Why am I not shifting the weight?

This topic contains 12 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  dykask 5 years, 11 months ago.

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  • Hello! This is my first time posting on this forum and I’m hoping somebody might be able to help. I’m a 22 year old male who’s trying to drop from 15st to around 12.7st. I’ve been on the slimming world plan now for 5 weeks and have been working out at least 3 times a week (hard cardio). I got on the scales today and I was shocked to find I had only lost about 2 pounds. To be honest my body doesn’t look any different either, I’m just less bloated. In the past I’ve done this diet about 3 times and have been able to bang off 3-4 pounds a week easy. I don’t get what I’m doing wrong? I eat 2 eggs, half a tin of baked beans, 1 slice of brown bread per day for lunch. And on a night I’ll have a normal low fat/ sugar and carb meal. I’m also on the go all day as my job is very physical. I don’t sit down for 8 hours. I don’t think it has anything to do with what I’m eating as I don’t eat big amounts at all. If I had to count my calories I’d probably say 1200-1400 per day which is a healthy weight loss amount. And like I said, I’ve done this meal plan before and it’s been very successful. I eat a wide range of healthy foods including lots of vegetables. I was eating breakfast everyday for the first three weeks but then got on the scales and lost nothing. So I’ve now decided to fast for 14 hours and eat lunch and dinner with fasted cardio in the morning. Please nobody say it’s because I’m not eating breakfast because I didn’t eat breakfast at all in the previous meal plans I’ve done and they were extremely successful. I lost over two stone last year with the plan but now I’ve put it all back on again :(. It’s like my metabolism has just come to a stop. I’ve been getting a few symptoms relating to an under active thyroid, however I’m a 22 year old male? What are the chances? And even so, doctors will probably look at me and tell me I’m wasting they’re time … I’ve had a few muscle aches, bad memory loss, gained 2 stone in a couple of months (probably due to bad eating habits), cannot seem to loose it now. I feel tiered a lot but I kinda just think that’s normal. I literally have no idea what’s wrong with me. There’s 100% a reason as to why I’m not loosing the weight but in just have no idea what. Can anybody help?

    Hi Hamlin and welcome:

    I won’t play doctor, but if you are comfortable with memory loss and rapid weight gain then don’t bother with your doctor. Otherwise, you might schedule an appointment.

    As for your weight issues, I believe you need to start with the basics – TDEE and calorie intake.

    If you go to the top of this page in ‘How It Works’ there is a TDEE calculator. It will give you an estimate of how many calories per day you must eat to neither gain nor lose weight. I would suggest that when you come to the physical activity estimate you estimate as closely as you can how much physical activity you are doing and then choose the amount that is one less than you estimated. Almost 100% of people overestimate their physical activity by at least one category. If you want to know more about TDEE, this link will probably fill in the blanks: https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/topic/tdee-for-the-curious-or-why-dont-i-lose-weight-faster/

    Second, I believe you need to do some calorie counting for two or three days (include a weekend day if you can). It is a pain, but it is only for a few days. Write down everything you eat or drink and estimate as closely as you can the calories. There are calorie counters on line or on the containers the food comes in. Remember to count every snack, piece of gum, etc. Most people underestimate the number of calories they are eating by around 50%, so the information is important.

    Then you can come back with the numbers and we might be able to help you a bit more. Or, you will see what the problem is and then you can decide how you want to address it.

    Good Luck!

    Thanks for the reply! I have a doctors appointment in two weeks time but I feel like there just gonna push me off like they do to most people! I’m gonna ask them for a thyroid blood test reguardless, if I can rule that out, I’ll have a better understanding to what is wrong.

    I used the calculator, my results are as followed,
    Your BMI is: 28.9
    Your BMR is: 8049 kJ / 1924 calories
    Your TDEE is: 12476 kJ / 2982 calories.

    Does this mean I burn 2982 a day? (Not including what I eat).

    I’ll calculate my calorie intake for the next 3 days and comment back on Tuesday!

    Hi Hamlin:

    Yes, while the number is an estimate subject to adjustment, for starters you can assume you burn 2982 cal. per day. So if you eat more than that, you will gain weight, and if you eat less, you will lose weight. How much less you eat determines how fast you will lose weight.

    If you have not been losing weight, you have not been eating 12-1400 cal. per day. If you were eating that much, you would have a calorie deficit of at least 1500 cal. per day, and would be losing almost three pounds a week. That is why figuring out how much you are eating/drinking is so important.

    Looking forward to your calorie count!

    TDEE is just a estimate. It is more likely you burn closer to the 1924 calories a day. On an extremely active day you could get up to the 2982 calories, but you are going to be sweating a lot. I think you are likely overestimating your activity levels.

    I don’t know what you mean by “Not including what I eat”, that amount of calories burned does change with what you eat, but not necessary the way you would think. The BMR can change as much as 40% or more up if you overeat and decrease even as much as 40% or more down if you under eat. Exactly how much varies and is highly dependent on the individual. This blog post talks a bit about that: https://idmprogram.com/the-failure-of-the-calorie-theory-of-obesity/

    Still if you under eat enough you will lose weight and over eating can result in weight gain. It just isn’t always simple calorie math as the body can do a lot to fight against it.

    The 5:2 diet involves two very low or even zero calorie days a week. These days tend to fight against some of the typical problems people hit with calorie restriction. Things can still go wrong, but the fasting helps a lot. From your post it doesn’t sound like you are doing 5:2.

    Hi dy:

    How on earth did you come up with a TDEE ‘closer to 1924’? Did you make it up, or do you really think the calculator, although an estimate, is off over a 1000 cal. a day?

    Hi Hamlin,

    What stands out to me in your post is your comment regarding underactive thyroid symptoms. Young adults do develop thyroid issues and that may well be a contributory factor to your weight gain and the cause of your memory issues and tiredness. If that is the case it can be treated with medication.

    I agree that counting calories is an important exercise as it will teach you the calorific value of different foods and give you an idea of what a “normal” helping of food looks like on the plate. It is important you do it properly though and not guess, you need to weigh/measure everything.

    I agree with the previous comment regarding over estimating the amount of exercise done.

    One of the successful maintainers who contributes to this forum always suggests calculating TDEE by using goal weight and sedentary so that you get into the habit of eating less and don’t have to make too many adjustments when you reach your goal weight. It is worth considering.

    Good luck.

    @simcoeluv – I never claimed his TDEE was 1924, that is his BMR. Even BMR varies day to day and diet. The TDEE estimate of 2900+ is extremely high and unlikely. Typically the calories burned from activities are greatly over-estimated. For 15 stone the BMR of 1924 sounds reasonable.

    It is difficult to burn 1000 calories more than BMR. Even people that do that typically don’t do that everyday. I pushed in 140 floors of stair climbing today on real stairs, have moved over 8km and it is still less than 300 active calories. (Calories above BMR).

    I would guess the actual TDEE would be closer to 2500 calories if the job is very active. If a person has a very active job and also does resistance training, then I would believe a TDEE of 2900 calories.

    So that is likely one error. The other is probably more food is consumed than is realized. 1400 calories/day for someone weight 15 stones will likely be uncomfortable. Additionally if calorie dense food is consumed, it doesn’t take very large portion sizes to add up to 2000+ calories. Calorie counting is also very error prone, not that I put much faith into calorie restriction. However for someone only 22 years old calorie restriction likely works well enough.

    Hi Hamlin1995, my advice would be:

    1) Remove all added refined sugar. For example the baked beans and bread are probably loaded with processed sugars. Low-fat food is typically created by replacing fat with sugar. At 15 stones, sugar isn’t a friend and provides no nutritional value. If you want something sweet, eat whole fruit, at least then you get something for the sugar. If you do this, you will really be forcing yourself to eat healthier.

    2) Replace the morning cardio with HITT. High Intensity Interval Training with be shorter workouts, more intense and actually stress the muscles. If you working on your feet all day you probably don’t benefit much from the cardio unless you are doing it for more than an hour. Better off with shorter workouts that really stress some muscle. A lot of different base exercises can be used with HIIT so you can stress upper body one day and lower body the next. Oh and if you are using machines … don’t trust the calorie counts, they are probably way high.

    3) 14 hour fast is little more than what one should normally do. It isn’t a magic bullet. I don’t even consider it fasting until I’m over 24 hours. What you are actually doing is using skipping breakfast to restrict calories. If you want to fast then get a little serious about it.

    4) At 22 if you aren’t losing weight than you are probably are consuming more calories than you need. Push more nutrition and lower calorie dense foods. If you skip salad dressing (good to do when cutting back on refined sugars) you can eat massive salads that are only a few hundred calories. If the nutrition is high your body will be more likely burn fat and build some muscle.

    5) Educate yourself a little about nutrition. For example the eggs are pretty reasonable, the beans would be great if they weren’t baked in sugar, etc. Eating healthy is a lot more than eating a couple servings of vegetables a day. Learn about food and experiment with your diet to see what works well for you and what doesn’t. I actually ended up increasing my calories when I removed most refined sugar from my diet, but it really works for me.

    6) Finally if you are doing everything correct give your body time. Weight is a range, look for other changes like you need to buy smaller clothes.

    There isn’t any magic, it is just learning how your body works. Good luck.

    Just to add context to my comment about fasting.

    14 hours is the stated fasting period and then lunch. That means you are eating a dinner around 9pm to 10pm assuming you have a normal lunch time. Since you work on your feet and do cardio in the morning you probably aren’t staying up until 3am. Probably not a great idea for weight loss to eat so late and then go to bed.

    A lot of people here aren’t that strict with fasting, but I don’t think very many here would consider a 14:10 eating pattern really fasting. There are a some people that follow 16:8 but most try to work in 36 hour fasts twice a week, albeit that many eat up to 800 calories on a fast day. I don’t, when I eat I eat and when I fast I stick to water, black coffee and unsweetened tea. Not fun, but I’m not fasting for fun. 😀

    Final comments, if you think you have a medical issue you should go to a doctor and have it checked. Just saying a doctor would laugh at you isn’t valid. If you do have a medical issue you should get that fixed first.

    Thanks for all the info everyone. In regards to the comment above … I’ll switch full sugars beans to no added sugar beans from now on. I do add mayonnaise to my salad about a table spoon (added to tuna), however it’s always the low fat and sugar mayonnaise … it has about 0.5 grams of fat and sugar per table spoon. It’s hardly worth cutting out as I don’t like raw salads. Apart from that, I eat generally healthy food that is not going to make me gain any weight. I’ve been working out about 500 calories according to the machines every time I go, but I usually concentrate more on how much I sweat which is absolutely loads! I work out for about 50 minutes each time and I walk out the gym with a dead weight body. It makes no sense because before about 8 months ago, I could loose weight super quick. Not that I’m trying to rush it, but it just makes no sense why metabolism has suddenly come to a stop.

    See: https://idmprogram.com/a-short-primer-on-how-to-lose-weight/

    You are older now, things change. Better get used to it because it only gets harder.

    First you should focus on if you have a medical issue or not. If you have symptoms, go get it checked out.

    Second you can’t trust calorie counts on machines or your sweat. I was drenched this morning and today I won’t even burn 2400 calories today. Additionally if your workout is effective and you are building muscle you might actually even gain weight. Exercise is for health not necessary weight loss.

    It really sounds like you are eating lots of processed foods. They are loaded with all kinds of sugar. Here is a resource on sugar in foods. http://sugarscience.ucsf.edu/

    I was stuck for two years where I couldn’t lose weight. I was exercising hard about 90 minutes most days and under eating. I was felt terrible and was always hungry, but I kept trying. When I dropped foods with added sugar my weight started dropping and much of my hunger went away. I was then able to start fasting after that. For many men, holding on to the sugar means holding on to the belly.

    When you under eat, your body can adjust. Your hear rate can be lower or many other things can happen. Actually a good blog for you by a doctor is: https://idmprogram.com/blog/

    Additional comment.

    Probably the biggest problem you have is you are maturing into an adult. Your body is no longer growing and your hormone levels are adjusting for your adult life. You can no longer depend on your body responding how it did when you were still growing. Now you have to either head down the path to obesity or make the changes your body needs. That is your choice and there are many choices in how you can do it.

    I think you need to take a hard look at the foods you eat. For example you mentioned low-fat mayonnaise. That is a horrible food with no redeeming value and very high calorie content. You would actually be better off with regular but better yet something different. The combination of sugar and fat is probably the most fattening thing you can consume and you are getting almost no nutrition from those wasted calories. The tuna is much better but it has problems depending how it is canned and a more fundamental problem is it likely contains high amounts of mercury and other heavy metals. So even though it is likely nutritious it isn’t something to be eaten that often. Bodybuilders often consume a lot of tuna for the protein, but then they aren’t the most health conscious group. There is a big difference between looking great for a while and living a long healthy life.

    There are vast amounts of information available today online. A lot of it is confusing and even conflicting because many people have an agenda. The best advice I can give is to learn what you can and to experiment to find out what works for you. It is probably always better to eat and drink things with nutritional value for the amount of calories they provide. There isn’t anything wrong for example with eating eggs for example because you get a lot of nutrition for the calories, but if you just eat mostly oil it isn’t really so great.

    Exercise is the same, it is great for the body but you should be aware of when you are just moving vs exercise. While there isn’t anything wrong with moving and it is healthy, when you are spending minutes working out you probably want to make it count.

    So I’ve been pretty critical. I’m just trying to give you the advice I wish I had gotten 36 years ago. You need to learn to eat and exercise for who you want to be not for what you think will work. You are still young and have a lot of advantages if you get in front of the problem now you could have a very long and healthy life. If you don’t you will be headed for the modern problems, obesity, disease and likely a shorter and more difficult life.

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