The FastDay Forum

Not losing weight?

Help us to help you! Please give us as much information as you can about your situation in order for us to be able to help you as best we can. For example, it's helpful to know your BMI/weight, how much you want to lose, any medical conditions which might affect your weight and (if you've started fasting already) how you do your fasts in terms of splitting up your calories, what you eat etc. Thanks!
Remember, we're not here to judge, we're here to help.

16 posts Page 1 of 2
Weight loss stalled?
25 Jan 2013, 15:16
I found an interesting article on the internet (that appears to be based on scientific evidence) about weight loss plateaus, why they happen and what to do about them:

Weight loss plateaus: why they happen
Plateaus are a common part of the weight-loss process. A plateau happens when the scale is at a standstill for several weeks - if weight stays the same for one or two weeks or the rate of weight slows but doesn't stop, it's not a true plateau. The progression from initial weight loss to hitting a plateau follows a typical pattern.
The predictable cycle of weight loss
During the first few weeks of losing weight, a rapid drop in weight is normal. When calories from food are reduced, the body gets needed energy by releasing its stores of glycogen, a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and liver. Glycogen holds onto water, so when glycogen is burned for energy, it also releases the water - about 4 grams of water for every gram of glycogen - resulting in substantial weight loss that's mostly water.
Once the body uses up its glycogen stores, it starts to burn fat for energy. Unlike glycogen, fat does not store much water and each gram of fat releases more than twice the amount of energy (i.e. calories) than a gram of glycogen. The result is that weight loss slows down substantially. At this point, the recommended rate of weight loss is no more than an average of one kilogram per week. Losing weight faster than this is generally a sign that amounts of lean muscle mass, which like glycogen is largely water, are being broken down for energy.
As the body's glycogen stores are replenished by increased carbohydrate intake, there is a corresponding retention of water. During this time, weight stabilises or may temporarily increase.
Why weight loss plateaus happen
By six months, a weight loss plateau is likely to occur. While plateaus are an almost inevitable response to losing weight, the physiological reasons for why they occur is not well understood.
One area of current research involves a possible link to reduced levels of leptin, a hormone produced by fat cells that is involved in the regulation of appetite. Research has shown that weight loss causes a marked decrease in serum leptin levels, which may, in turn, increase appetite. Based on evidence from an animal study, scientists have suggested that a reduction in leptin may contribute to a weight-loss plateau. However, more research on leptin's role in human weight regulation is needed before conclusions can be drawn.
Metabolic processes during weight loss may also impact plateaus. Losing weight can lower metabolism since a smaller body carries less lean muscle mass and burns fewer calories to move it around. Additionally, lower calorie intake means it takes fewer calories to digest and absorb food. Taken together, a state of energy equilibrium could result, with weight remaining steady for a period of time.
Exercise is a plateau breaker
Increasing physical activity can help break through a plateau. Exercise burns calories and may reduce the loss of lean muscle mass during weight loss. Aerobic exercise, like brisk walking and biking, burns calories, while resistance exercise builds lean muscle which increases energy expenditure and helps boost metabolism.
Fluid retention, which may result from high sodium consumption or premenstrual bloating, can contribute to a plateau. Additionally, research suggests that obesity increases fluid volume and the imbalance in fluid regulation that accompanies obesity does not normalise after weight loss. Still, fluid balance varies considerably among individuals. It's been reported that drinking more water and increasing exercise reduce fluid retention and help people work through a plateau, but scientific evidence supporting this recommendation is lacking.
A change of pace
Over time, the body adapts to doing the same aerobic or strength training routine. As training progresses, the organs that transport oxygen, including the lungs, heart, muscles and blood vessels, work more efficiently and with less effort. For example, the lungs take in and release more air in a single breath, so there is less "huffing and puffing" during exertion; the heart pumps more blood in a single stroke, which lowers the heart rate; the blood gets diverted to muscles more efficiently. Consequently, less energy is expended during activity, which can slow weight loss or lead to a plateau.
Increasing the time spent doing an activity or the intensity of the activity can increase the calories burned during exercise. Changing a workout with a new activity or alternating between different activities can help prevent the muscles from becoming too accustomed to doing one type of exercise.
Keep expectations reasonable
There is no question that a weight loss of 5% to 10% of initial body weight improves health, reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Despite this, research has found that overweight individuals often desire weight losses two to three times more than this amount. In one study that included obese women, a 17% weight loss was viewed as "disappointing" by the participants and it took a 25% weight loss for the rating to be "acceptable."
The gap between realistic and desired weight goals can lead to a "discounting" of the results that are achieved. Some studies suggest that having unrealistic weight-loss goals can work against consistently making the behaviour changes needed for lasting weight loss. Moderating expectations, particularly as they relate to the speed with which weight-loss is achieved, may help keep weight-loss efforts on track.
Refocus weight goals
Experts agree that a 10% weight loss of initial weight over a period of six months is both realistic and attainable. After six months, however, it is common for weight loss to plateau.
There are several factors that contribute to weight-loss plateaus. For example, familiarity with a weight-loss plan often leads to a relaxed adherence in eating or exercise regimens. In addition, the number of calories needed for metabolism is reduced as weight is lost. To counteract this and resume the recommended rate of weight loss, a further decrease in food calories and/or increase in calories burned in physical activity are needed.
If weight loss plateaus after six months of active dieting, experts often recommend a reassessment of weight-loss goals. For many, a refocusing of efforts to maintain the weight that has been lost as opposed to continuing active weight loss may be desirable. After a few months of weight maintenance, a return to active weight loss is reasonable.

Lessons from this article specifically for us 5:2 dieters would be to watch that we are not increasing carbohydrate intake on feast days and at the same time to ensure that our definition of normal eating on feast days fits with our decreasing weight! We may also need to recalculate our fast day allowance (i.e. 25% of the new 'normal').
Re: Weight loss stalled?
25 Jan 2013, 17:36
Thank you :)
Re: Weight loss stalled?
27 Jan 2013, 13:45
I've been digesting a couple of papers on why weight loss fails to meet expectations. The main reasons were (in no particular order) :-

1. Failing to account for a metabolic slowdown seen in some people where the resting metabolic rate declines more than one would expect in proportion to fat-free mass.

2. Failing to account for the reduced Diet Induced Thermogenesis or energy used to digest food. Eat less, burn less to digest it.

3. Making incorrect assumptions about the composition of weight loss, and hence expecting to see a bigger loss for a given calorie deficit than can be justified if the loss is primarily fat.

4. Failing to account for the reduced physical activity while dieting, and/or the reduced energy needs for moving around a smaller weight.

I suspect stalls are similar, at least in terms of 1,2 and 4. The "stall" may mean you have found a new equilibrium and you're using what you are eating, it's just that equilibrium point is lower than you thought.
Re: Weight loss stalled?
03 Feb 2013, 16:57
"By six months"

It would be interesting to hear the results of long term trials of IF/5:2 when/if available. Whilst very promising, most of the periods reported are relatively short term 6-8 weeks or 3 months.

Perhaps, "diets" per se are always intrinsically time-limited by definition, whereas IF/5:2 are hopefully long-term health strategies.
Re: Weight loss stalled?
06 Feb 2013, 12:18
That's an interesting precis of the reasons behind a plateau, thank you. That's the stage I'm at now, I think. Since last June I've lost 22kgs but my weight hasn't really changed much in the last three weeks despite sticking with the fewer calories. This is a stage I've reached before, twice in the last 20 years, when I basically got dispirited and gave up. I've 'only' got another 12 kgs to go to get to the weight I want to be so I've now switched to this (IF) way of doing things in the hope that 2 feast days: 1 fast day will kick start things again. Plus changing my gym routine. And looking at the top article, I think I need to value how I am now and what I've achieved, as well. First pair ever of skinny jeans bought and worn last weekend. :)
Re: Weight loss stalled?
06 Feb 2013, 12:45
Have a look at this thread if you are interested in the science of weight loss. Fascinating stuff!
Re: Weight loss stalled?
12 Feb 2013, 12:13
Hi everyone,

Love reading about how the rest of the world is doing. I have now reached the 6 month/10% weight loss and, as predicted I am now in the plateau phase. I don't weigh myself, too, too stressful but I do measure my waist. As I am an 'apple' shape as opposed to a ' pear' shape all my fat collects around my middle, NOT GOOD!!! My target waist size for Christmas was JUST under 30 inches, started at 36 inches, and was delighted to have achieved that easily. Here we are 6 weeks later and guess what, yep, still there although it has fluctuated on a daily basis from 28.5 to 30 inches, but mostly it is 29.5. There had been no fluctuations during the time I was losing inches, just a steady shrinking, lovely! I had hoped to be down to 27 inches by the time I went on holiday in June and thought that t was going to be breeze to achieve that. If I never lose any more from my waist I shall not be unhappy as I am doing this for the long term health benefits and the weight loss was a very satisfying side effect. That said, I am sure things will start to move again in the next few weeks so I will keep you posted. I fast on 'Mondays and Thursdays, makes wonder if anyone in this country actually eats anything on Thursdays, ever!

I now feel healthier and fitter than I have in years and the strange thing is I have now become much more discriminating about what I do eat even though I ate healthily before, I now eat 'Suoer-healthily' if there is such a thing.

Good luck to everyone doing this and to anyone who is struggling, even at the beginning, DON'T GIVE UP, you will get there and you will feel wonderful. Don't you just love Dr Micheal Mosely?

Ballerina x
Re: Weight loss stalled?
12 Feb 2013, 12:53
Thanks for this update Ballerina. I think it's important that we get an insight into plateaus and 5:2...are they easy to overcome, how long do you wait before upping the ante, that kind of thing. Your experiences will be v valuable.
Re: Weight loss stalled?
12 Feb 2013, 15:16
Sorry for the typo earlier, what I meant was 'Super-healthily' anyway, yes I am happy to keep you updated as I think this topic is so important to all of us and has the potential to be life changing, no mean endorsement from an avid Lotto fan but at least with the 5:2 eating plan we can all be winners!
Re: Weight loss stalled?
12 Apr 2013, 09:32
I would be grateful for some help as my loss has stalled for 3-4 weeks. First two weeks on 5:2 I lost 5 pounds since then nothing. I am 5'3" and fast Monday and Thursday. On my other days I stick to 1380 calories combined with some fast walking. My parents have also been on 5:2 with me, both have lost a stone each (my mother is even smaller than me so has done incredibly well). I have lost 2.5 inches off my waist and jeans/trousers fit well but I am puzzled to why there is no loss. Do you think I should eat more on non fast days? I am not hungry on fast days but can be on non-fast days. Any help gratefully received and I am not quitting! My skin looks great and I am less bloated! :like: :oops:
Re: Weight loss stalled?
12 Apr 2013, 10:55
Hello emsstorey
How long have you been 5:2ing? Reading your post, I am surmising 6 weeks. The average weight loss is about a pound a week so if it has been 6 weeks, then your loss would be about average.
If it's been much longer then that is obviously a different matter! 1380 calls seems quite low. Have you checked your TDEE? Without totally understanding the exercise part of 'extra calories or earning calories, I have a suspicion that there can be a tendency to over compensate when including exercise, especially walking. When you do fast walking it shoud be at a pace when you can comfortably talk, but not have enough puff to sing!
Things are working for you, so keep with it, play about with how you fast and do come back and ask /let us know how you're getting on.
Re: Weight loss stalled?
13 Apr 2013, 10:59
Thanks my TDEE is coming in nearly 1600 so am going to up my non fast days and see what happens. Thanks! Will report back.
Re: Weight loss stalled?
13 Apr 2013, 11:41
A friend once told me that she visited a dietician who had very different views from the rest of them.
One of the thing he told her was that the best way to lose weight and not gain it back is to create technical plateaus ourselves.

Depending on how much we have to lose, everytime we lose significant weight, we should try to maintain it for 2 weeks and then continue with losing.
My friend had six kilos to lose so he told her to stop at 3, maintain it for 2 weeks ans then to continue with her diet. She was indeed very successful since not only she lost both sets of 3 kilos in zero time but she didn't stop losing at any point (except for when she maintained) and she never gained the weight back.

I'm not sure if this works for everybody but I like the idea of controlling even the plateaus, since we could place them around the holidays or a time of special occasions and then continue with our diets.
Re: Weight loss stalled?
13 Apr 2013, 17:20
I did see a study about this where they tried different weight loss approaches including periods of rapid loss with maintenance periods in between versus steady loss...they found no difference between the groups. I'll try to remember to look it out next time I'm at my desk...
Re: Weight loss stalled?
14 Apr 2013, 13:25
Being the control freak and perfectionist that I am, I'd rather plan my plateau than wait for it to happen. I have planned to lose all the weight that I can till Easter (May 5th) and then continue till May 19th (my birthday) and then I'll stick to it for at least 2 weeks and then see where I can go from there.
Am I pathetic? I want to control, like, everything...
16 posts Page 1 of 2
Similar Topics

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


Be healthier. Lose weight. Eat the foods you love, most of the time.

Learn about the 5:2 diet

We've got loads of info about intermittent fasting, written in a way which is easy to understand. Whether you're wondering about side effects or why the scales aren't budging, we've got all you need to know.

Your intermittent fasting questions answered ASK QUESTIONS & GET SUPPORT
Come along to the FastDay Forum, we're a friendly bunch and happy to answer your fasting questions and offer support. Why not join in one of our regular challenges to help you towards your goal weight?

Use our free 5:2 diet tracker FREE 5:2 DIET PROGRESS TRACKER & BLOG
Tracking your diet progress is great for staying motivated. Chart your measurements and keep tabs on your daily calorie needs. You can even create a free blog to journal your 5:2 experience!