I'm swimming all the time, but I'm still huge.

(18 Posts)
CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 03-Nov-13 18:11:17

I put weight on randomly a few years ago. No big changes to my diet but id been ill a lot and blamed that.

I'm trying to lose it now, because it makes me really unhappy. The exercise I can do is severely limited due to health problems.

A month ago, I started swimming three times a week. I spend at least 30 minutes in the pool each time, and do around 20 lengths. I'm getting faster, but there has been no weight loss, no measurement differences at all. I'm eating normally - around 1,500 calories per day.

When should I start seeing a difference?

IsThatTrue Sun 03-Nov-13 18:12:55

I think weight loss is more to do with diet than exercise tbh. Exercise can aid weight loss and tones well but on its own it doesn't generally make you lose weight.

Waggamamma Sun 03-Nov-13 18:25:21

it's good you're making an effort to swim and keep active. It takes a lot of motivation so well done.

I'm about 2-3st overweight and I don't enjoy exercise but I do enjoy swimming. When I'm losing weight I usually do 60 lengths over 45mins-an hour. Or if I have been to the gym beforehand (an hour) I will do 30 lengths in 20-30mins. Eating around 1400 calories a day I will lose 1-2lb a week with this routine.

I think perhaps you're not spending enough time in the pool or not pushing yourself hard enough?

Mintyy Sun 03-Nov-13 18:27:00

Have you had your thyroid tested?

UsedToBeNDP Sun 03-Nov-13 18:29:22

If you are truly eating 1500 cals a day and exercising regularly you should not be "huge".

Are you sure you are accurately recording your cal intake (correct portion sizes, hidden cals in drinks etc? You say "huge" you don't say what that is, could you be seeing yourself as larger than you are?

If you are satisfied that you are correct in your calculations then perhaps a GP visit to check things like your thyroid function or any other possible underlying health issues that could be preventing you from losing weight.

I would also say, as an aside. Try to pick up the speed of your swimming a little. Assuming your pool is a 25m pool, 20 lengths in 30m is either a slow stroke or lots of rest periods. Speeding up your stroke will burn more cals and get more out of your session. Maybe try for 25 lengths in your next session (unless of course there is a health reason for your current rate) ?

specialmagiclady Sun 03-Nov-13 18:30:48

20 lengths in half an hour doesn't sound very much to me. Maybe try and get your speed up - at my pool they do this thing called "swim for fitness" where you get a workout card and you can work your way through the different structured half hour sessions. They encourage changes of pace and make sure you don't just coast along at low effort levels. When you get out of the pool are you panting and pink?

Check thyroid too thiough and good luck x

UsedToBeNDP Sun 03-Nov-13 18:30:51

Sorry for weird punctuation, iPhone tiny screen

uggmum Sun 03-Nov-13 18:33:56

I have been swimming 3/4 times a week since April. At first I was only able to do 20 lengths. Now I swim for 40 mins straight. My lengths are usually 27 strokes and I do approx 60 a session. I have now added Zumba and legs,bums and tums.

I don't weigh myself but my body has changed shape and I feel fitter.

ninah Sun 03-Nov-13 18:37:50

I thought 20 lengths in 30 mins was fine blush it's what I do and I am out of breath at the end of it. God I hate exercise

CajaDeLaMemoria Sun 03-Nov-13 18:52:55

Ah, perhaps I'm just too slow then. I'm pretty sick - I've got first stage organ failure, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia etc, so I thought I was doing okay. I usually can't swim anymore afrerwards.

I'll keep speeding up though. At the moment I manage to do 2 extra lengths each week.

Food wise is tough, because I can't cook for myself. I'd hoped that by reducing calories I'd lose weight, but it didn't happen.

I'm probably not huge by most people's standards, I'm a size 10, but I'm too big for me. My stomach sticks out like I'm pregnant and I'm not far from the 33 inch 'risk zone' waist wise.

Thanks for all the advice. I appreciate it!

EBearhug Sun 03-Nov-13 18:58:04

Are you sure that it's not making any difference? I learnt that it's not just about weight some years ago, when I spent 3 months doing some voluntary work, which involved a lot of physical labour. I came back exactly the same weight as when I left - but I was definitely fitter, and my clothes were looser.

I agree that 20 lengths in 30 minutes isn't very fast - if you're used to swimming. If you haven't been doing it for so long, and it's still making you out of breath, then it's fine. Have a target of doing 30 lengths in 30 minutes, but you won't get there overnight - and you say you're already getting faster, so you are progressing. Don't lose sight of that.

How varied is your 20 lengths? Do you just go up and down doing breaststroke at the same pace? If you can do different things, then there's less risk of your body getting into a rut and conditioned to doing the same routine. Try varying it with frontcrawl, and depending on how busy the pool is, backcrawl. Backcrawl is a good stroke, but it's not advisable when there are a lot of other people in.

As well as doing different strokes, you can do exercises to focus on each of them - hold a float in front of you and do legs only, or a float or pullbuoy between your legs and do arms only (not breaststroke, only backcrawl or frontcrawl for that one.)

Also think about varying the speed - sprint for a length. You will probably need to take a breather at the end of the length, if you're working hard - this should leave you very out of breath, however good a swimmer you are; it's your recovery time which will depend on your fitness levels. This is another one you can't really try in a busy pool.

Some of these may depend on how confident a swimmer you are. You could consider a 1 on 1 swimming lesson to get some hints; your pool should be able to advise what's available there. Also, are there aquafit classes available? You don't need to be fit for this, as you can really take it at your own pace, and the water takes a lot of the impact, so it's not too hard on your joints. And it's great fun, splashing about.

EBearhug Sun 03-Nov-13 19:00:46

Ah, cross-posted - didn't know about the RA and fibromyalgia. Given all that, I'd say you're doing pretty well, and it sounds like you're getting to your physical limits. In which case, it's mostly a question of patience and keeping at it.

nkf Sun 03-Nov-13 19:02:31

How are you swimming? It's great exercise. Low impact etc but you won't burn calories unless you are pushing yourself. Are you tired afterwards? Out of breath. To get the cardio effect, you need to do interval training.

UsedToBeNDP Sun 03-Nov-13 19:05:44

Ok, so there are physical limits on your exercise and you are building your no of lengths every week, that's a good thing (the increase not the health issues). In that case I'd continue with your programme as you are smile

Are you on steroid treatment for your RA? Or any other meds that puff you up or make weight easier to gain and harder to lose?

stargirl1701 Sun 03-Nov-13 19:07:21

I don't see any difference with swimming unless I swim at least 40 lengths every single day.

Caja rather than calorie counting would you try cutting out sugar and gluten? You may get better results that way, would it be possible, even if only for a week or two, just to see if it makes any difference, given you don't prepare your own food?

wrigglebum Tue 05-Nov-13 06:58:24

Could you also try some Pilates to suck in that stomach? Keep up with the swimming and try to make sure you push yourself as much as you are able. Intervals are best for fitness, so you could try swimming at a decent speed for a few lengths, then going at full pelt for a couple followed by some slower lengths ('active recovery') until you feel ready to pick up the pace again.

CoteDAzur Mon 11-Nov-13 13:24:07

It is a well-known problem: If you take a runner and a swimmer, feed them the same calories and have them spend roughly the same calories in training, the runner loses much more weight than the swimmer.

Why? Nobody knows for sure. Some guess that it might be because the swimmer's body never heats while the runner's body does (considerably). Others say it is because a body with a large surface and round corners is advantageous for swimming, so that is how muscles develop.

Swimming lots gives you a body like that of a sea animal - round shoulders, large upper body, soft muscles. (Think Rebecca Adlington)

Running lots gives you a body like that of a cheetah - slim, tight, narrow members with strong muscles. (Think Paula Radcliffe)

In other words, not all sports are equal. If your aim is to lose weight and slim down, swimming might not be the best sport for you.

P.S. I used to be pretty good at swimming & went up to semi-professional level. None of what I say above is controversial.

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