Help..Not loosing weight

This topic contains 78 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  dykask 5 years, 8 months ago.

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  • I find counting calories very boring and completely unsustainable, but is there any point if not all calories are equal? I lost weight and inches when I started the 5:2 by simply following 500 calories for 2 days a week. It was a huge step for me to ditch breakfast for 2 days and count down the hours until a rather miserable tin of soup without a large hunk of bread to dip into it.
    Fasting has changed what I eat and how much I eat. I had to find something else to make up the 500 calories on a FD as I was so bored of soup and then started investigating what else I liked and wanted to eat.
    I have found that counting how much sugar(both hidden and visible) in a day has been a very effective way of limiting how much of the sweet stuff that I can scoff. By keeping to no more than 6 tsp of sugar or 25gms has changed what I choose to eat. I am also sure that the consumption of processed or other sugary foods drives the desire to eat more and more-just as Robert Lustig-Paeditric Endocrinologist found.
    I don’t eat bread/rice/pasta/potatoes very often anymore. I thought it was completely bonkers to avoid them but thought that I would eliminate them all and then try one for a week and see how I felt. The conclusion is that rice and pasta make me feel rubbish and very very sleepy so must send my insulin levels sky high and then into a sugar crash, so I avoid them. I have bread occasionally and potatoes too. There is nothing that is banned but I try to avoid anything processed/out of a box as I know that I feel rubbish afterwards.
    Scales lie. Look to the tape measure if you want to see progress.

    @annette52 I think you have exactly captured the essence of 5:2. It is all about a lifestyle change and one that can be used for decades. Fasting actually gave me the tools to make the changes I needed. For example I learned to eat slowly and really enjoy my food and I started feeling when I was full. That was something that had I used to only feel when I was overstuffed.

    @simcoeluv – People practicing calorie restriction for life extension are not trying to lose weight or even build lean body mass. While their blood tests are good they often have issues with being too frail. Additionally their diets are very complex because it is extremely difficult for them to meet their daily nutritional needs with the long term calorie restriction. I suspect they would have difficultly with weight if they ever went back to eating normal amounts of food.

    As I’ve pointed out numerous times, fasting is really about improving health. Even the shorter fasts that people often follow in 5:2 have multiple impacts on hormones that aid in consuming stored fat. There is likely even enhanced autophagy, although mostly that has been studied in longer fasts or animals. The point is that there are many things occurring that are far beyond calorie restriction.

    While it is possible to push 5:2 more towards calorie restriction which you constantly do, it is just one aspect of fasting. I spent years practicing calorie restriction. It actually worked fairly well in my 30’s and even 40’s. However in my early 50’s I reached a point that it no longer worked. Anyway, since almost all diets used are based on calorie restriction, we know it almost has an unblemished record of long term failure. If it is long term successful with 5:2 then it is because of the fasting element, at least for many people.

    With calorie restriction I reached a point where 94kg was a plateau I couldn’t get through. Sure my weight would drop for a few weeks but then it would slowly climb back and I had to cut more to drop it again. I was constantly hungry and miserable, worst I was losing lean body mass and gaining fat. After I started changing the food I ate and fasting I actually increased by around 3000 calories how much food I was eating a week. That is actually a lot when you consider I don’t eat for two days a week, yet now my weight is around 80kg and I’ve been building muscle mass. That is why I don’t believe it is just about calorie restriction.

    While I’ve read Dr. Fung and Dr. Longo and many others. I’m not following anyone in particular. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect their work.

    Fasting is the core of 5:2. The calories allowed on fast days are just to allow more people to partake in it. Maybe they only end up fasting 20h before eating too much, still it is better than nothing. Fasting is very powerful and profoundly impacts on our bodies. Coupled with good nutrition the body can greatly improve. The calories are a factor but they are only part of the story.

    The biggest problem with CICO is that it is a concept firmly embraced and pushed by companies like Coke Cola Inc. Those companies producing the processed foods are the biggest reason for the obesity epidemic over the last few decades.

    Now the reason I can eat more food is simple. Not all calories are equal and by fasting, good nutrition and exercise I’ve improved my bodies energy demands. Even so I don’t think 15000+ calories a week is a crazy amount of food. Much of my diet is lower calorie density food that offers good nutrition. The exception is probably nuts which simple don’t seem impact my weight at the levels I eat. Maybe if I doubled or tripled the amounts it would but frankly I couldn’t really do that. TDEE from a calculator is just a guess based on population averages, not really something to hang your hat on.

    its not about the calories because of thermodynamics and homeostasis, your body responds to starvation by simply burning calories as though they were a lump of coal in the stove. very very slowly! just stay away from refined carbos sugars all fructose sucrose sweets cookies cakes ice cream and you will GRADUALLY lose weight. peace to all

    Hi Sim,

    I really think you are distorting what Dy and myself are saying. Im not sure if this is deliberate or just a misinterpretation? You seem to have distorted the concept of not having to count calories with “you can eat all you want” if you eat healthily. No that’s not it. If you eat a healthy diet and this in no way diminishes 5:2, the need to count calories become redundant (for a lot of people). Your body will self regulate. Of course Im excluding situations where there are biological reasons at play or psychological reasons.

    With regards to what I was saying about what you eat affecting your BMR here’s one paper. Im sure there are others.

    Tapsell et al. The effect of a calorie controlled diet containing walnuts on substrate oxidation during 8 hours in a room calorimeter. Journal of the American college of nutrition 2009.

    Dr Gregor covers it pretty well in this clip.

    Dr Peter Attia has a pretty good blog on the subject of CICO but he doesn’t cater for the layperson so its a hard slog following his blogs.

    I think it is naïve to believe that you TDEE, actually it should really be BMR, does not vary but is fixed in stone based on your current weight, height, age and sex. It varies based on many other more nebulous factors like, mood, stress, ambient temperature, whether you are fasting or not, and the types of foods you eat. Im sure there are other factors as well. So while using the TDEE calculator, as provided on this site is helpful, to rely on it as being the be all and end all is naïve.

    So am I saying that you can eat over your TDEE and not gain weight? No. But you have to realise that your TDEE (BMR) is not a fixed quantity. It varies greatly based on many factors, with food being one of them.

    To the best of my knowledge the human body has no inbuilt calorimeter that produces a signal either chemically or electrically that says we have hit our TDEE for the day, stop eating. Hence the explosive use of CICO and apps counting calories etc. Our body does however have a regulatory system that responds to other queues. Modern foods have compromised that regulatory system. Our system responds differently to fats, protein and carbs. It responds to soluble and insoluble fibre. Fructose intake inhibits lepton signalling (and historically there was a very good reason for this). Vinegar (acetic acid) inhibits carb uptake in the small intestines. Our gut flora releases a plethora of signalling chemicals that is only just starting to be scientifically explored. So our bodies do regulate, its just not based on calorific intake.

    Excellent post bigbooty!

    Here is a nice snapshot of nut studies with regards weight gain/loss. Feel free to get any of the papers he cites. He is an eccentric character and he is a vegan but I don’t hold that against him.

    I have found that by eating more wholefoods I feel better and am far less likely to scoff the processed rubbish. I avoid anything diet or low fat, eat avocados, nuts, fruit, fish, meat, cheese, eggs, full fat milk/yoghurt etc as part of my daily diet. Fasting has helped me to change what I eat and how much I eat. I no longer hide chocolate around the house or eat rice/bread/potatoes/pasta every week-and I feel better without them.
    I have been inspired to make changes to both food that I eat or not(thanks bigbooty) and to try longer fasts. I worried about fasting for longer than skipping breakfast, but after following various folk on here that regularly do 24 hour fasts or longer as well as feeling that Fung made a lot of sense, I thought that I would give it a go. I find it easier to avoid food completely, so go from my evening meal-sleep-skip breakfast and lunch, then eat in the evening.
    I cannot live my life counting calories-seems pointless and boring, but by choosing more wholefoods and full fat items I am full and don’t over eat. For me the challenge has always been avoiding the sweet stuff, it only leads to an awful lot of scoffing!

    Way to go Annette. Maybe for some weighing out your food and counting calories for the rest of your life is a sustainable way of eating. Im happy not counting and choosing my foods carefully. For me this is sustainable.

    @annette52 – Here is a nice chart and blog about the stages of fasting:

    Now things can change somewhat depending on your diet and what your body is used to. For example if you are already in ketosis a couple stages won’t be anything.

    As I understand it, metabolism ramps up some during the first days of fasting. That has been consistent with my experience as I’ve used an activity tracker and my average heartrate increases while fasting. It is also elevated even more when I start eating again. Typically my tracker shows I burn around 80 to 100 calories an hour, but after fasting it is more like 100 to 125 calories an hour and that seems to last about 20 to 30 hours. I have fasted up to 7 days and still seen that. When I did fast for 7 days I maintained workouts so most days I managed to burn around 2400 calories, maybe a bit more. After 4 days of fasting my blood glucose drops to about 2/3rds of what it normally runs.

    The concern I have is at some point the body metabolism does taper off and studies have shown that it can be 25% lower at 40 days of water fasting. However in the short fasts studies have shown the RMR increases as much as 14%. I think the 36h fasts are enough to see that from my experience. However at first I was doing a number of 60+ hour fasts, even more than 80 hours. So I may have trained my body a bit.

    My feeling is that 24 hour to 36 hour fasts are quite safe for most people and clearly there are hormonal benefits. While I still have some fat around my middle, my upper body is more like it was when I was a teenager, well except for the hair on my head. Fasting doesn’t seem to cure baldness.

    My experience has been fasting has greatly impacted my food choices. For example I haven’t had a diet cola for several months. It isn’t a willful choice it is just that it no longer seems desirable if that makes sense. Instead I’ve been drinking water, tea and coffee and my body has been happy with that.

    Thank you bigbooty-you inspired me to ditch the pasta/rice/bread/pasta and eventually I did and it is 1 of the best things that I have done. I feel better without them in my life and only have them occasionally now as opposed to all of them in a week. One of my best achievements has been to ditch the sugar in my tea after 40+ years.
    I encouraged my rather overweight son who has Aspergers(he has rigid food choices)to ditch the orange juice, eat whole fruit and veg, and avoid those carbs. He takes a packed lunch to work so still eats bread but he has ditched the breakfast cereal to an omelette when he is working and a bacon sandwich when he isn’t. He refuses point blank to stand on the scales or allow me to put a tape measure around his waist but I would guess that he has lost around 3 stone. He no longer snores, now sleeps with the window closed because he feels the cold and has gone from an XXL to medium/large. This as happened over 2 years and he continues to shrink. He fasts as in doesn’t eat if he isn’t hungry.

    I have managed several 24 hour fasts but I am not sure that I could go any longer. Perhaps I need more practice? I can do 16 hours when I am at work.

    Thanks for the info dykask.

    we have to deal with the cause and not the effects of over eating and eating the wrong things. until we do that we are only wasting time, the comfort foods have to go peace out

    Annette 🙂

    jrmelmer when I started the 5:2 the only calories that I counted were 500 on a FD. To celebrate each FD complete, I would celebrate with an almond croissant. I know, quite bonkers. I had thought that comfort foods would make me feel better and I suppose for about 5 minutes they do, until the sugar crash and then I can barely keep my eyes open. I can’t tell you how many times I have turned to them in times of stress, distress or when I am tired, bored or lonely and sometimes I still do. However, I do feel so much better without them, so I am not sure why I turn to them.
    The consumption of the sweet stuff has decreased as I have felt better about myself and the changes to my body have shown that I can change from being a round blob to a person with a waist. The numbers on the scales have never moved downwards either regularly but I have noticed that my body has changed shape when often the scales show no change. Scales lie all of the time. I weighed myself every day for 7 days just to see what the daily difference was and found that I could gain and lose 10lb so I take it all with a pinch of salt now. One of the most powerful posts on here when I first started this was from a woman who had dropped 3 dress sizes but the scales hadn’t moved. It kept me going and gave me faith that even though I couldn’t see internal fat was shrinking, my clothes were becoming looser and the rolls of fat becoming less.
    I am so much happier being 3 stone lighter, and fasting has helped me make positive changes to what I eat as well as the confidence to know that being hungry is fine-it will pass.

    sounds good Annette take it easy gurl. I living day to day and being happy thinking of my Heavenly Father. Trying not to get disgusted with myself for my lack of self control. But since I am not well why get mad at myself? that will not help

    jrmelmer-changing habits can be a challenge and being kind to yourself when you are not well is an excellent way to prevent self-sabotage. For me there have been lots of little changes that all add up to some rather big changes.

    Try whole foods and see if you feel better. Protein is filling. Avoid the sweet stuff. Get out for a walk.

    It is interesting that while “protein is filling” is a common saying, countries with the highest protein consumption also seem to have bad obesity problems. I’m thinking USA, UK, an so forth. It might be just in my head but it might be worth exploring a bit. In Japan protein consumption is low and so is obesity. Personally I find the food in Japan more filling than the food in the US, even though in terms of protein and calories you get less in Japan. I think it has to do more with the fact that Japanese use a lot of vegetables in their food.

    Also one should look at disease with protein consumption. It might vary more on some types of cancer than cancer in general. Japanese are scared about cancer and some types of cancer like stomach cancer aren’t uncommon so lower protein doesn’t seem to prevent that, but there are many common types of cancer in the USA that aren’t common in Japan. For example Japanese living in the USA have much higher rates of breast cancer than those living in Japan.

    The issues around protein are complex. We have to have enough of it but too much seems to be harmful too.

    For jrmelmer, God blessed Daniel and his friends when they refused to eat the rich foods from the king’s table and stuck to just vegetables and water. A biblical low protein diet?

    I’ve filled myself up before on a huge salad and found it to be much more filling long term than a heavy meat dish. The meat might make me feel stuffed for a while but the vegetables seem to hang around a lot longer.

    Hi dy,
    The protein doesn’t have to be meat based. I eat some meat but not a lot. Most of my protein comes from nuts and cheeses and beans. Heres a simple take on the three macros. You need a certain amount of protein, same with fats. Carbs are not essential but are required to make up the calorific total needed for biological function. The trick is to get carbs bound up in lots of fibre. So if you need to top up your calorific intake make sure its with veggies, fruits, legumes. Foods with lots of fibre. Essentially you need to eat whole foods. Personally I think its such a simple concept and a no-brainer. Why is it such a hard sell?

    Hi bigbooty,

    If you cut carbs too much then you have problems with nutrition and many of the vegetables and fruits deliver the biggest bang of nutrition per calorie. That is especially true of many vegetables. A similar problem can occur if fats are cut too much. However the timeframes are different since we tend to store a lot of fat soluble vitamins. That is one place where I think many LCHF diets go wrong. They tend to avoid all blub type vegetables and some of them are really good for you. I really try to get all my nutrition from my food. When you are trying to do that, carbs definitely are essential.

    Beans and nuts are really good sources of proteins, cheese isn’t bad but it tastes so good. However there are tradeoffs, if you are only get protein from vegetables, it takes a good amount of vegetables to even get 50g of protein and typically you need multiple types vegetables. I think that is where a lot of people go wrong. They have a huge piece of meat with tiny serving of vegetables. It really should be the other way around. I’ve seen that a lot with people pushing the Aktin’s diet, but that was like 15 years ago when that was big.

    I lean towards just getting enough protein. As long as I seem to be gaining strength and at least maintaining muscle mass I figure I’m getting enough. There are a lot of strange beliefs around protein. “You must eat a workout meal before exercise”, or “You need to consume a high protein meal within 30 minutes of working out.” I don’t know about you but when I really workout hard, I don’t really want to eat anything for a while, sometimes hours. So far I haven’t noticed any problems with working out and not getting protein right away, sometimes even over a day later.

    Regards workouts my bike riding is about the only real exercise I do. Its usually a 50km ride at about a 30km/h average. Not super fast but by no means a doddle. I usually try and empty the tank for the last 1km and I really don’t have anything left afterwards. Sometimes Im close to being ill as I get off the bike. A bit of pain is good for the soul. Yeah Im with you the last thing on my mind is to eat protein after a ride. Actually eating anything doesn’t cross my mind. Sometimes I’ll later crave protein and sometimes that craving is not there. I let my body signal what I need.

    Don’t get me wrong I eat a lot of carbs, but theyre all tied up with fibre. I look at all these different diets and what I eat doesn’t fit any of them.

    Here is another clip by Gregor on brown adipose tissue BAT and capsicum. Now Im a little extreme (wife thinks Im crazy) and I have cold showers, been doing it for 3 years. Easy in summer, bloody hard to do in winter. I cant do it for 30 minutes as suggested, that’s just too much. But 1-2 minutes I can tolerate that. The good news is that having hot peppers also activates BAT and increases your BMR. Which adds to the concept that CICO is really a very truncated truth of what is happening.

    Bigbooty a 50km ride at 30km/h is a lot for that distance. 30km/h is a better clip that I could even do on the flat with the bike I just broke! I like cheap heavy bikes. You need a good road bike for that. I personally feel that is extremely impressive. Cold showers in the winter are also impressive. You must be a bit of a masochist.

    Some carbs are important for nutrition. I just take a bit of exception to statements that the body has no need for carbs. While it is sort of true in the macro-nutrient sense it is false when it comes to the massively important micro-nutrients. We have to have some protein and some fats but we also need many vitamins and minerals that we can only get from vegetables or maybe in questionable effectiveness from a pill.

    Adelaide doesn’t get that cold. In summer cold showers are easy, winter does take some will power. My son just got back from Japan recently for a science conference he attended and he looked like the Michelin man all dressed up in his puffer jacket. Now that’s cold.

    A lot of the micronutrients are bound to fibre, so yes its important to have “carbs” in that sense. Im not really low carb, just that most of my carbs are fibre rich. Ive got really simple tastes when it comes to foods. I just try and buy a selection of different fruit and veg every time I shop. My hope is that by randomly eating a rotation of different foods Im hopefully covering all the bases. Having said that I do take vit D supplement being essentially an office worker.

    I just upgraded to a Giant Advanced Pro carbon fibre job. Had my other bike for 30 plus years. Im no faster with the new bike but Ive entered the 21st century regards gear changes. So nice changing gears now. I had the last of the old friction shifters. It was a state of the art bike back in 1986.

    I can appreciate that if you have limited income buying fresh produce may be difficult. My wife started going to local farmers markets about a year ago. Ive just started doing it as well. We try and get most of our fruit and veg there rather than at the big supermarket chains. Its almost nice seeing fruit and veg with blemishes on them rather than the aesthetically perfect stuff you get in the supermarkets.

    I also think rotating the vegetables and fruits eaten is a great idea. I do that with vegetables all the time. Fruit is harder because it is limited and often expensive in Japan.

    Right now Tokyo is hot, my work room is typically 28 C these days. I guess I have to start using the air conditioner soon. @bigbooty your son must of been in Hokkaido. It has been hot for a few weeks! Anyway if I did 50km bike rides, I would be investing in a better bike too! You must have a butt of iron.

    He visited earlier in the year so it would have been your winter. I’ll have to ask him were it was again. He’s doing his PhD in atomic physics and went over for a conference and workshop. The bike I bought was about AUD3800 but the seat was killing me. I replaced it with a $15 cheapy off ebay and its a perfect fit. Go figure.

    @ dy. It was NIMS in Tsukuba.

    Tsukuba is a pretty large University. While it is hot now the winter here was pretty cold and long this year. Then in one week it seems it went from freezing to baking!

    @dykask, I think you had responded to me in the June monthly challenge. I need help in this weight loss journey. I started 5:2 in June last year and lost the initial 8-10 kgs really quickly. my goal weight is 65kgs, and I touched 69.5kgs in September for a very brief period. Then plateaued around 71-72 kgs for almost 6 months, which was extremely frustrating.In the last 3 months due to an erratic work routine I have been unable to follow 5:2/4:3 consistently and in the last 4 months have gained about 6kgs.I follow a vegetarian diet, but do have an omelette from time to time.
    I have seen dieticians in the past, it never works for me because they want me to eat so much for all 3 meals or they are very rigid about what I can/cant eat.They also tell me that skipping meals and reducing my food intake has slowed my basal metabolic rate. Portion control is probably what I think I need to work on. I think I can do an only water fast,but find it difficult to skip the morning coffee which I have with milk and about 1/2 tsp sugar.
    I had significantly cut down my carb and sugar intake.I am just stuck, if I try and have controlled days I am not losing. If I dont fast and eat 3 meals even with small portion sizes I seem to gain.I plan to start walking soon, hopefully that will help. I like eating fruits but struggle with vegetables.I am 35years by the way. Any guidance/advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance

    @rahul. I know that you addressed this to Dy and hopefully he will chime in. You say youre a vegetarian but really struggle with vegetables. So what do you eat that is non meat?

    i am 25years old and getting try to lose weight from last 5 years .. is there any solution to try ?

    I highly recommend prayer and the avoidance of refined carbohydrates

    Rahul1905, all the studies I’ve seen shows it takes weeks of fasting to start reducing metabolism. Likewise months of calorie restriction can reduce metabolism too. Typically short fasts increase metabolism. By short I mean less than a week. This is actually assuming you have enough fat to burn, if you are underweight then it is probably different.

    Overeating on non-fast days is a common problem. I used to do it too. However after I had fasted dozens of times I began to really dislike the feeling of being too full. That and some mindful changes have really helped.

    The changes
    – Eating slowly and tying to enjoy my food. Lots of chewing and tasting.
    – Avoiding all refined sugars. These just tend to make me feel like eating more.
    – Learning the hunger is just temporary and passes. Tricks like drinking water or coffee to smooth the hunger.
    – Learning to eat very healthy foods and letting myself eat as much of these as my body wanted. At least then the damage from overeating was limited. The downside is I started to like spinach and broccoli.
    – Actively selecting higher fiber foods. This one was much harder and took a while to get used too because it caused a lot more gas to be produced. It took about 4 or 5 months for my body to adjust. However now it is fine.

    I know this probably sounds like a bunch of hocus pocus but it actually worked really well for me. I think just the action of putting yourself in charge of your eating can help. At least for me the biggest part of the problem was my head, not my stomach.

    FYI: From
    “Detailed physiologic measurements show that TEE is maintained or sometimes even increased over the duration of a fast. Alternate daily fasting over 22 days found no measurable decrease in TEE. There was no ‘starvation’ mode. There was no decreased metabolism. Fat oxidation increased 58% while carbohydrate oxidation decreased from 53%. This means that the body has started to switch over from burning sugar to burning fat with no overall drop in energy. Four days of fasting actually increase TEE by 12%. Norepinephrine levels (adrenalin) absolutely skyrocketed 117% to maintain energy. Fatty acids increased over 370% as the body switched to burning fat. Insulin measurements decreased 17%. Blood glucose levels dropped slightly but remained in the normal range.”

    When someone claims something like fasting puts you in to starvation mode and reduces your metabolism I think there are a couple of reasonable questions one should ask:

    1) Do you have any first hand experience with fasting or are you just saying what you think?

    2) What are your sources of information about this?

    As far as sources go, most will probably say something like a school text book or a class. I have an electrical engineering degree. One professor taught was a very valuable lessens. He expected us to identify as many errors as possible in our very well respected electronics textbook. We would talk about them for a few minutes everyday. It was shocking how many bad errors as while as minor errors were found.

    Right now the best sources of information are from research being done. So far most studies on human fasting show profoundly positive results. There are a few negative studies, but the most negative ones are just talked about and never seem to get published. What does that mean?

    Granted if you can’t control your eating then that will dominate your weight. For me fasting really helped over time. I can’t be sure that will help you the same as we are all different. I sincerely wish you the best of luck Rahul.

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