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@Peebles, I have been sitting back soaking up all the responses to your thread, especially after reading the 'Diet Fatigue' thread.

I'm 47 and 5'8". As a child I was skinny and I mean ribs sticking out skinny! When I left home at 18 I started putting on weight (no one to tell me you can't have this, you can't have that). When I was 29 I weighed 13st 1lb (183lb), I joined the Slimming Magazine Club - a calorie counting diet. Every week I lost 1 or 2 lbs, I never ever gained, then I reached my goal of 10st 2lb (142lb). Needless to say I gradually put all the weight back on. About five year later after I'd had my kids (weighing 13st 9lb (191lbs)) I tried Weight Watchers, Scottish Slimmers, Slimming World, I've bought so many diet books and I never had the success I did with the first diet, losing 14lbs on each diet at the most.

So why is it that I lost weight so easily the first time I dieted (it can't just be age) but now I am struggling. Why are some people on the forum, who are not 29, losing weight easily until they reach their target weight and others are struggling?

When I lost all that weight the first time around it only took me 6 months but I gained it all back plus more. I have been fasting for 2 years, by far the longest I have being following any way of eating. I am delighted that I have lost 30lbs and kept it off for that long, ie. maintained that weight loss. I am disappointed that I'm not losing any more and you only need to look at my belly so see that I do need to lose some more - around 12lbs (target weight 150lbs). So is it easier (not necessarily more successful) to lose weight quicker than to lose it slower? Many of the people on here who have been successful have lost their weight relatively quickly and consistently.

I've started reading about The Famine Reaction (The Don't Go Hungry Diet by Amanda Sainsbury-Salis) which is scientifically based and kind of makes sense but at the moment creates more questions. I'm wondering if we have reached a Famine Reaction and need to re-feed to increase our metabolisms which is a scary thought but I haven't read enough of the book yet.

I'm also wondering about winter which many people have commented on. I am undoubtedly less active over winter and probably spend more time sitting on my bum writing on this forum. I have also wondered if I suffer a bit from SAD as my mood is always poor in winter.

Is fasting as a way of losing weight any different from any other way of losing weight? Ultimately you have to keep eating the diet way to keep the weight off.

I'm not trying to make excuses just asking more questions. One thing is for sure although I'm struggling I will not give up as I cannot see any other way to keep my weight down and when my weight is lower I am happier because my joints don't hurt, my back doesn't bother me as much, my skin doesn't chaff, I don't have a double chin, I don't look 6 months pregnant any more, etc, etc. I've also thrown out my UK size 16 clothes, so I must stay a size 12!
@wildmissus interesting. I'm 60, lose weight easily now I'm on thyroid meds, even the last couple of kg. I put on easily, but as soon as a cut 3,000+ cals over a week, I lose again. Maintenance, like dieting is easily done, if you find something not too difficult for you AND u stick to it. The issue of hunger to me is simple:eat filling food. e.g 500 cals is 3 whole cauliflowers (yes I hear you, you don't want to eat 3 cauliflowers, this is just an example) or you can eat 2 bits of bread, butter, cheese and ham. i can't see anyone being hungry after 3 cauliflowers, but after 1 sandwich maybe.

For me, it's way easier to 'diet', cut cals, IF, call it what u want, 2 or 3 days a week, than suffer 7 days a week of dieting. I can eat 'naughty' food (currently Spanish Tortas covered in orange sugar, add cheese), I can drink vintage red wine with it. Yum! I have long ago trained my mind to think of crisps, white fluff bread, processed biscuits and cakes from supermarket as cardboard. I choose to eat gourmet bread, the best cakes, fresh vegies cooked in an interesting way, nice cheeses. I had a friend who was a hypnotherapist, he used to treat overweight women looking to lose weight. He hypnotized them to like good food more, he heightened the taste of vegies, so they loved them. It was an interesting concept.

I think if you tend to overweight, you have to keep an eye on it forever. Whilst this may seem depressing, it's reality. Also, please get your thyroid checked and remember the blood tests are not always accurate, so check your temperature first thing in the morning, if you are constantly cold and tired, if you develop carpal tunnel symptoms and other under active thyroid symptoms, get checked. Hypothyroidism is very common and it will make losing weight very difficult.
@GMH, Interesting that you mention carpal tunnel as a thyroid symptom! It is known to be a very early complication of blood sugars that are too low to be diagnosed as diabetes but high enough to damage our bodies. There is some interesting research that found that carpal tunnel syndrome is often diagnosed a decade before diabetes and can be predictive. That was the case in my family for several of us, none with a weight problem at that time but all with higher than normal, but hard to diagnose blood sugars. Later with the diagnosed blood sugars we had to work really hard to fight weight problems. But blood sugar problems came first. However, none of us have thyroid conditions. I have had every test they give, including the ones that the online activists recommend and have never had an abnormal result.

So can you point me to something that discusses the link between carpal tunnel and thyroid? Is it possibly because so many people with thyroid also have blood sugars that are in what doctors consider to be the normal range, but in the top half of that range?So they are getting those blood-sugar related tendon problems. Thyroid does seem to increase insulin resistance for many people. Another early marker of abnormal blood sugar that few doctors are aware of are ruptured discs. Not the bulgy kind but the kind that burst. This is because the disc material, like tendons, get "crispy" when their fragile blood supply is compromised with too much glucose.

Re upgrading the food and becoming more conscious. I've been eating homecooked high quality food all my adult life. My kids never ate a McDonalds or wanted to. We made everything at home from scratch. Now that they are grown they are both excellent cooks. One owns his own restaurant. And we all battle weight because there are so many wonderful breads and imported cheeses and artisanal sausages and delicious home cooked dishes in our lives and we so appreciate them.

I can see where to some extent if people have been eating awful take out food or boxed crap from the supermarket moving to better quality food might break habits. But those of us who can cook and bake and live near places that sell really fine, high quality foods have a tougher row to hoe!

Related to this, it is true that since starting 5:2 I have been doing a lot more cooking on my non-fasting days, which may be part of what is making maintenance hard. During my years of eating strict low carb I pretty much gave up cooking because there was so little that I could cook that was very tasty. And forget baking, my first love. And later, when I was maintaining by counting calories on a daily basis, I didn't cook because there is so little I can cook that comes in at a daily total of 1500 calories. But with 5:2 and not counting anything on non-fast days I've gone back to making quite a few of the delicious foods I really missed. I'm glad I've done this, as I really HAVE missed them. And at my age you realize you aren't going to live forever so you might as well enjoy some of this stuff while you can!

@wildmissus , Re: SAD. I have found that 1000 IU of vitamin D in the oil capsules has an almost magical effect on my mood in the winter. I I forget to take it for a few days I sink right back down in the dumps.

I suspect that the number of middle aged ladies who get to goal is tiny, so the fact that you are maintaining at any level puts you way ahead of the pack. All those stats on another post about how many people in our country or the world are fatter than us shows that for us older ladies the mean is chubby. But its worth noting that slightly overweight (as opposed to obese) also correlates to health for older people according to the big epidemiological studies.

Perhaps someday they will discover that all those depressing rolls at our waistlines (I have one too) are secreting some life-preserving chemical that will allow us to live into our 90s with our memories completely intact. I sure hope so!
@peebles re carpal tunnel. Firstly I!m not saying that all carpal tunnel syndrome is from hypothyroidism. Next, you would have to research it, if u want to find out more. Mine was so bad I wore splints all the time, was listed for an operation, then went back on Thyroid Extract, problem with Carpal went away. I didn't associate them util my thyroid doctor told me it was a symptom of hypothyroidism.
Good morning world, I'm back, as sure as night follows day, like the proverbial bad penny, I've returned. After a rather stressful period things have settled down somewhat so here I am again. I have been reading this thread with interest and it completely reinforces a lot of things I have always felt but I cannot quote, chapter and verse, statistics or from any published scientific data or studies, these are just my own observations and gut feelings.

In June 2012 I decided that the extra weight that had attached itself to me, in a rather limpit like fashion, since I hit the menopause just HAD to go but how? Having tried WW's, Atkins and other fad diets, I decided to severely restrict the usual culprits, bread, potatoes, rice and pasta and gradually reduce my obviously over generous portions. To say that the weight just dropped off me with this regime would be an outright lie! I was 64 at the time and came to the conclusion that as I was nearer life's exit than it's entrance then time was of the essence if I didn't want to be a corpulent corpse. Enter stage left, my knight in shining armour (aka Dr Michael Mosely) appeared before my very eyes, well he actually appeared on television but that was my BIG turning point. 5:2 entered my life and changed it forever.

By March 2013 I had reached my target weight, something I thought I would never do as my target weight was also what I weighed as a young woman and was led to believe it would be impossible to achieve this. Here I am today, still at my target weight and I have found maintenance to be easy and I really think I can sustain this for the rest of my life but I am aware that it can be very tempting, and easy, to stray which can be catastrophic.

What have I learned? Quite a lot about myself and I now have a greater understanding of folk who are not having my success, I no longer think "if I can do it then any one can" I am lucky in that I have found my own personal holy grail of weight management and I am also thankful that I have no health issues or drug regimes to cope with.

As I neared my target weight I found that I was naturally contracting the time during which I ate, I dropped breakfast and supper and, depending on social situations, I now mostly eat only once a day. Like Carrorees, I find that if I spread the same amount of food over the whole day as, opposed to a very few hours, then fat creep occurs. A restricted eating window, of whatever length, 16/8, 19/5 or 23/1 is now how I live. For me it is not about what I eat so much as how long I fast for between meals. Dealing with hunger is not a problem for me because the anticipation of having a lovely and substantially filling meal at some point in the day mitigates angst very successfully. Being hungry with no further food available till the next morning however for me is impossible, I cannot cope with food deprivation and even the promise of being slimmer cannot trump starvation. This is where IF as a weight loss and maintenance strategy works for me.

I really hope that everyone who is struggling finds their own way, it really is worth persevering, honest!

Ballerina x :heart:
@Ballerina, great to here from you, I've missed you and thank you for you insights.

@Peebles, you talk of of eating and enjoying high quality food, something that I am definitely doing more of. Perhaps that is the link, perhaps that comes with a price and we are not being as vigilant as we were when we first started fasting. As a family we had a KFC after going ten pin bowling last weekend. It is the first time I've had a KFC in about 12 years and it was horrible.
loversghost wrote: Really interesting thread so thanks for starting it. I have been fasting for 2 years in June and while I hve lost a lot of weight, I am finding it impossible to lose any more and I lose and gain the same 2 kgs - I also seem to feel just lately that fasting is harder and I'm finding myself beset by urges to eat more bread/carby stuff. I am terrified of gaining back what I have lost but I really do feel that something has changed that is making it more difficult for me to lose and/or fast - I have gone over my target on fast days more than once just lately which is worrying to me. I have also read on here about others who are struggling to maintain and /or have gained so pleased someone has brought it up in a thread. Thanks@peebles!

This is such an interesting thread. I started IF almost two years ago and reached then passed my goal weight. Overall, I lost 20kg and looked and felt great. I got a lot of my favourite clothes altered and had more energy than I had had for years. This is the second Christmas on IF and I have found it very difficult. My first Christmas I was in the middle of a successful fasting 5:2 regime and it was fine. But since reaching my goal weight it has been harder. I have found it more difficult to commit to a fast day - there's always some excuse. I have changed jobs and there seems to be more lunches out and when I take my lunch to work there is someone in the lunchroom who examines what everyone eats and comments so I feel more self conscious on the fast days.
So this Christmas, I have gained 2kg and I need to re-capture my enthusiasm for fasting. I had found this to be the easiest diet I ever tried and (as I am also post-menopausal) I am very conscious of the serious health benefits. I must get back into it for lots of reasons (least of them being that I don't want to have to let out the clothes and surrender to the larger size again). I am in Australia and today, the Australia Day public holiday, marks the end of the summer holidays and (for me) a return to a regular routine. I am going to make this the start of my return to a strict adherence to my favourite and easiet lifestyle plan - 5:2 diet and get over myself.
I'm sure this has been posted on the forum before, but I thought I'd put it here too: ... -life.html
This is one of the most thought provoking and heartfelt threads we've had here.
My first comment is that I feel a real empathy for those that are stuck - either stuck trying to lose the last unwanted weight, or stuck in a maintenance plan that just doesn't seem to work or is overwhelmingly strict. Some of my best [virtual] friends are there.
But I'm one of those who still feels, nearly two years after starting 5:2, that it is a bit magical. I don't find maintenance (6:1 is my plan) onerous. Mondays are my fast day and I'm kind of looking forward to tomorrow. It probably helps that I "only" had about 20 pounds to lose (though it never felt like an "only" sort of situation to me) and that I haven't spent my life cycling through diets, as so many people do.
I also have to say that I really don't think it's intrinsically harder for us to lose weight if we are short (apologies to my fellow short fasters who have maintained many a time that this is true). Sure we must eat less, but our bodies also need less. If we overeat, it's because we aren't listening to our bodies. That's a tough thing to do - to listen - but it's tough whether you are short or tall. One caveat: restaurant meals are - at least in my country - nearly always way too big. It is true that were I a 6'4", 200 pound (BMI = 24), active guy I could eat the whole meal - and a piece of cake - at the restaurant without a worry. But that's life - fortunately I have no desire to be that guy! :lol:
Finally, I'll echo Ballerina's sentiment. I hope that everyone who is struggling finds their way. It is indeed so worth it.
I have just spent about an hour on my Monday fast day reading this very interesting thread. Thank you everyone who has participated. It is certainly a very important question.

This is my story. I have been on 5:2 for one year and 10 months. I have lost 13 kg and I lost it all in the first year. In the last say 8 months I haven't lost any weight. But even that first year included long periods of plateau, over winter. I now have a BMI of 26.6 , Australian size 14 bottoms and 16 tops and I would really like to get to a BMI of 25 and to fit into size 12. However, before starting 5:2 I was looking at size 18 and had a BMI which made me obese. So I'm happy. I think I've settled into a set point weight of 70 kgs. After a fast day I can weigh 69 but as soon as I start to eat normally I hit 70 again. I am learning to accept my new weight. I do expect to continue doing 5:2 for the rest of my life, although when I started I imagined I would be able to get to my ideal weight and maintain on 6:1 like Michael Mosely. That will probably not be for me. I am 62 and shortish - my TDEE is 1500 like many others here. I try to be strict on my fast days but I don't always manage it. I usually manage to get through the day with out eating but sometimes it blows out suddenly around 5pm when I am getting dinner and I start to pop things into my mouth! I really love it that I don't have to diet or count calories on non fast days, but I am thinking now that if I want to lose that extra weight I might have to at least know if I am eating more than 1500 calories. On the other hand, I am a big believer in listening to my body and I really have found it easier since I started 5:2 to stop eating when my body tells me I am full. I find it quite easy now to leave food on my plate and I almost always do that now when I eat out. I really can't come at the idea of counting calories or restricting what I eat on those other days. Perhaps being a little bit overweight is the price I have to pay for that indulgence. I wonder if feeling hungry all the time as described by @peebles, isn't a famine reaction. That is certainly one of the symptoms of it. I expect to feel hungry on a fast day, and I have learned to deal with it, watch the waves come and go, distract, do something and if all else fails, have a miso soup or yet another cup of tea. I am really becoming interested in the eating window experiences shared here. I know people have been talking about this for as long as I've been on the forum but I do find it hard to even imagine not eating breakfast on a non fast day. Perhaps I should give it a go for a limited period just so that I can say I've tried it. To any newbies reading this thread: do not let it put you off. This 5:2 WOE works. You will lose weight. It is easier and more sustainable than other diets and I don't know of a better alternative.

Just want to add, how much I appreciate everyone's honesty on this forum.
Hi all,
I think I was unduly pessimistic when I posted earlier on this thread - and the comments some others have made have heightened what I had not really got to grips with or been honest with myself about - that I am ALWAYS going to have to be careful around food and also that I have never ever been a 'normal' weight before so maybe I have to consider the positives much more; I have found a way of eating that I can stick to and that I don't find especially difficult, I have lost a considerable amount of weight BUT I need to remember that I must always be vigilant and cannot just 'eat as I like'. If I am honest with myself I know I have got more lax on both my fasting and non fast days (though I'm usually pretty good on a Monday - start of the week and all that) and it is that which is sabotaging me, rather than any idea that fasting is not working.

So to all those new fasters who may have been dismayed by reading this thread - please don't be because it does work, however slowly - the stories on here are testament to that. And today (as I mentioned in the' fasting today' thread) I am turning over a new leaf. Wow, I don't normally feel so positive on a Monday - I think it's the new job and the feeling like the dread I usually have on going to work will soon be over. :-)
@Ballerina Great to have you back :rose:

@wildmissus One thing I wonder for quite some time now, how our dieting history is influencing the way we lose weight ? In my case, I never ever dieted before it may have helped how I reached my goal fairly quickly even with a lot of weight to lose. I eat good quality food, organic so I spend as much as I did before, but it's so great to be able to buy fresh products in a market that I don't regret it for a minute. Also, to keep things interesting and keep my body on my toes, I try to mix things up. For example, this week I will do 2 fasts and a protein day. For the last 2 years I kept a food diary where I write my body's reactions to some food. Now I now what I can or cannot eat at certain times. For example, I cannot eat any pasta, bread or rice when I have my periods. It's still a learning process, even after nearly 2 years, the question is to find the good combination for you.
Hi Manderley and Wildmissus, thank you and yes, it is nice to be back. I have been keeping up but not posting but now I am back, watch this space!!!!
There are some very interesting stories here, much food for thought, pun intended, lol! I have re-read this thread and although I cannot answer Peebles question ' does prolonged fasting change us in ways that lead to regain weight?' I can say that for me the answer is a definite 'NO!' But it may be that for others there is a different answer because we all have different lifetime experiences with our weight and health in general. I am extremely lucky in that I have never had a serious health issue which means that I have never been subjected to an ongoing prescribed drug regime either. Like Wildmissus, I was a scrawny child and I had no interest in food, this drove my mother to distraction as she constantly tried to force food into me. Like others have said, as a young woman, if I ever felt I had gained a few pounds then I just drank black coffee for a day and like magic, the newly acquired lard just took off for the hills.

I feel that my history, and others with similar backgrounds, are in a quite different category to those who have always had a weight problem from childhood, through adulthood into obesity and if coupled with ongoing health problems then, in my opinion, there is no level playing field here for us all and perhaps those starting out with a disadvantage are finding it harder, and struggling with re-gain for those reasons. I wish I could come up with the answer but I am no expert, merely a case study of one person who hopes you can all find your way.

Ballerina x :heart:
I'm a newbie to the process, and have managed to successfully maintain a 5:2 fast 9 out of the past 12 weeks... I am not at my GW yet (halfway there, last time I weighed in!) so have a ways to go, but I've also been thinking about maintenance and the long haul, etc. With my mum in the hospital this week about to have a triple bypass and my uncle having gone through the same thing two months before, I realise more than ever that I need and must get my weight back into the healthy range and restart exercising. Both of them are healthy and active but unfortunately our family history works against us... diabetes and heart disease. So I reckoned if I was overweight AND had this family history I was pretty much writing my ticket. My ticket may be written already but I'd love to break the mould or at least delay the inevitable.

So that's why I've fallen in love with IF and how it's made me feel so far, but I have to admit that I'm scared of what sounds like a difficult post-GW phase. I tend to have a fairly elaborate preparation and planning approach to fasting so I maximise the healthy and filling foods I can eat. I love planning the tastiest, low cal dinner I can create which makes me feel treated rather than deprived.. once I'm healthy again will I just opt to 'not bother' so much?

While I have no insights on the long haul yet, I do think one thing I've noticed so far is the impact of my hormonal shifts and diet around menstruation and am wondering if anyone else has had issues around then? I tend to crave more iron/chocolate/sweet things around then and find those fasting days harder than usual. In addition, another thing I've noticed (in a good way) is how my diet/appetite in general does seem to be following the fasting/weight loss. Friday night I was at a formal dinner at the university and we were served a very delightful two-course meal. I ate the chicken breast dish with great enjoyment and was shocked to find I wasn't hungry for more than half of my dessert, which was delicious too. It wasn't even on purpose or my attempt to deny myself.. just felt full and left it at that. Not to say I'll be that obedient in the future, but after not managing to fast properly at all last week, it was heartening to see my own body seemed to be remembering what I was supposed to be doing.
@peebles wrote........

"I suspect that the number of middle aged ladies who get to goal is tiny"

I'm not sure that I can agree wholeheartedly with you on this one as I imagine the drop out rate from any/every diet is huge, whatever the age group. I suspect that older ladies who have had a lifetime of failed attempts to lose weight are more likely to abandon ship because that is what their experience has taught them to expect. In my opinion, losing weight and maintaining that loss, at any age, is never a walk in the park.

Ballerina x :heart:
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