Weight Loss NHS
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Week 3 wobble!

Every time I try to lose weight, the first 2 weeks go quite well, I often lose around 4-6 pounds and start to feel really good about myself. Then comes the dreaded week 3 and the weight does not want to shift, this is swiftly followed by the anxiety of it never shifting (and often it does not). I've kept to my pattern of 1400 calories or less and do 40 minutes aerobic exercise and 20 minutes strength exercise almost every day. I allow myself a break mid-week.

Do I need to tweak my plan or just chill and let the dreaded week 3 pass and see what week 4 brings.... probably sounds like I am overeacting, but it just happens everytime and i am determined this time to succeed. Any thought welcome.

9 Replies

I have weeks like this...nothing shifting and very frustrating! I always got to one point and stuck, so assumed this was it, i was the size i was meant to be. But have faith, if you are using more energy than you are taking in the weight will shift.

It is a slow process, but the weight didnt go on in a matter of weeks, and sadly we dont lose it that quickly either.

Keep going..it will happen. :)


Thanks for your words of encouragement Itsallanadventure. I was starting to get really down about, but it has raised my spirits knowing that i am not the only one going through it. Good luck with your weight-loss!


Good luck too. I have lost over 3 stone doing the same things that you are. And yes i have off days, but i have learnt to not beat myself up about them. If i want a glass of wine i will have one (large glass, small drop...seems to work for me!) i have learnt to love dark choc and you would be surprised how far two melted squares and some strawberries go! ;) I know how hard i have to work to burn off 100 calories, so do i really need those 2 or 3 or pack of biscuits...! Probably not! Keep going..it is worth it! :)


3 stone, thats brilliant, well done you. I want to try and loose 2 stone. How long have you been on this plan, if you don't mind me asking?


Hi sophiesmum,

Well, this may not be very great news, but what usually happens for most people is that they lose weight pretty quickly (and easily) over the first couple of weeks or so. Then usually you'll actually find a bit of a balance where your weight decreases by a pound or two weekly, give or take an odd blip or two. The important this is to not worry about the blip - focus on the trend.

If you're finding you're not getting into that second phase, you may want to look rather closely at just what you're eating and how many calories you're taking in.

Basically, you'll probably need either to reduce them a tad, or increase your activity/exercise.

In due course, as you lose body mass, you'll probably need to do that again in order to keep losing weight as a smaller/lighter body needs less calories to maintain it than a bigger one.

Good luck.


Thanks for the feedback Doikosp. I have recently been reviewing what exercise I do and how I can better/increase it as I go along. I planned to increase this as I got stronger and fitter, so I don't rush into it and then lose motivation. Brisk walking, weights and pilates are my current exercise activities. I try to keep my calorie intake to 1400 or under. I eat 5+ portions fruit/veg a day, eat oily fish twice a week and have cut back on my dairy intake. Thanks again.


Just because your weight loss halts doesn't mean that overall you are not succeeding!

When this happens to me I take a waist measurement or a body fat measurement that are *always* less than the last time. This is not failure!


It's something that happens to everyone who starts a weight loss journey, and there's a scientific reason behind it:

'During the first few weeks of losing weight, a rapid drop in pounds is normal. When calories from food are reduced, the body gets needed energy by releasing its stores of glycogen, a type of carbohydrate found in the muscles and liver. Glycogen holds onto water, so when glycogen is burned for energy, it also releases the water — about 4g of water for every 1g of glycogen — resulting in substantial weight loss that's mostly water.

Once the body uses up its glycogen stores, it starts to burn fat for energy. Unlike glycogen, fat does not store much water and each 1g of fat releases more than twice the amount of energy (i.e. calories) than 1g of glycogen. The result is that weight loss slows down substantially. At this point, the recommended rate of weight loss is no more than an average of 2lb per week. Losing weight faster than this is generally a sign that amounts of lean muscle mass, which like glycogen is largely water, are being broken down for energy.

As the body's glycogen stores are replenished by increased carbohydrate intake, there is a corresponding retention of water. During this time, weight stabilises or may temporarily increase.'

(from weightwatchers.co.uk/util/a... with footnotes citing Franz MJ. Effectiveness of weight loss and maintenance interventions in women. Curr Diab Rep. 2004 Oct;4(5):387-93.)

You've got to push past this initial stall and get into the healthy rhythm of weight loss. You can't expect to have significant losses every week like you do in the beginning!


Thanks all. I lost a pound in the end, so that cheered me up a little. Will keep going and keep feeling positive. Thanks for all your positive feedback - it helped!


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