What I may be doing wrong

It is incredibly difficult for me to lose weight. No matter what I do it is creeping up, gram by gram. (I weigh in metric because I find it easier).

Age may be a factor. I'm 78. I'm aware that weight control gets more difficult because of muscle loss. That said...I also take levothyroxine 75 mcg daily, have been doing so for a few years now. I think I may be doing that wrong too. From tomorrow morning I'll take it an hour before breakfast. Have just read 'if you're the only person in your WeightWatchers group who isn't losing weight...' well, I'm not in a WW group but I certainly am not losing weight - as I said, it's creeping on daily, gram by gram.

I also heard a consultant on the TV programme 'Weight Loss Ward' recently say 'It's not rocket-science, if you eat 3 meals a day you WILL lose weight'. I've heard of so many people who've lost weight simply by knocking the 'snacking' habit on the head. I saw a woman on there who keeps an accurate and honest food diary - she listed every chocolate bar and every biscuit (and there were many). She started to lose wight just by knocking those.

What do I eat? Today for breakfast I had 45g of County Foods' 'luxury' muesli with semi-skimmed milk

and half a banana, half a slice of Hovis Granary toast and a smear of Tiptree marmalade. Late lunch - a meaty stew with carrots, onions, Savoy cabbage, half an orange. I don't normally have a lot for the rest of the day. Maybe 150g cottage cheese.

What don't I eat? Any biscuits, ready-meals, take-aways. No fizzy pop. No added sugar.

Exercise: 3 x week aqua-aerobics.

I should weigh no more than 8 stone for my height. I got down to 10 1/2 but am creeping back up - about 11 1/4 now. Oh, and I had a reduction mammoplasty almost a year ago (in the private sector), bra size now A/B rather than GG.

Any suggestions welcome,

40 Replies

  • Hi Margrete

    I hope that changing your medication routine helps stop the weight gain. We hear so many experts telling us that losing weight is easy, but if it was easy why do so many people have a problem?

    The one thing in your diet that might need a second look is the luxury muesli, check how much sugar is in it. Perhaps you could have a boiled egg to go with your toast?

    Hope you can sort out your weight.

  • The reason why I buy this particular type of muesli is that it has NO added sugar! I discovered it by accident when we were in the north of England and we visited a farm shop/tea-room. I was happy to discover it in a farm shop nearer home. I think they only stock farm shops - I haven't seen anything similar in any supermarket, all the usual brands have added sugar. Kellogg's is particularly bad.

    I didn't have a boiled egg after the muesli because it is so filling, but normally, our breakfast includes an egg. Today we had boiled egg, toast, marmalade. I was up early for a pee and I took the levothyroxine then.

    I'm going to aqua-aerobics this morning.

  • Hopefully your new medicine regime will help. I meant to say "Have an egg instead of the muesli" but I see that you are!

    I am a little younger than you and have found that the only way to control my weight is to limit my carbohydrates. I don't eat any cereals, have replaced potatoes with cauliflower and pasta with courgette 'ribbons'. The man who wrote the 5:2 diet suggested that this would work if you could not do the 5:2 diet. I had to make the changes gradually.

    Good luck Margrete.

  • We get our muesli from Lidl and this week, I picked up the sugar-free one to find out how many less calories it had than my normal one. I was horrified to realise that the sugar-free had more calories and more fat than the normal one. It's only the sugar that is different. I'll be sticking to my usual and enjoying the sugar.

  • I'm 64 and lost three stone in six months on the 5:2 Diet. I never eat breakfast as I find that once I've 'opened the gates' I want to keep eating all day long. A programme you'd find very interesting is this BBC Horizon programme that aired in August 2012 (http://vimeo.com/54089463) with Dr Michael Mosley. I think you'd find it very edifying. Also, try listing everything you eat on MyFitnessPal (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/). I think that might explain why you're putting on weight little by little. You need to eat less than you expend in energy.

  • We're all different. I never want to 'keep eating all day long'! Following breakfast, I probably won't eat anything until a very late lunch. I don't feel hungry and I don't want anything to eat. We usually have a reasonable lunch and then I shan't want anything else for the rest of the day.

  • I said that was how I was, not generalising. I'd still recommend you watch that programme and log everything you eat for a few days. You might want to work out how many calories you actually need to live on. You can do that on this calculator (http://thefastdiet.co.uk/how-many-calories-on-a-non-fast-day/) and the description on the left of the page explains all the terminology. You need to eat less than your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) in order to lose weight.

  • Is there a diet plan for the 5:2 diet - would like to give it a go but need some suggestions for what to eat and drink on the 2 low calorie days?

  • Basically you eat 500 calories on those two days. You can divide those up as you like. Do watch the programme I've mentioned above, and there is an excellent book by Kate Harrison called The 5:2 Diet which tells you all about it and gives you lots of ideas. It's on Kindle at only £1.99. This video might help too

  • Many thanks - I looked at the video - will give the book a go

  • I read your replies to margrete and thought how sensible and measured they were. Well done and I agree wholeheartedly. I hope margrete won't give up but will just keep trying new ideas. I think sometimes (and I was VERY guilty of this) we tell ourselves that we are eating less/sensibly, etc.. I broke this habit - which generally included all the 'right' foods, but as a rule I was simply eating portions that were far too large - last Jan when I started Weight Watchers at over 15st. (This, according to the stats, made me 3.5st overweight and 'obese'! Grim). I have now lost 2.5 stone and one more to go and think I am 'ready' for the regime of the 5:2. I am 55 and very busy/active so knew I would probably only manage a slow weight loss program to keep up my energy - which has proved really successful. I even managed to get through Christmas with only a small wt gain - which I have now quickly shed. I think for me the long, slow approach has really changed entrenched habits and set me firmly on the right road for the future. But new ideas are always brilliant....

    Thanks therefore for the links and info. I found the prog you mentioned so enlightening also.

    What a great group this is.

    Thank you Gingernut and congratulations on your fantastic success!

  • Thank you. You've just made my day! The best thing I've found about 5:2 is that, having reached my goal weight (well less actually - I'm now a size 10 and I was a 16) I now just fast one day a week but I keep a weekly eye on the scales so that the odd pound doesn't become more. Thank you again! xxx

  • Well, you've inspired me with your wisdom and good sense - and not to mention success. So I've now trawled the sites, etc., and am 100% ready to go. Thank you again

  • You are not alone! I am approaching 70, a keen gardener and fairly active. Since I started on this diet I have put on about 4lb. I checked out the number of calories I should be eating for my age, weight and height and this came out at 965 calories. It is hard to stick to such a low amount. I generally go without breakfast or have a slice of toast and marmalade. Something like beans on toast for lunch, and a portion of the (healthy) meal I have cooked for the family on a small plate to cut down portion size. To this I have added aerobics (at home to a video) four times a week, to fit in with the plan. Evenings are my downfall - my mind constantly suggests I might like to eat something nice!! I don't keep any snacks in the house - but often give in to temptation and have another couple of slices of toast - I could do with going to bed at 7pm after tea!!!!

  • zoeharcombe.com/?wpdmact=pr...

    I found the above link very useful for me, zoe is a nutritionalist with 20+ years of study towards a doctorate, so soon to be a professor. She explains that energy in doesn't equal energy out, all calories are not equal, five a day is a marketing ploy. Basically her diet advice is to eat real food, avoid carbs if you want to lose weight and don't avoid fat, for instance skimmed milk has no fat which would make you feel fuller for longer as the fat is good but has more sugar in the form of lactose which makes you hungry as it raises your blood sugar and creates the conditions where your body wants to store unused energy in the form of body fat. Her advice is to eat what you like but don't eat carbs, sugars, sweeteners etc and by not eating those macro nutrients your body doesn't need to regulate your sugar levels, doesn't produce insulin so can't make body fat. It's a bit simple but it is well worth listening to what she has to say, lots of videos are available on YouTube.

    These are only my thoughts on what you have said, all I would say is look at the factual information submitted by a growing number of doctors and scientists and not by the utter rubbish pushed by the food industry that fat is bad and sugar laden processed food is good. You would be amazed at how much sugar was in your muesli, and that is meant to be healthy!

  • OK, I'll repeat it - County Foods muesli has NO added sugar. It is not one of the mueslis you see commonly in supermarkets, Alpen etc. I can't check on the packet because I put it all into a container, but I specifically looked for a muesli without added sugar.

  • Okay, only trying to help, my mistake, good luck x

  • I like Zoe Harcombe's approach. I like the idea of eating 'real food'. 'Real food' was what we grew up with, in a time of rationing, and usually it was whatever was in season. It would be carby veg at this time of year - turnips, swedes, carrots, Brussels sprouts. I never grew up with the 'snacking' habit and sweets were rationed, so they've never been my problem.

  • Are you drinking enough water? I was having trouble shedding the Ibs (only losing 1Ib a month, eating between 1200-1500 cals a day and exercising using a rowing machine 50mins a day 6x a week) problem was, I wasn't drinking enough, so I upped my intake of water to 2ltrs a day and now I'm losing between 1-2Ibs a week. I know everyone is different but thought I'd mention as a suggestion. Good luck with it.

  • This could be part of it.

  • i know i am younger than you, but i am on 125mg levothyroxine, i got a diet sheet from my doctor and i have lost about 9.5 kg so far. i think it maybe down to the type of food you eat, muesli is not on my diet.

  • I've just checked out your muesli on MyFitnessPal. It's 166 calories for your 45g bowlful and contains 11g of sugar.

  • I just looked for County Foods luxury muesli on the site you quoted, and they don't have it. This type of muesli has no added sugar.

  • There's no County Foods luxury muesli on Google so I thought you might have meant Country Foods. On your packet, how many calories does it say per 100g?

  • It wasn't in a packet but a bag, and unfortunately I've thrown the bag away because it's easier to keep in a plastic container. No, definitely not Country Foods - County. I bought it specifically because it has no added sugar. What it contains - basically oats, nuts and some dried fruit. No sugar at all!

  • Nuts and dried fruit are both very high in calories. Just as long as you're aware of that, so maybe you can find a bag next time you're in that shop and have a look. That's why I said it's so important to log everything if you want to see why you're putting on weight. MyFitnessPal is excellent and, if you have a smartphone, it even has a barcode reader to make life easier.

  • Yes, I'm aware of the dried fruit and nuts. There have been several comments about my muesli. I should have pointed out that a helping of muesli forms only a small part of what I eat, overall, in a week. I might have a bowl of muesli twice in a week!

    All the time I've been taking levothyroxine, I've been doing it wrong. There are things in food which can block the absorption, and it MUST be taken on an empty stomach, i.e. early in the morning. I'm now doing that.

    It's now almost 1 pm and I don't feel hungry. We had planned to go out to the farm shop this morning - Lathcoats Farm Shop at Galleywood near Colchester - but my husband isn't well. He's got the nasty chesty cold that I had back in December and after a disturbed night he's gone back to bed. We did have scrambled eggs with onion for breakfast, and that keeps us full for a long time. We'll probably have meat-balls when he wakes up.

    I haven't got a smartphone so I can't use the 'app' suggested. Our mobile phones make and receive phone calls and that's it!

    I read Zoe Harcombe's book and what she wrote made a lot of sense to me. I really do NOT want to have to spend what remains of my life logging every scrap that passes my lips. The result of that can be feelings of guilt, and I don't want that.

    I don't eat cake, biscuits, burger buns, chips, white bread, anything at all with added sugar. There's no way at all that I would eat any of the advertised cereals - Kellogg's purports to be so 'healthy' but is full of sugar. Gradually over time, I've discovered the drawbacks of even 'organic' cereals. I used to like Dorset Cereals or Jordan's. Actually, Jordan's do have a sugar-free muesli.

  • I don't count calories now, but it was useful initially to see exactly how many calories I was eating in a day, so where I was going wrong - and you did ask for help as you thought you were doing something wrong! MyFitnessPal can also be accessed on your computer and it is very useful, if only at first as you say.

  • I do look at calories if I'm eating something which states clearly the number of calories. This is often not possible because we cook a lot of things ourselves, the meaty stew we had a few days ago, for example. Today, because my husband wasn't feeling well and went back to bed, we had 'lunch' very late, about 3.15 pm. It added up to approx 560 calories. Meatballs 305 calories for 6, pack of stir-fry 255 calories, then half an orange.

    I'm also making a conscious effort to drink more fluids.

  • I appreciate it's difficult when to cook from scratch as I do. I used to weigh the ingredients and as them to MyFitnessPal as a recipe. I'd then portion it out and freeze in containers so I knew then the calorie content of each of my 'ready meals'. I agree it was a bit of a faff but six months later I'd lost three stone and could stop being strict. I now just fast one day a week and generally just eat one meal that day and I now tend to know how many calories everything contains.

  • We went to the farm shop this afternoon and I specifically picked up a bag of Luxury Muesli by County Foods. It lists all the ingredients but not in quantities, and it does not state the calorie count.

    Nevertheless it is delicious and as I eat it so infrequently I'm not going to get hung-up about it.

  • Just a quickie - the correct spelling is 'lose' as in you lose weight so your clothes are then loose. ;)

  • Even though there is no added sugar, there are still natural sugars in fruit. If you look at the Dorset county cereal, it has no added sugar but a 45g serving is 31.7g carbs of which 13.2g of which sugars. I've had to stop eating things like that as I don't lose weight and also I don't have bread, pasta, potatoes and rice as they bloat me. Instead I have poached eggs for breakfast, soup e.g. Covent garden, for lunch with a yogurt then a chicken breast with roasted veg or chicken stir fry for tea. I'll have satsumers and an apple for snacks. If you are not losing weight I would speak to your doctor and see if they can work out what it may be. It may be your medication . Good luck, I know it's hard when you don't lose weight and you've tried everything :-)

  • I agree with what you say about the 'bloating'. I've often noticed that. If we go shopping we often pick up some wholemeal rolls and they are lovely - but the following day, there's the bloating. Pasta - no, don't eat, or very very rarely. Same with rice - rarely. We make our own soup with whatever veg are in season.

  • Wheat seems to upset a lot of people. I can't eat anything with gluten in.

    If you are interested in the Zoe Harcombe approach then this is another useful site.


  • Thanks for this. I'll definitely give it a serious look. We're going to our favourite farm shop in a little while - I'll get some of the gluten-free rolls that they make there, also have a look at the muesli bags, read the contents etc.

  • I know they make gluten-free rolls but they were all sold-out, too close to the end of the day probably. We bought an artisan sourdough loaf with olives instead. The first rhubarb of the year in there and we've had some for tea.

  • Sounds lovely.

  • I've just been to the GP's surgery to get the results of my recent blood-tests. Everything is fine. My cholesterol levels are fine, even though I don't take statins!! The levothyroxine I'm taking is the correct level for me - there was some concern a couple of years ago but now my thyroid level is on the middle of the normal range. Fasting blood-sugar is normal, so no diabetes ( even though DiabetesUK put me down as 'at risk' of developing Type II if I didn't lose more weight). Blood-pressure is normal, liver and kidney function is fine. I weigh about 3 stone more than the 'ideal', but given those blood results today, seems as if I could live to 100!!

    Came back from the surgery and we had 2 eggs scrambled between us, one slice of toasted Hovis granary bread each with a scrape of marmalade, coffee with almond milk. We saw almond milk advertised and wanted to try it. It's fine in coffee or cereal, not in tea!!

    I'm doing 3 x week aqua-aerobics and maybe not too much need to worry.

  • I should be 8. and a half stone to 9for my height I don't drink alcohol fizzy drinks but the weight is slowly creeping up Because of medical issues I am not as active as. I used to be My meals are cooked from scratch but. I must be doing something wrong

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