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AIBU?

To think it's impossible to lose weight as an older woman (70)

201 replies

DoraSpenlow · 08/02/2024 10:52

OK I've been daft. December was a really social month for us with Christmas get-togethers, special birthdays and anniversary celebrations with lovely friends. Lots of eating and drinking without much thought for the consquences. Basically just had a great month.

Weighed myself on Boxing day and had put on 8 lbs from my usual weight to bring me to 10 stones exactly (I'm 5' 3"). Decided to take drastic measures before it got any worse. Joined a gym for 2 PT-led sessions a week, one Pilates class, Zumba Gold and I try to walk 2-3 miles a day. I also ride twice a week but I have been doing this for years so that's not new.

Eating wise I never eat breakfast anyway but a normal day is now a black coffee around 8.30 and another at 11.00. For lunch something like porridge, homemade vegetable soup or two eggs one slice of wholemeal from a small loaf. Dinner is chicken or fish with vegetables, maybe one small potato or a spoonful of rice, a plain two egg omlette or ham salad. Dessert is an apple or an orange. If we go out I will have a really boring salad. Oh and I've been drinking loads of water (up 6 times in the night last night).

Since Boxing Day I've not had any cake, biscuits, crisps, sweets or alcohol. DH has been eating his usual sized portions, but cutting out cake, crisps and chocolate (no exercise, apart from he will sometimes walk with me) and has lost 6 lbs. I weighed myself this morning. 10 sodding stones. My PT says I'm not eating enough which is ridiculous. So, people. What else can I do? I've been hungry since Christmas and nothing to show for it. Oh, and my bicep and thigh measurements are the same, my waist is 1" bigger, so I've not gone entirely on weight.

Sorry for the essay!!

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ElBandito · 08/02/2024 17:10

DoraSpenlow · 08/02/2024 16:44

@ElBandito

I think your body thinks there is a famine going on and is desperately trying to hold on to weight. It does this by slowing down your metabolism to use fewer calories.

But surely eating less and exercising more should mean some weight loss. Calories in vs. calories out and all that?

I'm not an expert, but as I understand it just existing (i.e your metabolism) uses up over 70% of your calorie intake. Some people's metabolism adapts to what their body perceives as 'famine' far more efficiently than others and it will decrease, making it harder to lose weight. Out of interest, I did a quick Google which shows that lack of sleep is also something that will decrease your metabolism.

If it helps at all, if there's ever a real famine in the UK you should survive very nicely 😂.

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EverySporkIsSacred · 08/02/2024 17:12

Agreeing with previous posters about not skipping breakfast. For some people it seems to work, for others it throws the metabolism off and doesn't help at all.

Also agree with a little protein with every meal. With breakfast it could be some milk or a few nuts (or a boiled/scrambled egg if you can muster it up at that time of day).

You have the right idea with teatime at 5.30, that means even if you do have breakfast you are accidentally doing intermittent dating.

Also massive hats off to you for having so much self control and commitment to your healthy eating decision, you're doing amazingly well already never mind not losing weight (I wish I was that self controlled!)

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DoraSpenlow · 08/02/2024 17:13

DilemmaAtWork · 08/02/2024 16:53

Have you always done this much exercise? Or were you relatively sedentary before this?

I have ridden twice a week for the last 50 years and have done at least Pilates/aerobics/Zumba at different times but not usually together. I often walked although not always every day. The gym is new though. Do quite a bit or work in the garden spring/summer/autumn but not much at the moment.

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Silvers11 · 08/02/2024 17:16

leilani83 · 08/02/2024 11:57

Chill. I'm over 20 years younger, about your height and just under 10 stone after more than a year of dieting with Ozempic/Wegovy - and I consider myself to be a great weight now!

When does it end for women, the obsessing over our body image, if people are still at it at 70?

@leilani83 I'm pleased for you that you lost the weight on Ozempic. But are you aware that there is insufficient stocks of Ozempic for Type 2 Diabetics who actually need it because of all those now using it as a weight loss drug?

I badly need it and I can't get it, so please don't recommend it to others. It's a nightmare and Ozempic was developed FOR Diabetics

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DoraSpenlow · 08/02/2024 17:18

EverySporkIsSacred · 08/02/2024 17:12

Agreeing with previous posters about not skipping breakfast. For some people it seems to work, for others it throws the metabolism off and doesn't help at all.

Also agree with a little protein with every meal. With breakfast it could be some milk or a few nuts (or a boiled/scrambled egg if you can muster it up at that time of day).

You have the right idea with teatime at 5.30, that means even if you do have breakfast you are accidentally doing intermittent dating.

Also massive hats off to you for having so much self control and commitment to your healthy eating decision, you're doing amazingly well already never mind not losing weight (I wish I was that self controlled!)

Thanks. I do find that if I do eat breakfast I'm then even more hungry all day so feel more comfortable missing it all together and I eat less that way normally,

Please don't tell DH about the intermittent dating. I was trying to keep it quiet😂

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CharlotteBog · 08/02/2024 17:20

leilani83 · 08/02/2024 11:57

Chill. I'm over 20 years younger, about your height and just under 10 stone after more than a year of dieting with Ozempic/Wegovy - and I consider myself to be a great weight now!

When does it end for women, the obsessing over our body image, if people are still at it at 70?

Maybe it's not about her image, but her health. She has (quite wisely IMO) recognised a creep in the wrong direction and is acting upon it.
Granted I do think OP has gone a bit OTT with trying to shift it fast, but equally I don't think she needs to chill.

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DoraSpenlow · 08/02/2024 17:22

Boomer55 · 08/02/2024 17:03

I’ve lost 3 stone in 10 months at age 68. I lost it simply through my DH dying. So, yes, you can lose it, but I wouldn’t recommend it.🙄

So very sorry to hear this Boomer.

I once lost half a stone in a week when my poor Dad with demntia attacked another resident in his care home and we had to find somewhere else for him. As you say, not the way you want to do it.

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Menopants · 08/02/2024 17:24

MyLadyTheKingsMother · 08/02/2024 16:47

Lake land sell elasticated slacks?

I meant landsend! But Lakeland is funnier

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DilemmaAtWork · 08/02/2024 17:27

DoraSpenlow · 08/02/2024 17:13

I have ridden twice a week for the last 50 years and have done at least Pilates/aerobics/Zumba at different times but not usually together. I often walked although not always every day. The gym is new though. Do quite a bit or work in the garden spring/summer/autumn but not much at the moment.

Hmmmm, maybe not what I was thinking then. Sometimes if people aren’t that fit and active they develop visceral fat (fat around the organs) but maintain an outwardly slim appearance (skinny fat). An increase in exercise and dieting can mean the visceral fat is targeted first rather than any subcutaneous fat and that isn’t always reflected on the scales. But if you’ve always been quite fit and active it’s probably not that.

Is your PT a specialist in post-menopausal exercise and weight loss? If not, maybe look around to see if there are any near you.

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GreyCarpet · 08/02/2024 17:29

But surely eating less and exercising more should mean some weight loss. Calories in vs. calories out and all that?

It's not that simple and the calories in vs calories put model is hugely flawed.

Your body becomes more efficient.

Eg imagine your BMR is 1350 calories (ie the number of calories your body requires to perform basic function and maintain homeostasis).

You cut down to 1200 calories in an effort to lose weight

You will see some weight loss initially because your body is still operating on a BMR of 1350 calories.

Once it 'realises' that it's not getting 1350 calories a day, it becomes more efficient. So it performs the same functions on 1200 calories. Your weightloss stops.

You won't notice changes because you're still breathing and digesting the same.

But you might become more tired. You might notice you don't heal as quickly from bruises or cuts. You might catch more colds. Muscle function is lower because it isnt being repaired as quickly. Etc.

So you cut your calories further. And the same happens.

This is why people find that they put on the weight they lost and more if they stop dieting or go back to previous eating patterns.

It's because your body got used to functioning on 1200 calories a day so now 1350 is more than it now needs. So there is a surplus.

That's why the OP's PT has said she isn't eating enough.

Your body can't work on losing weight if it's struggling for basic survival.

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TorroFerney · 08/02/2024 17:31

ElBandito · 08/02/2024 17:10

I'm not an expert, but as I understand it just existing (i.e your metabolism) uses up over 70% of your calorie intake. Some people's metabolism adapts to what their body perceives as 'famine' far more efficiently than others and it will decrease, making it harder to lose weight. Out of interest, I did a quick Google which shows that lack of sleep is also something that will decrease your metabolism.

If it helps at all, if there's ever a real famine in the UK you should survive very nicely 😂.

Yes, exercise does sod all for weight loss apparently. Jason fung is very interesting on this. He says amongst other things that we underestimate how sophisticated a machine our body is. If you eat 200 calories less a day it will slow itself down to use 200 less to cancel out the deficit. He is also quite good about fasting and the myths around it- he means proper fasting though. He uses a lion analogy to suggest fasting is good ie a hungry lion is alert and very awake, a lion that has a full belly is very lethargic.

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GreyCarpet · 08/02/2024 17:34

Also, you eat breakfast every day.

The first time you eat, you are breaking your overnight fast.

Thees nothing to suggest that it must be eaten at a certain time of day or consist of a certain type of food.

That's a myth that was created amd perpetuated by breakfast cereal companies.

As long as you're getting the required number of calories (between BMR and TDEE) a day, it doesn't matter what time you start eating.

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GreyCarpet · 08/02/2024 17:36

Jason fung is very interesting on this. He says amongst other things that we underestimate how sophisticated a machine our body is. If you eat 200 calories less a day it will slow itself down to use 200 less to cancel out the deficit. He is also quite good about fasting and the myths around it- he means proper fasting though. He uses a lion analogy to suggest fasting is good ie a hungry lion is alert and very awake, a lion that has a full belly is very lethargic.

Yes. Jason Fung is very knowledgable on this matter.

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Girlattheback · 08/02/2024 17:50

I don’t agree with your PT - with a petite frame you really just need less food. You eat the same diet as me and I’m 5’1. No breakfast, light brunch and dinner each day. 2 healthy meals a day is fine.

That’s a lot of water! I really don’t think you need to do that. Sleep is really important - you need to rest and digest.

Make sure you’re not snacking or drinking alcohol whilst you’re trying to lose weight.

I found my HRT made it difficult to maintain my weight. I’m just under 8 stones now but have put some on with HRT.

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EverySporkIsSacred · 08/02/2024 17:57

😂fasting it was meant to say!

Also yes you will feel hungrier the rest of the day because the breakfast kick-starts your metabolism for the day, meaning you have more time where you are burning calories 👍

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Mumof1andacat · 08/02/2024 18:00

As boring as it is tracking calories in/ is the only way I will loose weight and measuring and weighing it all the food. It can be quite an eye opener. Try something like my fitness pal or nutracheck

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Bobsledgirl · 08/02/2024 18:03

Ace56 · 08/02/2024 12:07

Honestly at 70, why bother? Unless you’re chronically obese and it’s affecting your health.

Er …she’s not at death’s door at 70! Staying fit and healthy and at a good weight is important as we age.

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SkySecret · 08/02/2024 18:03

He’s not being ridiculous to say you’re not eating enough. If you have Netflix then watch the series “you are what you eat”, even if you only watch the final episode.

if you’re doing cardio on not enough calories your body will burn muscle. Not fat. You’d be better adding some resistance training to your exercise and upping your calories but making sure they’re healthy calories and protein.

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kkloo · 08/02/2024 18:27

You really don't sound like you're eating enough from what you've posted. Why did you automatically decide what your PT said was ridiculous?

It could be some kind of inflammation either which would cause you to store water and be hurting your knees etc?

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mathanxiety · 08/02/2024 18:36

You're not eating enough and your sleep is too disturbed for health.

Eat breakfast. Porridge would be good, or an egg and toast.

Eat more veg and beans - hearty soup at lunch would be filling.

Have more protein for dinner. Stop eating at 7 pm and eat no more until breakfast.

Stop drinking water at 7 pm too. Aim to sleep all night without getting up. Getting up six times to pee is damaging.

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heyhohello · 08/02/2024 18:38

@GreyCarpet the missing link is that doing regular aerobic exercise at a MAF rate your body actually becomes more efficient at burning body fat. So it can then utilise fat stores much more readily and easily. So instead of feeling so hungry you feel tired and faint and run down the body will happily burn body fat.

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heyhohello · 08/02/2024 18:39

Look at the research by Dr Maffetone.😉

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Mammajay · 08/02/2024 18:44

Thanks cherryogdog..I will look into it. At the moment I don't want to trouble my go but it seems to be getting worse.

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ThreeTreeHill · 08/02/2024 18:49

DoraSpenlow · 08/02/2024 16:23

@ThreeTreeHill

Firstly are you tracking your weight?

Sorry if I'm being thick but I don't know what this means. I weigh the same today as I did on Boxing Day.

Tracking your weight daily and looking st the overall trend. 2 weights taken 6 weeks apart tell you absolutely fuck all

On boxing day your weight will likely be higher, drinking alcohol and eating food leads to water retention. If you do lots of excercise your muscles will retain water. If you need a big shit your weight will be up. Your weight fluctuates by a good few pounds through the days and weeks. Weight doesn't equal body fat

Eating so little your body will not be gaining muscle and will likely be losing muscle mass. Muscle is important for weight loss as it is metabolically active I.e. burns calories

You need an proper diet plan, incorporating lots of protein and a small deficit to aid losing fat but maintaining muscle.

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Petrine · 08/02/2024 18:51

I’m 68 and, like you OP, I like to keep myself slim. I’m 5’2” and 8st 12lb at the moment which in my view is about right as I’m quite petite. I absolutely agree with you that joints come under strain with slight weight gain and I admire your pretty strict regime to loose weight. I don’t have much to add other than the water intake.

I have kidney stones which will need to be removed by surgery as they’re big. In looking into ways to ensure I don’t make the situation worse I began drinking 2 lt of water a day and it made me ill. I felt as if I had an alcohol hangover… nausea, headache and general malaise. I read up about the current thinking about water intake and learned that too much water can actually kill you. OK it’s unlikely but it’s a fallacy that you have to drink 2lt daily. Could it be that your weight isn’t moving because of water retention? It might be worth a try.

Good luck!!

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