perfectly healthy product - and bananas. I find them to not only be unhelpful, but potentially detrimental to a persons health.
You speak from the experience of having dealt with your own body. I speak from the experience of having dealt with almost 1000 people that have suffered significant emotional damage as well as metabolic damage from following diets - all unnecessary damage driven by the profit seeking requirements of the commercial dieting industry, a close relative of the food industry.
Nobody is talking about eating processed foods and body doesn't "self-regulate" weight. If you eat lots more and move lots less, you put on weight. There is no magic involved.
I don't know what your claim to authority on this subject is, but if you speak to any proper dietician with a real education and professional experience, you will see that they recommend using no more than several spoons of olive oil in a day.
Most foods are good for us but when we are trying to lose weight, we need to be careful with how much we eat of them. There is no dilemma there.
I would be interested to see where that 5% figure comes from, and also what the equivalent is for low-carb diets is. Both in the long term of many years, of course.
It is entirely possible to lose weight on any of these diets. The problem is keeping it up - i.e. not returning to your old ways once you lose a bit of weight. You need to make your "diet" a way of life, which means it has to be sustainable in the long term.
Diets based on severe calorie restriction are not sustainable in the long term. A good dietician will listen to what you like to eat at each meal, then make small changes to it, so that you eat what you like and it will be sustainable in the long term.
If you can do a a diet with no complex carbohydrates all your life, knock yourself out with it. Make sure you get enough B Vitamins, though.
Perhaps we should remember that dieticians advice over the last 30 years has only caused the nation to get heavier and less healthy. The advice they gave with regards preventing type 2 diabetes is being rapidly reversed as they realise the mess we are now in - sugar was the problem all along.
Who mentioned not eating complex carbohydrates? Healthy foods would include sweet potato, root vegetables, green vegetables, grains and fruits.
B vitamins? Why would anybody be deficient in B vitamins on a whole foods diet? Perhaps you would like to explain. That is a ludicrous claim.
Building health is about more than simply losing weight.
Once you understand what real food is and stop blindly listening to the advice of a dietician who has been trained in methods and schools funded by the food industry you can engage in a sensible conversation.
There is no magic - the body is governed by the endocrine system - the hormones in your body control how much energy you use, how hungry you are, how motivated you are and just about everything else.
I think the lady who started this conversation mentioned her body was not losing weight as it used to despite following the exact same methods - how do you suppose that is possible with your binary "energy in energy out" equation?
If you wish to bring up the laws of thermodynamics perhaps you would like to explain the second law - entropy - and how that relates to human calorie consumption.
Your post sounds bizarre, sorry.
Dieticians made the nation fat, did they? And they are all evil and/or ignorant because they are funded by the food industry?
What a good idea, let's forget about the professionals and let's all get our information from diet websites. (Not)
OP isn't around and we are not likely to change each other's minds so let's call it a day.
Its not about changing minds - its about opening eyes.
Our bodies need nutrients, minerals and vitamins in adequate supply to work properly. Giving less of this to our body is not good.
Dieticians are not evil - they are misinformed - not all, but some.
Education is only useful when the information you learn is correct. I will leave you with one thought. Dieting IS the problem - I advocate none of them.
Low calorie, atkins, dukan, south beach, IF - they are the problem not the solution.
Eat healthy whole foods.
I eat healthy whole foods and was overweight for years because I ate too much. Tracking calories or WW points helped me control my portion sizes. 3/4 years ago I lost 10st and I manage to keep my weight down although it can go up very easily if I don't keep a food diary.
Weight and health are not the same thing. It is easy to confuse aesthetics with health. Many people have BMI's in excess of 30 but present exceptional health profiles. Just as many have BMI's under 25 and have awful ones.
Although by losing weight you become more socially acceptable due to a perceived improvement in appearance, if your digestive, endocrine and immune function are not working at optimal you will not maximising you health and therefore your full potential in life.
I also find there is also a huge gap between what people consider to be healthy, whole foods and what actually is.
I commend you on your weight loss but I would suggest it is not possible to be 10 stone overweight by eating whole foods - unless you are coupling it with alcohol consumption - sorry to sound so dismissive.
Over eating to the excess required to gain 10 stone could only happen when the foods eaten are able to avoid the complete digestive process, With sufficient fibre this would not be possible.
You could also gain excess weight to this extent where an under active thyroid is evident, though this could be traced back to poor nutrient absorption - once again clear evidence of processed foods.
Weight watchers - owned by heinz for many years - wants you to buy their refined products and stay overweight so you keep paying for subscriptions.
Please carry on arguing.
This is a really interesting thread (seriously).
The 2000 a day guideline is misleading. I'm calorie counting on MFP and if I consume1600 calories per day it states that I will put on 2lb over 5 weeks.
I find calorie counting really useful. I don't care if that makes me neurotic. I tend to put on weight quite easily and find that keeping a record of my eating habits keeps that in check.
"Over eating to the excess required to gain 10 stone could only happen when the foods eaten are able to avoid the complete digestive process"
That doesn't even make sense. Quite the reverse is true.
If the food we eat isn't digested, it would get thrown out more or less intact and we wouldn't get any calories out of it. Like cellulose.
TheArtic - Of course keeping an eye on calories doesn't make you neurotic.
I would say "neurotic" is telling people not to offer fruit to their children because they have carbs. (On another thread where OP was struggling with her DS's weight)
happy - I do eat healthy whole foods, the vast majority of which I cook myself from ingredients bought a bio markets from producers.
I also eat a bit of wholewheat pasta or bread or rice with each meal. And I also keep an eye on the calorie content of my diet and will adjust it as I go along - i.e. if I'm having a glass of wine with dinner, I won't have a fruit afterwards etc.
The two are not mutually exclusive.
Less of this "when we get older " crap please. I have lost 3 stone at a constant 1 1/2 lb per week ( 2lb on a few occasions) and have gone from 12st 11 to 9 st. 11 this year with Slimming World. I'm 5'3" and 57, at present I'm doing very little exercise. ( Will be starting running again soon) I've never been hungry on this diet and I supect calorie wise it is about 1250 per day.
You have done well higgle. Do you know what your calorie intake was before you started Slimming World?
I'm in the same situation as the OP: definitely finding it more difficult to lose weight as I get older. I am 51 and have been stuck at around 12 stone 4 lbs for the last few years. Calorie counting has stopped me getting any bigger - it's so easy to underestimate the amount I am eating.
I'm eating much less and exercising more than I used to in my twenties and thirties, but it's not having an effect, so I KNOW there is something extra going on, whether it be hormones or age-related muscle loss or whatever.
Isatdownandwept - very, very interested in your research.
Higgle the 'when we get older' thing isn't crap. It's great that you are successfully and happily losing weight but the fact is that hormonal changes as we age do mean (in the absence of exercise to combat it) we lose muscle density. It is muscle that burns the most energy so naturally our metabolism slows. Most of us will experience this to some degree at some point or other post-35.
Cote it's great that your diet works for you but you get so defensive and irate about it on all threads such as these - why can't you accept the sheer weight of evidence that points to calorie controlled diets not working in the long term for most people? HappyAli is talking absolute sense and sounds as if she has considerably more experience and expertise in this area than you.
FWIW I think what you eat looks too little (suspect, like the other poster, that your metabolism has very efficiently adjusted down to cope with reduced calories) and definitely lacks a healthy amount of protein. By all means use MFP to find out how many calories it adds up to but also take a look at the totals it gives you for protein/fat/carbs consumed. I would aim for 1/3 of your intake in each, try and eat at least 80g of preferably lean protein per day and minimise processed or starchy carbs in favour of lots of veg. I would also highly recommend weight training, not just for it's effect on body composition (reduced fat but not necessarily weight) but for the multitude of health benefits it
brings, especially for women, prevention of osteoporosis being top of the list.
Thefarside - probably loads. I ate lots of healthy meals, much as now, but I was rather lazy about portion control. On top of this I used to eat a load of rubbish, mainly sweeties ( oh, pick and mix) after supermarket trips and crisps as a consolation for having to go to the petrol station. I also used to hoover up any items left uneaten or just lying around by my 2 sons ( fortunately both have moved out this year !). If you do a search for how many calories you need for same body weight/height at different ages it does go down a little, but not enormously. I do however feel that cutting out the wine, biscuits, toasted teacakes ( that is me being ageist!) is a bit harder when you are older and it is a bit harder to get yourself psyched up for real exercise.
happyaliw Mon 16-Sep-13 21:04:26
Weight watchers - owned by heinz for many years - wants you to buy their refined products and stay overweight so you keep paying for subscriptions.
I know WW is commercial and operates for profit but so do organisations that promote nutrients, minerals and vitamins or individuals who offer advice on healthy eating for a fee. As someone who has worked with people with eating disorders I can vouch there are some neurotics who are obsessive about whole foods
It's not necessary to buy into everything WW offers. I just found WW online and MFP convenient tools for tracking what I ate and I didn't go to classes or buy any of their products, refined or not. Some of us aren't bothered or too old to care about what is socially acceptable or improving our appearance and are motivated to lose weight for health reasons. (BTW I drink very little alcohol, perhaps one glass of wine every couple of months with a meal, and I didn't have an under active thyroid.)
BlogOnTheTyne, it depends on the size of portions of course, but by my calculation there is around 1000cal and 39-44g of protein contained in the foods on the list above. That is well above the Estimated Average Requirement of protein for women in the Committee on the Medical Aspect of Foods Policy guidance based on a review of the scientific research examining human dietary requirements. 1000 cal or less a day is a very low calorie diet (VLCD). Because VLCDs contain fewer calories and nutrients than most people need they can cause health issues such as gallstones, heart problems or anaemia.
My suggestion would be to eat a bit more, measure everything and keep a food diary to help identify what works and what doesn't. Watch the fruit and veg. Recently I was putting weight on and found cutting back a little on fruit and veg (in particular bananas!) was the only thing that worked. So now I eat 8 portions of fruit and veg rather than ten. I have mobility problems and keeping my weight down makes it easier to move around and exercise. Loosing weight doesn't have to involve self flagellation. Life without enjoyment is pretty miserable. Being very restrictive makes it hard not to fall off the bandwagon or maintain any weight loss.
There are way to many comments for me to possibly deal with every single point - although if anybody has a particular issue they would like me to deal with then please repost - orthorexia nervosa STIDW refers to with a patronising wink (thank you) is a controversial eating disorder that is not shown to present any of the negative health side effects seen in anorexia etc - that being said I would always recommend people do not avoid ALL processed foods forever for this relatively benign reason. 80/20 or 90/10 is sufficient.
Secondly, I am not suggesting calories do not play a role in our weight - because they do(though not nearly as much as most think) - but dealing with this problem by counting calories is much the same as trying to cure a cold by blowing your nose more often....wiping away the snot and declaring a success.
We must look at WHY we have eaten too much, WHY we binge on sugar when we are emotional, WHY we have poor thyroid function, WHY we have a sluggish metabolism, lack energy and general health.
There is a good reason that 95% of dieters regain weight and Yo Yo through their lives - with esteem controlled by the scales. They didn't solve the problem, they just lost some weight. They are now a smaller version of a massively dysfunctional body.
There are two major issues we must content with to buck the trend and enable people to lead healthy lives.
1. Environment - The mass availability of processed foods at affordable prices means making good choices is very difficult - it also means food companies can make the same crap in smaller quantities and charge more whilst labelling them as healthy.
2. Social - The huge premium we place on aesthetics and being slim as society forces people to make choices that focus on rapid weight loss rather than building health. If you stopped trying to lose weight and started trying to build health I promise you would get to your goal and to your own personal optimum in good time.
It is a shame that nothing I am saying should be seen controversial but it is.
I chose the calorie counting forum to start a discussion as if I can convince dieters to change behaviour, I believe we stand a chance to change the nations health direction for the first time in 50 years.
happy I know why I put on weight. I put on weight because I'm upset or stressed.
In day-day life I just about cope I do the usual things - work deal with kids,cook meals. I feel like I'm hanging by a thread, raising a family and running a home comes naturally to a lot of people but it doesn't come naturally to me. I'm useless at anything remotely domestic, which is probably why I have always been very career orientated.
When I suffer a setback, over recent years there have been lots of bereavements, serious illnesses, redundancy etc I lose grip of that thread that I'm hanging onto. I can just about look after the children but I can't manage to look after myself. I eat lots of crap processed food and sugary rubbish and obviously I put on weight. Keeping count of the calories prevents this. When I calorie count I retain an element of control when everything else is spiralling out of control. I also eat a lot healthier than I would if I wasn't keeping track of the calories.
I know about nutrition and my kitchen is stocked full of cookery books. It just all goes to pot when I'm not coping. The issue isn't food it's dealing with stress and being outside of my comfort zone. I've tried lots of coping strategies but nothing really helps.
I agree with almost everything you are saying and fully understand why you are counting calories; this is not about attacking people for making the choice to count calories, its about providing a better option and highlighting why it is not creating the desired outcome.
In this thread we are dealing with physiology, and although they are hugely interlinked and difficult to separate, I want to pursue the current topic with definitive clarity without diversion.
Of course, the second question that needs answering in relation to creating positive behaviours and coping mechanisms is one of psychology.
If you were to start a new thread on comfort eating etc I would happily engage with you there and pick up that conversation. There is plenty to talk about
Sleepwhenidle - "Cote you get so defensive and irate about it on all threads such as these"
I'm simply telling it the way I see it, with no anger whatsoever. There is a world out there with people who may not agree with you. It doesn't mean they are defensive and irate.
"why can't you accept the sheer weight of evidence that points to calorie controlled diets not working in the long term for most people?"
I would love to, if you could just point me in the direction of that evidence. As in, real evidence with controlled studies and real figures of people who have continued with their diet but the diet stopped working.
"HappyAli is talking absolute sense and sounds as if she has considerably more experience and expertise in this area than you"
You are suffering from something called "perception bias" - you agree with her therefore what she says sounds like absolute sense etc. If you could see this objectively, stuff like "dieticians caused everyone to get fat and unhealthy" wouldn't look anything like absolute sense to you.
"providing a better option"
Which is what, exactly?
Calories needed to maintain weight - Basal Metabolic requirements
All for someone 5'3" and 133lb with moderate activity
Age 20 2121 Age 35 2015 Age 57 1860 Age 85 1643
So yes, the requirements do drop with age BUT if you increase the activity level to "very active" you need 2108 at age 57, so the answer is to be more active. I still think age isn't a major factor because even at my age I find the reduction from 1860 to 1250 leads to a good weight loss and when all my nasty dietary habits are resolved 1860 seems a very adequate amount.
Please never put words in my mouth again - you need to stop getting lost in petty semantics and start trying to build a rational argument if you are going to attempt to engage in debates.
I stand for something CoteDazur - what do you stand for beyond copy and pasting comments and taking issue with them?
You are clearly out of your depth in this argument as you are entering it with little understanding of science, biochemistry or even a base knowledge of food.
My point on dieticians is simply this - just because they have a qualification it means little if the information they learn is incorrect.
Calorie counting will probably help you to lose weight in the short term, and it MAY may help you to keep it off - as you have demonstrated, provided you are able to handle the side effects of which you become unaware having lived with them for so long.
What calorie counting will NEVER do is enable a person to fulfil their potential in life - excellent health is not simply the absence of disease or a slim waist.
Cote I think that there is possibly huge irony in the whole argument you are having here and if you listed out your typical diet then it would largely fit in with what HappyAli and I would recommend.
I suspect you take the time to prepare, sit and enjoy your meals, you have no issue wrt emotional eating, eat lots of fresh fruit and veg, high quality protein, good fats (though you obviously keep a careful eye on quantities) and while you eat starchy/processed carbs they are pretty small portions - am I right? Eating this way, with the occasional sugary treat or alcohol, you find it easy to maintain your weight. And you attribute it purely to calorie control, but whilst a calorie deficit is necessary to lose weight, all calories are not equal. Put empty, non-nutritious calories into your body and your body will tell you it is still hungry, same as shortly after sugar/high GI food. You then, if you are restricting calories, have that struggle between your willpower and urge to eat, a battle that the urge to eat will eventually overcome, hence the huge success of the diet industry, damage to metabolism and overall health.
Emotional eating is a whole other subject, as has been stated.
STIDW - I agree with you that OPs calories look too low and sugar may be a bit high (due to fruit and juice) but I maintain her protein I take looks too low and 'cut down on veg' has to be the most ridiculous dietary advice I have ever heard !
Isatdown - unfortunately your thread has disappeared from mumsnet as it was in chat over 30 days ago. I don't supposed you've got a cached copy of it you could paste into this topic...? I would very much like to read about your experience as it sounds alot like me.
Hi, I am isatdownandwept (I name change every few months).
So, research was on the effect of a very high protein, calorie controlled diet versus a normal calorie controlled diet. Done by Imperial (still ongoing if you live in London and want to volunteer...). Having eaten nothing but healthy food, complex carbs and good protein for pretty much the last decade I knew I wouldn't lose weight but i went into the research because i wanted to find out answers and this was my best chance - I had full MRI scans during study, went into a proper metabolic measurement hood, had bloods taken (pints and pints, it seemed). I figured that this would give me more insight than all my trips to Harley street hadn't (oh yes, have sat down with many an endocrinologist and suchlike). To prepare for the diet I had to not be dieting to start with, so I expanded my diet before I started, and upped my carbs too, to a more 'normal' level. My base rate metabolism was 1,975 going in, and finished at just under 1,400 12 weeks later. Which was a direct result of reducing my calories (I kept all habits and exercise the same). Total weight loss was less than 2kg (which all happened in first 2 weeks so probably in the time it took my metabolic rate to adjust). On the very positive side, the MRI scans showed my liver fat % (the next big thing in the fat debate) changed quite a bit, proving that upping protein as an alternative to filling up on carbs is a very good thing (for me at least).
For me, i got an explanation, but not a way forward. Having spent a decade wanting to cry when doing all the right things had no effect, i did at least get further forward in understanding myself. i even got diagnosed with ME a few years ago which I didnt believe at the time, and now i realise it was my body simply hibernating (at the time I was exercising and also sticking to a 1,200 diet - my body just shut down in order to stop me using up more than 1,200 calories). I am a very successful, very intelligent businesswoman so it was horrific feeling ignorant about myself and I am relieved that I now understand my body so much more.
What I don't have is a way forward. Am putting this story out again and again because I truly believe that I am not the only person whose body works this way and we are all being ignored by medical research. There's been stuff on rats showing that this 'enhanced metabolic efficiency' exists and explains why you can't shift weight, but there doesn't seem to be anything being done on solving it.
For what it's worth I think my own circs arose because having my second child seems to have 're-set' my hormones, and I think my body acts as if I am still pg (second child was an elective C-S whcih I also think could be a factor). I'm prepared to believe that the process of dieting itself quite possibly permanently fucks you up, and I also think that the hormones that are pumped into the food chain these days are probably a strong contender in the cause and effect considerations. What frustrates me most is that this is a 21st century issue, still being treated as a 20th century one. 'Eat less, move more' is what got me an ME diagnosis. We have to be cleverer than just think that is the mantra that'll work, surely?
That's amazing Cloudy - the body is so incredible isn't it (not much comfort to you I'm sure but fascinating to find out what is going on and at least understand why dieting isn't working for you).
What are you doing now - if anything? Do you eat only unprocessed/organic food as much as possible or anything like that? Have you tried exercise at all? It would be interesting to find out if your body adapted the same way to that...
Thanks for sharing that CloudyBay. Very interesting stuff about the body shutting down at a particular point to prevent further energy expenditure.
Next steps for me are fairly radical. Probably lipo, possibly abdominoplasty. Neither of which I relish but there are studies that seem to suggest that this stuff sometimes 're-sets' your metabolism. But I am not sure. I am a size 18 so not morbidly obese or anything like that so there's a large part of me that thinks I should just suck it up, but then there's another part of me that is still a real snob about weight and what it implies in terms of willpower attitude to health, which is difficult to ignore. I also spent the first 35 years of my life enjoying buying clothes (was always skinny before), and I want to be able to buy nice clothes again. And to not have to put talc on my thighs to stop them chafing.urgh.
And yes, I also do the whole exercise thing. My personal trainer is an ex-Olympian and I've exercised for years. Proper stuff too - resistance, aerobic, anaerobic. Am quite good at taking my heart rate up the max, doing a few k on the concept rower, etc. it's left me strong, flexible (like you wouldn't believe for a fat bird). But still fat. And usually ravenous with hunger (that's the body trying to match calories in with calories out).
I'm also taking desiccated pigs thyroid. Gross, eh?
Very interesting Cloudy, and very revealing too.
I would be lying if I claimed I could provide an absolute answer for you as you are doing pretty much everything I would suggest - I have though, come across several individuals with a very similar profile over the years and the approach is rather different.
One method I have used to reasonably good effect requires plenty of self control and far stricter calorie observation than I would usually suggest - it actually goes against what I would suggest for 95% of people as it requires the use of calorie counting (hypocrite I know.)
It have used it to great success with physique competitors with almost non existent metabolisms after years of extreme dieting.
The process outlined below is simple but CAN work - no double blind studies here - just anecdotal observations.
- Move your calorie consumption UP in tiny increments, between 10 and 20 per day, or even less. The aim is to slowly move your calorie consumption up whilst MAINTAINING your weight - if you gain a little pull back, if you lose a little add on - losing weight should be seen negatively. This process enables your body time to adapt to new calorie quantities and therefore adjust endocrine processes accordingly, in other words reignite everything that has shut down. -
It could be months and months before you see any results as you will not be trying to lose weight - simply readjusting the way your body absorbs and utilises calories.
Thanks for your thoughts, but you are trying to solve the wrong problem. I don't put weight on either (except whilst metabolic rate is recalculating when I change my calories) Your advice is good or someone with a very low, sluggish metabolic rate. My metabolic rate adjusts very rapidly. I have got it back up now and I am maintaining weight. It's not a sluggish metabolic problem I have - it is on over-efficient metabolic problem. Google 'enhanced metabolic efficiency' and look at the research. My metabolic rate mechanism is super efficient and my thyroid is working perfectly, too. What I need to happen is for my metabolic rate to stay at, say, 1,700 (round about where it is now given my diet), whilst my calorie intake drops to, say, 1,200.
I totally get what you are advising - your advice would have a sluggish metabolic rate move up by tiny increments until it starts behaving normally. But that's simply not my problem. I don't have to move my calories up by 10,20 a day - i can shove them up by 400 at a time without putting weight on, because my metabolic rate adjusts upwards accordingly. It's whizzing round at a high level now (because im not dieting, just eating healthily) but it will drop the minute I cut the calories.
This is what I mean when I say there is no research. Everything is geared to adjusting calorie intake/expenditure around a given, stable, metabolic rate (whatever that may be), not around how you hold that metabolic rate steady whilst adjusting calorie in/out changes.
You should be able to increase your metabolic rate while cutting calories by increasing your muscle mass - i.e. exercising. Unless your body works on principles totally alien to human physiology? Sorry, I'm not sure if I understood your posts correctly but it seems like you are saying that your metabolic rate tanks as soon as you cut a few calories off your diet.
That's exactly what she's saying the tests showed Côte.
Yep. Metabolic rate dropped to 1.400 as soon as diet dropped to 1,400.
And I exercise 3-4 times weekly, heart rate to 165 for 30 minutes (on a 2 mins up, 30 secs rest rotation), using bike, treadmill, concept 2, then I have 20 mins resistance work with my trainer, then a bit of floor work for abs etc then stretching (trainer does all the stretching stuff whilst I just groan). The net effect of all this is that if I don't feed myself extra (am ravenous after exercise), then my body shuts down to conserve energy. Usually by falling asleep without warning (have twice had to sleep in car outside restaurants whilst family finish their dinner, have had to be woken up in work meetings, have found myself asleep on loo at work, have fainted at train station, have slept 14 hours straight quite often when I overdo the exercise).
Nothing unusual about my body's workings in that calories in - calories out = fat storage/reduction. Problem with me (and I suspect many others) is when fat storage stays constant instead of adjusting, meaning that my body forces the calories expended to = calories input, so that the ratio still works. And it does it by shutting down if if eat too little or exercise too much, and also by dropping my temperature to 34 degrees (which leaves me very lethargic)
It's not an unknown phenomena and here is some research on it if your still sceptical. Problem is that no-one is exploring whether I'm in a minority of say 2% of population (and should be ignored) or whether what I go through is reflected in 30-40 % of fatties. No-one looks at measuring metabolic rate/temperature in dieters but I'd be bloody interested to see the results if they did.
Typo in there. Apologies.
By the way, this isn't alien to human physiology at all. Dame Nancy Rothwell was doing research on all of this way back in the 80's. I just think everyone assumes its only a small minority of people, whereas no-one really knows, it could be one of the major factors in obesity these days.
I'm hoping that the Imperial research study I was on might turn up a few of us with the same measured results,showing our metabolic rates doing extra-ordinary things (relative to normal expected ranges of metabolic rate shift capacity), which would be really interesting (even though it isn't the main focus of the research).
I think you are more evolved than the rest of us Cloudy
The only thing I can think of recommending to you is switching your workout around, spend 30 mins lifting heavy weights (by which I mean you struggle to do more than 6-8 reps) then 10-12 mins of HIIT, followed by core work and stretch. The aim being to build muscle (you will also need to adjust your diet to include plenty of protein, which you are used to aim for 1g of protein for every lb of bodyweight at your ideal weight). The HIIT will hopefully blast fat and raise your metabolism over the 12-24 hrs following the exercise, without inducing the stress effect that longer cardio sessions can? Apologies if you have already tried this but if not then maybe discuss it with your trainer? I have absolutely no idea if it will work but may be worth a try.....
Cloudy - I'm not skeptical about your metabolism being efficient re calories in/out. I was pointing out that it should be possible to increase your metabolism through exercising and increasing your body's muscle mass.
"whether I'm in a minority of say 2% of population or whether what I go through is reflected in 30-40 % of fatties"
If such a large population was passing out after exercising to conserve energy, I think that would have been noticed.
This is not even just about efficient metabolism. What you are describing would mean that your body is not capable of using its energy reserves (i.e. convert fat into energy and use it). It sounds very strange, indeed.
And re your exercise program:
"heart rate to 165 for 30 minutes (on a 2 mins up, 30 secs rest rotation), using bike, treadmill, concept 2"
30 minutes cardio is probably not long enough. You don't start burning fat until 20-30 minutes into a cardio workout. I was told that cardio workout should be 45-60 minutes.
Also, 2 mins up/30 secs rest intervals should be pushed up as your physical condition improves. Thinking of the treadmill, for example, 2 min run/30 sec walk would be fine in the first week, but then you should quickly move on to 5 mins run/2 min walk intervals for example, then 8 mins run/2 min walk etc. In less than 2 months, you would be running for 25-30 minutes without a rest.
"then I have 20 mins resistance work with my trainer"
I'm not sure what "resistance work" refers to here, but if it is similar to weight training, I'm pretty sure that you are advised to do that before the cardio for fat loss/weight loss.
Actually, I would love to know what happens if you start running. I would be willing to bet money that you will see the change in your body before you reach the end of the C25K program
Have had 3 trainers in last 7 years and they have all done the same - aerobic, then anaerobic. Current one is a triple-Olympian, who's been training people for 15 years. We do vary it (we sometimes run for an hour instead, sometimes we box for 45 minutes), but I was simply wanting to point out some of the detail so you know I am doing proper sessions, not just wimping round a stair machine and a power plate for half an hour.
In terms of raising metabolism the last research i read suggests the effect of exercise on raising RMR is unlikely to exceed a maximum of a 3% swing, so a drop in the ocean compared to the 30% swings in my RMR caused by diet, recorded by Imperial under full medical research conditions at the Hammersmith hospital. It may sound very strange indeed, but its fact. I underwent 12 weeks of monitored medical research to understand it. With every piece of food recorded and controlled.
i am nothing if not thorough and have spent many, many commutes digging through the body of research (not just the abstracts) f anything I can find related to this and if you read the research I've referenced, you'll find what I describe is well documented, so clearly not that extreme. I imagine most people don't end up passing out because most people give up when something doesn't work. Ive certainly cut down from the 7 days a week because it was unsustainable, and I can only do the current regime by eating more to avoid the shut-down. The only reason I ended up shutting down and fainting was because i am quite a driven person, and blindly believed that if I ate a good, healthy 1,200 diet and worked out 7 days a week I would lose weight. So I continued on and on and on. And when nothing happened I simply adjusted the carbs down and upped the exercise. End result - shutdown, medical intervention, etc. I would say there's probably not that many people who have both my level of dogged obstinance and the metabolism effect, no. But I think there's a lot of people with the same metabolism issue who try exercise/dieting for 6 weeks or so and then give up when it doesn't work, rather than (like me) getting stroppy with myself and stepping it up.
Hi Cloudy, I believe I am the same. I think my metabolism simply adjusts downwards to whatever level of calories I choose to give it. I am the person who did nearly a year of 5:2 dieting and didn't lose a pound (while my dh has lost coming up to 3 stone), but my thyroid is apparently normal. Your posts make for fascinating reading.
Sorry Cloudy, you must be really frustrated. But have also you tried what I suggest, heavy weights and Tabata (4 mins total, so very short, very intense) HIIT? Interval cardio/boxing for the periods you describe would be exhausting for anyone and although you are clearly fit, it doesn't seem to be working in other respects....I wouldn't expect your weight to necessarily drop with my suggestion but it may change your muscle/fat ratio and leave you feeling and looking slimmer?
Cote, your advice regarding the 30 mins/'fat burning zone" stuff is outdated. Cloudy is interval training with the running, it isn't being done to get to a point where she does long runs, which is what your advice about run/walk periods relates to (as with c25k). The heart rate she reaches when running would be a result of a virtual sprint on the treadmill, followed by a recovery period and repeated.
Oh and Cloudy my next approach after that would be to block the idea of calories from your mind, eat as healthily as you can, enjoy your meals and do yoga .
Spot on regarding exercise Sleep - good advice.
Cloudy - I read the piece you linked to on metabolic efficiency - a very interesting paper, thank you for suggesting as reading, very insightful.
I'm interested in the changes in your body composition Cloudy?
Are you finding that your partitioning of calories is changing based on certain criteria i.e - are you gaining more fat with a lower calorie intake etc.
As you instantaneously adapt to intake from a weight perspective, it would be interesting to know whether your body is changing composition positively or negatively at either end of the scale.
I suspect no specialist will be able to give you an absolute answer to the intricate workings of your own biochemistry, although I will say from my own experience it is not entirely common to your extremity. MOST people do lose weight once they eat sensible foods, exercise regularly and manage stress.
That said, there is no doubt that many people are more metabolically efficient as you have suggested and even 1% would still represent millions of people struggling in the same fashion.
I see that you have two options - I am sure you have come to the same conclusion.
Either you must take Sleeps advice; relax and enjoy life, eat healthily, exercise well and accept yourself for the healthy, driven successful person you are - OR pursue your bodies reaction to every possible stimulus with meticulous observation until you notice consistent patterns that can be replicated to success or detriment - the answer will lie in your own body and you are the best positioned to discover it - no expert can monitor and obsess in the same way you can.
There is an answer, of that I am sure. Perhaps the answer is in the mind - even the most sceptical of scientists acknowledge that the mind creates processes in the body way beyond current scientific understanding and is far more powerful than we can possibly comprehend.
Obsession is a dangerous game though, and I would never promote this as it can send a person insane - but there again most profound answers are found this way - perhaps you are already closer to a breakthrough than you think.
Oh - we should apologise to blog by the way, we seem to have hijacked your thread somewhat .
Cloudy there is obviously some unusual stuff going on with your metabolism and I am interested in all the stuff happiAli asks about too - but in addition, what your day to day life is like. You say you are a very successful businesswoman, would I be right in saying this means quite a lot of stress and time pressure? Do you frequently eat on the run or combine business meetings with meals?
Again, I'm not sure if it would be the answer (and I am aware this may sound a bit woo...), but I think the way we eat and approach meals also affects how our body metabolises them. The more relaxed we are, the more we savour and enjoy meals (impossible when rushed, stressed or discussing work) the less efficiently digestion works? Maybe this happens already but if you let go of the worry about your calories/metabolism/work and just enjoyed the best quality, nutritious meals you could get, regularly, it may, just may change things?
Just thinking about what I just posted, I realise it may sound counter-intuitive, making your digestion etc more efficient Cloudy, to explain my ponderings, I just wonder if your body is mostly in stressed, fight or flight type mode, what with work, intense exercise, worry about what you are eating, it is actually hyper-efficient at maintaining your body's status quo , and if life and food (possibly exercise) became more relaxed, it might be less so and behave more predictably...or how we generally consider predictable?
Hahaha. I wondered that too, once, so I gave up work for 12 months. And went absolutely loop-de-loop bonkers have you ever tried living without deadlines? Horrific.
I'm actually less stressed these days than I ever was, business runs itself with my fab office mgr doing most stuff, and I am full time with a dream client at the moment which is bliss. I have always been one of those 100mile-an-hour people, though, so am sure there's been far too much testosterone/cortisone in my system than entirely necessary...
Anyway, time for the thread to taper off, methinks. Has been interesting putting it all down in writing and now its here i can link and refer to it instead of repeating.
Thanks all for comments. The minute i slip into a size 12 I will be sure to come back and let you all know.
"Have had 3 trainers in last 7 years and they have all done the same - aerobic, then anaerobic"
And yet they are not infallible.
Check out LiveStrong, which says cardio after weights is healthier
In your place, I would think that whatever I am doing is not working and get a new trainer + a new dietician.
CoteDazur - you have no knowledge of nutrition beyond what your dietician has told you and no knowledge of exercise beyond what you've read on a website that was founded by the most obnoxious cheat that ever walked the earth.
Yes cardio after weights CAN be better - well done for explaining that. If you knew anything about the reasons behind WHY it was better you would understand why it would not make any difference to cloudy.
Wow, you're a nasty piece of work
You don't know anything about me, "happy" (not).
There is actually a mechanism through which doing cardio could help Cloudy lose weight (aside from the health benefit my previous link was talking about) but I didn't mention it because I didn't have the time to find & link the evidence. And frankly didn't think it would be worth my time to lock jaws with you again.
Cloudy - I will send you a quick PM on this when I have a minute. Good luck.
What an accusation! Please could you cut and paste what you consider to be a 'nasty' comment I have made, unless you consider highlighting the truth to be nasty, of course.
I perceive your comments to be immensely unhelpful, poorly researched and based on personal experience only.
I believe that if people like yourself stopped involving themselves in subjects over which they hold no expertise we could accelerate peoples health.
Hello - it's me the OP back again and just read quickly through the thread I started ages ago.
Ploughing through all the discussion, the things that stand out of relevance to me are that two different posters have suggested that I eat around 2000 calories a day - on the meals I described - or that I vastly undereat and am on too low a calorie diet.
Then there's the interesting issue about whether metabolism simply changes to match the input/output level - ie calories/exercise. I suspect I have one of those bodies that acts in that way.
Other factors for me are that my protein intake is MUCH higher than it was for yrs and yrs as I used to be a vegetarian for about 20 yrs and only after having DCs began to eat their leftovers - meat and fish.
Ages ago, I posted my vegetarian diet on here and was told I ate, regularly, what most people would consider a severe, calories limited diet all the time, so my metabolism had adjusted accordingly.
Nowadays, I'll have salmon or chicken but maybe only twice a week and the rest of the time my diet would be like the one on my OP but no fish or meat.
I'm definitely more of the 'eat and live healthily' vs ' diet like mad and fret about body weight and shape'. Since my OP, I've lost 2 pounds and then put them back on again and am back at the same weight that my body seems now to have adjusted to.
I have literally no time to exercise formally but spent a good 2 weeks of the summer having to singlehandedly clear out ceiling high boxes of stuff and furniture from 2 garages and take a lot up 2 flights of stairs and a loft ladder. So this was a natural form of weight training and cardiovascular workout!
However, there just isn't time in my normal life to go to a gym or exercise on a machine, as my days are full one on-stop from 5am till around 10pm. However, my core job is sedentary and my body much prefers to be naturally active - gardening, DIY etc. I have a naturally muscular upper body and used to have a tiny waist - which since DCs and ageing, has filled out.
I want to be healthy far far more than I want to be slim and a 'socially acceptable' weight and shape but my OP was born of the frustration that what I do now at 50 has no impact compared with me doing the same at 21.
I've followed the discussion here with interest this morning as it's possible that metabolism simply adjusts to match the level of intake and exercise and that makes a lot of sense biologically. Would like to say more but must get up and go now.
A recent study has shown that the best way to lose weight is to follow a low carb, high (good) fat diet.
Cloudy - thanks for sharing the details of your situation. I completely understand how frustrating it must be especially when you get people churning out the same old advice day in day out. I will PM you for details of the study you were involved. Did anyone ever suggest taking drugs to speed up your metabolism? Are these even available legally ?
Blog - thank you for starting this thread which has been very illuminating.
A really interesting thread, I have been so engrossed I have forgotten how hungry I am
happyali I am really interested in your posts and wondered whether there are any particular cook book or recipe sites you are able to recommend? I normally cook from scratch and would love to ditch the calorie counting and just think about proper nourishment instead.
Many thanks and sorry OP for the hijack!
I'd only eat one banana, not two, and not every day...vary it if you don't already. Plums, berries, cherries, apples, pears are all great. Dried fruit is also really high is sugar and calorie-dense. I wouldn't drink fresh juice, even watered down. There are an awful lot of calories in fruit juice. You'd be better off eating one small banana a few times a week and either 2 satsumas, 2 plums, berries or an apple or a combo.
Also, measure out the olive oil (it's easy to think a drizzle is much less than it is) and weigh out the pine nuts, as I think they are quite calorific. As others have said, grill or steam your salmon
Drink plenty of water, stops you snacking if you're tempted.
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