2

votes

Not losing weight, looking for some hacks

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created May 18, 2011 at 3:40 AM

I am a 50 year old female. I have about 20 pounds to lose to be in a more comfortable weight range, these are not vanity pounds, that would still put me at the high end of normal for my height. I have had a hysterectomy, but retained my ovaries and I don't believe I'm in menopause yet. I am moderately active, biking and walking when I can, kettlebell training starting on Thursday. Biking means around 20 miles at a time.

Since January I have been eating Paleo, I do occasionally include sweet potatoes. I have my calories pretty comfortably at between 1000, and 1500 a day, this seems to be where they fall most of the time. More on ride days. My fat is around 60%, protein and carb roughly evenly divided for the rest. I began tracking so that I was making sure not to be underestimating what I was eating. I typically have only cream in my coffee at breakfast and eat lunch and dinner, both of which are home made, I don't eat out. No grains, no sweets, condiments are only homemade mayo, and organic ketchup, both in limited amounts, spices and salt and pepper.

Not only am I not losing, I'm gaining. I'm up 2 pounds this week. Not what I was hoping for. Today I skipped dinner, thinking I'd fast until tomorrow morning. I was eating more fat, and not calculating calories, but my weight was creeping up, so I decided to track.

Last year I lost about 30 pounds, relatively quickly, eating a vegetarian diet, but I'm concerned that's not particularly healthy. I have migratory glossitis on my tongue, and it is significantly better with meat included in my diet. I have tried VLC, eating mostly meat, and that doesn't seem to work for me either.

Any thoughts, tweaks, or hacks would be truly appreciated. Thank you.

28f280f8d64c7207fd94d158fbe6e070

(218)

on July 08, 2012
at 04:52 PM

High prolactin, which you have, makes you hold onto fat, to protect the source of milk for your "baby.". I have a prolactinoma, and a high prolactin level (over 200) and I cannot seem to lose weight even on paleo. I will keep trying though. I love eating healthy but I'd like to lose more weight.

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

(1288)

on October 04, 2011
at 04:00 AM

Are you PCOS - producing milk for a long time after finishing BF is very common in PCOS people

B64fc74aa75445a74d267279acc24b54

(0)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:45 PM

This makes so much sense; I've also found that the more fat I consume the more my body seems to use up what stores I have.

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 18, 2011
at 10:38 PM

Wow! Fascinating. I'm no expert, but I would say there is definitely something hormonal at work. Your body could be getting signals to hold on to calories if it thinks those calories are needed. I know that producing breastmilk is supposed to burn calories, but I gained weight during breastfeeding. So maybe?

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 18, 2011
at 10:35 PM

Studies show there is absolutely no reason to worry about salt unless you have a specific health issue that requires it. Cutting out processed foods means we've already won that battle. You can pry the salt shaker outta my cold, dead hand. :)

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 18, 2011
at 10:34 PM

I humbly disagree that it's easy to overeat fats. It is physically impossible. Saturated fats are involved with signaling the brain for fullness, and I couldn't overeat bacon or steak if I tried. Without them, the rest of the diet would be impossible for those of us who have hunger cue issues. Pre-Primal, I never could have skipped a meal and I now do so with ease.

6c6d5df2d6a878911254b9721e4d217b

(40)

on May 19, 2011
at 02:20 PM

It is over time, you're right, but since January is a long time, with weekly fluctuations, but no long term movement. Seems like there's nothing to do but keep tweaking and persist! Thank you.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 18, 2011
at 07:11 PM

hey, glad to see you didn't throw in the towel after all! good job! :)

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on May 18, 2011
at 06:39 PM

I totally concur on the age thing. I'm over 50 and my weight change was *very* slow. For me the value of paleo (with an emphasis on low-carb) wasn't that it was quick but that it was *sustainable* (and that is a freaking miracle as far as I'm concerned). Seven months in and I'm only now feeling like adding some extra exercise. Ditto on the fluctuations - mine is about a 3 lb swing during a day or couple days. I have to average it over a month to really know. I find water/fat reading (on my scale) interesting but less useful - it's the average weight over time that's most telling.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:58 PM

An important point is to recognize that you're over 50 and lacking a fairly significant chunk of your reproductive system, so you may have some unique issues that are going to make this a long, bumpy journey. Think long term. If you're starting to obsess over food, there's definitely a problem. You mention 2lbs of weight gain in a week and no weight loss in a day; personally, I can fluctuate 5lbs in a single day, so neither a 2lb change over a week nor a non-change in a day would mean much. Changing clothes size or a change in a bodyfat reading is another story. Maybe focus more on that?

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 02:32 PM

I agree with watching calories. I think that it's important to eat enough calories, though. Perhaps she is under-eating!

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on May 18, 2011
at 02:09 PM

My $0.02, I don't think there's any reason to avoid salt, in fact I crave more salt on a Paleo diet, I think because I'm not getting any sodium from processed foods.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 18, 2011
at 12:38 PM

hmmm, interesting but i am going to disagree with your disagreement of my disagreement :) if you look at this salt, for example, you will see it has almost 4 times more magnesium than potassium by 'typical analysis' http://www.eco-natural.com/algarve_sea_salt/analysis.html

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on May 18, 2011
at 12:12 PM

I disagee with the disagreement, I think that almost any paleo diet will give you more than enough sodium and that sea salt contains insignificant quantities of other minerals. Plus, if we think that the ratio between sodium and potassium/magnesium etc is significant, then sea salt will only exacerbate our excess of the former and deficiency of the latter.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 18, 2011
at 04:29 AM

gotta say I disagree, if you are cooking things from scratch, i absolutely belive you should use sea salt or good quality unprocessed salt and not cut it out. Why? Most farmland including pasture has become incredibly mineral deficient these days and therefore you're not getting as much mineral content from these sources as people used to. High quality salt is important in a person's diet IMO.

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10 Answers

4
8b982d4beccca9fcb85affe8d4bd4ff2

(1585)

on May 18, 2011
at 06:27 AM

When I am at a stand still with my weightloss I use intermittent fasting and speed walking. Fasting does not have to be all day. I also up my water and only drink green tea and water.

Good luck, I hope you find what works for your body. And I hope I could help. :)

3
6c6d5df2d6a878911254b9721e4d217b

on May 18, 2011
at 02:56 PM

Thank you so much for all of your helpful replies, and collective wisdom.

@Verena, thank you for the suggestions. I eat pasture fed meat several times a month, but pastured eggs most days. The ketchup is about a tablespoon once every two weeks. I am careful about salt, and use freshly ground seasalt, but I'll keep an eye on it.

@Daniel, thank you, I'll step up probiotics, and include some sprints, although I hate them.

@Uggla I am fasting intermittently, but thank you for the suggestion.

@James, walking is ~3 times a week, for an hour. Biking is twice a week usually, and I have ridden 5 centuries, so 20 miles is just a regular outing for me. Doesn't take me two hours, and I love it. I could certainly do tabatas, perhaps that would help, but I love them less. I'm in upstate NY, we have almost nothing but hills!! I do know about the period thing, but without a uterus it's difficult to determine what would be that time of the month, if you know what I'm saying.

@UncleLongHair, I was thinking about that, the fat, and wondering if I'm erring on the side of too much. I do measure my food carefully, and could probably tip into disordered eating because I get so wrapped up in it, so I'm trying not to go that far. I skip breakfast most days, I had a 21 hour fast yesterday. No problems. No real hunger. No weight loss. In fact I'm measuring and paying so much attention, that food is no longer particularly interesting to me, except as something to be weighed, measured, calculated, and used for fuel. I wouldn't even make dinner if I didn't have teenage boys to feed.

Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on May 18, 2011
at 06:39 PM

I totally concur on the age thing. I'm over 50 and my weight change was *very* slow. For me the value of paleo (with an emphasis on low-carb) wasn't that it was quick but that it was *sustainable* (and that is a freaking miracle as far as I'm concerned). Seven months in and I'm only now feeling like adding some extra exercise. Ditto on the fluctuations - mine is about a 3 lb swing during a day or couple days. I have to average it over a month to really know. I find water/fat reading (on my scale) interesting but less useful - it's the average weight over time that's most telling.

4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:58 PM

An important point is to recognize that you're over 50 and lacking a fairly significant chunk of your reproductive system, so you may have some unique issues that are going to make this a long, bumpy journey. Think long term. If you're starting to obsess over food, there's definitely a problem. You mention 2lbs of weight gain in a week and no weight loss in a day; personally, I can fluctuate 5lbs in a single day, so neither a 2lb change over a week nor a non-change in a day would mean much. Changing clothes size or a change in a bodyfat reading is another story. Maybe focus more on that?

6c6d5df2d6a878911254b9721e4d217b

(40)

on May 19, 2011
at 02:20 PM

It is over time, you're right, but since January is a long time, with weekly fluctuations, but no long term movement. Seems like there's nothing to do but keep tweaking and persist! Thank you.

2
Fe29f6658ce67c1ecc4a22e960be7498

(2997)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:41 PM

Without getting into the excellent analysis others already have done, in my limited experience it was adding more calories - especially fat - that make the difference. When I switched to low-carb then to paleo I lost about 25lbs, then stabilized at 175+ for months. The sole change that's helping me drop lower was increasing fat, especially cultured butter and coconut oil. The more fat I eat the more weight I lose.

I suspect there's a ketone issue involvde: as I increase my calories from fat, my body gets more efficient at processing or even preferring that kind of energy (thus burning body fat) over the limited carbs I can't avoid.

I haven't had enough time to verify if this makes a significant difference, but I think some recent "fasting" has made a difference too: I've skipped lunch (NOT intentionally!) but staved off the hunger with coconut oil and a boiled egg - and it seems to make a big difference.

The problem with carbs isn't that they are a source of calories, but that they reset the regulatory mechanisms that cause one to gain fat. Consuming fat calories allows the body both to have energy and to self-regulate more 'intelligently'.

B64fc74aa75445a74d267279acc24b54

(0)

on August 11, 2011
at 12:45 PM

This makes so much sense; I've also found that the more fat I consume the more my body seems to use up what stores I have.

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on May 18, 2011
at 02:15 PM

Paleo folks embrace the fat, but in my opinion you have to be careful because it has a lot of calories with relatively small mass, so it's easy to accidentally overeat. Despite all of the talk about high-fat, high-protein meals, I believe you still have to run a calorie deficit to lose weight. Not suggesting that you cut out the fat, but just make sure you're counting all of those calories.

You mention a calorie range of 1000-1500, that is a pretty wide range, and might make the difference between gaining and losing weight. A few spoonfuls of mayo can take you from 1200 to 1400 calories in a day.

Something else you might try is skipping some meals or some limited fasting, and think about your weekly calorie total instead of daily. I gravitate towards eating one big meal a day on paleo, as it suppresses my appetite. Last week I tried a 24 hour fast including a workout (running with sprints) at the end of it. Only a few hours of it were tricky at all, and my pants were literally a half inch larger the next morning. I was also surprised that I didn't have a lot more appetite the next couple of days.

Fasting one day in a week but otherwise eating the same reduces calories in that week by 14%. Probably can't do that every week, but I think it is a good way to get a jump start on the weight loss.

A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on May 18, 2011
at 02:32 PM

I agree with watching calories. I think that it's important to eat enough calories, though. Perhaps she is under-eating!

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 18, 2011
at 10:34 PM

I humbly disagree that it's easy to overeat fats. It is physically impossible. Saturated fats are involved with signaling the brain for fullness, and I couldn't overeat bacon or steak if I tried. Without them, the rest of the diet would be impossible for those of us who have hunger cue issues. Pre-Primal, I never could have skipped a meal and I now do so with ease.

2
8544465753d56e89bd1bb2c92e9cea7a

on May 18, 2011
at 04:17 AM

  1. Add Probiotics to diet
  2. More saturated fats (cream, coconut oil, butter, ghee), Reduce PUFA
  3. Try sprinting

1
Fe198e0c02edd407cdf8c83c0fceaea1

(753)

on May 18, 2011
at 05:48 PM

a really interesting read that includes something very intriguing and entertaining about salt and a lot of other things! just read it http://nutrition-and-physical-regeneration.com/blog/1111/meat/is-an-all-meat-diet-healthy-or-dangerous-part-1-with-vilhjamur-stefansson/

1
9aa2a816c61170cc0183a68be0386ba5

on May 18, 2011
at 02:52 PM

I'm stuck in a rut as far as weight loss goes, but I upped my caloric intake (basically just stopped counting) a little bit and I FEEL like I look better, but the scale still hasn't budged.

I was eating 15-1600 calories and by not counting I'm probably closer to 2000. But I still run every other day for about a mile and try to walk, too. I've added Probiotics, Magnesium and Vit D to attempt to straighten things out.

559aa134ff5e6c8bcd608ba8dc505628

(3631)

on May 18, 2011
at 07:11 PM

hey, glad to see you didn't throw in the towel after all! good job! :)

1
8a8129d053df7365c6529b0c2ac95efb

(284)

on May 18, 2011
at 04:12 AM

Hi MamaBear...i know this whole weight loss thing is really frustrating...i am no expert, but here are my thoughts: Cut out salt and the ketchup too...eventhough the ketchup is organic, it is still packed with sugar. i also would eat some breakfast. it seems to me that if you eat breakfast you set up great for the day. like, i eat salmon and eggs for breakfast, or sometimes left over meat from the previous night. what kind of meat do you eat? animal fat is good, no question asked, but i think animal fat from pastured animals is good. i don't know if you eat grass fed or not? anyways, good luck, MamaBear! :)

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on May 18, 2011
at 12:12 PM

I disagee with the disagreement, I think that almost any paleo diet will give you more than enough sodium and that sea salt contains insignificant quantities of other minerals. Plus, if we think that the ratio between sodium and potassium/magnesium etc is significant, then sea salt will only exacerbate our excess of the former and deficiency of the latter.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 18, 2011
at 04:29 AM

gotta say I disagree, if you are cooking things from scratch, i absolutely belive you should use sea salt or good quality unprocessed salt and not cut it out. Why? Most farmland including pasture has become incredibly mineral deficient these days and therefore you're not getting as much mineral content from these sources as people used to. High quality salt is important in a person's diet IMO.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on May 18, 2011
at 02:09 PM

My $0.02, I don't think there's any reason to avoid salt, in fact I crave more salt on a Paleo diet, I think because I'm not getting any sodium from processed foods.

Medium avatar

(5136)

on May 18, 2011
at 12:38 PM

hmmm, interesting but i am going to disagree with your disagreement of my disagreement :) if you look at this salt, for example, you will see it has almost 4 times more magnesium than potassium by 'typical analysis' http://www.eco-natural.com/algarve_sea_salt/analysis.html

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 18, 2011
at 10:35 PM

Studies show there is absolutely no reason to worry about salt unless you have a specific health issue that requires it. Cutting out processed foods means we've already won that battle. You can pry the salt shaker outta my cold, dead hand. :)

0
6c6d5df2d6a878911254b9721e4d217b

on May 31, 2011
at 02:42 PM

I also didn't mention, maybe it matters, and maybe not, that I am still producing breast milk. Yes, at 50. I am single and not sexually active, so not a result of stimulation. I weaned my youngest child 16 years ago. I have been told I don't have a pituitary tumor, I've been tested twice. Still, perhaps my hormones are whacked?

F5f742cc9228eb5804114d0f3be4e587

(7660)

on June 18, 2011
at 10:38 PM

Wow! Fascinating. I'm no expert, but I would say there is definitely something hormonal at work. Your body could be getting signals to hold on to calories if it thinks those calories are needed. I know that producing breastmilk is supposed to burn calories, but I gained weight during breastfeeding. So maybe?

286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

(1288)

on October 04, 2011
at 04:00 AM

Are you PCOS - producing milk for a long time after finishing BF is very common in PCOS people

28f280f8d64c7207fd94d158fbe6e070

(218)

on July 08, 2012
at 04:52 PM

High prolactin, which you have, makes you hold onto fat, to protect the source of milk for your "baby.". I have a prolactinoma, and a high prolactin level (over 200) and I cannot seem to lose weight even on paleo. I will keep trying though. I love eating healthy but I'd like to lose more weight.

0
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on May 18, 2011
at 11:46 AM

How often a week is "biking and walking when I can"? Re. the biking, something to watch out for. Over an hour of biking at a time is catabolic (burns muscle as well as fat). You lose muscle, you use less calories in rest afterwards.

I don't know about you, but 20 miles would take me about an hour and a half to two hours (longer if it is leisurely). Is this bad for your situation? Probably not for your purposes. But could be an area to tweak. It might be better to take it down to less than an hour, but to concentrate on hills (if you have them in the area) and sprinting/tabatas (ride as fast as you can for 20 seconds, rest/pedal slowly for 10, rinse and repeat). A few minutes of this type of work would do the same as a lot of the slow bike riding in less time, but is pretty strenuous (so work up to it).

Other thoughts. You mentioned that you weren't in menopause yet. I was hearing on a podcast that women shouldn't pay attention to the scale for the week around their period, because their weight fluctuates greatly due to the period. I assume you already know about that and took it into account.

Finally, are you checking your fat percentages? If you are exercising more than before/eating better, you can lose fat and gain muscle, yet remain the same/gain weight on the scale. You're changing your body composition, and only can see it in the mirror/calipers and not the scale. It can be disheartening if you're just looking at the scale and not the percentages as well.

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