How To Keep Weight Off

Lost It?

It’s all very well losing the weight, but keeping it off can be another problem altogether, especially if you chose a rapid weight loss diet as your method for losing weight. Once the weight is off, there is the temptation to return to your previous way of eating (WOE) and a consequent build up of fat again. Been there, done that, got the (bigger) T-shirt back again! It’s not the fault of the diet – it promised to get the weight off and it worked. It’s just that KEEPING weight off requires changing your normal way of eating in some way.

Problems

Impulse eating

This is where you pass the fruit bowl and take a piece of fruit and then another. Fruit is good for most people, however, most of it is high in natural sugar, so eating a lot can add calories that you weren’t counting on consuming. This also applies to the cookie tin, a quick “treat” from the local store, a piece of cake in the office to celebrate someone’s birthday and a friend sharing a bag of candy. There are so many impulse opportunities in our lives these days and it is hard to say no to them all. You can deal with the fruit bowl and cookie tin problems by not keeping them in the house. I know someone who always has a full cookie tin, “in case someone calls”. They deny eating them but their visitors are not sufficient to account for the cookie tin always being full of fresh cookies!

Mouth boredom

This is where your mouth gets bored with nothing to do, and it wants something to chew. Very often this translates to raiding the fridge for snacks or a sandwich, to keep you going until the next meal time. You may find some help by using sugar free chewing gum. This gives your mouth something to do while not adding sugar to your diet. Just take care with sugar free gum as it can have a laxative effect, if you use too much. Hot drinks (no sugar) can also be helpful. For a refreshing drink, try a few slices of fresh ginger in hot water, then add lemon juice. If it’s too hot for a warm drink, this is just as nice allowed to cool, or even iced.

Comfort eating.

This is where you are under stress or anxious and find that eating, especially the so-called comfort foods like potatoes and ice cream, helps relieve the stress or calm the anxiety. This requires finding ways of reducing stress and anxiety without using food. It has been said that exercise is the most (and best) under-used stress and anxiety reliever available and food the most over-used.

Keep It Off

There are a few ways of keeping the weight off, without feeling constantly deprived and without constantly having to refuse those little treats.

The Post Diet Diet

Try the 5:2 diet. On this diet, you eat normally 5 days a week and stick to 500 calories a day (women) or 600 (men) on two days a week. You can choose which two days. Many people find a Monday and a Thursday to be their best days. This is also a long term diet strategy that a number of people use. If you don’t need two days to keep your weight down, then use 6:1 and have just 1 day a week where you restrict your calories. Many people find this doable by telling themselves, that it is just for today and tomorrow they can eat “normally”. It works because it helps to regulate the appetite and also people do not eat “enough for two days in one” on the following day so the overall calorie intake for the week is reduced.

Then there is the 16:8 diet. This refers to the 24 hour day, in which you eat ONLY during a window of 8 hours, staying away from food (not water) for the other 16 hours of the day. This is doable by stopping eating 4 hours before bedtime, assuming you are in bed 8 hours and waiting for your breakfast until about lunchtime the next day. If you have finished your meals by, say, 6pm and can wait until 10am the next day before eating your breakfast, you will have an 8 hour window for eating between 10.00am and 6.00pm. You can move the hours around to suit yourself.

You could work on a slow increase in calories or carbohydrates. If you have lost the weight you need by whatever means and are now moving onto a maintenance diet, you could try increasing your intake slowly, whether in terms of calories (low calorie diets) or in terms of carbohydrates (low carb diets). This requires self discipline, to calculate a little extra, then sticking to that until you find the point at which you no longer lose weight and then stay at that level of carbohydrate or calories.The Atkins diet (low carb) provides suggestions for gradually increasing your carb intake at the stage 4, maintenance level, and the 800 BSD provides suggestions for gradually increasing your calories.

There is also one suggestion that you should eat ten times your desired body weight in calories each day. This is said to reduce your weight while you are heavier than that and keep you there once you have reached your desired weight. If your desired body weight is 140 pounds, then on this diet, you could eat 1400 calories each day.

A Healthy Long Term Diet

It is of course, vital that you find a healthy long term diet that keeps you at your desired healthy weight and also provides all the nutrients you need for health.  One recommended diet for this is the Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of vegetables and healthy fats, as well as protein. The Mediterranean diet is one that you could stick to for a life time if you choose.

Overcoming Stress

If comfort eating is a problem, whether just at certain times or because your life is stressful anyway, then find a way of reducing stress and anxiety without using food as a crutch to ease your stress or anxiety. This may involve letting certain people go, taking up meditation, listening to relaxation tapes or learning to become aware of when you are using eating to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. Exercise can be a great stress and anxiety reliever. If you are taking medication for relieving stress or anxiety then do not change your dosage without consulting your medical adviser. Exercise can be used in conjunction with medication to provide great relief and reduce reliance on food for comfort.

 

Blood Sugar Diet 800

Measuring waist

Low Carb Lifestyle

I have tried a number of diets, all of the low carb type recently but haven’t lost anything. I had great success with a low carb dietthe Atkins diet – back 16 years ago but I am a lot older now, possibly not as active and would be considered on “older” woman, these days. I like the low carb lifestyle, which is also known as the ketogenic diet and feel it is healthy for me, as I lose the craving for sugar and sweet things, however, I have also developed a very pronounced taste for Almond butter! This is really good stuff and very healthy but the amount of carbs I need for losing weight is very low, less than 20 grams a day and with the amount of almond butter I eat, it is not possible to keep to that low level. Almond butter contains a lot of protein and good fats but also a fair amount of carbohydrate, so I can’t blame the diet but my liking for Almond butter!

I also tried the low carb high fat diet (LCHF) which is also healthy and which I enjoyed but didn’t lose anything on that either, again, I think, because of the Almond butter. But I certainly enjoyed coffee with cream in it and a number of the other recipes. While I didn’t lose weight on that diet, I didn’t put it on either.

Low Calorie Diet

The most success I had recently was with the 5:2 diet, which I tried for a month and lost 3 Kgs on – which is 6.5 pounds, fairly respectable for one month. That is an intermittent fasting diet, because you eat a very low level of calories (partial fast) on two days of the week and eat normally the other 5 days. It is also a low calorie diet because research shows that you do not tend to eat too much extra on the 5 days of the week when you eat normally to make up for the 2 days on which you partially fasted. It seemed to me that I needed to go back to a low calorie diet even though I had resisted them for over 30 years, believing they did not work for me or that I would be ravenously hungry (in total denial!).

I also heard of a book that I downloaded to my Kindle, called the 8 week blood sugar diet by Dr Michael Mosley. It sounded interesting and I read it from start to finish very quickly as it was also  very readable and interesting, with lots of personal stories from different people, which I always thinks makes a book more enjoyable. I had previously heard of research at a University in the United Kingdom that used very low calorie diets to reverse diabetes. It had put diabetics on an 800 calorie diet for 8 weeks and many of them were no longer diabetic at the end of it. At the time, I had thought “that’s interesting” but I wasn’t diabetic and was not likely to take part in any medical experiments like that. BUT Dr Mosley’s book is based on this work in Newcastle University and he shows how anyone can use this diet to lose weight quickly, whether they are diabetic or not.

Up until now, I had believed the current wisdom that losing weight quickly was not good for you and you would put it all back on quickly and more once you stopped dieting. Dr Mosley’s book showed that this was not so. He also said that millions of people in the western world are probably pre-diabetic and do not know it. I have a sister who has type II diabetes and our grandmother was also diabetic, so this is something that concerns me, however, the book is also for those would would like to lose weight quickly. I had found the 5:2 diet a little hard to stick to, remembering to fast on certain days, but I had never felt totally ravenous, so I thought I might be able to try to 800 calorie diet for a couple of days and see how I liked it, maybe even run it as a 5:2.

Dr Mosley had mentioned that the original participants in the 800 calorie 8 week trial had been placed on a liquid diet, using shakes, so that their diet could be fully monitored but that some others had tried it with their normal diet, reduced to 800 calories and found great success. This was a no-brainer for me because I keep a bag of protein shake in the house! I happen to like it and so does my son and also my daughter and we all like it mixed with almond butter as a quick dessert too. One scoop of protein powder in 500 ml of water provides 100 calories (it uses sweeteners, not sugar). That meant I could have two protein shakes during the day and eat a small meal, with no potatoes at night and probably keep within 800 calories. That was something I was willing to try for a day or even two days. I started on 5 December, with two protein shakes during the day and an evening meal of 4 ounces of meat and green beans. I don’t eat first thing in the morning anyway, because I go for a walk with my husband most days and my internal system wouldn’t let me make it right round if I ate or drank anything, so my normal breakfast time is 11.00am or so. At 11.00am on 6 December, I wasn’t ravenous, so I decided to see whether I could do it another day, taking 2 protein shakes, one at 11 and one at about 2pm, then a main meal at 5pm. And the same happened the next day, I have been able to keep on this diet.

I have done this faithfully every day now for over 1 week. I didn’t measure my weight at the start because I just wanted to get going on it and I don’t have scales in the house. I am assuming I weighed 75 Kg because that was the best weight I have been able to achieve at any time in the past couple of years and I had not dipped below that at any time I weighed my self in the past year. Last night, I weighed 72.6 Kgs! That’s 2.4 Kgs in one week. What I have been measuring is my abdomen size (around the belly button). That has not moved during the week. I am assuming that the diet is removing the internal fat in my liver first. This is the dangerous stuff.

How do I feel after a week on 800 calories or less each day?

I feel a little cold (losing my insulation) but not too tired. I had expected to feel weak but I don’t. I am still able (in my late 60s) to walk a 3.5 mile course that climbs a hill to 180 feet with no noticeable slowing down. I also have found that when in bed, I am now more comfortable lying on my side. Previously, I had found that my chest cavity seemed to be being compressed and I was uncomfortable. That suggests I may have lost some internal fat. 🙂 I also feel that my thighs have more room inside my trousers!

How Did I Manage When Dinner Was Not Suitable?

Only on one day did I feel I could not eat any of the dinner (fish fingers and chips), so I had 3 hard boiled eggs and a spoonful of mayonnaise. That filled me up. Most days I take a bigger portion of a green vegetable, rather than a starchy vegetable.

How Do I Look To Others?

Others have commented that I have lost weight around my face. I notice that myself. I am happy with that. 🙂

Am I getting All My Nutrients?

I believe so. I don’t eat processed food. Our main meal is cooked from scratch each day and I eat vegetables, together with a protein source. I occasionally take vitamins.

 

Fast Diet 5:2

ice cream feast

Ice cream feast

Weight Gain

Christmas, and all of December was a feast for me. 🙁 I put on a stone (14 lbs, 6 Kgs) during December and reached what I think was probably my heaviest weight ever.

Fast Diet

Over the past few months I had been hearing about the fasting diet. Several places, magazines, health articles and on line were touting the benefits of the Fast Diet, where you fast (reduced calories) for two days in the week, often Monday and Thursday and then eat normally the rest of the week. It’s a calorie reduction programme with a difference. You eat normally for 5 days of the week and on two days (normally Monday and Thursday, you take only 500 calories (women) or 600 calories (men).

The 5:2 Fast Diet

3 January 2015
I read the book “The Fast Diet”, decided to follow it and to start now, with a fast. Good way to start the New Year after the Christmas gluttony! Nothing at breakfast time. 1 cup of protein shake at lunchtime. 2 slices bacon, 1 fried egg and spinach for dinner. drank hot lemon water and tea. I then measured my weight in the evening and I was 81.5kg – the heaviest I have ever been. Waist 36.5, inches and abdomen 43.5 inches – NOT good.

Comments. After such a small amount to eat, I expected to be ravenously hungry, but no, I wasn’t. I didn’t expect to have any problem in the morning because if I am going for exercise, I don’t eat or drink anything anyway and also if going to town, I don’t eat or drink anything either. Once it came to lunchtime, I was not starving but made my husband lunch and made myself a small protein shake, which I drank slowly. Then nothing til teatime. Was hungry AFTER tea but drank hot lemon water and my body realised it was mouth hunger or expectations, not real hunger. Good start. The book said that I would not feel really hungry and that even if I did, many people found that it was manageable because they knew they would be able to eat normally tomorrow.

5 January 2015 – Monday
Fast day today. Drank tea during the morning, nothing to eat. Had small container of protein shake at lunchtime. Had cold chicken, carrots and parsnips and green beans for tea.
Measurements: waist 37 Abdomen 43. Hungry but not ravenously so and able to forget about it if I did something. Knowing that tomorrow would be an “eat normally” day helped too.

6 January 2015 – Tuesday
Weighed self 79.6Kgs – a drop – good! Almost 2 Kgs lost, that’s over 4 pounds in weight. Probably mainly water, it always seems to be water loss at the start.

8 January 2015

Fast Day, drank tea and hot lemon, had 1 scoop protein shake in water for lunch. Dinner, some steak pieces casserole, with green beans and brussels sprouts.

9 January 2015

weighed self 79.4Kg. Hmmm, 3 days and I have only dropped 0.2Kgs

12 January 2015.

Fast day again. I had protein shake for lunch and cold chicken with spinach for dinner. Drank lots of tea and hot lemon and black coffee. Went for a walk in the afternoon. That was unusual because I normally exercise in the morning, so I don’t need a toilet break on a long walk but managed it and went quite fast but panting hard because it was so long since I had done much exercise. I was able to do it because I didn’t have any solid food inside me, otherwise I couldn’t have. Went up Golden Steps! (Hard Work!)
Measurements: waist 36.5″, Abdomen 42.5″. Hmm, don’t know if this is working for me. Have lost an inch from abdomen, not much. Feels good though, this diet does seem to reset appetite, as they said it would. Will stay on it for a bit longer.

Friday 16 January 2015
weighed self, 79.1Kg.
I don’t find that very fast but it’s still a loss and maybe it’s better that way. It is at least a loss and it’s 2.4 Kgs in 2 weeks. 1Kg a week is healthy.

weight graph January 2015

Weight Graph January 2015

Saturday 17 January 2015

Waist 36″, Abdomen 42″
Will try fasting today too. Didn’t manage it

Thursday 22 January 2015
Waist 37 Abdomen 42 – no difference!

Monday 2 February 2015
waist 36″, abdomen 43″ No real difference from 1 month ago.
This is not working for me, though I have stuck to the 5:2 formula.

Overall Comments

This is a doable diet. The book is very readable, and some good information and support in it. It is possible that staying on this diet would take my weight down gradually to a reasonable level. I know people who are on this diet and for whom it works well. I have included a graph of the weight loss, so you can see I did lose weight but I think I will try the Atkins diet next.