Anyone else had the experience of eating less and/or exercising more but not losing weight?

(63 Posts)
girlnearedinburgh Sun 16-Mar-14 14:09:20

I have never lost weight through exercise, no matter how much I do, despite having strictly controlled my diet for years now, since I was 14 or thereabouts (I definitely don't eat more to outweigh the effects of the exercise).

While I used to be able to lose weight through dieting I always had to go to pretty extreme measures (when I started trying to diet around age 11 or so I tried several of the "big name" diets at the time (Rosemary Conley etc) but ended up putting weight on rather than losing it simply because I was overweight on a calorie intake below the diets I tried). I was, however, able to lose weight.

I have been on anti-depressants for around 10 years now though (although not for depression) and since being on them, the only way I seem to be able to lose weight is by eating below the 100 calories a day line, something which I find nearly impossible to do for more than a few days at a time. I have had my thyroid tested god knows how many times and various other things done too but no doctor can find anything wrong with me. I've even had my metabolism tested but the figure came out far above what I was actually eating (I am a former anorexic so I know a thing or two about counting calories - I am not doing it wrong).

While trying to work out what the hell is wrong with me and what I can do about it I came across a few articles suggesting I may not be the only one having this problem. I just wondered if anyone else has had the experience but is 100% sure that they are calorie counting correctly?

Livesforbedtime Sun 16-Mar-14 14:11:07

How much do you weigh?

What's your height? BMI?

girlnearedinburgh Sun 16-Mar-14 18:04:55

I'm 12 stone and 5ft4, 5ft5 thereabouts. But I don't really know why that's relevant? I know I'm not in the obese category but the issue is that I cannot shift any weight I put on, ever. I am really worried about pregnancy although that's not on the horizon at this very moment.

tiaramasu Sun 16-Mar-14 18:08:01

what is the 100 calories a day line?

What are you drinking. And how many calories are in those?

Cocolepew Sun 16-Mar-14 18:08:28

I put about a stone on in 3 months when on Citalopram, I found it incredibly hard to lose weight while on it.

Calories in vs calories out isn't always the straightforward process we have been led to believe....our systems are actually very delicately balanced, complicated organisms, not the simple and reliable machines that people often seem to think. Many things can upset the balance and antidepressants definitely affect the way bodies work in this respect, my bet would be that this is what is happening for you. I would try putting the focus on eating healthy whole food, avoid processed food and sugar...you still may not lose weight as long as you are taking the AD's but you should be much healthier than you are periodically starving yourself and it might be nice not to have to think about calories all the time hmm?

girlnearedinburgh Mon 17-Mar-14 00:36:37

tiramisu - I just mean eating less than 100 calories a day. It is the only quantity that seems to bring about results but is not easy to achieve.

Sleepwhenidle - yes, I have realised the calories in vs calories out is not an accurate model for some of us, I was just wondering how many other people were in my boat. I do eat pretty healthily - fruit, veg, oily fish and dairy mostly (I know dairy is a bit controversial but I love it too much to give up). Meat once a week maybe, and not much sugar or processed food at all. I drink around 2 bottles of wine a week, so not excessive.

I am not actively trying to lose weight at the moment. It's just that I have in the past and it no longer works. I am terrified of what pregnancy will do to my body. I am so scared it will just destroy it along with my health for ever, with no possible way of losing the weight. Coming off my medication isn't really a possibility at the moment and may never be.

I'm going to write to some more medical specialists, but I was also thinking of trying to get an article published in a newspaper or something, just to try and correct some misconceptions. So many people seem to think that we'd all be thin if we just ate healthily and did some exercise and I get so frustrated with the lack of knowledge out there.

MrRected Mon 17-Mar-14 00:53:33

You know that 100 calories a day is dangerously inadequate. It will invoke a fight or flight response and your body will stockpile, so it might be a short term solution but in the long term you know it is not a viable approach to weight management.

You need to be pragmatic about this:

1. Start a food diary - there are many free online options (I like myfitnesspal.com or weightlossresources.com).
2. Keep a rigid food diary for a week - don't change the way you eat.
3. After a week have a look and you will very quickly identify patterns of eating which are simply wrong. You should aim for around 1500 calories a day (very much an average) for sustained weight loss. But you will not lose weight if you eat 1500 calories of chocolate a day. You need to eat well, cut out the refined sugar and carbs. Have 3 meals a day. The six meal a day theory is a load of rubbish and proven not work.
4. Drink at least 3 litres of water a day - this is so, so, so important.
5. Cut out all alchohol for the first few weeks and then, if you do want a drink, go for low cal wine.
6. Cut out all soft drinks (including diet soft drink).
7. Eat fresh vegetables with every meal. Eat some fruit but as a rule of thumb, fresh green vegetables are always preferable to fruit
8. Reward yourself with four blocks of good quality dark chocolate and a lovely herbal tea at the end of the day.

I was just like you. I just could not shift the weight. I was on AD's.

When I implemented the above, I very soon changed the way I think about food. It's now natural. I have never, ever felt hungry or deprived. I now, do not want to eat biscuits, cakes, chocolates or any highly processed foods. I have lost 30lbs in 5 months.

Lastly, be patient and kind to yourself. This is not a race. Try not to focus on weight loss, rather, on the health benefits and make sure you pick a healthy goal.

Good luck.

fideline Mon 17-Mar-14 01:07:20

Yes. Even on a (desperate) VLCD I couldn't shift an ounce. Had thyroid tests, full hormonal panel, tried reflexology.

Eventually I actually drew a time graph of the weight gain which inspired me to drop hormonal contraception (as an experiment).

My metabolism returned to normal within a few weeks.

Fideline, that doesn't surprise me, anything that messes with your hormones (and that includes diet) can also affect how your body works in terms of fat storage and weight loss (for better or worse smile). The other thing that impacts it is long term dieting and, a big one, stress. Not so much the high level, short lived kind but chronic low level stress that impedes digestion and assimilation and keeps levels of cortisol and insulin high, telling our body to store fat. You sound, OP like food itself is stressing you out, effectively you are afraid of it because of your weight. So your body will be stressed when you are depriving it of calories, and stressed when you are eating because that means, in your head, weight gain.

I would try and readdress your relationship with food and body (you may, given your history of anorexia, benefit from some professional help with this). Try and not diet for a few weeks, just eat good food and try to do so mindfully. Read 'Nourishing Wisdom' by Marc David, 'The Calorie Myth' by Jonathon Bailor and you may also be interested in the work of Matt Stone wrt metabolism.

girlnearedinburgh Mon 17-Mar-14 11:24:33

I'm not dieting and I don't diet regularly. I don't have a bad relationship with food and I'm not stressed on a regular basis. But when I go over 12 stone I have to get the weight off as it's just a limit for me - the maximum weight I'm happy at and I can't afford a new wardrobe on a regular basis!

MrRected - I appreciate your advice is well meaning but you haven't read what I've written or else you haven't taken it in. I don't eat any of the unhealthy food you cite - never have done for most of it. And eating healthily does not lead to weight loss for me. 1500 calories is way too much for many of us who have slow metabolisms. There have been studies done that have shown many seriously overweight people do not even lose weight on a diet of 1200 calories so 1500 calories for many people would lead to serious weight gain. I would be the size of a whale if I ate that much! And I know what I eat on a regular basis, I don't need a food diary. I don't have any "wrong" food patterns that need to be corrected. And I'm never hungry and don't feel deprived. I have done the cutting down slowly thing - 100 calories less every week. I lose nothing until I go below the 100 calorie mark. The meds really fuck up my metabolism but I can't do without them. It's just so frustrating and I think its looking like lypo is the only option sad

How low was your VLCD fideline? I'm trying to figure out why the laws of nature seem to cease to apply with some medication. While I eat healthily now I ate at 200 calories a day for 5 or 6 years and I wasn't even that thin (and my periods didn't stop and I was never hungry). This wasn't the anorexia period. When I was anorexic I ate 500 calories a day and was always starving (although I looked healthy - I've always had a really slow metabolism even before being on anti-depressants). This doesn't make sense from a scientific point of view but it happened to me and I'm trying to work out why or else if I ever get pregnant I'm never going to be able to lose the weight!

misscph1973 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:40:44

So you have days where you only eat 100 calories? Are you sure you don't mean 1000 calories?

I hate to say it, but 2 bottles of wine a week is actully quite a lot. That means that either you have wine every day or you have a full bottle twice a week.

Have you tried 5:2?

Personally I am Paleo and I also IF. I am currently not loosing any weight, and I am not sure why, but I guess I am eating too much ;)

girlnearedinburgh Mon 17-Mar-14 11:58:46

Hi Misscph - I definitely mean 100kcal - I don't lose anything on 1000 kcal a day and couldn't even lose on that many calories before I started on the anti-depressants. What are Paleo and IF?

2 bottles of wine is about 16 - 18 units a week so 2-4 units over the recommended guidelines I suppose. I usually drink it over 3 or 4 evenings.

I have never found alcohol consumption to effect my weight either way though. Cutting it out doesn't lead to wait loss (and didn't pre-anti-depressants when cutting down on food actually worked) and drinking more doesn't lead to any weight gain. There has been some research that suggests we don't put on weight from alcohol calories in the same way we do from food calories and while I don't know if that's true for the population as a whole (I know people who say this is most definitely not true for them), it is definitely true for me so I don't see my alcohol consumption as a problem weight wise.

Girl - I admit I may have it completely wrong - but I'm simply giving you my view - you may not be consciously stressed, but everything you say about controlling calories and worrying about what pregnancy will do to your body suggests to me that you see food and appetite as something that must be controlled. That will create a stress response in your body. Years of starving yourself will also have caused damage. Together with the AD's, all these things aren't a great combination. I'm suggesting you try a completely different approach...take a look at the books I suggested and see what you think of what they have to say smile.

Wrt to what you are actually eating, you haven't given lots of detail but are you getting enough protein?

girlnearedinburgh Mon 17-Mar-14 12:01:24

What is 5:2? Is it just another diet? I have given up on advertised diets altogether as they only ever used to work if they were lower in calorie than my regular intake which none of them ever were. Since being on the meds I have tried various other regimes and tried varying the types of food I ate but nothing has ever made any difference whatsoever.

And I'm sorry - but you are deluding yourself about the alcohol - 200 calories of wine a day is not insignificant (disregarding health guidelines) and they are empty calories too - wine is just another form of sugar....

misscph1973 Mon 17-Mar-14 12:31:14

Yes, 5:2 is a diet, it's a fasting diet that rbings many health benefits. Look it up. A BBC program started it, worth watching: Eat, fast and live longer.

I am quite sure that 2 x bottles of wine weekly will have an effect on weight gain/loss as well as general health.

Perhaps you should look at the amount of fruit you eat? Any sugar, also natural, counts as sugar when you count calories. But I am sure you know that.

Can I ask why you are on anti-depressants if it is not for depression? Long term medication nearly always carries side effects.

And can you talk a bit more about your anorexic period?

girlnearedinburgh Mon 17-Mar-14 12:34:27

I'm not deluding myself - I have been drinking wine for 17 years and I do not put on weight when I increase my consumption of it and I do not lose weight when I cut it out. I have been following a strict calorie controlled diet for two decades and I am not a moron. The fact that there has been scientific research that has observed the same in other people is not insignificant. Just because some people have a different experience than you does not mean they are delusional. It means they are not you. And yes it is sugar but it is one of the only forms of sugar I consume. Whether or not it is healthy and in keeping with government guidelines is beside the point of this thread. I am trying to figure out my weight issues and wine does not effect them one way or another.

miss - I'm not anti 5:2 (any more than I am anti any other diet smile) but it really isn't recommended for anyone with a history of or tendency towards disordered eating...

PrimalLass Mon 17-Mar-14 12:40:00

I am the same height and you are approx the same weight (and also near Edinburgh!) I do have a knackered thyroid and find it hard to lose weight - I have been this weight for 6 years but have finally started to shift it with 4:3-ing (not 5:2 as it's not enough for me).

I love, love white wine, but drinking it means I cannot lose weight. Your body burns those calories before anything else. I have cut down lots, and have about half a bottle once or twice a week. On those days I accept that I will put on 1lb overnight. Time for me to ditch it for a while, as I would rather lose weight at the moment than drink it.

Have a look on the 5:2 threads.

PrimalLass Mon 17-Mar-14 12:40:50

You are quite defensive about the wine. Are you ok?

Ubik1 Mon 17-Mar-14 12:41:21

One extra biscuit a week can cause you to gain 5lbs in a year! Two bottles of wine a week is alot of extra calories.

I've found exercise helps with toning up but the real weight loss occurs through restricting calorie intake. And the 5:5 diet really has helped. You might not immediate radical weightloss but if you plotted your weight on a graph you would see fluctuations but a definite downward trend which makes a real difference after a few months.

Two bottle of wine a week is alot of alcohol. I may have 4 glasses a week, some weeks none at all due to shift work.

PrimalLass Mon 17-Mar-14 12:42:04

Sorry did not notice the anorexia bit. Ignore the 5:2 advice.

misscph1973 Mon 17-Mar-14 12:43:36

I do think you are right, that we are all different wirh regard to weight loss and gain. The same amount of food will not affect people the same way. My DH can eat double what I eat and loose weight. At the moment I seem to gain weight from nothing.

Just like wine. I get tipsy and the hungover from one glass of wine, and it's certainly not the case for other people.

And you are probably right, you should stay away from any diet with your history. But are you sure that you are? "A strict calorie controlled diet for two decades" sounds like a diet to me.

Wouldn't it be great if we could all follow guidelines and achieve perfect weight? It's not like that though!

I am not sure why you can loose weight. I am almost sure that there is more than one reason, though. If there was just one reason, you would have figured it out by now.

Ubik1 Mon 17-Mar-14 12:50:27

Oh no don't do 5:2 if you have had anorexia. Can you get advice from your GP?

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