Hit a buffer.

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  • I seem to hit a buffer and although I am sticking to the diet, my weight loss has stopped and I am still quite a bit overweight. I have hit a buffer at 13 stone. I am 5ft. 4.5 in tall. I am, however, seeing a difference in my body shape especially my waist & face, and I am very pleased about that, but weight-wise I have only lost 2lb in the last 4 weeks. I have set a goal of 11 st. 7lb. I feel a lot fitter and exercise daily with two brisk 30 minute walks and my physio workout which I have been doing since a spinal operation.

    On my fast days I typically have a piece of fruit for breakfast (normally a peach or much less often a banana) and a light meal in the evening. So I am thinking that I am eating too much on the non-fast days, but it does not seem like too much! I do have a sandwich at midday on such days and a bowl of muesli again sometimes with a piece of fruit, and a heavier dinner in the evening. Also as my wife will insist on baking cakes, a mid-morning coffee and cake often happens.

    I would appreciate any helpful comments and advice.

    Thanks in advance.

    Hi there,

    My background is just over 7 years on 5:2 with an initial weight loss in the first 6 months of 38lb, then putting a little back on and now maintaining at around 30lb lower than when I started – BMI around 23.

    May I ask if your overall portion control on non-fast days has improved since you began? After about 4 weeks I naturally started wanting considerably smaller portions on my NFDs. When I commented that one plateful looked a bit large my wife told me it was less than half of what I was eating before 5:2, so something dramatic had clearly shifted in my brain.

    Normally I try to avoid having biscuits or cakes around but there are times when it’s either unavoidable or you just want a bit of a treat and I know that can contribute to some weight gain if it goes on for too many consecutive days. Maybe a smaller portion of cake with the coffee would help, if that’s feasible.

    Having been on it so long I also suspect I’m not always quite as disciplined on the Fast Days as I was originally. I do the 600 calorie version, so given there is now an 800 calorie version too, I don’t feel too bad if I’m not always sticking 100% to my usual FD regimes – it’s always close enough and won’t be taking me over 800. It may be worth checking that your FD plans are still what they were when you first figured them out.

    I certainly did have a few plateaus when I was first losing weight, but in my case I think the longest time with no continuation of weight loss was about 2 weeks. However, in your case the weight loss has not stopped entirely, it has just slowed down more than you’d like. So it is still positive and going in the right direction.

    One other thing to consider is whether you are still being as physically active as before, or if something has changed – possibly with a Covid-19 lockdown? – so you aren’t doing quite as much as before. (Although this sounds unlikely from what you have said – glad your spinal op went well by the sounds of it, I had a bulging disc and cyst touching the sciatic nerve operated on myself about 15 months ago.)

    Finally as you lose weight it does become harder to keep on losing it because you naturally require less energy each day to maintain the lower weight you have now dropped to.

    I think my best advice is to keep persevering and to go back to the initial basics to double check you are still being as disciplined as when you first started, just in case anything has changed. If that all seems good then, as you’ve already identified yourself, you may need to consider if there is something else you can do on the NFDs to reduce portion sizes – although of course the main beauty of the 5:2 approach is that you don’t have to count calories on the NFDs and I think it would be hugely motivationally counter-productive to start doing that routinely.

    The good news is that things are still going the right way for you, you are feeling and looking a lot better, and 5:2 is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Hopefully sticking with it will once again soon start you seeing more weight loss.

    I don’t know if any of the above helps, but the very best of luck with it.

    Thank you so much for this, it is really encouraging and having read your remarks I do feel a lot more positive about it all. I am certainly as physically active, in fact probably more so as if you take into account the speed at which I am now able to walk! In fact I do feel as though I want to exercise rather than seeing it as a bit of a chore! My portion sizes on the NFDs are smaller and I am i do not have such a sweet tooth as I used to. Fruit instead of puddings seem now to be the norm. Your note has encouraged me to keep persevering and not be so impatient! Thanks once again.


    So glad you found my comments helpful. Never too sure if one is saying the right thing or not, but all I can go by is my own personal experience and the fact that after over 7 years it is still working for me (although going into “maintenance” of 6:1 for any length of time never worked for me – I still do it as 5:2 as much as possible, excluding holidays, and resorting to a 6:1 if circumstances mean I can’t do two non-consecutive FDs from Monday to Thursday; Fridays and the weekend are never FDs for me).

    I can also remember realising, maybe 5 to 6 weeks after I first started, that I felt much more energetic and able to exercise more positively and with greater ease than I had done previously.

    Best of luck and I really hope the weight continues to drop off so you can achieve your target.

    Thanks for your encouragement. 🙂

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