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Not losing weight?

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I am a vegetarian guy, 34 years old, 176 cm. weighing now 70.6 kgs. (after a fasting day). I have been 5:2 fasting since March 1 and began weighing myself on April 1. Trying to reach my ideal weight which is about 67 kgs. or below.

I eat 500-600 cal. usually every Monday and Thursday. Lunch and dinner.

As I had not experienced any serious weight loss aroung May, I started fasting 15-16 hours a day (non-fasting days), meaning that I only eat for about 8 hours a day. This really helped me to start losing weight. During my summer vacation in July I didn't always do the 15-16 hour-a-day fasting, but I started on that again in August.

Now for a month and a half I have been actually gaining weight despite I am on the 5:2 PLUS only eating for 8-9 hours a day on non-fasting days. I think I am doing all I can, but it is still not working.

You can see my progress in the graph below. It might be easier to see here:


On fasting days I usually eat soups, salads, whole wheat bread/pasta, brown rice etc. I try to avoid empty calories.

On regular days I eat typical meals, not particularly healthy or unhealthy foods. It varies. But I do eat a lot of chocolate and sweets, but that is how manage to survive the fasting periods. :)

Does anyone have suggestions for what I can do? It is becoming difficult to keep doing this when I am actually gaining weight.
Hi there @DanishVegetarian and welcome to the forum!

First point...your profile is showing you as female, so perhaps you'd like to change that in the user control panel!

Second, regarding the weight gain. You are already at a healthy BMI (22.79 by my calculation) and so weight loss will always be much harder once you reach that range. Your target BMI would be 21.6, which although not underweight, might be too low for your body. It might be that you are rather over-doing things. There are several factors that can contribute to weight gain after a period of losing weight: too much stress on the body due to over-dieting; the reduction in calories burnt by the body as the weight decreases; eating too much carbohydrate due to the body trying to keep energy supplies up and making you crave carbohydrate.

The fasting section of the site has several articles that I think would be useful for you to read in your situation:
Why am I not losing weight?
How should I eat on my non-fasting days?
Should I stop intermittent fasting?
When should I enter maintenance?

Hope this helps!
I agree with Carorees.

Another thing I find helpful when plateauing is to use my fitbit and the app to track activity and food and try to see how my calorie consumption compares to calories expended.
Hi there and good to meet you Danish!
I can only add,listen to what @Caroreesand@Tracieknits say - they talk loads of sense and know their stuff inside out :like: x
Ps shucks,youve got me thinking of Danish pastries now! :lol:
It's possible, too, that you are insulin resistant, and that eating a diet that is made up so heavily of carbohydrates is worsening your blood sugar control. This will cause weight to pack on at times independent of what you are eating.

Have you ever tested your blood sugar after eating a meal to see how high it goes? If you can borrow a friend's blood sugar meter, a test 1 or 2 hours after eating (4 after eating pasta) might give you some useful information. If you are seeing values over 7.7 mmol/L it would point to blood sugar issues as being a potential cause.
Thanks for the advice. I read all your links, carorees, but I don't think any of it really answer my problems.

One of your links said something about that the waist size might be a more accurate sign that you are on the right path compared to weight loss. This is one thing I forgot to mention in my first post: my waist size doesn't seem to be changing at all! It is around 92-93 cm. which is a lot more than it should be.

I think more than one month of gaining weight despite being so strict about dieting with 5:2 and 16:8 is worrying. I could cut a bit down on carbs on normal days, but even more restrictions would kill my motivation. And the discovery of 5:2 is the only way I am able to diet because of the 5 days of eating more or less what I want - sensibly of course.:)
If your waist is abnormally big for your size, it is very likely that you are insulin resistant. That is one of the classic signs.

Despite a lot of politically motivated health chatter, vegetarian/vegan diets are usually extremely hard on those of us who have problems with blood sugar. If you have relatives with Type 2 diabetes, this should be a real concern, because Type 2 is heavily genetic in nature, and straining your system by feeding it a diet of mostly carbs, over time, will push you into diabetes, to say nothing of making you ravenously hungry much of the time.
peebles wrote: It's possible, too, that you are insulin resistant

I don't know anyone who has a blood sugar meter, but I was just recently had a health check with my doctor to check if I needed any vitamins etc. after all this fasting and it showed that everything was perfect.

Should I ask for a seperate test about this?

I wouldn't say my diet is based very heavily on carbs, though.

I don't know what the situation is where you live, but I bought a glucose meter and testing strips from a pharmacy. I'm glad that I did, beacause I discovered that I had problems.

I then took a long, hard look at my diet and realised that I often had porridge with dried fruit for breakfast, salads based on pasta, couscous or bulghur, and rice, pasta or bulghur accompaniments to main meals. My main sources of protein also had high carbohydrate contents. That was before I considered the amount of fruit and vegetables which I ate!

I had swallowed the standard advice about basing my meals on carbohydrate with less protein and even less fat. It clearly wasn't doing me any good.

It might be worth logging your carbohydrate intake for a couple of days.

Best wishes,

There's a blood test your physician can give you. I think in the US it's called an A1C. It gives the average blood sugar level for the last three months. The results are pretty quick.

I would call your doctor's office and ask if they can order that. Cite your carb heavy diet and inability to lose weight, if they ask why you want it.
Hi again @DanishVegetarian

@peebles has it right...the big waist is definitely a sign of insulin resistance. Unfortunately, just having a blood sugar test will not necessarily show whether you are insulin resistant, because as long as your body is managing to compensate for the insulin resistance by producing more insulin your blood sugar will be normal. You need to ask for and oral glucose tolerance test which will show whether your body is struggling to control blood sugar after having ingested a big dose of glucose.

Also unfortunately, cutting down on carbohydrates is really the only solution if you are insulin resistant. However, there are ways of reducing carbohydrate intake without cutting out all pleasure from life. First, though, try to work out how much carbohydrate you are actually eating. Then try cutting down by just 50g per day and see whether it has an effect. Choose some carbs that you could manage without and replace with non-carb based food. For example, I often replace half of the pasta in my meal with ribbons of courgette, microwaved for 2 minutes. Choose nuts to snack on rather than crisps.

Finally you say you eat a lot of chocolate and sweets in order to get through the fasting period. I presume you mean that you eat a lot of these on your non-fast days to try to 'stock up' for your fasting days? In fact, you would most likely find that your fasting days would go easier if you cut down on carbohydrates the day before. A high carbohydrate diet just stimulates hunger and makes it harder to cope with fasting. Increase the fat content of your diet and reduce the carbohydrate content. This will be more satisfying and will also help with insulin resistance.

Good luck and let us know how you get on!
I don't have any close relatives with diabetes and I had to look up insulin resistance as I never heard about it before. So this would be very surprising to me if I suffer from this.

The blood samples taken by my doctor two weeks ago, showed total cholesterol of 5.0 mmol/L, HDL 1.0 mmol/L and LDL 3.0 mmol/L. All in the normal range as well as triglycerids etc. This was the morning after two non-fasting days. Would insulin resistance not be possible to see in these blood samples?

Also had a body age test taken in July. Visceral fat rating (fat surrounding the organs) was very low and all other numbers were close to ideal.
No, you need a specific test (the A1c mentioned above by Tracieknits) - the results you quote are for a standard cholesterol (or lipids) screening. As for the visceral fat question - I'm afraid I don't know the answer to that one.
DanishVegetarian wrote: Also had a body age test taken in July. Visceral fat rating (fat surrounding the organs) was very low and all other numbers were close to ideal.
@DanishVegetarian, it's good to know that you have a low visceral fat rating tho' it indicates that your fat is being deposited in the subcutaneous region if your waist is increasing.

Those body age tests can vary enormously from one country/health/insurance system to another - is it OK for you to share some of the relevant info. from it such as the technology/scans that were performed? I'm a little surprised that they didn't perform an HbA1c (the longer-view blood sugar/diabetes test that other people have mentioned above) altho' the results of the HbA1c can be skewed by giving recent blood donations.

Your cholesterol values are well within the conventional interpretations of good - excellent which would seem to exclude the obvious thought that a substantial amount of the carbs are being converted to triglycerides and deposited as fat.

If it were not for the increase in waist size, I'd recommend monitoring your weight for now but assume that it's normal fluctuation. Possibly even because sweets can seem to feed some parts of your gut micro biome and make some of those bacteria increase enough to produce what looks like a weight gain (tho' it's gut bacteria rather than fat).

Is it at all practical for you to relax your schedule of fasting and eating if it would permit you to try a few days without eating the sweets to get you through it? I'm not clear if the sweets are a reward for your self-discipline or because you physically feel the need for them.

Beyond that, asking more questions feels as if it's more than a little intrusive, as it starts drilling down into whether you regularly have enough sleep, have an enjoyable social life etc.. :oops: You've been doing so well that I hope that this can be resolved for you.
SSure wrote: Those body age tests can vary enormously from one country/health/insurance system to another - is it OK for you to share some of the relevant info

Of course.
Body Age 160714.jpg

SSure wrote: Is it at all practical for you to relax your schedule of fasting and eating if it would permit you to try a few days without eating the sweets to get you through it?

I would prefer not to stop fasting, but I can lay off the sweets for some days. Is that enough for this experiment or should I cut down on carbs in general? My girlfriend just bought a bunch of white bread, buns etc. so it will be hard to avoid for the next couple of days. :)

SSure wrote: Beyond that, asking more questions feels as if it's more than a little intrusive, as it starts drilling down into whether you regularly have enough sleep, have an enjoyable social life etc.

I think I should be getting a little more sleep during weekdays, but that is it. I don't see what that has to do with anything, though. :)

I am really overwhelmed by everyone trying to help. Thanks to you all!
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