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Not losing weight?

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carorees wrote: #whyscalesincrease

This is a question we are often asked!

Although the scales seem to be the easiest way of putting a number on your progress, they are not particularly reliable in telling you how much fat you have actually lost.

This article explains why.

Here is a summary of the article:
The first step is understanding.

Most of your body is water, and that is the number one thing the scales reflect. The scale cannot measure bodyfat, even the so-called bodyfat scales are very inaccurate.
So lets see what affects your weight.

Food
Food has weight – .25lbs of beef weighs… .25lbs! When you eat less, you have less of it in your digestive system and the scale takes note. When you finish the diet and go back to maintenance, or any time you eat more food, that adds to your scale weight. It’s not a bad thing, just something to take note of. After a refeed – whether planned or unplanned – you may not see your prior deficit number for 2 weeks, even if you didn’t gain fat.

Electrolytes–Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, sources. Etc.
Your body is designed to retain sodium and excrete potassium. Normally, in a healthy diet, the two should remain in balance, leaving you with a healthy water balance. When you, for example, overdo the sodium, you end up holding onto more water. That can give you a soft, puffy look and also cause inflated scale weight. Again, it’s not fat, even though it looks like fat. It’s easy to correct by laying off the salt and taking some lite salt or high potassium foods like beet greens, potatoes and tomato products.

Training
All exercise, including weight training and even cardio, causes some muscle damage. That translates to inflammation and water retention that happen in the course of repair. Training also increases retention of glycogen (stored sugar that fuels your muscles), and glycogen is two-thirds water by weight. All that can translate to a scale increase, even while in a deficit and losing fat. If you just started your diet and also began exercising anew, weight staying the same rather than moving down can be a tough thing to deal with, but also a really good sign that you are in fact losing fat.

Hormones: Dieting-induced cortisol and PMS
There are also hormonal factors for water retention. For starters, your water balance is governed by aldosterone. Drinking more water causes you to decrease aldosterone production, which tells your kidneys to release water in their filtering process.

Letting yourself go thirsty has the opposite effect, namely you start holding more water.

Stress hormones also increase water retention, and dieting is stressful to your body. Caloric deficit and cortisol levels tend to have a direct relationship, and cortisol also causes water retention. When you refeed and flood your body with insulin, cortisol drops and so can water. This effect happens in many, but not all dieters.

Then for women there is PMS. In this case water retention is caused by temporary hormonal changes. Magnesium works very well in this situation, as does balancing sodium and potassium. Take a bath in epsom salts. Drink an electrolyte drink such as Ultima Replenisher. And above all, resist any urges to overeat as this is the worst time to do so. You won’t gain fat any faster than usual, but your body is primed for water retention so it will probably feel like you did.

Fat loss
As you are losing fat the body holds water in the fat cells until your body is certain it no longer needs that extra storage space. When you lose fat you develop a squishy, cellulite-y appearance. That’s actually good. It means fat has been lost and your body is storing water in an amorphous fashion, soon to tighten up.

Putting it all together
As you can see, scale weight is only a partial indicator of progress. So how do you make sure you are on track when the scale is all over the place?

Don’t freak out at weight fluctuations, they are completely normal.

Use other means to track progress, such as tape measure, progress pictures, and how clothes fit.
Have confidence in your plan. Follow it fully for a month before making a judgement call. Most people fail because they start doubting the program and give up too soon. Negativity and doubt are your worst enemy.
Look at the overall trend. If you lose 8lbs in the first 2 weeks, and now its week 4 and the scale hasn’t moved, you still are at 2lbs/wk average. That should already be above your weekly fat loss goal, for example, if your goal is 500 cal deficit/day = 1lb per week since 3500 cal = 1lb fat.
Realize that when you lose 10lbs the first few weeks of the diet it is not all fat, it is not even mostly fat. Resolve to stick to the diet for the rest of the way until it is all fat. Focus on following your program and the results will always follow.


@Carorees.. this is a great post from about a year ago!. some very simple explanations in there. thank you.
I really needed to read this today, thank you.

The bit about exercise rings true with me. I started a running programme a couple of weeks before taking up ADF. It's not all running, there is Pilates and cross training too. I feel better, I believe I LOOK better, and my clothes feel looser. I don't measure as I think its easy to cheat with a tape. A fixed waist band on a skirt is more telling!

I just wish I could free myself of the scale fixation. That magic number we all have is ALWAYS at the back of my mind.
Felt I should add my two penneth to this thread.Having been doing extremeley well (not intendending to be big headed)I like many have seemed to have hit a stumbling block.Usually any weight gain following a feast/binge has rectified itself within 3-5 days....not this time :frown: Where my lowest weight was 61.7k it went up to 63 and has only dropped back to 62.7 :frown: BUT: I don't feel bloated, :neutral: I am still under 10 st[9st 12lbs to be exact :geek: ) :grin: and my size 10 work trousers are now more than a comfortable fit :lol: they are loose (even after washing!!!) It just goes to show we don't need to understand the science/geeky stuff but should accept the truth in scales can lie :grin: :like:
I'm quite late in putting in my two penn'orth but I've only just read through all of the posts. I was introduced to the 5:2 way of eating last April and, without doing any research, roundly rubbished it. This was principally because I read all the "snake oil" stuff about fasting for 2 days and eating what you like on 5. I know that the old theory of calories in vs. calories out doesn't hold 100% good any more but it can't be right that you just eat anything and everything you want with no consequences. Life isn't that easy. So around October I looked a little more carefully at the 5:2 material online and found plenty of advice about eating up to your TDEE on non fasting days. That's when the penny dropped and it started to make sense. You have to create a calorie deficit somehow if you want to lose weight and the most sensible way to create an effective deficit is by not screwing up your body by eating too little. On previous diets I've had to reduce my calorie intake to around 1,250 every day to lose 1lb a week. The psychological impact of this was to make me feel deprived on 7 days a week. It was a constant struggle. I did 6:1 up until the end of 2013 and then I've been doing 5:2 since 1 January. I don't expect to lose more than 1/2 to 1lb a week just from the calorie deficit and so I've increased my activity levels to accelerate weight loss. At the moment that's working for me as I've lost over 26lbs this year. I DO find fasting days a struggle sometimes but on the difficult days I try to remember the health benefits of fasting (not the weight loss benefits). I generally eat around 1,500 calories on non fasting weekdays and yes I DO count every mouthful because after years of not knowing what a "normal" portion size looks like it's going to take a bit more effort to learn new and better eating habits. The thing is that I don't feel deprived on my 1,500 calorie days. I eat anything I want but not necessarily in the quantities I would have done. At the weekends I still count calories but I don't consciously restrict. Instead I'm trying to allow my shrinking stomach to tell me when I'm full instead of over-riding it all the time. I do get concerned that people are still falling into the trap of seeing 5:2 as a magic bullet and maybe the hype does encourage that kind of view. If people are "only" seeing the hype, this will just end up being another "fad" diet for many people. And this would be a shame because those people will miss out on the undoubted health benefits. Sorry for the rant but I do feel that some people are taking too much at face value.
Hi,
I think the fact that so many people who use this forum have lost such great amounts of weight and are managing to sustain this way of eating means it's not just a 'fad' diet - but I do agree with you, a lot of the hype you read in the papers does push the idea of a. a quick fix and b. the fact you can eat 'as much as you want'. I can only speak for me but I have been overweight/obese since about the age of 9 with all the attempts (and the misery) to be 'normal sized' that entails over the years, yet I have been doing 5 2 since last June, lost 50lbs and feel like I'm in control of my appetite and my eating for the first time EVER. And when I get into the 'normal' weight BMI (25.something at the moment) I shall rejoice! This for me isn't a diet - it's just how I eat now. And I'm very happy :-)
RachaelB wrote: I'm quite late in putting in my two penn'orth but I've only just read through all of the posts. I was introduced to the 5:2 way of eating last April and, without doing any research, roundly rubbished it. This was principally because I read all the "snake oil" stuff about fasting for 2 days and eating what you like on 5. I know that the old theory of calories in vs. calories out doesn't hold 100% good any more but it can't be right that you just eat anything and everything you want with no consequences. Life isn't that easy. So around October I looked a little more carefully at the 5:2 material online and found plenty of advice about eating up to your TDEE on non fasting days. That's when the penny dropped and it started to make sense.

You have to create a calorie deficit somehow if you want to lose weight and the most sensible way to create an effective deficit is by not screwing up your body by eating too little.


On previous diets I've had to reduce my calorie intake to around 1,250 every day to lose 1lb a week. The psychological impact of this was to make me feel deprived on 7 days a week. It was a constant struggle.


I did 6:1 up until the end of 2013 and then I've been doing 5:2 since 1 January. I don't expect to lose more than 1/2 to 1lb a week just from the calorie deficit and so I've increased my activity levels to accelerate weight loss. At the moment that's working for me as I've lost over 26lbs this year. I DO find fasting days a struggle sometimes but on the difficult days I try to remember the health benefits of fasting (not the weight loss benefits). I generally eat around 1,500 calories on non fasting weekdays and yes I DO count every mouthful because after years of not knowing what a "normal" portion size looks like it's going to take a bit more effort to learn new and better eating habits.


The thing is that I don't feel deprived on my 1,500 calorie days. I eat anything I want but not necessarily in the quantities I would have done.



At the weekends I still count calories but I don't consciously restrict. Instead I'm trying to allow my shrinking stomach to tell me when I'm full instead of over-riding it all the time.

I do get concerned that people are still falling into the trap of seeing 5:2 as a magic bullet and maybe the hype does encourage that kind of view.

If people are "only" seeing the hype, this will just end up being another "fad" diet for many people. And this would be a shame because those people will miss out on the undoubted health benefits. Sorry for the rant but I do feel that some people are taking too much at face value.


@Rachaelb.. not a rant at all.. so many things you say are so very correct

i bolded those statements above that i thought are so good
loversghost wrote: Hi,
I think the fact that so many people who use this forum have lost such great amounts of weight and are managing to sustain this way of eating means it's not just a 'fad' diet - but I do agree with you, a lot of the hype you read in the papers does push the idea of a. a quick fix and b. the fact you can eat 'as much as you want'. I can only speak for me but I have been overweight/obese since about the age of 9 with all the attempts (and the misery) to be 'normal sized' that entails over the years, yet I have been doing 5 2 since last June, lost nearly 50lbs and feel like I'm in control of my appetite and my eating for the first time EVER. And when I get into the 'normal' weight BMI (25.something at the moment) I shall rejoice! This for me isn't a diet - it's just how I eat now. And I'm very happy :-)



so well put @loversghost.

This for me isn't a diet - it's just how I eat now. And I'm very happy
Not to worry! I recently returned home after a week's vacation eating out at least one meal per day. After my evening shower, I foolishly weighed. 141 lbs.! 7 lbs higher than when I left home! Yikes! However, the next morning, I weighed again. I actually weighed 133, a lb. less than when I left home. And since then, I have stayed right at 133 until this morning when I weighed one lb. higher. Go figure! :?:
@RachaelB & @loversghost, your comments are so spot on & a great reminder for me about perspective & patience. I have always said I would be thrilled to lose .5# a week, & I know it will stay off if I'm patient & consistent. Both your comments are so helpful. Thanks.
Loversghost,

If you have been heavy all your life, it's very likely you put on extra bone and muscle mass to support that extra weight. That extra bone and muscle doesn't go away when you lose fat, so the BMI may not be all that accurate a measure of normalcy. Chances are, with the weight loss you've already achieved you are in the normal range already.

If you can get someone to do a body fat percentage measurement for you (people do this at gyms in the U.S. with calipers) or if you have access to a scale that shows body fat percentage you might get a better read on whether the amount of fat you are carrying is in the normal range.
Actually, the muscle does go away, that's why we should expect that some weight loss will be due to reduced muscle, and despite all the claims that it's a terrible thing to lose muscle and the exhortations to exercise and lift weights to prevent muscle loss during weight loss, the muscle loss when fasting is simply the consequence of not needing so much muscle because we weigh less. On a standard diet, there may be some additional muscle loss because you don't have the protein sparing effect of fasting.

However, this is not to say that BMI is an accurate indicator of whether you have a healthy fat percentage. It isn't. If you have a large frame you can probably carry 10% extra weight than someone with a medium frame.
Great thread. I am a medium frame (I think?), but am I on the upper or downside of medium, I'll never know and probably that does not matter. What matters for me is being in touch with my body and getting to a point where my body says YEH! So far, my injured arthritic knee is cheering me to carry on and saying a big thank you to fastday.

What more I have regained my confident, light stepped and wiggly walk.

Next step is talking to my muscles.

Loving it.

Lizbean
Bumping this for obvious reasons.
Having been a steady 72.5ish kgs through Autumn I have now slipped to 73.1 with Winter.
I've fasted for 19 hours today and am aiming for a 19:5 day by finishing eating by 6.30pm.
Got a bit of a headache as we went nature reserve walking for an hour before breaking my fast and the frosty ice was sparkling pretty and slithery under foot, at 3*C.
I've promised myself if I can get properly under 73kgs I can order a Samsung Note 4 for Xmas :0)
Nothing like incentive is there.
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