Confused by results so far

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Confused by results so far

This topic contains 15 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  fastdutchgirl 6 years, 10 months ago.

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  • Hi,
    I started 5:2 on 22nd May having failed miserably at losing weight multiple times previously. I have an underactive thyroid and also put on lots of weight during my cancer treatment due to being unable to be active and having to take steroids.

    I had lost some, but have steadily been putting it back on since August last year so decided things had to change when I was back to my previous top weight of 18st 2lbs. I enjoyed a good holiday and came back determined to really make a go of it this time.

    My starting weight was 18st 5lbs and my weight loss so far has been really erratic:

    Start: 18st 5.7lb
    Week 1: -5.7lb
    Week 2: +0.5lb
    Week 3: -0.8lb

    I guess the first week included a fair bit of water weight but I can’t suss out what’s happened since.

    My Fitbit helpfully has a history of my average TDEE which is 2769 over the last 3 months so I’ve been logging my food and am averaging 1600 cals on a non fast day. Fast days have been between 526 and 662 cals. I drink water and black coffee and have had 1 cup of tea on most fast days which I haven’t logged the semi-skimmed milk for. I only snack on non-fast days and get graze boxes which I log in MyFitnessPal.

    Am I doing something wrong? Is this normal?

    Any advice gratefully received!

    6 lbs over 3 weeks is good! It’s hard to judge weight loss using a scale – tape measure is better as weight can vary widely based upon hydration levels. In my case, my weight can swing up to 2kg a day, depending on diet & hydration.
    TDEE of 2700+ is Hugh! Does that include “activity”/workouts? If so, consider that most apps/equipment overestimate the # of calories burnt exercising. Best to underestimate & use a sedentary estimate of TDEE.
    If I am brutal – cut out snacks &/or graze boxes (whatever those are)!

    The TDEE is based on my normal daily activity. I do weight training with a personal trainer once a week and walk to work and back each day. Using the calculator on this site gives me a TDEE of 2496 if I choose lightly active which I think probably slightly underestimates the activity I do.

    So, even with the lower calculation on here, my fast days would be about 624 and I should be fine eating 1600 on non fast days.

    The snacks (graze boxes) are little calorie counted punnets of nuts/seeds/raisins/dried fruit etc. They range from about 70 cals each up to 200 cals and I log all of them as part of the 1600 cals a day.

    I guess I just need to be patient and see what the results are longer term.

    Really depends what you graze on. You only need 4 grams (one teaspoon) of glucose circulating in your blood at any time. Any more than that and your insulin will increase to shunt all the excess off to fat storage. If you are eating any processed grain based foods like pasta, bread, biscuits, cakes breakfast cereal etc you might as well be eating sugar. Bread is turned into maltose in your mouth while you are chewing it. Shortly after hitting your stomach it is converted into glucose. Modern bread is not healthy, that is a complete myth.

    Choose your foods wisely. The other biggest myth is that a calorie is a calorie. 2500 calories worth of sugar is not the same as 2500 calories of broccoli. The hormones you release in response to those two foods will dictate how those calories are consumed and or stored.

    TDEE. Mine, using the calculator on this site, is down to 2573 – and I am only 7 lb above my target. It was quite a lot higher when I started. I use the gym once or twice a week, walk and work my vegetable garden. I have assessed that as a low exercise regime. Liath, don’t worry about a consistent loss. I’ve been doing this for quite a long time. Some weeks I lose several pounds, other weeks I lose none. If I relax I put it on. None of which matters as long as the overall trend is downwards..

    Also posting in science articles. Quick primer on fasting/non-fasting states & why multiple meals/snacks during the day are counter productive if you’re trying to maintain or lose weight.

    Liathanail, my weight loss pattern was very similar – I had a huge loss in the first week then either small or sometimes no losses after that. However, those small losses will add up over time. I ended up losing 9kg (20 pounds) in 3 months, although I did 4:3 rather than 5:2 for some of that time. I expected my weight loss to be slow as, unlike you, I have a very low TDEE of just 1400 calories, so the deficit on FDs was only 900 calories for me. I also struggled to stay under my TDEE of 1400 calories on my NFDs.
    It might feel slow, but give it time. I am now happy with my weight and have moved to maintenance. So although it felt like slow weight loss, with patience you’ll get there.

    I think some of you have the wrong impression of what I’m doing.

    On fast days I don’t eat anything until around 1.30pm and then it is something like an itsu chicken noodle cup. So basically chicken broth and crystal noodles. Then I have a main meal at about 7.30pm which will be something like Chicken and new potatoes or Patatas Bravas. I don’t snack at all so I eat twice a day.

    On non fast days I have a nutribullet smoothie for breakfast – either protein based (whey powder, almond butter, banana, almond milk and cinnamon) or mixed fruit and veg. I use the whole fruit and veg, not juice. Lunch is usually chicken breast and yoghurt and dinner varies. I have one snack in the afternoon which is a Graze box. Grave is the brand and they do snack boxes of nuts, seeds, dried fruit which are 70 – 200 calories. I am not “grazing” or eating six times a day.

    I don’t know why you have the impression I am munching my way through tons of bread, cereals, cakes and biscuits. I don’t have bread in the house as I eat it so rarely it goes off. We occasionally make our own at the weekend with no sugar in it. I don’t eat breakfast cereals either. I have pasta maybe twice a week.

    Even on non-fast days I am eating below my BMR so it isn’t possible for my body to reduce my metabolism to the extent that article claims.

    I guess the answer is just to be patient and stick with it. It seems I’m not unusual in having very varied weight loss. As long as it keeps going down – that’s the main thing. Thanks for the support from those of you who have experienced the same thing.

    “You only need 4 grams (one teaspoon) of glucose circulating in your blood at any time. Any more than that and your insulin will increase to shunt all the excess off to fat storage.”

    Actually it’s a bit more complex than that. If blood glucose rises above 4g in a 70kg adult then it will be transferred to be stored in the liver (as glycogen)- up to 400g, or sent to be used in the muscles which can store up to 100g. It is not all automatically stored as fat. The body prefers having an easily accessible energy source hence these easy access storage facilities. Given that the body needs a constant fuel source to operate, it is best to have a couple of batteries or energy stores available to drain from as the process to convert glucose to adipose tissue and back again to use as a fuel source isn’t as efficient as just accessing a glucose store.

    There’s quite a detailed paper on the mechanisms of various hormones on glucose control here:

    You are correct but for someone that is overweight it would be unusual for their glycogen stores to be empty. Yes glucose is first shunted off to the liver and muscles. Then to fat storage. Im pretty sure the amounts are the other way around. About 100g for the liver and 400g for all the muscles?

    Don’t expect weight loss to be steady or consistent. I tend to go for a couple of weeks at a time without the scale budging then I will “lose” up to 2 kilos in a day. Especially when I’m starting on a new eating plan my weight will fluctuate a lot before stabilising to the point where I can see a steady decrease.

    My TDEE is about 3200 calories for “light activity” (one up from sedentary).

    I’m 199 cm and 135 kg at 52 years of age.

    You could try going low carb as well if you are really keen to lose weight. It works really well for some people (like myself).

    @liathanail. If what you are doing is working fine then just keep doing it. There is more than one way of skinning a cat and everyone does their thing slightly differently. I just got the impression that what you were doing wasn’t working so you were asking for alternatives? This is my take on what works for me, give it a try if what youre doing isn’t working. Its up to you.

    Years ago when I decided to lose weight I bought a nutribullet as it was being advertised as healthy. Ive NEVER used it. After doing some research I came to the conclusion that liquefying any food is bad. Dried or desiccated fruits aren’t healthy. Only whole fruits, never dried. Bananas are OK if they are green. Lots of fibre and resistant starch. Well ripened youre asking for trouble. Protein shakes with whey, why? You want protein have nuts and cheese. Whey produces a large insulin spike. Potatoes, once again why? Gram for gram potatoes will spike your insulin more than white processed bread. If you must have potatoes, cook them, then freeze then overnight in the freezer. Then eat them the next day once unfrozen. The freezing process changes the molecular alignment of the starch, making it resistant starch. personally I never have potatoes.

    Take on board whatever you think might work and discard the rest. If it doesn’t work, find an alternative that does. Good luck.

    @bigbooty – Sorry, I thought I’d been clear in my original post that I’d lost 6lbs in 3 weeks, so I was getting results, I was just a little confused about how varied the weight loss was week to week and was asking if this was normal and whether others had experienced the same thing.

    I appreciate that people have different methods that work for them but I do think we all need to be careful in telling people how and what to eat just because it works for us. Personally I’m not looking to do a low carb/carb free diet, if I was I’d be on an Atkins forum somewhere. My fasting blood sugar levels are fine and I’m showing no signs of insulin resistance. I’m looking for a WOE that I can maintain long term and low carb wouldn’t be it. Also, there are people out there who shouldn’t do low carb diets for medical reasons so I tend to think it’s a bit dangerous to post statements telling people to cut out carbs.

    It’s also a good idea to fact check statements before posting. It’s not at all unusual to have low/empty glycogen stores if you are overweight. The level of glycogen has to do with what you’ve used recently and whether you’ve replenished it or not. The average person can store about 1500-2000 calories worth of glycogen. (And yes, I made a typo on the ratios, more in the muscles and less in the liver).

    At 18st I can easily deplete my glycogen stores to pretty much empty with a two hour bike ride at a decent pace if I don’t eat or drink anything during the ride – it’s why cyclists experience the dreaded “bonk” where the muscles and liver run out of glycogen and you pretty much hit a wall and feel like death warmed up. In fact, as it takes more energy to shift my 18st than someone of 11st, I can quite feasibly empty my glycogen stores faster than they can. So the ability to empty glycogen stores isn’t to do with being overweight or not.

    I appreciate you are trying to help, but the way you are responding seems a bit prescriptive, maybe tone down the questioning on why people aren’t doing what you find works for you.

    Your original post said “Any advice gratefully received!” No problems I know what works for me so I get carried away. Like I said take on board what you want and discard the rest. Weight loss is not regular, you do hit plateaus, so no need for concern. If your primary fuel source is glucose then yes you can easily bonk while riding. And yes you would need to sustain that exertion for 1-2 hours. If you are keto adapted you don’t bonk as long as you ride at about 90% of what is possible while “carbed up”. I quite often ride while in a fasted state, so it is possible. People seem to make the assumption that if you don’t eat processed carbs you must be on a low carb diet. I don’t think Im on a low carb diet at all, I just don’t get any carbs from processed foods. Veggies, beans, legumes all contain carbs, they are just locked up in fibre. When you separate the carbs from the fibre then that’s when you get into trouble. Good luck with it, 5:2 works.

    I would concentrate on real food, no more nutribullet smoothies (what’s wrong with eggs and bacon for breakfast?) and graze boxes. I also would skip the snacking on non-fast days. Everytime you eat your blood sugar goes up and down again and this can cause a feeling of hunger.

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