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New to the Forum/4 Weeks of Food and Exercise Tracking
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Lesveg posted:
Hello Everyone,

This is my first post as well as my first participation in an online dieting group. I've battled with my weight since I was ten, though. Back then my mother and I would go on liquid diets consisting of three "smoothies" a day, each consisting of a cup of powdered milk, a diet drink, and some ice cubes. We'd lose ten or twenty pounds, then put them right back on again!

Through my teens, twenties and thirties, I tried everything from Atkins to Weight Watchers (and that probably over ten times), but my weight at lowest was 145 (for maybe a day) and at highest was somewhere over 170. I never reached a healthy BMI until my late forties. I'm 48 years old, am about 5'4, and weigh around 136. I've managed this by eating a low-fat vegan diet for the last seven years and exercising vigorously almost every day. I'm training for my sixth (slow) marathon now!

Still, though, I am fairly chunky and would love to weigh around 120. I have never been even close to that, and this seems to be my best shot at it. I'd like to do it without injuring myself, developing an eating disorder, or losing my strength. So I signed up for the WebMD online food tracker and today marked the end of my fourth week on the "lose 2 pounds a week" plan. I've eaten on average just under 1400 calories a day (I have been so careful to measure and report everything!) and have burnt through fairly intense exercise an average of about 1500 calories a day, mostly in the form of running, the elliptical, or the stationary bike. I'm already fairly muscular, so I hate to do weight training. I did it before for about a year and it didn't seem to help one way or another. It seemed like at best it just added more muscle on top of the fat. I do do some yoga and pilates sometimes, though.

I know better than to give up after just four weeks, but I have only lost about a pound and a half. I'm sure some of it is hormonal, and I notice my clothes fitting more loosely, but this is making me crazy! I'm starving all the time and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night thinking of food! I'm kind of afraid to drop the calories lower than 1400 with my next marathon just a month away, but I wonder whether my lifetime of dieting has reset my metabolism so that I need very few calories to maintain my body weight. I do take synthroid, but it brings my thyroid hormones all within the normal range.

My self of ten years ago would think I was nuts to be complaining about not losing weight at 136. I'm trying *so* hard though, and really want to know how it feels to be slim. I guess it's all relative.

Anyway, I thought I'd break my (adult) tradition of doing this on my own and share my story.

Good luck to everyone out there fighting the same battle!
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Tomato05 responded:
Hi Lesveg - congratulations on the weight loss and not regaining it. All that exercise is definitely helping with maintenance, I think.

I am not losing (gaining in fact), but it is because I'm eating too much! I also exercise most days. I am also 48 years old.

If you weren't training for a marathon, I would have suggested you lower your calories by 100 or 200, but it would not be wise to do it until after the marathon, or you will not be able to keep up the running.

In the interim, I would suggest that you just keep on with the way you are doing it now - 1.5lb lost is better than nothing. I suspect at some stage the weight loss will really kick in and speed up. Even though you are muscular, I still think weight training is essential for everyone, especially once you reach your forties. You are inevitably going to start losing muscle as you age, which is not a good thing. The only way to counter that is to do weight training.

Good luck with the marathon, and keep posting here!
 
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Lesveg replied to Tomato05's response:
Nice to meet you, Tomato05. Thanks for the encouraging words and the advice about the weight training and calories.

I was kind of afraid someone would bring up the necessity of weight training. : ) Deep in my heart I know you're right. I just really dislike it and probably didn't appreciate it before because I was not cutting calories and just getting bulkier. Maybe now that I'm eating less the muscle will look better. Perhaps I'll try the Bodypump class at my gym a couple of days a week. At least it's finite and will probably burn a few calories at the same time!

I have a bit longer than I thought until the marathon. It is on July 29th. I think I will stay the course, as you suggest, until the taper period (three weeks before) and then lower my calories until four days before the race. Then afterward I can cut down to 1200.

Sorry about the weight gain (assuming that's not what you want). Food quantity has always been the most difficult for me also. That's great that you exercise so often. Which kinds of activities do you like? It's amazing how few calories exercise burns compared to how quickly and easily they can be eaten! I agree that the exercise seems necessary at least for maintaining.
 
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Tomato05 replied to Lesveg's response:
Bodypump sounds like a good compromise. And if you slim down but gain muscle, you won't appear bulky, I think, only chiselled and nicely shaped! Abs exercises for instance, makes one's tummy look far better.

I need to lose 10lbs myself. I lost a few pounds a few months ago and was starting to look and feel better and began to fit into my clothes again, when my eating habits changed (after my husband started working in another country and I was left to my own "eating devices" ). I am now at my highest weight this year, sigh.

My sweet tooth is the main thing that needs to be tamed.

I try to exercise 6 times a week: 3 times running (anything between 11km and 14km a time) and abs exercises; the other 3 days I walk uphill (with a few jogging intervals here and there), followed by strength training.

Indeed - exercise does not burn all that many calories. I think of it as something I do for health and relaxation. For weight loss, I have to focus on what I eat (and what I don't eat!).

I hope your training and eating will stay on track. I'm also trying to find ways to improve my random eating, to get more into a schedule.
 
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Lesveg replied to Tomato05's response:
That sounds stressful having your husband work in another country! It would be easy to turn to comfort sweets. I guess if you limit or take away sweets, you could replace them by some other comfort not as troublesome? So difficult! How did you tame the sweet tooth in the past? For me they seem almost addictive unless they are part of something naturally high in fiber (like cherries or other fruit). If it's in the form of sugar and mixed with fat, once I have some I crave them more often.

You've succeeded at this before! I guess one good thing about being 48 is that we have experience with what works and what doesn't. Do you use the food log here?

It sounds like you've really got the exercise under control. I love how varied your program is. You're probably strong and healthy! That's great that you do hills. I've added two days of hill runs per week this year, and they really seem to make a difference in my fitness. I always think they should count as burning more calories than a flat run would, even if I run them a lot more slowly.
 
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Tomato05 replied to Lesveg's response:
I agree - hill running definitely makes one's body work harder (and burns more calories), even if it is slower. I sweat far more when I do them, which is a good sign!

I just crave hard candy;I'm not really one for chocolates or cake (don't even like ice cream) and can eat handfuls of them a day.

The only way to control it, for me, is to allocate a certain time to eat them, e.g. a few pieces after a meal, or something like that.

I'm not logging my food - I know when I'm eating too much without writing it down...Recording my food is somewhat counterproductive for me, as if focuses me on food (just the act of logging, for instance), while I aim to take my thoughts away from food! If I just eat three smallish healthy meals and two healthy snacks a day I will lose weight without analysing it too much.

But food logging seems to work for most people.

Oh, and I have severe osteoporosis - that's what started me exercising 6 years ago, thank goodness for that. I try not to run more than about 30 miles a week, as I am very prone to stress fractures in my feet. The strength training has done wonders for me though.
 
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Lesveg replied to Tomato05's response:
I think I understand about the tendency for food logging to lead to over-focus on food! Definitely being busy with other things makes it easier not to overeat. Plus, for me at least, it's hard to do things moderately, including diet and exercise analysis. I can feel myself getting a bit obsessed about this, but the logging does seem to keep me accountable. Definitely my goal is to learn from it and then wean myself off.

Gosh..so young to have the severe OA. What a challenge. I have mild to moderate in my knees, and even that can slow me down. It does seem like strengthening the muscles around the problem areas helps.

I've been reading a little about how strength training helps with loose skin after weight loss. I don't have a lot of that--just some in my arms and abdomen--but it bothers me. So I'm trying to change my attitude about weights. Going today in fact!

Three small meals and one or two snacks (with a bit of protein at each one) works for me as well. I guess the challenge is keeping the meals small enough! I can't believe how little food it takes to maintain my weight. I've finally realized that eating very healthy food and exercising a lot doesn't do it; I really need to cut way back on calories. *sigh*

BUT...you were right about the weight loss eventually occurring. I finally had a big drop after maintaining (or gaining!) for three weeks. I've lost 9 pounds now in 5 weeks. It just looked for so long as if I'd lost only 1 and a half. I can see why people (and myself in the past) give up too early. I intend to maybe drop another ten if possible, and then focus hard on maintenance. It helps to know this community is here, as quiet as it is sometimes!


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