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Absolutely no weight loss whatsoever!

(85 Posts)
BlogOnTheTyne Thu 08-Aug-13 06:49:29

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?

happyaliw Mon 16-Sep-13 14:46:03


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.

CoteDAzur Mon 16-Sep-13 14:53:16

Your post sounds bizarre, sorry.

Dieticians made the nation fat, did they? hmm And they are all evil and/or ignorant because they are funded by the food industry? hmm

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.

happyaliw Mon 16-Sep-13 17:11:40

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.

STIDW Mon 16-Sep-13 18:02:23

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.

happyaliw Mon 16-Sep-13 21:01:57

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.

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.

TheFarSide Mon 16-Sep-13 21:27:01

Please carry on arguing.

This is a really interesting thread (seriously).

TheArticFunky Mon 16-Sep-13 22:20:18

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.

CoteDAzur Tue 17-Sep-13 11:24:26

"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.

CoteDAzur Tue 17-Sep-13 11:27:24

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)

CoteDAzur Tue 17-Sep-13 11:31:09

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.

higgle Tue 17-Sep-13 14:45:32

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.

TheFarSide Tue 17-Sep-13 15:00:34

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.

Sleepwhenidie Tue 17-Sep-13 15:20:26

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.

higgle Tue 17-Sep-13 15:49:11

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.

STIDW Wed 18-Sep-13 01:07:21

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 wink

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.)

STIDW Wed 18-Sep-13 01:14:41

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.

happyaliw Wed 18-Sep-13 07:43:10

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.

TheArticFunky Wed 18-Sep-13 08:43:33

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.

happyaliw Wed 18-Sep-13 08:59:52


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 smile

CoteDAzur Wed 18-Sep-13 10:24:29

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.

CoteDAzur Wed 18-Sep-13 10:25:00

"providing a better option"

Which is what, exactly?

higgle Wed 18-Sep-13 10:37:36

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.

happyaliw Wed 18-Sep-13 10:48:02


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.

Sleepwhenidie Wed 18-Sep-13 11:42:32

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 shock!

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