The gym hasn't worked!

Been going to the gym almost every day since mid-December and haven't lost a pound! Have toned up though but want to lose weight. I stuck to low cal diet for a week and a half when first joined and lost nothing so despaired and gave up cal counting. On here to try and combine gym and diet. Only thing is, gym makes you hungry! Fibre not very appealing....but here goes....

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  • Hey welcome to the group. When you gave up cal counting did you go back to eating what you wanted? Sometimes it can take a while for your body to adjust. I would suggest for the hunger have a light meal or snack an hour before you go and plan a healthy snack for afterwards, you may be eating the same as your burning which will just make you maintain. Toning up is a good sign that your body is responding to the exercise but what you eat is half the battle. Hope this site helps and you reach your goal

  • Hi Arragirl1, I find that exercise alone isn't enough - last year I did a long charity bike ride and was cycling 50 plus miles a day and didn't shift any weight! I have just joined this site with the hope of shifting a stone on the 12 week plan. I am running at the moment, I'm doing a 10k charity run in a few weeks, but I am not using the running as an excuse to be able to eat what I want - I'm logging everything on myfitnesspal and will stick to 1400 calories a day. Fingers crossed! I find drinking loads of water helps, also keeping away from sugary processed stuff. Good luck!

  • It doesn't matter how active you are, if you continue to take in foods that raise your insulin/IGF-1 levels your body will be primed to store fat, and while you store fat you can't use it for fuel.

  • Concerned how true, insulin is a very fattening product I overestimated my insulin at tea time and I have been grazing all evening - and have had a roll for extra carbs i am tired and have a massive headache :(

  • Exercise for Health change what you eat to lose fat weight. Fat Gain is very different to Losing "Fat", if become sedentary or your level of activity changes and you continue to eat the same the chances are you will gain fat, increase your level of activity again and you won't necessarily burn fat as it requires a number specific biochemical criterias to be met.

    In simple terms you need to be critical about what you are eating for successful and permanent Fat loss.

    Good Luck :)

  • With regards to your question on excercise, the advice I've heard from Michael Moseley (who presented the original BBC Horizon documentary on the 5:2 diet) is that it is good to do for other 'health' benefits but not very effective for loosing weight.

    Fat is very dense store of calories (7000 calories per Kg). So you need to run over 40 miles to loose 1 Kg of fat (If running intensely at 160 calories per mile) . In practice, most people 'reward' themselves when they do so much excercise, so the benefit for weight loss is very questionable....

    The best way to loose weight is to reduce the overall calories you consume. For me the 5:2 diet was effective as the fast days helped reduce the size of my stomach and appetite. I have found it easier for me to focus on fasting two days a week (you can usually reduce this to one day a week when you've reached your target weight) and then not to have to worry too much about what I eat over the rest of the week. Although in practice, you naturally tend to eat more healthily the rest of the week as you put so much effort into your fast days.

  • Have you considered the NHS weight loss programme?

    You may find, ironically, that you get some good results from adding meditation or relaxation sessions to help you adjust to weight loss being a long term project which means true life changes - often a much more uncomfortable prospect than we want to admit. Be compassionate with yourself - not as in 'anything goes', you still need to hold yourself to account. There's a definite hint of being in a tearing hurry and punishing your body in your post (unless you really enjoy the gym - and you've done really well to make it a habit)

    People take all sorts of approaches to losing weight which work for them. The thing which seems to unite the successful ones is how they respond when they are not making the progress they hoped for or have not stuck to whatever their plan was for a day or a week or whatever.

  • Thank you. Possibly I have used the excuse of going to the gym every day to be even a bit more lax in my eating. Have stepped up my cardio to 30 mins a day as recommended in the NHS programme and hopefully that will help. We all like to see a little bit of fast result at the start to keep motivated!

  • Having seen my husband lose weight quickly in our first four weeks of trying when I lost nothing at all... followed by him giving up and me losing all the weight I needed to over 2 years... maybe not for me.

  • Yep. That's exactly what I did, too.

    "Well, I've just done 6 miles on the cross-trainer and an hour of weights, so a kebab or a visit to the pub/chippy tonight can't do any harm, can it?"

    I got fitter, put on muscle and tightened everything up, sure. But I didn't lose a pound in 12 months. Gosh, I wonder why? :-)

    Now I'm doing things "scientifically" instead, based on calculating my total energy expenditure (TEE) in calories/week. I count every single thing that goes into my mouth, write it in a spreadsheet, and ensure that I eat significantly fewer calories than my weekly TEE. It was time-consuming at the start, but now it mostly just involves copying and pasting old items, especially if I plan my meals properly.

    It's a bit geeky, but it's working for me. Counting by the week means that if I lapse and have a bad day, it doesn't screw everything up. Nothing is forbidden, so long as I count everything and compensate by eating less at other times.

    I started the year 180cm (5'11") and 117kg (18st 5lbs). I'm down 8kg in 2 months so far. If I eat fewer than 18000 calories/week, I WILL lose weight. If I can stick to 1500/day for a while (a calorie deficit of 7500 calories/week), I WILL lose a kilo per week. Only 25 weeks to go, then... :-(

    The first 3 weeks were really hard work. I was obsessing about snacks and "the wrong" foods, and I felt permanently hungry. But that has gone away and, now that I have settled into the right mindset, I don't feel the need to stuff my face.

    I've also noticed that my food shopping costs a fraction of what it used to. Win, win!

  • I want to get to that bit where you see food as fuel and you don't miss cheese.

  • I'm allowing myself cheese (my biggest weakness, too!), so long as I make up for it elsewhere. At least cheese does keep you feeling full for a while.

    I think the real key is to embrace the feeling of being hungry during the first few weeks until you get used to eating less and your tum stops rumbling.

  • It's would be a shame not to see food as a pleasure too.

    Perhaps have a look at your balance of carbs/protein/fat. I have found that cutting down on carbs like bread and cereals, but not on protein and fat, was the best way for me to lose weight. It's not just about the calories, because different food has different effects on your body.

  • You did not tell us your start weight or your waist size even BMI so maybe you are a healthy weight now?

    Don't try to improve on nature, BUT if you're 13 stone and 5 ft tall. then forget you ever saw this, please.

  • Ha ha.....13stone and 2lb and 5ft 6....you were not far off the mark. Lost inches but not weight since going to gym.

  • Well done. You're 4lbs lighter than I was 4 weeks ago. I am now 12st 9lbs. I may be shot for sugesting it but does 5:2 ring any bells for you. I try to keep below 1000 kcal two day a week and below 1900 other days.

    Obviously as a 5ft 10, man I have an advantage, why not try 900 and 1500 for yourself?

    I would like to know how you get on?

    PS. those last to figures are higher than the official "fast day" and the suggest upper limit for this site but hey, it works for me, and if you keep on exercising, as I do, it might for you!

    I don' go to the Gym though, just use hand weights and an exercise band. They are readily available and there are net sites with good videos easy to find.

  • Hiya,

    After six weeks at the gym (some cardio, mostly weight training) I actually put on a small amount of weight. But I use a scale which measures BMI and body fat mass and percentage, which I realised are much better numbers to go by. My body fat percentage had dropped by over 4% and my body fat mass by over 2kg, even though I had gained 'weight'. The gain was presumably muscle mass.

    The scale I use is at my gym but I have also seen them at some Tesco stores and other places. You might have to pay a pound but it gives a lot more than a standard scale, so you could try to find one for better and more satisfying comparisons :)

  • Yes, those are the machines which shout out instructions and embarrass you! From my experience, I think if you want to see the weight come off, you have to step up the cardio component. For instance, I have worn out the abdominal trainer at the gym. Used it much more than other weight machines. Use of other weight machines have toned me up everywhere else, but not one iota of change in my tummy! That has been coming up for 3 months now. I think it is toned up under there, but just need to get rid of the fat on top!

  • Oh really? That's rubbish, mine is silent aha. Just words on a screen :) I'm the same though, my core is as strong as my body builder boyfriend yet he has abs and I have nothing! Full body weight exercises like squats are good as they integrate weights and cardio. Have you tried High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), for instance sprinting for one minute and walking or jogging the next minute, for say 15 minutes? It's a good way to up the cardio work as you say, without it taking loads of time.

    Plus as people say above, it's generally agreed that weight loss is 30% exercise and 70% diet so it might be worth reviewing everything :)

  • I have been trying the interval training on the treadmill at the gym but have had bad chest cold for a few weeks so wasn't getting anywhere. Usually just do cross trainer, rowing and cycling. I'm going to step it up again.

  • Your comment on gaining muscle mass when loosing fat is interesting.

    After starting my 5:2 diet last year I also changed my excercise routine so that I only do cardio during warm up. This includes short intense bursts of 30 seconds with 15 second break for two minutes to increase my heart rate. I then focus mainly on weights to improve muscle tone.

    It is difficult to work out right balance between cardio and muscle toning excercises.

    I think it is best to loose fat by controlling diet and build muscle through excercise.

  • since muscle is heavier and more compact than fat I would say you will definitely be more toned based on what you say. The cardio workout part of your fitness regime will help you shed the pounds.

    This combined with a low calorie intake should see your weight drop. losing weight is for life so don't be in a hurry to shed quickly. eating smaller portions and cutting out unhealthy snacks and food will get you the results you desire.

  • Thanks for all of the helpful comments! Summarised as....no pain, no gain! Colleague left work yesterday so a bit of a blow out, but back to the drawing board today!

  • Toning builds muscle which adds weight (muscles are heavier than fat), so that's quite common. You need to focus on fat-burning activities rather than toning, which you probably only want to do twice a week.

    This has worked for me:

    Porridge (no milk) and banana for breakfast

    20 minute high intensity interval training - allows you to continue to burn fat throughout the day

    Lunch: rice crackers, Philadelphia and salmon

    Berries and/or grapes, feta and turkey or chicken slices as snacks

    5k-10k run or other cardio gym activity - some people suggest low intensity for a long time for burning fat, others fast, intense and short such as interval training, the latter seems to work more for me.

    Then a big healthy dinner: chicken or fish with lots of fresh vegetables.

    I only drink water and green tea throughout the day too.

  • Sounds like a plan. I will give it a go. I stepped up my cardio already and can see a difference. Have not weighed myself. You are right about the muscle building....all over my body I can feel hard muscle but some of the fat is still there on top too!

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