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Not losing weight?

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9 posts Page 1 of 1
The last few pounds
19 May 2014, 12:35
Hi everyone. I've not been around for ages - been muddling along with this new WOE and have been very successful with it until the last few weeks.

I have lost a stone - yeah! But I just want to shift those last 2-3 pounds to give me a bit of flexibility so I can go down to 1 fast day a week for maintenance, but it's not coming off.

I thought I was doing everything right - I'm being sensible on eating days and am much more aware of what I am putting in my body and I have adjusted my intake based on new calorie requirements for my new weight.

Any advice?

Another major problem I seem to be having is constantly feeling hungry. I thought having lost weight I would crave less food but I feel ravenous all the time, and particularly the day after a fast, where I never used to before and I was successfully achieving 16:8 days on my eating days too, but I can't do this anymore as I have to have breakfast.

I'm also finding that I can eat more and the affect of fasting making me want smaller meals isn't working any more either. When I first started I was amazed at how I didn't want to eat as much but now seem to be wanting more.

Any ideas?
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Re: The last few pounds
19 May 2014, 13:11
Hi Lu

How frustrating for you!

I wonder if it is biology working against you? i.e. the body trying to put the weight back on that you have lost. Carorees is the expert on that, and hopefully will have some good advice.

You sound like you have a healthy approach to eating, so I assume that you already have a fairly low carb diet, and are consuming lots of lower cal veggies? And a reasonable amount if protein. Are there some foods that work better for you at helping keep hunger at bay; ditto drinks? Maybe you do need to let yourself have some indulgences??

I am sure you are also trying to keep yourself busy when hunger strikes - can you think of other activities to do to distract you - exercise is of course good, if you have time.

How low is your BMI? I too would like to lose a little bit more to give me some wiggle room, but wonder of my relatively low BMI isn't helping - I had a steady loss to goal, and can't shift below this and need 2 fasts to maintain cos, like you, I do feel hungry a lot of the time, and some days do have breakfast - as well as other foods that lead me to exceed TDEE.

Hopefully others with have a lot more suggestions.

Good luck with finding a solution. :)
Re: The last few pounds
19 May 2014, 15:15
I think a lot of people have experienced this, myself included, but I'm afraid that I don't have the answer. I'm currently trying to go back over what I ate on fast days in the beginning and replicate them as I feel I have got a bit lost along the way and I'm not as strict as I was in the beginning, could this have happened to you too?

There's a 'nearly there' thread where you might get more help...
Re: The last few pounds
19 May 2014, 15:21
Lu Lu wrote: I have lost a stone - yeah! But I just want to shift those last 2-3 pounds to give me a bit of flexibility so I can go down to 1 fast day a week for maintenance, but it's not coming off.

Another major problem I seem to be having is constantly feeling hungry... I thought having lost weight I would crave less food but I feel ravenous all the time, ... I have to have breakfast.

I'm also finding that I can eat more and the affect of fasting making me want smaller meals isn't working any more either. When I first started I was amazed at how I didn't want to eat as much but now seem to be wanting more.

Congrats on losing a stone! Besides being heavy they are awkward to carry around.

Several thoughts:

(1) "...constantly feeling hungry..." is a strong indicator of being dependent on carbohydrates. Sugars of all types instigate insulin surges which result in increasing hunger pangs. (I'm betting also that your breakfasts are carb based.) The best solution here is to go "cold turkey" - cut out all carbs for at least two days to get past those urges.

(2) To increase comfort, even on a fast day, try a high-fat bullet coffee (1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 cup coffee heavily blended). Don't be concerned by the fat! As far as the body is concerned it's far more satisying than any other food. As a replacement breakfast, you'll likely find that you can go most of the day before wanting anything else.

(3) Once you've gotten comfortable with the above, consider eating dinnner only on fast days. Extending the fasting period burns more fat. (As you've seen with 16:8.) (Nibbling meals ...see #1 above.)

(4) Finally (TIC), the oldest fat is the most solidified - anywhere in consistency from soft unvulcanized rubber to diamond. The longer you've had it the longer it can take to be gone.

You can ignore #4, tho' the theory might be valid.
Re: The last few pounds
19 May 2014, 15:53
After dieting for some time the slight increase in cortisol caused by the mild stress of having a lower calorie intake can accumulate enough to cause problems. Cortisol, the hormone released when we are stressed, makes the body prefer to run on carbs than fat, this can create the sugar cravings that ADFnFuel mentions. Some people cause this craving a 'famine reaction' (there are some threads on this in the labs section), a term coined by Australian researcher, Dr Amanda Salis.

To combat the cravings, reducing sugar may help, but at the same time it is best to reduce the stress on the body and allow cortisol levels to fall again. To do this you need to reduce the fasting rather than increase it as you might be tempted to do. It is a difficult thing to balance eating well in order to reduce the cortisol levels with not overdoing it, but it could be that a couple of days of overdoing it might actually be beneficial. Certainly some people have experienced a boost in weight loss following a period of over-eating.

If I were you I would consider not fasting but eating up to TDEE for a week or two (with healthy nutritious food, avoiding sugars and high carbs but allowing veggies, fruit and complex carbs), then see how your body responds to a fast day. If you feel good the next day and not starving, try another fast the following week.

As ADFnFuel says, avoid the high carb breakfasts, try the bulletproof coffee if you like.

Any other kind of stress added to the fasting can also trigger this kind of response, so if you are aware of any new stressors entering your life recently, you may need to address these as well.

Another thought is that it might be that your body has reached a point where it is unwilling to lose more fat. Without knowing your BMI, waist:height ratio, body fat% etc, I can't comment but as you say that you just want to lose a very small amount more, it could be that it would be better to settle for your current weight than to try to force the last lbs off. The chances are that the moment you relax those last few lbs will just come back. If you are hoping to reduce the amount of fasting in maintenance this is even more likely.

If you could give us some more info on your stats, we may be able to offer a little more insight.

Best wishes
Re: The last few pounds
19 May 2014, 16:09
Argh I've just lost what I have been writing!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply.

In summary i just can't cut carbs completely. I haven't changed the amount or type of carbs I have been eating through my fasting journey and don't understand why now suddenly my body would crave them so much. I haven't given in and try not to have breakfast even though I am starving but yes these are often cereal/ porridge based. I am also finding fast days so much harder so maybe I do need a break for a while, I just don't want to undo all my good work. I've also started getting indigestion on fast days which is really not pleasant!

My BMI is fine at 21.28 I am 5ft 8.5 inches and now weigh around 10st 2lb which is fine for me I just want that 2lb leeway so that when I go to maintenance it doesn't pile back on. My waist measurement has also plateaued at 30 inches.
Re: The last few pounds
19 May 2014, 16:25
Hi LuLu

Yes, the indigestion may be another indication that you have somewhat over-stressed your system. Your BMI is on the lower side of normal and so it could be that you have reached the point where your body says "enough is enough"! The increased cortisol will tend to cause insulin resistance and so will prevent loss of fat from your waistline especially and at the same time trigger the desire for more carbs. Cortisol builds up over time so that although you haven't changed anything perhaps the build up of cortisol has just reached a trigger point. As cortisol tends to push the body out of fat burning into sugar burning, you could well benefit from cutting out refined carbs for a while but at the same time reducing or pausing your fasting. If you prefer to keep fasting you could try increasing your calorie allowance on your two fast days to, say 800-1000 cals and see if that makes the following day easier. I would suggest having a low/slow release carb breakfast.

Other things that can increase cortisol are poor sleep, caffeine, alcohol and excessive exercise.

You say you want a leeway so that the weight doesn't pile on. I would counter that by saying that if you force the final few lbs off, they will come back as soon as you relax, but if your body is happy at your new weight, although it might fluctuate up and down, there is no reason to suppose that you will undo all your good work. The idea of having 'wiggle room' is fine if those lbs come off easily but in your case perhaps it is best to settle for where you are now and just accept that on some weigh-ins you will be an lb higher due to the normal day-to-day variation in weight.
Re: The last few pounds
19 May 2014, 20:26
Thank you so much carorees, your advice is just what I need. I think I am going to really try hard to cut down refined carbs, particularly bread and ease off the fasting for a while to see if it helps. Will porridge for breakfast be a good option?

I need to look into some low carb alternatives as I just can't give it up altogether and I don't want to feel deprived.
Re: The last few pounds
19 May 2014, 20:37
@Lu Lu congratulations you have done well and I envy your BMI . Great advice from Caroline and ADFnFuel. From my experience it is no use continuing to stress your body when it is resistant to shed any further. Time for a chillax enjoy nutritious feeding and just use the scales to keep an eye on any upward creep, then you can just fast and you will fine tune back.

If you check out the maintenance thread you will find most people there have BMIs of 22 and still had reported further small losses on maintenance.
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