More on what to do if you’re not losing weight – five things to consider

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More on what to do if you’re not losing weight – five things to consider

This topic contains 184 replies, has 92 voices, and was last updated by  annette52 8 years, 3 months ago.

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  • For those wishing to keep a food diary I recommend the site. I have been using their app on my smart phone and it is wonderfully user friendly and makes it so easy to keep a diary. You can use the website or the smartphone app. It is very important and beneficial to keep a food diary when dieting.

    I’ve been on the 5/2 plan for 13 weeks now, weighing/measuring and logging all food. On the non-fast days I eat around 1800 cals, averaging, per week 1400 cals for all 7 days. I do eat 650 on the fast days, higher than recommended for women. As of last week I’d lost 17.4. lbs., but gained 1.3 this week. ACK! Now I have to say, I have a scale that measures BMI, Visceral fat, skeletal muscle, and body fat, and all stayed the same but skeletal muscle which went up .1%. So I gained a bit of muscle but that wouldn’t account for a full 1.3 lbs. I have not been drinking enough water, but relying on diet soda, tea and coffee (I don’t drink alcohol at all). I have averaged a calorie deficite over the last 28 days of 938 cals. (I use bodymedia and my bodybugg to record exercise and food intake).
    Any advice, please?

    Can’t edit my post but my skeletal muscle went up 1% not .1, so maybe that accounts for the increase on the scale??

    Hi there, I started the fast diet on 3rd June this year. Due to hypothyroidism I hardly lost any weight for a month or more. I read everything on here and tried an extra fast day, made sure I wasn’t over eating in between fast days and made sure I exercised more, it has taken 4 months but lo and behold I am now seeing results! At last! This diet really does work, I love that it actually costs less than any other diet as there are no weekly fees etc. I have now lost 6 kilos since I started and although this isn’t phenomenal it is 6 kilos of fat, my body shape has improved as the fat has gone from around my middle. I was struggling to fit into my size 14 clothes, now these are becoming too big and I am having to buy size 12! Utter bliss and joy!!! As I have progressed with the diet I actually enjoy my fast days, planning is essential for success, as it is difficult after a busy day trying to decide what to feed my family whilst fasting and feeling rather hungry. Just a few minutes first thing, organising the family evening meal always helps. As for a quick and easy fast day dinner, Aldi do a nice selection of low calorie meals for £1:49. Also there is a good selection of weight-watcher meals, most of these come in at around 300 calories and are quite nice with a big salad or plate of veggies. This diet really is not too difficult to stick to, I can truthfully say that it works even if the odds are stacked against you, just persevere!

    I am just persisting, counting/measuring/recording all food intake, making sure I get the 10,000 steps daily (I run 30-50 min 4 times a week and do weights 1/2 times a week), drinking enough water. I know this is a long-term situation and I’m just working to be as diligent as I can. Thanks for your feedback.

    I have been following an ADF plan for the past 4 weeks and have lost 8lbs. I log ALL my calories on my fitness pal, even when I overeat. I am brutally honest. I have been averaging between 1000 and 1200 cals per day. I exercise moderately using a kettle bell workout at home 3 times a week. My problem is over the last 7 day period I have not lost a single ounce and cannot understand why, it defies all logic. Help! I am starting to lose the faith and don’t want to think that my efforts are going to be in vain!

    Just to add to my post, I had been dropping between .2-6lbs every couple days previously. Particularly, following a fast day I would notice a difference on the scale – but now nothing for 7 days. Any advice on what could be going on?

    kathodson, Do Not despair! We all have periods where we do not lose anything. It is commonly referred to as a plateau. Do something different. Try a different exercise. If you walk, change your pace. Walk slowly and then speed up, then slow down, etc.. Our bodies will get use to what ever we are doing and, eventually, will compensate to keep things the same. Also, if you are doing weight work, you could be putting on muscle weight while also losing fat weight. Keep the faith!! You will succeed. I know that you have heard it all before…however, I must say it…if I can succeed (because I have no self discipline) you can succeed. 🙂

    MaggieS, You really need to drink water. Diet sodas are NOT good for you. They will affect your blood sugars which can affect your weight. Sodas can also dehydrate you over time if you do not compensate with water. If you do not like the taste of your water try a water filter or add a squeeze of lemon or lime to your glass of water. Water also helps to flush out toxins and other impurities in your body. Just my opinion, but I believe that water is the #1 most important aspect of any healthy life style. Again, anything with artificial sweeteners in it is not healthy. Try tea with Stevia. Stevia is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the Stevia tree. Been around for centuries. It will take some experimenting to find the right amount for your tastes as too much will taste bitter. That is the first thing that I would work on. Also, 1800 calories on your non fast days might now be a little to much. Try dropping it down to 1700 calories for a month and then down a little more until you are between 1200 and 1400 calories a day on your non fast days. I would also keep your fast days at 500 calories. It is amazing how much you can eat on 500 calories. What ever you decide to do…do not give up! You can do this. The first couple of months is always the hardest and you have already passed that point. Please, also, read my reply to kathodson. Maybe that would apply to you as well. Keep up the good job!!

    Helen1969, WAY TO GO GIRL!!! Having hypothyroidism is in itself is despairing and look what you have done just in 4 months! I would be interested in learning how you have done since your last post. My husband and I travel a lot for his work (he likes to have me join him on his trips) and I have found that there are many places that you can get a lot of food for 500 calories or less. However, even knowing that, as you pointed out, it still is much better if you plan ahead. That way when he asks where we are going for dinner I am ready with a responsible answer and not the fallback answer of…”Just order a pizza.”…because I don’t want to eat out. I have only ever gone hungry on my fast days because I didn’t plan ahead. Sometimes, when we are home, we treat it as a date night and take our backgammon game to our local steak house and play and eat and enjoy each others company. It sure makes fast days pleasant.

    And…A great big congratulatory hug to all of us for trying! Some of us are strong in character and self-discipline and some of us are not (that would be me), however, we are all succeeding. Some of us faster then others but all of us are succeeding and that is what we must keep in mind. I am not losing as fast as I would like but that is on me. I am taking my husband on a trip to Hawaii and wanted to have lost more weight than I have. I might have if I hadn’t eaten all those chocolate bars and cheese quesadillas! I know that was my choice so I live with it. I got a treadmill for Christmas and I set it up in front of the TV. Love it!! That has really helped. Again, congratulations to all of us!

    I am on week 6 of the 5:2 diet, and have lost maybe 5 lb. I am going to keep on for another two to three weeks,then get my blood cholesterol checked. I would have liked to have the same success as my mates that got me onto the diet in the first place, but sadly I have not had much weight loss at all. I was previously depending on fat fast (Atkins) to lose weight but my blood cholesterol went up and up. So I decided to give the ‘fat fast’ a miss and try 5:2. I must admit I have started eat bread again, and have had far too much stuff like bread and pizza. My excuse is that I am watching the Olympics from Australia, and that I feel like I am jet-lagged. So once the Olympic ice hockey is over I might be able to get back on track.

    Hey Thumbnail, congrats on persisting. I have been on the 5/2 plan since July 2013 and have lost 28 lbs, my BMI is down and my cholesterol went down 70 pts. I want to lose about 25-30 more lbs but I’m confident I’ll be successful. I see this as a lifestyle change and a long term thing.
    I don’t find it helpful to eliminate any food, just limit how much of it I eat. You probably already know and do this, but weighing/measureing and recording everything is something I’ve found extremely helpful

    Good luck as you keep going!

    Hi Thumbnail, keep up the great work. Remember, that any weight loss is a win. I have known others that went on the Atkins diet and failed because it is too restrictive. I agree with MaggieS. Do not limit the types of food that you eat. Eat what you want but in moderation. I like hummus very much and I admit that eating 3 whole containers of it along with several cheese quesadillas in a single week is way too much I still can eat those things but in moderation. I enjoyed what I ate but then had to work extra hard to burn those calories the next week…but it was worth it. I have been on the 5:2 since the middle of August 2013 and have lost a total of 36 pounds. I have denied myself nothing except on my fast days. My mantra is, “I can eat it tomorrow.” I have added walking on a treadmill and swimming once a week to my diet and that is helping too. I just started that this year. This is the only diet plan that I have ever stuck to AND been successful on. I still have about 50 pounds to lose and sometimes I get frustrated because, like now, my weight went back up a few pounds but I am frustrated with myself because it went back up a few pounds because I did not obey the #1 rule…Everything in moderation! And boy was I bad!!! But that is okay. Because it is going back down again. Hang in there!! This will work for you just keep the faith.

    MaggieS, WAY TO GO!! Your progress is fantastic! I also see this as a long term lifestyle change. The long term medical benefits are wonderful and that is what I am really after. The weight loss is a wonderful bonus. I feel so much better since starting this new ‘lifestyle’ and I bet you do as well. I am hoping that it will affect my cholesterol as well. Diet has never affected my cholesterol so I have to take medication to keep it low. If this works on my cholesterol then that is one more pill that I can eliminate from my life! My memory has also started improving and that is exciting for me as I have severe apnea which has pretty much destroyed my memory. I am really excited about this ‘lifestyle’ and that is a first. I hope that you get everything that you are looking for with the 5:2.

    Hugs for all of us! We deserve it!

    Thanks for taking the time to reply Norma. I just don’t get it though, plateau or not…. I was 5,100 calories in deficit from my goal of 1800 cals per day (myfitnesspal can’t be set up or fast diet parameters, I believe) and did not shift even an ounce! I fasted for 90 days last summer and had great results. This was 5 week of yet another successful attempt. It just does not make sense to me that overnight- it seems – my body would just rebel against the diet. Nothing else had changed in my routine. I thought if you were in a plateau you upped to ADF. What do you do when already ADF’ing and regularly exercising?!

    @kathodson, that’s the nature of a plateau, hard as it is to accept. I *started* with a 6 week plateau, and was tracking my cals so I knew I wasn’t overeating on the non-fast days.

    I have hit a very frustrating plateau. I was 84KG and my goal weight was 75kg. I got down to 76kg but now have gone back up to 77.5KG and am stuck. This despite still doing 2 fast days a week, cycling 25km 5 times a week, running 10km once a week and playing squash once a week. I do have a sweet tooth on my non fast days (which has got more intense since I started this diet) but I don’t think I am exceeding my recommended allowance (2400 calories a man). I just cannot shift these last two KG – the fat is all on my belly. Any tips on how I can finally shift this?

    @ Insilence, its so annoying when you are so close to goal weight, I hear you. I have 2lbs left, its so disheartening. I thought this diet was different though. I have read a ‘little’ about plateaus since seeing the comments above and they talk about rapid weight loss at the beginning of diets being due to water loss, then plateauing when the liver starts assisting the kidneys and muscles loss is activated. I thought this diet was all about visceral fat loss…. Anyone got a ‘science’ based explanation of how a plateau is possible with the fast diet? I really thought I had found my magic combination for weight loss, now I realize that no matter what diet you are on, the same pitfalls apply….. @ arla, well done for keeping going!!! 6 weeks at the start of the diet is rough!!

    You may be losing visceral fat (ie fat among your organs) which isn’t the same as abdominal fat which is outside the muscle wall. And yes they’re annoying, but imagine how frustrating it is to lose nothing!

    A plateau is possible with ANY diet – and if you look around at many of the discussions here the people who haven’t plateaued at some point are the rarity.

    If you believe in absolute maths of calories in vs calories out must equal weight lost, then sadly it’s not true. If it was true I’d have lost something in the first 6 weeks, when I *gained* 2.5kg instead! If it was true I’d have lost more than 3kg in 5 months of a VLCD (cos my gallbladder wouldn’t let me eat much while I waited for surgery).

    But I lost centimetres in measurement – have you taken any measurements to see if that’s happening.

    I wonder if my increase in exercise has anything to do with it?

    Insilence, well done on your progress so far!
    Have you recalculated your daily calorie allowance since you’ve lost weight because as your weight reduces so does your TDEE.
    As you are doing a lot of exercise maybe your weight is fine since you have gained muscle. Remember weight is only a number!
    If your weight is just on your stomach have you tried doing some sit-ups/crunches after you come in from your cycles/run? Holding in your stomach is a great workout for your stomach muscles too, improves your posture, hides your gut and it becomes a habit you don’t have to think about.

    The reason we get stuck on a plateau on diets is because what we are doing is static. Every time the body gets used to what we are doing it will adjust so that we stop losing weight. We need to confuse our bodies as they will try to stay in balance and we want it out of balance. Our bodies are not meant to lose weight. It is supposed to maintain our weight or put more on; not lose it. In order for us to make our bodies lose weight we have to do things that it does not expect like slowing down our exercise and then speeding it up again, adding another fast day or taking one away. Throw in a different exercise than what we have been doing. Our bodies are pretty good at doing it’s job we just have to be smarter and more determined to keep it from doing it right.

    Hi Aussieamanda, I am in the same situation as you. I have lost quite a lot of weight (26kgs) but cannot shift any more to get to my goal of “double digits”

    I do not know what to do next but I have decided to have a two day fast (sat and sun) and then go on with a 5/2 approach which means this week I will need to fast on Tuesday and Thursday as well.

    In the next couple of weeks, I have an appointment with a dietician and if I get any gems from that meeting, I will share those too.

    Pleased to hear that I am not alone, and want you to know that you are not either.

    Onwards and downwards!

    Neither my partner nor I were losing weight on the fast diet despite rigid adherence for about six months. After reading a book about effects of sugars by Gary Taub, “Why we get fat”, and watching videos on similar theory, corn syrup notably, “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” and “Fat chance” with Dr Lustig in a medical series, I decided that the only thing I had not tried was stopping simple carbohydrates on my non-fast days. At first I just could not work out how to do this without great suffering, then I found another you-tube video (that I could subsequently never find again) of a woman who said, basically, “While you are asleep, your body is burning fats, but in the morning you take a slice of toast and that’s it; you start producing insulin and you are hungry all day.” (That’s really simplifying what she said, but it resonated.) I decided not to eat toast in the morning and to see how much carbohydrate, apart from non starchy veg, I could avoid all day. I begin the day with two boiled eggs. I found that it was as that woman said, if I didn’t have toast, I did not feel that ongoing hunger. In one month I have lost three kilos by continuing to do two fast days a week and avoid simple carbohydrates, notably bread, but also using fruits as an occasional treat. I convinced my partner, who has been faithfully doing the same regimes with me, to stop his huge consumption of porridge in the morning and grapes and sultanas and bananas, and his weight-loss has been similar. I am hoping to keep this up long-term. I wonder if I will lose the ten more kg or so that I would ideally and what I will do then; will I reintroduce some simple carbs? Will I drop a fast day?

    I can really see the difference between food for hunger and simple carbs for a dopamine hit (i.e. as a happy drug, a distraction). I get much the same effect from avoiding sugar, mentally, as I do from fasting. I have a tendency to eat a lot of nuts however. Not sure if that is going to become a problem and not sure whether I can afford to eat cheese (another addiction).

    Also, when I was young I despised simple carbohydrates. I am not sure where I got this from, but I would go to an Indian restaurant and not eat rice, go to an Italian restaurant and not eat pasta. I almost never ate potatotes and I didn’t eat breakfast and despised bread. In my late 20s I succumbed to the barrage of propaganda about the food pyramid – grains and fruits and pasta – for god’s sake. And I started to put on weight.

    So this not eating simple carbs reminds me of old times.

    For those who want to shed more weight faster i would recommend doing 3:4 as in fasting 4 days and feeding 3 days. I was at 67 kg 2 days ago today i’m at 65 kg. It’s definetly hard but i really want to be at 55kg so i’m going to try to stick to it. If you can’t do 3:4 at least try to fast 3 days and eat mostly protein on feed days. I think this way peope who are not loosing weight can achieve their goal. Good luck

    I have been sticking to the 5:2 plan for 7 days and have gained 2 kg instead of losing.
    Nerodog I have read your latest post about carbohydrates, and am hoping that you might be able to point me in the right direction to avoid carbs that are the troublemakers in this quest.
    I am 63yrs 180cm and 104 kilos and cannot do anything except basic exercise.

    I’ve been on the 2:4 diet since March 2013 with 2 lots of 6 weeks where I went off it. From 64kg to 60kg. That’s 18 months. That’s a long time for a 4kg weight loss and my stomach, which appears to be the most important fat to lose, doesn’t appear to be any the skinner. I do feel good on the diet but very disappointed at the lack of weight loss. I wouldn’t mind getting to 55kgs. Doesn’t seem a lot to lose, but I’d still like to lose it. I’ve been genuinely on the diet and keeping to the rules for all that time apart from the 2 x 6 week breaks (on both breaks I went back up to 64kg again – or close to).

    Hi, being a newbie but having read Michaels book on the subject & having tried for years to not only lose weight but to keep it off I’d started on The 1st of Oct last. I’ve been following ‘religiously’ up to now & have lost more than a stone in weight!! I have found it really very easy to do & follow. Not only has my bloodpressure come down, but my Glucose levels too! I do also do some HIT training as well which has certainly helped enormously.
    I had walked the Camino de Santigo back in 2010; walking from St. Jean Pied de Poort to Santiago in 33 days 800km, & hadn’t lost a pound! So now I’m extremely pleased at my results. Brilliant!

    Hey guys any ideas on losing 8kg in 7 days ???

    thank you !!

    Updating on my 5:2 Diet plan; I am now steady and indeed not following 5:2 anymore, that is to say, not doing any fasting days (at the moment). I had lost 24 kg in 20 weeks, and perhaps more importantly 18 cm around my circumference! (All belly fat, or Visceral fat), which is really grand. My glucose levels have all come tumbling down, from 7.2 now down to 5.5 average (even went down as low as 3.9 once) and my blood pressure levels are now down to 115/73 with a pulse of 55 on average. My clothes fit me (didn’t throw any ‘old’ clothes away so that’s a blessing).
    I can honestly say that if you perservere, then 5:2 will work for you! Indeed, eating lots of things such as bread, nuts, raisons and the like will hoist on the Calories and you won’t get much for it. Drinking water fills you up and doesn’t cost any calories.
    I often eat porridge in the mornings but then cooked in about 190 ml of water stiring in 80 mls of milk after cooking for about 2.5 minutes in the mic which gives a lovely creamy taste without the calories. I take 25 grams of Blueberries with it and have a good breakfast for 195 kCal!
    Nowadays, I eat ‘ordinarily’ but measure everything, noting all calories consumed in an App on my iPhone (FatSecret – but you can use MyFitnessPal too) and then I know that I am on track. All my vital signs have come down except one, my Libido has gone right up!!
    So recapping, if you are serious about losing weight (and I’m sure everyone here is), then keep on going and you will succeed.
    I have always fought my whole life to get and keep my weight down, and this is the only way that I have found that really works!! My health is now grand (including my Libido – Woo hoo!!) and I have just returned from doing a Camino Fisterra y Muxia (155 km in 8 days). Being 35 years, but with 38 years of experience that can’t be bad, I reckon!!

    Take heart dear friends – you will succeed!


    Hi – I am relatively new to the 5:2 diet but have been on it now for 8 weeks and am finding the restriction of being on 500 calories a day quite manageable but, sadly, I am not losing weight. However, having said that, I am not putting weight on either – thankfully. I am exercising 3 – 5 days a week, which includes running but from reading many posts now on others in the same position of not losing weight, I feel my attitude towards the non-fast days (or feed days as some call it) is possibly too enthusiastic. The term “eating normally” on those days has translated for me into “yippee, eat whatever I like” days which obviously seems to be the cause of the lack of weight loss. Before taking on the 5:2 diet, I actually ate quite a healthy diet, following mostly the Paleo way of thinking but when I saw that you could eat “normally” on the non-fast days, I think I considered this to be like all my Christmas’ had come at once and started to add to my diet things like potato chips and biscuits which I never used to “normally” eat but thought why not, after all, the fasting will fix these sins, so to speak. But, obviously this is not the way to lose weight. So I am now going to return to the Paleo style eating on the non-fast days, continue my 3-5 days of exercise and be more conscience of the amount of wine I consume (I do enjoy a glass of red or two, or three). Hopefully this will help weight loss but we will see. Interestingly though, my cholesterol count has increased but I am well above the good cholesterol levels and well below the bad cholesterol levels, so even though my overall total is higher, my individual readings between good and bad are very healthy and my doctor is not alarmed by the increase. I will have another test in a few months time to see if there is any change. I am 50 years old and my body has taken on some changes that I cannot control and find frustrating, weight gain being one of them and most of that has been on my midriff which is not normally an area I have had any problems with before. I hope that the 5:2 diet will change that but as many have said, weight loss is not the be all and end all, but an overall increase in health being the optimum goal. I hope that my reigning back on “crazy” food during the non-fast days will have some effect.

    Hi Michael I and a female friend have been doing the 5:2 for well over 2 years now and while we both lost about a stone initially it’s gone back on despite sticking to the diet. I’ve done some weeks of 4.3 and regularly run I don’t drink high calorie drinks or much alcohol. Is it usual for the diet to stop working after a long time? Thanks

    Hi Claresr:

    The way the diet works is you eat 500 or fewer calories twice a week and your TDEE or below the remaining five days. If you do that, you have to lose weight.

    As you are gaining, that means you are eating over your TDEE – so you are not following the diet.

    I suggest you count calories for a couple of weeks and that should show you where you are going wrong.

    Good Luck!

    I have been doing the 5:2 fast diet for three and a half years. The first three months were fantastic – the weight dropped off me and I lost 18 kilos (almost 40 pounds) then my weight plateaued and then in the three years that followed I have gained back all the weight and a little more despite sticking rigidly to the diet. I don’t count calories on the non-fast days (we were told we didn’t have to). I find fast days very difficult still, I feel ill, I get headaches, and I can’t sleep on fast days, and after eating on the post fast days I get stomach cramps and loose bowels. I am 46 and female and very overweight. I don’t know what to do next – I’m thinking of alternate day fasting, but since I feel so ill both on fast days and post fast days I’m guessing that’s not going to be a whole lot of fun for me. I have inflammatory arthritis, so exercise is difficult.

    It is a way of life rather than a diet, so you have to change what you eat every day. There is little point making an effort on 2 days if you waste all that good work on the other 5 is there?

    Have a look under ‘resources’ to see what calories you should be consuming on your non fast days(NFD) and then plan your meals/snacks to fit in with that figure. You may find it an eye opener to keep a diary for a week and write down what you eat and drink, then tot up the numbers. I suspect that you will be as shocked as I was when I did this, it was clear then to me what changes I needed to make.

    We weren’t told to count calories on NFD, but we were told to eat normally. My problem with this was that if I knew how to eat normally, then I wouldn’t have got fat in the first place!

    I suggest that you focus on eating within your TDEE every day for a couple of weeks and learn what to cook and how much, before you then introduce 1 FD and then another. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, then you have to make changes to what you eat and drink for 7 days a week.

    I was shocked at how easy it was to underestimate how much I was consuming. Information is power. Have a look at how much sugar(both hidden and obvious) you are consuming, it should be no more than 6 teaspoons a day.

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