Not sure I'm doing it right, can anyone help please?

I have restricted my calorie intake to 1400-1500 a day and my daily exercise sessions burn an average of 650-750 calories. My quest started back in Feb to lose 5.5 stone, sort my elevated B pressure out and bring my cholesterol level to an acceptable range. So far, I have lost almost three stone and counting. My problem is that I am not too sure whether the level of food restriction I am applying could be harming me, I burn my calories mainly on the tread mill in 45 minute sessions 5-6 times a week. My weight is coming down, but not too sure if I am burning fat or muscle? I have eliminated so many foods that I associated with weight gain, which doesn’t leave me much to choose from, so I a struggling to find food that I can eat. My GP has given me the cut & paste type of advice you find on the back of a serial packet. I need to know whether I am over doing it, I need to find food to sustain my exercise routine, and I also need to be sure that this exercise routine is right for me. Can anyone help please. (male. 63- 6.1- 16.5 ST. down from 19.2 back in mid-Feb)

Thank you

8 Replies

  • Hi getmeslim01,

    Firstly, well done - that's one very significant step in the right direction!

    If my maths is right, you've lost about 18 kgs in about 13/14 weeks, so on average your weight loss is about 1.3 kg a week which is the over the maximum recommended rate for weight loss of 1 kg (2.2 lbs) a week (on average).

    I'd advise against letting your weight loss rate get that fast and woud suggest that for the amount of exercise you're doing you should slightly up your calorie intake to slow your weight loss down a bit.

    You're seemingly doing plenty of exercise - that's good too and helps in more ways than just the actual burn of calories.

    Unless you have severely restricted your carbohydrate intake it's highly unlikely you're using any significant amount of protein (from muscle) as fuel. It's much more probable you are using glycogen (stored carbohydrate) and stored fat. Reducing your store of fat is consequentially reducing your body weight. You would normally only burn protein if your glycogen stores were exhausted (marathon running, genuine ongoing starvation events, anorexia and those sorts of extreme sitations).

    One word of advice is not to play off your exercise calories against your calorie intake as it can tempt you - as quite a few people do - to go into the gym or whatever and burn 100 kcal and then have an energy drink and a snack and put back into your system 300 or 400 kcals!

    Whilst you are on a "diet" and therefore eating less, it IS important to make sure you're getting in the full range of nutrients, so variety does really help. But there is quite a bit of information about nutrition and food on the NHCChoices pages:-

    My quick tips about that are:

    Don't totally exclude any type of food - you need some fat and some carbohydrate in the mix

    Get plenty of green veg as well as the fruit and other veg

    And don't forget the fish.

    If you've not already seen it you may find the free 12 week plan helpful - see losing weight - getting started at the top of this page:-

    As far as eliminating foods go - well, o.k. chuck out the fatty, creamy, sweet and expecially the 'empty calories'. But you can actually eat some high-calorie foods - you just have to do it in small amounts and only occasionally.

    And size DOES matter - that's portion size I'm talking about!

    Good luck with your weight loss journey.

  • Hi,

    You've got 2 issues here, whether your diet is ok and whether your exercise regime is ok for your needs.

    First of all, when did you see the doctor, was it recently? Were they aware of your weight loss and the time frame in which you have done it? If so and they have given you 'one size fits all' advice then they must think your rate of weight loss is ok.

    By my calculations you started off with a BMI of around 35, and its now down to around 30.

    And you have a weight loss of around 2.8lbs per week.

    Now, the average and guideline amount for healthy weight loss is 1-2lbs a week, with more expected in the first few weeks. It also goes to say that the heavier you are, the more you tend to lose (as you have more to lose!).

    If you just look at the 2.8lbs per week figure you could say you were losing weight too fast, but I suspect that you may have had larger weight losses at the beginning which is upping your average.

    The recommendation for men on the NHS 12 week plan is 1900 calories a day.

    If you feel you lack energy then you can afford to up your calorie intake. The 'healthiest' carbs are brown and wholemeal bread, rice and pasta. Just make sure you weigh out the portion so you have the correct portion size and you are not eating too much.

    As for your exercise, again as long as you are not giving yourself any injuries or pushing yourself further than is good for your fitness level, then I say ok!

    You may want to vary what you do on the treadmill so you and your body doesn't get bored/used to the run.

    You could add in some light weights to help strengthen/tone/build some muscle, which will also help with posture and physique.

    Are you at a gym or do you just have a treadmill at home?

    Try using some of the other cardio machines for something different. The cross trainer is a good all-round machine and you can concentrate on different areas of your body.

    Also, if you are at a gym you could ask the member of staff for some help/guidance.

    Sorry for the long reply, I could go on forever! Hope this helps.

  • omg so sorry for the triple post - bloomin website! deleting!

  • Hi bunblebeaz,

    thank you for the advice.

    I have seen the blood nurse for blood and weighing in three times since I started; she seems very pleased with my progress, but truthfully, I feel it is all left to me to find out for myself regarding food, exercise regime, potential injuries etc..

    Sew my GP and took him a printed list of my food restrictions, which is a very extensive, the only item he advised me to reinstate was milk.

    I also showed him my training computer data and the improvement in my Max HR and my cardiovascular fitness and aerobic capacity. (VO2MAX). and lets say that his advice wasn’t even in the neighbourhood of what I am getting off you guys. However, I am learning each day as I go,

    I think the view of upping my calorie intake has a scientific base, since I have noticed over the last week that my body is slowly becoming reluctant to going up to 100% of my heart capacity as I train, which I have been wondering about

    I opted for the treadmill (at home) option as it seemed more vigorous than other modes of exercises, and in my simplistic view, it was the shortest cut to loosing the weight.

    I also have a basic rower at home, which I used up to 2 weeks ago when I did 20-30 min rowing following 30 min on the mill, but recently I swapped that for 45 min on the mill with the last 15 being on incline after 30 on a variant.

    Ref my exercise routine, my view was that my options were severely limited with 20 stone weight tag, so I thought of concentrating on weight loss and when my weight is reduced, I can explore other modes of exercises.

    I will definitely take on board the advice regarding types of food. Is it unhealthy to substitute two thirds of my wholemeal bread with high fiber rivita and crackers? I have a feeling this is wrong!

    Thanks again for every thing.

  • Its a shame your doctor doesn't seem to take an interest.

    But at least look at it on the bright side - that you can't be doing too much wrong.

    Maybe you could push your nurse for a bit more information and ask about seeing a dietician if you are that worried?

    As for replacing your bread with Ryvita - I wouldn't simply because they taste like cardboard!

    Also you say you have wholemeal bread, its better than the white stuff so as long as you are not eating masses of bread a day (which I don't think you could be with the amount of calories you are eating) I don't see the need.

    Some people will say not to eat bread at all, some people say only x days a week, but on my journey I have stuck to the calories and eaten bread in moderation. I've not cut anything out as such unless it used up too much calories in a portion. Its been portion control and calorie counting for me.

    Your doing a lot more exercise than me so keep at it - again if your bored try going back to the rower or a different programme on the treadmill. Or you could aim for a certain target like x distance in y time.

    You could try the couch to 5k programme on the nhs site (you may need to start a few weeks in).

  • Have you tried downloading the myfitness app ? it will show you exactly what your intake is in terms of protein etc so long as your taking in enough protein to maintain this sort of weight loss then it may just be because you have more weight to lose, chicken and turkey breasts are a high protein to calorie ratio and ideal for diet and fairly versatile for recipes. there are plenty enough websites that tell you based on weight height age etc just how much daily protein you need eg me female 33 5'6 203lb my daily protein intake was to be around 105g per day in order to ensure I was losing fat and stored carbs and not muscle i dont quite manage this but then I havent been exercising so Im not too concerned as soon as I start going to the gym Im going to add a protein supplement to my morning shakes, my bf at 32 5'6 and 265lb hisrecommended daily protein was 135g per day hes probably managing this well so we can be pretty sure hes losing fat and carbs over muscle we also have a set of fancy scales that measures body fat etc

    the recommended cal intake for female is 1400 on a diet so i think youre at least another 200 short in your daily intake especially if youre exercising !!!! ive restricted mine to 1200 but for me thats an increase on what i normally eat im a starver because I have ibs and have avoided food to prevent negative effects of food consumption on my body and im not exercising im sure once i start hitting the gym regularly im going to have to increase it

    good luck and well done so far but you dont want to make yourself ill by doing it too fast

  • Stored fat is a useful thing to reduce but I have my doubts about being able to reduce "stored carbs". There is a really good article about carbs here

    Essentially a small amount of carbs are stored in the muscles ready to use - this is as nature intended and an essential part of the the body's energy systems.

    Any additional carb intake WILL be stored as fat if it cannot be used so at that point the cabs have become sugar and then are stored as fat. The healthy form of carb fuel is called "glycogen" is also the only fuel the brain can use.

  • Well done on your 3 stone lost getmeslim01

    I started mid Feb. almost lost 2 stone, I wish I could say I am down 3 stone.

    That will be my next goal.

    good luck with your next 2.5 Stone

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