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To despair at how hard it is to lose weight?

193 replies

Angel1983 · 02/07/2015 20:29

I know I need to toughen myself up and it's my own fault for letting my weight get so out of control in the first place but my word how hard is it to lose weight?

I have just been to the gym and worked my backside off on the cross trainer (amongst other things). After ten minutes of really going for it (sweating and panting) I had burned only 50 calories. This is not even enough for an apple!

AIBU to feel disheartened? How do you keep your motivation? Help!Blush

OP posts:
shovetheholly · 03/07/2015 15:37

The brutal reality is that most of the food we eat and love is really, REALLY calorific. It's only when you track everything you eat that you become aware of it.

Eating less and exercising more is clearly the answer. But the maths is brutal. To lose 2lb a week every week for 6 months takes a hell of a lot of willpower, exercised on a rigid daily basis. In a world where food is a reward and a comfort from all the stresses and strains of rubbish modern life, it's no wonder we struggle. Discipline is easy to preach, but very, very difficult to practice when dealing with any kind of personal strain or health issue. And, frankly, the somewhat self-satisfied language of failure and laziness that permeates our relationship with food does not help.

Like many women, I've dieted sporadically, on and off. Most of my efforts are rubbish. However, some have been spectacularly successful. I wish I could identify (and bottle) the difference - I'd be a millionnaire! I think it has something to do with habit formation, and particularly with having the opportunity to develop a good pattern of exercise (i.e. a run of good health and a lack of stressful life events).

WorktoLive · 03/07/2015 15:41

Secret Eaters was hilarious, but you did feel sorry for them being so delusional.

The best one was a couple that claimed to not eat much and generally live on salad. The woman was something like a traffic warden so she was on her feet all day. Trouble is that she bought and ate a pasty every time she walked past Greggs, which was at least 4 times a day Grin.

Angel1983 · 03/07/2015 15:56

Wow. Some very good advice here so thanks for that. I'm just back from my post work gym session and it was a bit easier today. I think I probably had overdone things yesterday.

I am really liking MFP but I have definitely out my activity level as sedentary. I'm allowed 1800 calories so I'm feeling huge compared to some of you! I am determined though- it is coming off!Smile

OP posts:
WorldsBiggestGrotbag · 03/07/2015 16:03

MFP worked for me when I set my activity level to sedentary and didn't eat back any exercise calories!
Good luck Smile

RufusTheReindeer · 03/07/2015 16:08


I agree, although sometimes you looked at what they were eating and think "but how is a McDonalds a snack!! Inbetween a full roast and an Indian curry with all the sides...and an 11pm bedtime snack"

My favourite was the one where the lady was honestly eating salads and having a weekend blowout...apparently she was using half a jar of Mayo each time she had a salad, she never revisited the show at the end

MeltchettsLovelyMoustache · 03/07/2015 16:15

Excuse me if I'm being a div but is there a slimming world thread here? I want to start it.

MatildaTheCat · 03/07/2015 16:18

There was a fascinating article in The Times 2 on Monday. All about 'low Fat, Healthy Foods'. Full of sugar. A researcher went on a diet eating a lot of these foods and, crucially kept to his usual 2300 calories per day and maintained his exercise. In 6 months he gained 8.5 kilos . I was amazed.

Eat fresh, real food. Fruit, veg, water. Don't get starving hungry. Plan ahead. Expect it to be slow.

Good luck.

tabulahrasa · 03/07/2015 16:23

Melchetts - there's a whole slimming world board.

tobysmum77 · 03/07/2015 17:43

I think its true that a lot of 'healthy' options need to be watched. But a low fat diet can include a lot of foods that are naturally low in fat rather than packed full of sugar, so choosing leaner cuts of meat, eating lots of pulses, cooking without or with less oil. I think reduced fat salad dressing is a bit of a red herring personally.

MellieFitz · 03/07/2015 19:14

Is there a website that gives you all of the calorie content of different foods? I'm doing fitbit and I have to put in how much calories I've eaten each day but I haven't a clue! Things like fruit and veg or homemade spaggy bol don't have their calories printed on them! Thanks

Runningupthathill82 · 03/07/2015 19:22

Mellie - if you download the MFP app, everything's programmed in there. I believe you can then sync it with your fitbit.

Pagalee · 03/07/2015 19:29

I dont agree that its 'not exercise but mostly food'. Its both. Exercise is a huge part of it.

How long have you been going to the gym, OP? How many times a week and for how long? Are you increasing the intensity of your workout as you get fitter?

What's worked for me is a low (but not 'no') carb/high protein diet and 4-5 times a week in the gym.

I keep a food diary and exercise log - not to be obsessive, but to a) keep a proper track of what I'm eating and b) to motivate myself to exercise so I can tick it off on my log Grin.

It IS hard sometimes. I do take Sundays off and have a roast dinner, and I do drink lots of wine, so I could lose weight more quickly if I didn't...but living healthily 6 days a week HAS made an impact on my weight and shape. It takes time, though. Too many people do a month in the gym, don't lose weight and think 'sod it' (and I do understand why...hard to keep motivating yourself)...but if you want to lose weight, the boring old answer is - its a lifestyle commitment over the long term.

lljkk · 03/07/2015 19:42

omg, this thread does my head in. So much contradictory advice.

Best of Luck to OP, whatever you want to try.

ilovechristmas1 · 03/07/2015 22:05

great thread

fascicle · 04/07/2015 11:40

Eating less and exercising more is clearly the answer. But the maths is brutal. To lose 2lb a week every week for 6 months takes a hell of a lot of willpower, exercised on a rigid daily basis.

The maths is entirely arbitrary. Why pick targets that make something very difficult to achieve? If you focus on changes and dispense with the maths, you will give yourself a much greater chance of success. You can make improvements to your eating and lifestyle (and lose weight) without using any willpower whatsoever.

IvanOsokin · 04/07/2015 13:23

You're not unreasonable for finding losing weight hard but there's bound to be a way that suits you and makes it less of a grind.

You might need to experiment a bit to find the best way for you, whether that's 5:2 intermittent fasting, eating fewer carbs, SW, MFP or a combination. There are really helpful threads in the weight-loss section of this site on all the different approaches and their pros and cons.

Personally I find eating fewer carbs (I don't think it's possible to eat no carbs at all - that's a misnomer and refers to cutting out processed carbs, such as flour, sugar and rice) and having one or two fast days a week (mainly for health reasons) has kept me at a BMI of around 20 for a long time and I feel great.

I generally eat 'clean' - ie fresh, unprocessed food - and don't count calories unless it's to do a rare spot check on portion sizes. If I'm at a party or fancy an occasional treat, I eat what I want, but try not to go overboard.

Fear of hunger is something that has been highlighted and the biggest breakthrough for me was learning that, for those of us with access to as much food as we need, hunger isn't actually something that needs to be addressed immediately.

Good luck!

DrHarleenFrancesQuinzel · 04/07/2015 13:25

lljkk there usually is lots of conflicting advice on the weight loss threads. Everyone usually thinks their way is best.

EllieFAntspoo · 04/07/2015 13:54

Try this...

Reduce your meat intake to below 10% of your diet.
Do not eat any highly processed meats.
Do not eat any highly processed/refined sugars.
Do not eat after 7pm at night. Ever.
Don't do it for someone else. Only do it because it's what you want to do.

Exercise regularly, but don't fall into the 'I need to burn calories' trap. Split your exercise into half aerobic cardiovascular stuff, like running, or cycling, swimming, and half anaerobic stuff like strengthening your muscles. If you build a bigger muscle, it consumes more calories when it fires, so strong leg muscles, core stomach muscles, arms, shoulders etc, while you may not notice, make your aerobic exercise less tiring, and burn more calories for the same amount of workout time.

But the key is willpower and mastering your diet, not regular exercise. They are complementary, but only food intake and understanding what highly processed/refined foods are actually doing to your body will speed the process up for you.

Good luck.

fascicle · 04/07/2015 14:15

But the key is willpower

I completely disagree. If you need to use willpower, it would suggest that whatever you're doing is too hard and unsustainable and that ultimately, rebellion and 'failure' are inevitable. If you make changes without using willpower, there's nothing to rebel against.

tootyflooty · 04/07/2015 14:23

I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle a change in lifestyle. I just took it a week at a time or else it just seems overwhelming, The best thing I did was download " myfitness pal" on my phone", I log every thing I eat, even if its not been a good day. You can set a target weight etc. Exercise wise I do a 25 min workout called the 30 day shred, its really effective, I initially used it from you tube, but eventually got the dvd ( primark sell it for around a fiver), I also do one fitstep class a week, and also used a couch to 5k running programme. I started in jan and so far have lost 3.5 stone, ( still have a way to go). Looking back now it didn't seem too hard, but finding the time to exercise was a big deal, but once you fit it into your day it quickly becomes a habit. Just preserve and if you have a bad day it really doesn't matter, once you start to see the lbs drop off that will give you the incentive to keep going, good luck

tobysmum77 · 04/07/2015 14:28

I also disagree with cutting down on meat as well as the willpower point.

tootyflooty · 04/07/2015 14:41

I'm no food guru, but I haven't been avoiding food groups, You need to make it as easy and uncomplicated as possible. The only thing I would say is eat less sugar, the actual breakdown of a calorie is too scientific and complex for us non scientific folk, but basically sugar is harder to process, so a calorie of sugar is far harder to burn that a calorie of fat. Other than that you don't have to go ott on the exercise, walking briskly will burn more fat, than running, cardio workouts have loads of benefits, but initially as you want to loose fat keep it simple. as each day and week passes and you see progress that will hep boost your will power.

EllieFAntspoo · 04/07/2015 15:01

There's nothing wrong with sugar per se, just as there's nothing wrong with meats, fats, or carbohydrates. But you need to know what you are actually putting into your body, and if it's too much to learn, too much of an effort to understand and do what satisfies you and nourishes your body, then you are destined to fail. Just as you would be destined to fail at a career if you were not interested in it, found the job too much effort, and couldn't be bothered putting in the effort to go to work on time.

Without the desire to learn and change, we stay the same. Bad habit continue unless we want to change them, understand how to change them and implement the changes. The starting point is understanding your own body, what it needs, what it craves, how it reacts when it doesn't receive what it craves, and what you are putting into it does to you.

Call it passion, desire, willpower, motivation, whatever. Without it, you will get nowhere unless you're strapped to a bed in a hospital, or locked in a cell.

soverylucky · 04/07/2015 15:18

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fascicle · 04/07/2015 16:01

Call it passion, desire, willpower, motivation, whatever. Without it, you will get nowhere unless you're strapped to a bed in a hospital, or locked in a cell.

I wouldn't say the words you've added are synonymous with the word 'willpower'. And I would still disagree with your premise. I think it's actually better for any dietary changes not to require too much thought, so getting healthier/losing weight does not become all consuming. It really doesn't have to be a battle.

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