Not seeing results with the diet.

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Not seeing results with the diet.

This topic contains 20 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  cornish-jane 1 year, 3 months ago.

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  • Hi everyone,

    I am a 55 year old peri menopausal woman with metabolic syndrome, pre diabetes, high cholesterol and triglycerides , fatty liver, and 50 pounds of excess weight. I have been strictly adhering to the 5:2 plan for 6 weeks and have only lost 3 pounds . On my non fasting days my diet is very healthy, mostly nonstartchy vegetables, low sugar fruits, lean protein, and nuts. I don’t consume bread, pasta, potatoes, etc. My level of activity is good as well, 3-5 miles walks per day in addition to 3X per week of weight training and HIIT.
    I also take supplements to increase insulin sensitivity and optimize AMPK. Has anyone else experienced something similar? Did you try any modifications that helped?
    Thank you

    Hi Orly:

    What do you mean by ‘strictly adhering’ to 5:2. That would be 500 cal or less twice a week, and TDEE or less the remaining five days a week.

    What is your TDEE?

    The fact you have lost three pounds would indicate it is working – the average weight loss for a woman on 5:2 is a little less than a pound a week. But it sounds like you want to lose weight faster?

    As you probably know, exercise does not help much with weight loss and sometimes actually slows weight loss.

    My only suggestion would be to eat less.

    Here are some tips that explain TDEE, the possible effects of exercise, and the general weight loss expectations you could have using 5:2:

    Good Luck!

    Hi Simcoeluv,
    Thank you for your reply . You asked about my TDEE, and calories consumed on my fasting days. The TDEE that I have received after averaging the results from various calculators is 2390. I am skeptical of this figure, so I am operating under the assumption, that despite my high level of physical activity, my TDEE is closer to 2100.
    On my fasting days, I consume 500 calories or less, and on the other five days my intake is between 1400- 1500 calories.
    The reason I stated that the 5:2 plan is not working for me, is because of my very modest weight loss , compared to the large daily deficit of calories. With a weekly deficit of 6450 calories, after six weeks, my weight loss projection is 11 pounds, but my results have been less than a third of that number. Given my results, I’m wondering if intermittent fasting is the best diet for me , or if my constitution is better suited to something else.

    Hi Orly,
    Are there any other signs, besides what your scale says, that your health has improved over the last 6 weeks? Think of scales as always + or – 2 kg as there are a lot of variables such as food in your gut and water levels in your body.

    If you want to keep on with 5:2, work on making it sustainable in your life, so that it isn’t so frustrating if it is not working as you expect.

    Maybe on your non-fasting days you could eat normal meals. Sensible portions and healthy, but enough so that you don’t feel you are on a diet those days. Try not to count calories.

    Then just concentrate on making your fast days work.

    I was lucky, I knew at the end of my first fast day that 5:2 would suit me. I felt really good having a break from eating, and the morning after was even better. Breakfast was wonderful! But because I have a chronic illness I am extremely limited in how active I can be and my rate of loss was similar to yours. I lost about a kilo a month. But slow and steady won the race and I am now at the lower end of my healthy weight range and, thanks to 5:2, I am staying there.

    I do hope you can make 5:2 work in your life because the rewards are so great. Best wishes.

    PS Have you heard of the whoosh effect?

    Hi Orly:

    As I mentioned, your exercise may be holding up your weight loss.

    But I have to ask, do you actually count the calories you are eating, or do you estimate? Research shows that most people underestimate their caloric intake by about 50%.

    The ‘woosh effect’ is covered in the link ‘Really, No Weight Loss’, if you are interested.

    @orly. Your calculated TDEE is 2390??? Really? You are either a top athlete doing lots of training every day or you weigh about 250 pounds. Not trying to be rude but if that TDEE is correct that’s the two options. Im a 57 yo male, 178cm tall 154 pounds and my TDEE is 2100, and I think that’s probably a little high. Its probably closer to 1900. Walking is good but it wont put on lean mass, it will however conserve what you have. Resistance training will put on lean mass but unless you are continually upping your weights it is just conserving what you have. Personally I think at 55 just conserving what you have is the better option. I regularly ride my bike and Im happy with conservation rather than putting on more lean mass.

    People seem to have a very distorted view of what HIIT is. HIIT is a completely anaerobic activity that is conducted at 100% effort. It is a very unpleasant experience that can only be sustained for about 30-40 seconds max. I end my rides with an all out 100% effort for the last 1km of my ride. I am in extreme physical distress by the end of that 1km. If you can do this fantastic but don’t worry if you cant. If your goal is weight loss then a brisk walk is fantastic because as a percentage this is when the most fat is burnt compared to glucose and glycogen.

    If you are losing weight then you are doing everything correctly. On average I only lost 1 pound per week. It took me a year to lose my 48 pounds.

    @cinque, thank you for your suggestions and words of encouragement. The “Whoosh Effect” article was very interesting and something that I was previously unaware of.

    @bigbooty, thank you for your lengthy reply. I am not an athlete nor do I weigh 250 pounds. The TDEE that I quoted was based on the average of the calculations from multiple sites. I also mentioned that I was skeptical of the high number. You stated that you do not mean to be rude, but three ??? marks and a “Really? Following my TDEE, does seem a wee bit rude. I don’t set the parameters for the calculator, I simply input the information that was asked of me. It may very well be that the calculations are inaccurate, but whatever the correct # is, my daily caloric intake is lower than maintenance and is consistently in the deficit range. In addition to my walking ( brisk pace), I do weight/resistance workouts and HIIT 3X per week and Pilates or yoga once weekly with the guidance of an athletic trainer who modifies my workouts as needed. It is unfortunately not uncommon for people even those who are themselves struggling with weight to doubt or place blame on the overweight person. I have been weighing and measuring my food for years as well as counting calories as a matter of habit, and continue to do so even though it is not a necessity on the 5:2 plan. I am reasonably confident that my caloric intake assumptions are accurate. I’m glad to hear that you are happy with your weight loss progress, and wish you continued success.
    With 50 pounds to lose, I view a .5 pound per week loss as inadequate as it will take me longer than two years to reach my weight loss goals. The purpose of my post was to hopefully connect with others who have experienced similar weight loss resistance challenges, and hear how those challenges were handled and or overcome. Thanks again for your input and perspective.

    @simcoeluv, I had not considered that my exercise might be hindering my progress, it’s definitely something for me to consider. With respect to calories, I do count calories and measure/weigh my food, so I feel pretty confident in my calorie estimates. Thanks for the “ whoosh effect “ article recommendation, it was very interesting.

    Hi Orly:

    I explain my comment on exercise in this post:

    This diet works. You just have to do it. And quick weight loss, while the dream of everyone, is just a dream. It takes a long time to lose a lot of weight. For 50 pounds, figure at least a year or more.

    You will read about some people on this and many other diets that begin by losing a lot of weight fast. But then you don’t hear from them again, because when that initial quick water weight loss rate goes down, they quit the diet and go back to where they were.

    The quickest way to lose the most weight as fast as possible is simply to not eat. The average weight loss for people water fasting only is between 3/4 and one pound per day. (Your TDEE will give you an idea of how much you can reasonably expect to lose each day when water fasting.) The minute you start eating, that rate declines. So how much you eat pretty well sets how much you gain, or lose. No rocket science involved.

    Just keep on with 5:2, and although no one wants to hear it, if you want to lose weight faster, eat less.

    Good Luck!

    @orly. The additional ?? was supposed to be mean “incredulous”. There really is no magic, if you are confident of your intake and are losing 0.5 pounds per week then your energy expenditure is just a fraction more over the course of the week. If your calculated TDEE is 2390 then your actual TDEE is 2100 or on average 290 calorie deficit per day. This would give you your 0.5 pound loss over the course of the week. You either need to up your expenditure or drop your consumption by another 290 per day to double the loss.

    That’s the simple maths of the situation. Having given you the simple maths however Im a firm believer that it is what you eat rather than how much you eat which makes the biggest difference. Your TDEE will actually go up and down depending on the foods that you eat. It is not a constant. Personally I have never counted calories but I did change my diet to achieve my weight loss coupled with 5:2. I now eat my version of a healthy diet. Basically its lots of veggies (limited starchy veg) some fruit, some meat, lots of nuts and seeds. No processed grain based products at all. My loss was only about 1 pound per week. Personally I don’t think a loss of more than about 1 pound per week is sustainable so your not far off really. Good luck with it.

    Hi, Orly. Your’s is a curious situation.
    In my opinion, your TDEE is very high. When you calculated it, did you input your current weight or the weight you would like to be after losing 50 pounds? Try again with the latter. My TDEE, to maintain my current weight, is 1450. sometimes I get to a place where my weight goes up and stays there, despite Fast Days. Then I have to count my calories, even on Slow Days, to see where the extra calories came from. As for counting calories on Fast Days, I made up recipe cards of our favorite meals with all the calories totaled up for every ingredient. That way I really know what I’m eating.
    If you don’t ever count calories, I’m not sure how you can find out how to lose more weight faster. For me, part of Fasting is knowing the nutritional value of what you eat.
    Good luck to you.

    @orly. I just punched in some guestimate numbers into the BMI calculator on this website. Depending on what you enter as your activity level the TDEE variation can be as much as 1000 calories. If I had to guess I would say that most people underestimate what they eat and overestimate how much activity they do, or how much their activity actually burns off in calories. Why not enter conservative values, say enter sedentary or mildly active as your activity level and see what the TDEE comes back as. Like I mentioned before, Im a male, 154 pounds, 178cm tall, 57yo. I ride my bike and would easily cover 50 km per week. Walk 3km every lunch break and my TDEE comes back as 2100 and I honestly think that estimate is too high! I think its closer to 1900. So it does seem a little odd that your TDEE is coming back as 2390.

    @fasting_me, thanks for your reply . I’m not sure I understand about entering my goal weight in the TDEE calculator. Is it simply to get a lower #?

    @bigbooty, I’m starting to think that TDEE calculations are not very useful, and that one should assume that the numbers are much too high and consume as little as possible in order to maximize weight loss . Based on many of the comments that I’m reading here, it seems that most of the weight loss benefits derived from the 5:2 eating plan, are due to caloric deficit. I know how to restrict calories, I have been doing so for years with little success, what I don’t know how to do, is lose weight efficiently and for the long term. I had hoped, perhaps naively so, that intermittent fasting was that magic “thing” that had eluded me all this time. That perhaps the impact that fasting has on blood glucose and insulin levels would help to correct the weight loss resistance that is a result of insulin resistance . I understand that consuming fewer calories is important for weight loss, but for many people, it is only one piece of the puzzle .

    @orly. What fasting me is suggesting is that if you want to use those BMI calculators that you should enter the weight you ideally want to be at some time into the future rather than the eight you are currently. So if you are 70kg and you want to be 60kg. Put 60 kg into the BMI calculator to give you your TDEE.

    This is my personal take on the whole weight loss concept, so please take of leave the information at your pleasure. I do not count calories at all. I do not find it necessary. Others swear by it. Whatever works for you. The concept of calories in/calories out CICO is at best a very crude estimate. At worse it is pointless. The foods that you eat alter the calories that you need from a metabolic standpoint. Almonds and other nuts for example are known to increase your metabolic rate. So eating 1000 calories of almonds will have a different effect to eating 1000 calories of chocolate donuts.

    At the end of the day you must run a calorific deficit to lose weight. How you choose to do that is up to you. IF as opposed to continuous caloric deficit are two ways. lets say you need 2000 cal per day. Lets say you want to run a 2000 calorie deficit for the week. With IF you eat normally for say 6 days and fast with zero intake on the 7th day. You’ve run a 2000 calorie deficit and achieved this using IF. Alternately you could eat 1714 calories per day and also achieve a 2000 calorie deficit for the week. Personally I believe continued caloric deficit doesn’t work. IF does work, so I water fast once per week and have been doing so for over 3 1/2 years now. My weight is usually within 2 pounds of my target weight of 154 pounds. All this without counting calories at all.

    Having said that there are certain foods that I will not touch. For me those foods are anything that is processed grain based and SUGAR. So no bread pasta biscuits rice etc. I eat almonds like other people are addicted to chocolate. It does not adversely affect me. Im not advocating that you do this, just that it works for me. You need to find your “poison” food and then eliminate it.

    Good luck.

    I read your post and was wondering if you are using your TDEE for your current weight. I use my TDEE for the weight I want to be and that works best for me. Others are doing that, too!

    @orly77 – Some thoughts.

    1) You don’t mention what you are doing on fast days. While the 5:2 diet does allow for people to eat some on fast days, if a person eats some after waking up and then later in the day, it isn’t a true fast and a lot of the benefits of fasting are lost. The more hours spent without eating anything the bigger the impact.

    2) Six weeks is a short time period and our weight is a range. It is completely possible the 0.5lb/week figure doesn’t reflect what is really happening. Often it is better to use other indicators like waist size to determine is fat is being lost.

    3) Personal trainers typically aren’t good for weight loss. Typically they are young and don’t really understand the problems. Often they have very weak nutritional backgrounds and even recommend absurd things like eating protein right after a workout. You might want to check out Brad Pilon’s book “How Much Protein” as he used to work in the supplement world. Lots of red flags around depending on personal trainers.

    4) Let’s assume you are only losing 0.5lbs a week. If that is all fat that is a huge amount over a year or 26 lbs. It is doubtful that you put the fat on that fast. What I don’t get is the attitude that it has to come off fast. It takes years and even decades to put it on, it can take years to take it off, at least in a healthy fashion.

    5) You are taking medication. Wow that can mess everything up when it comes to weight loss.

    6) You seem to put too much faith in calorie counting. You are really just making estimates off of estimates. Outside of a lab it isn’t really possible to do it accurately. Even companies that produce food products are often off by 15% to 25% when their products are tested and these companies have much better equipment and processes than an individual could ever have. Additionally figures like 3500 kcal / lb of fat are also just estimates and not accurate.

    7) You state you are in poor physical shape as you have metabolic issues and 50 pounds to loss. Fat is metabolically active but largely works against losing weight. Insulin resistance is much, much worse and will severely impede fat loss. I used to be pre-diabetic myself and know first hand how bad my physical condition was at that point.

    8) You are working out and that is very good. However the overall view I get from your post is an extreme lack of patience. Working out becomes effective over years, not weeks or even months in most cases. If you want to see the benefits you have to stick with it. Additionally while you might think 3 to 5 miles a day is a lot of walking, it isn’t really that much. I had two days this week that my steps were over 20,000 and that isn’t that much. Three HIIT workouts a week is great if you really push yourself to your very limits. If you don’t push extremely hard during the bursts it isn’t as effective. Weight training is really good and you have a personal trainer to help with that. If you are combining a HIIT working with weight lifting in a day then you aren’t doing either one very effectively. HIIT is simply too hard if it is done right as well as weight training.

    There are likely many other possible issues and I don’t know which ones really apply to you. However you made a statement implying it is wrong to blame the person trying to lose the weight. That is wrong because that is the only person to blame. No one forces us to gain fat and only we can lose our own fat. We are the only ones that can be blamed for our own fat. Losing the fat is very difficult and takes a lot of hard work for long periods of time.

    Hi Orly77,

    I can imagine how extremely frustrating it is for you to not be losing weight faster given all your efforts!

    I’ve just begun this journey so I’m hardly experienced but I was wondering if thyroid problems could possibly be the culprit.

    With best wishes,

    Just to clarify … with working out, when I say it isn’t a lot I mean in terms of losing weight. There is a lot of energy in a single food calorie. Exercise has massive benefits and I believe it should be done, but it can really confuse the scale. Losing weight isn’t a major strength of exercise, at least directly.

    So walking 5 miles can help with conditioning, but in terms of calories not so much. In terms of increasing insulin sensitivity, probably a lot more. So indirectly it will help over time.

    My mother has been recently on the heavy side and she was stuck trying to lose weight, especially with her getting older. She would do different things the internet told her to do and she failed because it required a lot of working out, mostly. Well, she discovered this new Red Tea Detox with a program and literally lost 1 pound a day for 2 weeks. Also, her workouts weren’t nearly as hard as yours are. I have tons of information on the product as I now genuinely believe in this product. It’s helped my mother so much more and she’s feeling better about herself, it’s just an awesome thing be apart of. Anyway, here is a site if you’d like to read more on it!

    @vin7 … way to go … Always someone trying to push some junk and sucker one out of money!

    Hello Orly77. When I first started 5:2 I had 90 lbs to lose and I too had haphazard results in the first few weeks. But I stuck to it and it has worked for me. My weight loss became more consistent when I switched to a Mediterranean Diet for the non fast days with no calorie counting on those days. I have now gone plant based Mediterranean and that works well too.

    So I suggest sticking to it, trying to eat wholefoods, and over time you will get there and you have a good chance of keeping the weight off. I have lost over 60 lbs so far over a year and am still going.

    As for exercise, I do a little (walking and yoga) for health but find it has little effect on my weight loss.

    Keep some measurements and you may see the inches come off in weeks when the scales don’t move. Some weeks are frustrating but in those weeks you are at least maintaining a healthy weight and not going up. And what is the alternative? Daily calorie restricted diets never worked for me either!

    I wonder if your meds are affecting you? Could you talk to your doc about an approach to get off them or reduce them if you make progress with the weight loss and insulin resistance? That would surely be a great thing for you long term and may help keep the weight off. And perhaps look online for the insulin resistance index – the foods that spike insulin are surprising – not just carbs.

    @dykask. ha ha ha. What makes you think @vin7 isn’t legitimate? Is it because he’s offering a magic potion for weight loss? I actually prefer it when the moderators don’t remove those posts because it gives real forum members the opportunity to respond and warn newbies to the site that magic potions don’t exist.

    I didn’t report the post because I replied. 🙂

    I agree, it is good to root out the magic weight loss products!

    Orly 77 – i had another thought. If you are looking for quicker weight loss and need to try and resolve pre-diabetes you could try the Blood Sugar Diet. It is a sister diet to 5:2 and involves eating 800 cals per day for 8 weeks. Worth checking out as there are good results from it and you can continue with 5:2 afterwards.

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