or don't?


I'm an educated woman but the whole "diet" thing is confusing me. I have a Master of Science and yet I can't work out who is telling the truth and who isn't. everyone seems to believe what they're saying. When I was younger I thought I was fat (what I'd give to be that "fat" again!!!) and tried every diet in the book (without success). swore never to do one again but about 9 years later was forced into reading "Protein Power." it made sense and I tried it. It worked and I was thrilled. Lost 15kgs and felt great. Since then a lot has happened and I have gained 30kgs in the space of 4-5 months from some medication I was on (and went straight off it when I realised what was happening I might add!).

Now, I think I'm eating healthily, but who knows. never believed in counting calories or any of that business but eat a lot of fruit and salad. hardly have chips/chocolate/fried food/etc, exercise at least 3 times a week VERY vigorously and am not shifting ANY weight what-so-ever. this has been going on for over 3 months now. so decided it was time to take a closer look at the old eating habits and think about going back on the high protein/low carb diet again. however, upon investigation through the net I am reading lots of negative things about that diet and lots of positive too. and that goes for most of the diets out there.

who should you believe? when you're at the end of your tether (and believe me I'm there alright) and according to all the "scales" out there are obese, what the heck do you do? who do you believe? starving doesn't work. that just makes it worse. argh!

I know no one has the magic answer, but was wonder if anyone else felt the same. Guess I just wanted to have a moan. all my friends are thin and don't understand. Telling me it's cause of the medicine does not make me feel any better about myself. I know they're trying, but....well, you'll understand if you've been where I am now.


sorry for the marathon of "those" nights.



  • Simple law of science; if energy input is greater than energy output; result --gain weight.If input=output; weight stays same!
    Either increase exercise, or cut calorific intake.I've done both in last 6 months and have lost 2 stone.Now running 5-6 times/week and eating what I want.My weight staying same now,but would like to lose another stone.To do so, I'll have to cut out some more food.Exercising for 1 hour might only burn 500-600cals.
  • I posted this link in another thread, but here it is again. It's an insight into the basics and you can adjust them to your workout and lifestyle:

    Fad diets don't work in the long run. You need to find something that works as a lifestyle rather than labelled a 'diet'.

    My mate is doing the Atkins diet. What's the point? Once she's lost weight and goes back to eating as before she'll just pile it all back on. It's all about educating yourself about nutrition.

    Atkins' is a very very low carb diet, eating mainly protein and fat. So, what does she crave? You guessed it - carbs - chips, crisps, sweet stuff...

    Weight maintenance =
    healthy food choices + exercise

    (Workout at least 3 times a week for maintenance (cardio), but to lose weight I believe you have to work at it everyday until the fat's gone).

    I didn't shift those last lbs until I ran every day and concentrated on my diet by keeping my carbs and fat intake low and my protein intake high.

    Once the weight is gone normal ratios apply.

  • I am a Slimming World convert having loss 2 stone eating plate fulls of pasta one day and plate full of chicken the next!
    If I run I eat more ? for energy I suppose...
    Suits some but not others.
    But your thread struck a cord...
  • I recommend the Dorling Kindersley "K.I.S.S. guide to weight loss".
    It says much the same as Beth and it is in an easy to read format and has loads of links to web sites etc. I was doing slimmers world last year lost two stone and put it back on, this book teaches you new lifestyle habits that are completely workable. My friend and myself have lost three stone through exercise & sensible eating in the last four months. Good Luck
  • I came across an excellent website a few months ago:(
    It's got lots of details about why various diets don't work, and has lots of graphs which appeal to the mathematician in me. Best of all, it's quite a feel good read, which took me several days, and as such kept me away from the fridge for a fair while.
  • A heart rate monitor might be a good idea for you to establish how well you are training. This will allow you to establish whether you are training in the cardiovascular zone that is optimum for burning calories. Before I bought one I used to think I was training within my optimum range 85% of my maximum heart rate but I was only training at 60%.

    Polar watches start about £30 but most decent gyms have equipment with built in heart rate monitors and you just need to hire the belt from them. It might be an idea for get a fitness test at the gym followed by another three months later, if your fitness hasn't improved your not training properly. I see plenty of people at the gym and in fitness classes who just don't push themselves, with a cardio monitor a quick glance at your wrist lets you know your not training properly.

    Combining a good fitness program with any sensible balanced diet will enable you to see improvements.
  • The problem with "dieting", or even trying to eat healthily, is that we're living in the middle of a big conspiracy to get us to do the opposite. High-fat, high-calorie, highly-packaged, low-nutrient foods are extensively marketed, and the food manufacturers have such a stranglehold on the government that you will not read any official healthy eating advice that gives a clear, unequivocal "we're all eating too much, so just eat less, period" or "only eat stuff that doesn't come wrapped in plastic AND cardboard", or challenges us to ask WHY those biscuits have a shelf life of 2 years when fresh food goes off in less than a week.

    Just to complicate matters, although we're eating a bit more than in the 1950s (and don't ever let anyone tell you different), we're also exercising a LOT less in our everyday activities (think of how our grannies did their washing and shopping) and recreationally, unless we make a definite effort to get moving.

    Like Nick, I think the K.I.S.S. Guide to Weight Loss is immensely sensible. Diets packaged in glossy books are a marketing ploy to sell us something we didn't know we needed, not a means to good health.

    And running, since that's why we're here...well, not everyone who runs will turn into a stringbean, but it's a very good way to get the "best" shape that your genes will permit you to have, and it's doing you good even if you don't lose an ounce. It also makes you more aware of your body, and less likely to want to deprive it of essential nutrients by living on rubbish.

    It all boils down to a low-fat, nutrient-dense (fruit and veg, lean meat, bread and grains, bit of low-fat dairy or equivalent) diet and a conscious effort to exercise. It's our choice.
  • Yea V-Rap, I'm with you all the way, very sensible eating advice. Diets don't work in the long run, the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to make a conscious decision to change lifestyle, exercise regularly, and eat 'properly', with an occasional treat. No rule says you can't have the odd piece of choc or pint of beer, just don't binge! Over the years though my metabolism has got used to huge chunks of heavy training so when injured, on holiday, or taking a break, the calories have to be cut back or my weight very swiftly starts to climb. Larmyia - I've found the more I exercise, the less I want to eat!
    Good luck
  • I agree with most of what's been posted. and believe me I've tried. I know it doesn't happen overnight. but no results what-so-ever over 3 or 4 months is disheartening, no matter what anyone says.

    as for running...I love it. but right now it doesn't love me. I have had an ongoing knee problem (not the usual thing) that I'm desperatly trying to find out what is wrong, and what I can do about it. every doc I see contradicts the last one I saw, and you know waiting lists.....6 months later.....on top of that, lately I've been having massive problems with a muscle on the inside of my calf. just started about a month ago, but forced me to stop running for over 3weeks, and the problem doesn't seem to be solved by rest as I'm already feeling it again after a light run. I use the X trainer when not running, but never as fulfilling.

    I think my trouble is that it's not a simple matter of weight loss. of course i know you have to burn more than you eat to lose weight, but since the weight came from medication, my soloution isn't that straight forward.


    shall check out the sites mentioned. however I do think it's an entire life style change and not some quick solution. and I don't think I eat badly anyhoo.

    we'll see.

    thanks all. and best of luck.
  • I recommend entering a marathon. I have lost 6-7Kgs in about 15 weeks whilst training. Not that I really worry about weight, more worried about body fat percentage. I have made the following changes to my diet in addition to training. The first six weeks I spent weight training and running. For the last six weeks I just concentrated on running.

    1) No peanut butter
    2) No pasta (Rice is ok)
    3) No red meat (Take iron supplements instead, dont trust the old mad cow business etc)
    4)Eat more fruit and vege.
    5) No butter on toast or sandwhiches (mayonaise is fine)
    6)Eat more chicken
    7) Drink more water. If I drink fizzy drinks its diet coke, although these are really bad for you anyway. But sometimes one can't help oneself.
    8) No alcohol in last six weeks in countdown till marathon.

    Works for me.
  • it's my dream to run a marathon. but right now am lucky to get 5k in (knee probs etc). for me, I only really drink water (hate fizzy drinks thank god), and eat salad every day with either fish or chicken. I do have to admit to have a baked potato on occassion (and the odd drink...well my drink wasn't odd...).

    but well done jimmers. wish you all the best for the marathon.
  • Get yourself fired from your job and take your employer to court. My wife lost 1.5 stone that way!! (and came out several thousand quid better off)

    OK so thats a bit drastic - but there is a message in there. For six months she concentrated completely on that and nothing else (with my complete support I might add). In all that time she hardly evet just sat in front of the TV all evening. Just the news at 10. So she didn't nibble choccy bics or the like.

    To be honest we now hardly have the thing on - and we've discovered that thats where we ate most of our junk food. So now if we have a free evening we find something else to concentrate on :-))) and we don't get bored and eat junk !!

    Wanna lose weight ?? - bin the box !!
  • I divide people into two groups when it comes to reactions to stress (and nothing is more stressful than pursuing litigation) - those who make adrenaline and lose weight, and those who make cortisol and put weight on. Scientifically a little dubious, but plausible.

    Marathon training certainly made the weight fall off me at a terrifying rate, and without Jimmers's diet (which is a lovely combination of the sensible and the wacky, but hey, if it works for you then why not?) or any other. I ate everything that wasn't nailed down. And people still asked what I was taking myself and maliciously refusing to prescribe for them...
  • Thats very interesting about the stress V-rap, a good theory my wife & I are opposites, I don't eat when stressed , she comforts in food I shall tell her about this as she is having trouble with dieting at the moment, by the way what is Jimmers Diet?
  • Sorry I didn't read the rest of the forum apologies for being a twerp.
  • Second post down on this page, Nick.
  • Yeah I have the same problem Evil Pixie! I tend to eat what I want and try to eat healthy. I am size 10/12 but weigh a ton - I am a stone overweight according to some charts yet at 5 foot 4 don't look fat. I tend not to weigh myself anymore and do the clothes test - if my clothes feel OK then I feel OK. I run regularly and have just started swimming to compliment my running. I eat healthily but do have the odd takeaway and love chocolate. I also have an underactive thyroid so maybe my weight is due to that - but I don't worry about it anymore. Diets can work but I think it is best to be sensible - you can eat wehat you want just not to excess all the time and as a fit person muscles need food.
  • as someone who enjoys running, but is overweight I have faced a similar dilemma. This time last year, I did the GNR carry just over 16st 2 on a 5-11 (male) frame... Yes - i survived, but it wasn't pretty. I decided to give Dr Atkins a go, eating fish mostly grilled and salad together with lo-sugar desserts. The first 4 days or so I craved carbohydrate, but this wore off and I felt good in myself, and with some exercise (swimming was a good low impact sport) I shifted 1.5 stone in about a month.

    Many will recoil at this... and I admit that I have put on a few pounds again since, but I know why - refined carbs and beer! I feel better in myself for having shifted the stone (net) and whilst I know theres more to do, I have shifted to a more "sensible" diet - (for which read balanced) combined with exercise - and am pretty much the master of my own destiny now.

    For an interesting read, you might try "no more Mr fat guy" the book which got me going in the first place!

    Good luck
  • There are so many different approaches to weight loss (as the range of methods in this short thread demonstrates) that it can become confusing. But it shouldn't be! As Runnerbean says it is actually quite clear that you lose weight by expending more energy than you gain from your food intake. If you aren't losing weight then you need to exercise more or eat less (or both). But when I wanted to lose weight earlier this year I realised that this glib fact was useless without any numbers to give it meaning. So I did a bit of research to see what it meant in terms of how much dieting and how much exercise.

    I wanted to lose a modest 2 lbs a week which is a 'safe' amount often recommended by doctors. What I discovered was that there are approximately 3,500 calories in each pound so to lose a 'modest' 2lbs a week by dieting alone I must eat 7,000 calories less each week than the amount my body required to "tick over". I don't know about you but eating 1,000 calories less a day is not even close to being on my agenda! In fact dieting to any degree just doesn't work for me - I'm with the raptor on this one excpet even if it's nailed down I'll probably do my best to eat it!

    It had to be exercise. But again, the question is how much exercise equals 7,000 calories - or 2 lbs weight loss - a week? I had to swot up on how much calories are burned per hour for various activities and then fit that into 7,000 calories. For example running at 7mph is around 1,000 calories per hour (depending on runner's weight, weather, etc) so 7 hours of running at 7mph would fit the bill. But what worked for me was cycling. I cycle at about 14mph which expends around 700 calories per hour so I lost weight (about two stone in a little over two months) by fitting in at least 10 hours on my bike per week (or 140 miles).

    Obviously you could lose 2 lbs by combining less intensive exercise with a slight reduction in dietary intake but it has to total the magic 7,000 calories to work!

    Here are some of the links I came across when doing the research. I can't vouch for their reputation as I came across these using search engines but they were useful for me at the time:

    Calories burned during physical exercise:

    Burning versus reducing calories:

    Hope this helps!

  • Just realised my photo is quite funny in the context of this discussion. That's the 'before' photo when I was 15 1/2 stone!

    I really should have stuck a picture of a grasshopper up there. Maybe I still will some time!
  • grasshopper... are you following me?
  • Bouncer - are you suggesting I did a search on "bouncer" to see what nonsense you've been posting around here ;-)

    Anyway - I've updated the photo (subject to approval of course). Are you ever going to submit something?
  • not enough pixels!
    (my apologies for this abuse of a serious thread)
  • I've managed to lose approx 2.5 stone over the last two years or so by not dieting. I've made small but sensible changes to the things I eat and my eating habits but most of all I watch the fat content of foods. No more than 3g fat per 100 cals is a really useful guide and you can probably manage even the rough maths in your head at the shops. I'm vegetarian and eat heaps of fruit (not so much veg) - I'd have trouble keeping down to 5 portions a day! My 'rules', changes?
    No pastry, if at all possible.
    Don't keep alcohol in the house.
    If you don't buy it you can't eat it.
    3g fat/100cals
    No snacking with the children, if they have drink plus something, I'll just have drink.
    Low fat spread of course
    Get stroppy when eating out - no olive oil all over stuff
    Don't get hung up about it all. If you're out enjoying yourself then have a treat and don't beat yourself up. In the long run, you'll win.

    And yes, I run 15-30 miles a week and do 3x1hour weights training sessions. The running burns off cals and has all the other benefits - cv fitness etc and the weights increase my muscle mass which keeps my metabolic rate up so I burn more cals even when doing nothing.

    I'm not a stick-bean either, 5'7", 11st5lb.

    I've never measured myself, I go by clothes, do they fit or not? I've had a fantastic time in the last couple of weeks buying some size 14 things without trying the 16s first, and they fitted! Can't remember how long it is since I last bought a size 14 anything.

    If you take the long-term, sensible approach with small, permanent changes to exercise and eating, it will work.
  • just half way through my nutri bar and I came across this forum - now it's in the bin as I think I was eating it because it was yummy and not because I was hungry. Now that I've put it in the bin I think I was actually hungry! oh bummer
  • Gillian if you have any nutri bars you don't want lying around can you send them to me ...

    Actually just posting because I wanted to underline what Karen said about "if you don't buy it you can't eat it". God that has to be the golden rule for sensible eating!
  • Grasshopper, it doesn't work when you have several 24-hour supermarkets within easy reach of where you live and a 24-hour petrol station about 200 yards away. Not to mention endless fast-food outlets (very happy rats and starlings around here).

    I don't find having food in the house a problem. My cupboards and three freezers are always overflowing, there are cereal bars and biscuits and crisps and suchlike by the ton (children's lunchboxes and a serious bulk-buying habit), I have a bit of something if I fancy it, but am far more likely to have a stress-induced (or hunger-induced) binge at work.

    If I lived alone it might be a much bigger problem. At least now when I provide enormous quantities of food I know I don't have to eat it all myself or let it go to waste.
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