Dietitian's Q & A
Medical Conditions and Advice
Q: Last year I was ill with Glandular Fever and wasn’t able to exercise. As a result I gained almost 2 stone. Now I’m better and I’ve joined WLR to help me shift the weight but is there anything I should watch out for to prevent a recurrence?
A: Gaining weight when you’re ill and less active than normal is a common problem. But it’s great that you’re now feeling better and are ready to tackle the pounds you’ve put on. WLR will provide you with a daily calorie allowance to help you lose weight at your chosen rate and providing you stick to this, you shouldn’t have any problems shifting those pounds.
Getting tired and run down can increase the chance of having a recurrence so it’s really important to keep your energy levels high and to avoid overdoing it when it comes to exercise. In particular, because a virus causes Glandular Fever, it’s especially important to keep your immune system in tip top condition. This means you should eat a balanced, healthy diet that’s packed with a variety of nutrient-rich foods. In particular, fruit and veg are packed with immune-boosting vitamin C and plant compounds called phytochemicals so make sure you eat plenty of these foods. Meanwhile, foods such as chicken, fish, lean red meat and low-fat dairy products are good sources of zinc, a mineral that’s important for the healthy functioning of the immune system. Fortunately, all these foods are also low in fat and so are good choices to help you lose weight, too.
No Weight Loss
Q: I’ve joined WLR as a last resort so I hope you can help me. I’ve been running, swimming or cycling every day and eating healthily for the last four months but have only lost half a stone. It’s starting to get me down as I still have 2½ stone to go. Will WLR really help me lose weight even though I’m already eating sensibly and exercising so much?
A: First things first, although your weight loss has been slow, you should still congratulate yourself on the fact you’ve lost half a stone – and while it might not sound much, at your current rate, you would lose 1½st in a year. As you’ve been doing so much exercise, you might also find you’ve lost inches as you’ve built muscle and toned up – and this is just as important as what the scales say.
Fortunately, I think WLR can help you to speed up your weight loss. To lose 1lb of fat, you need to ‘lose’ 3,500 calories. This might sound a lot, but if you want to lose 1lb a week, it’s as simple as ‘losing’ 500 calories a day. Obviously if you want to lose 2lb a week, you need to double this and ‘lose’ 1,000 calories a day. Based on your current weight loss of half a stone in four months, you’ve been lowering your calorie intake by, on average, just 200 calories a day. In other words, although you’ve been eating healthily, you’ve only cut your calorie intake slightly with the result that you’ve only lost a small amount of weight.
WLR can certainly help you lose up 2lb a week and will set you a daily calorie allowance to achieve this. Providing you stick to this recommended calorie intake, you will start to see the pounds shifting more quickly. As your diet is already healthy, cutting those extra calories will probably be as simple as cutting your portion sizes slightly. Remember, even healthy starchy foods like wholemeal bread, potatoes, brown rice, wholewheat pasta and wholegrain cereals still contain calories, as do protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, lean meat and low-fat dairy products. As a guideline, fill half your plate with veggies, a quarter with carb-rich foods and the remaining quarter with protein-rich foods.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that your body can get used to a certain level and type of activity, so you may want to push yourself harder to get even better results. For example, you might find you can encourage your body to burn more fat by running or cycling the same distance in a shorter time, swimming an extra couple of lengths or simply trying some new activities, whether that’s dancing, gym work or aerobics classes.
Q: Despite weighing almost 13 stone, I’m a really fussy eater and don’t like many typical ‘diet’ foods such as fruit, veg, rice, pasta or cottage cheese. This makes it really difficult for me to follow a diet, although I do like using WLR as I can still eat what I like. A friend has suggested that being hypnotised may help me to like healthier foods and lose weight though. Is this true?
A: Many health experts believe hypnosis can help you do anything from giving up smoking and beating phobias to improving your performance at work and changing your eating habits – and there’s no reason why it couldn’t help you.
Hypnosis works by turning off the conscious part of your mind and freeing up the sub-conscious so that it becomes more receptive to ideas. Hypnotherapy is often very successful in helping people to lose weight and deal with food addictions as it helps them change the way they view food and their eating habits.
Ultimately, being hypnotised could help you alter your attitude towards food so that you start to eat more healthily and lose weight as a result. The downside is that it can be quite expensive – from £40 per hour upwards – and you often need more than one session. To find a local practitioner, call The National Register of Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapists on 01282 716839 or visit their website at www.nrhp.co.uk.
Body Fat Composition
Q: Despite losing almost 3 stone with the help of WLR, I still have love handles that hang over the top of my jeans and look horrible. I really want to get rid of them but no matter what I do, they’re still there! Can you suggest anything?
A: Love handles are a common problem and one that many women suffer with. You don’t mention whether you are now at your target weight or whether you still have a little more to lose. But bear in mind that love handles are simply excess fat, so sadly, the only way you’ll get rid of them is to lose that excess fat – and this can be hard.
To start with, women are genetically programmed to store fat around their hips and bottom, which is why it’s harder to lose fat from these areas. Next, it’s impossible to selectively lose fat from just one area of your body – when you lose weight, you lose fat from all over your body and sadly you can’t dictate from where you want that fat to go. However, research shows that you tend to first lose fat from your face, then bust, stomach and lastly your hips and thighs. This may help to explain why, even though you’ve lost a considerable amount of weight, you’re still left with love handles.
Assuming you haven’t reached your target weight yet, I suggest you carry on with your reduced-calorie diet and combine it with regular aerobic exercise such as running, swimming, fast walking or cycling to help burn fat.
Finally, make sure your jeans fit you properly – wearing a size too small for you is guaranteed to put even the tiniest love handles on display!
Allergy & Intollerance
Q: I’ve joined WLR and lost a stone in around 10 weeks but I’ve found it a real struggle and am not looking forward to shifting the next one. My friend has suggested it might be because I have a problem with wheat. Should I try a wheat-free diet and if so what foods should I avoid?
A: First of all, congratulations on losing a stone. Although you might have struggled you should feel proud of your achievement and feel motivated to carry on.
With so much written about wheat-free diets, it’s easy to think that an intolerance to wheat affects a large number of people. But in fact, experts suggest that less than 0.1 percent of the population suffer from it – and bearing in mind that you haven’t mentioned any associated symptoms, I think it’s unlikely you’re one of them.
A wheat intolerance is hard to diagnose as the symptoms are varied and may include everything from bloating, fluid retention, headaches and tiredness to irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and diarrhoea. Support for the idea that weight gain – or at least difficulty in losing weight – is also a symptom, stems mainly from people who’ve followed a wheat-free diet and found they’ve lost weight as a result. Unsurprisingly though, most experts believe that any weight loss that occurs is due to a reduction in calories and fat thanks to cutting out not just bread, pasta and many cereals, but also biscuits, cakes, pastries, pizza, puddings and processed foods such as battered fish or breaded chicken. In other words, if you stop eating wheat, you also de-junk your diet and fill up on healthier alternatives like fruit, veg, lean meat, fish and low-fat dairy products.
If you really think you might have a wheat intolerance I suggest you keep a food and symptoms diary to see if there’s any connection with what you eat and any possible symptoms you’re suffering with and then see your GP for a proper diagnosis.
In the meantime, I suggest you carry on using WLR to help you shift anymore unwanted pounds.
Q: My best friend has asked me to be matron of honour for her wedding in the summer. I’m really happy to be asked but am also worried because I need to lose 2½ stone, especially as the other bridesmaid’s are all thin. The trouble is, I really struggle to stick to any diet and always give up after just a few weeks. Will WLR be able to help?
A: The key to losing weight is wanting to do it badly enough and finding the motivation to carry it through – and it sounds as though you are struggling with this.
To start with, you need to ask yourself who you are losing weight for. If the answer is ‘me’ you’ll find it easier. However, if your best friend is nagging you to shape up in time for dress fittings or your partner has suggested you lose a bit of weight, you’ll constantly struggle, regardless of the diet you attempt to follow.
Furthermore, many people who struggle with motivation can’t see any benefit to losing weight so I suggest you write a list of how you would feel if you shifted that extra 2½ stone. This may include anything from looking better in your jeans, not getting out of breath on the dance floor, having more energy or feeling more confident in your love life. Most people who lose weight say they get far more out of life once they’re slim. In one study, for example, successful slimmers said they were more energetic, felt more confident, had a better mood, felt their health had improved, got more attention from people and even felt they were better at their job.
Surrounding yourself with a good support network may also help to spur you on – and WLR can certainly help you with that. By going into the chat room, you’ll meet plenty of like-minded people who all want to lose weight. The advantage of this is that you’ll always be able to find someone who has been through a difficult slimming patch and has come out the other side. And this alone can be all that it takes to keep you motivated and on track.
In the meantime, you may also find it helpful to enlist the help and support of friends and family. Do you have a friend you could exercise with? Could your partner also do with eating a more healthy diet? Or could you encourage your work colleagues to do a fruit run rather than a chocolate run every afternoon?
You’ll also find that once the weight starts to come off, the compliments will start to flood in – and this will also help to keep you motivated. Ultimately, providing you want to lose weight badly enough and have plenty of support to help you along the way, you’ll achieve your goal. Good luck!
Q: I’ve been a member of WLR for about six months and have almost reached my target weight. However, I now really want to give up smoking but am worried that I’ll start to put the weight back on. What can I do to prevent this?
A: Congratulations on losing weight AND deciding to give up smoking. Many people worry they’ll gain weight when they stop smoking, but this isn’t automatically the case, especially if you are forewarned of the potential pitfalls. To start with, you need to be aware that taste buds normally come back to life when you quit the weed, so food starts to taste nicer – and of course, this means you’re likely to eat more. The easiest way to prevent this, is to keep a careful watch on your portion sizes and make sure they’re not gradually increasing.
It’s also important to avoid using food as a substitute for cigarettes. Instead of putting a cigarette into their mouth, many people automatically replace this with food when they give up. Typical examples include munching a couple of packets of mints each day, swapping a mid-morning coffee and cigarette for a coffee and biscuits, finishing an evening meal with chocolate rather than a smoke and eating crisps while watching TV rather than smoking. If you’re aware of potential danger zones during the day, it will be much easier for you to avoid picking up bad habits. If you want to keep your mouth busy, sugar-free gum is a good option.
Finally, I suggest you continue to weigh yourself just once a week. That way if you do gain a pound or two, you can immediately take action rather than having to deal with a much bigger weight problem later down the line. Good luck.
Eating Out/Healthy Choices
A: Choosing all things green alone is unlikely to shift unwanted pounds. The term ‘organic’ refers only to the farming methods used to produce a food and has nothing to do with its calorie, fat, salt or sugar content. In fact, the Food Standards Agency says organic food doesn’t significantly differ in terms of its nutrition content to food produced conventionally. Sadly, this means organic chocolate, cakes and biscuits contain just as many calories as their non-organic counterparts, making them equally bad for waistlines!
However, if you’re thinking about eating more organic foods, it’s likely you’re also thinking about improving the quality of your diet – and this usually goes hand in hand with eating less processed, fatty and sugary foods and more fresh foods, perhaps explaining why your friend has lost weight.
As is always the case, the key to losing weight is to take in fewer calories than your body needs with the result that it has to use its fat reserves to meet energy requirements. This means if you want to eat organically and lose weight, you still need to stick to the daily calorie allowance set for you by WLR. And this means low-fat dairy products, lean meat, poultry, wholegrain breads and cereals, fruit and veg should be at the top of your shopping list while crisps, chocolate and biscuits should remain off limits – regardless of whether or not they’re produced organically.
Q: I’ve managed to lose a few pounds thanks to WLR but have realised I’m drinking too much alcohol. I usually have half a bottle of wine a night and always go to the pub on Friday although I’ve swapped my usual cider for gin. A big slice of my pie chart is always alcohol which means I’m not getting a clear picture of how my diet’s shaping up. Can you give me any advice?
Q: I get terrible cheese cravings around my time of the month and if I’m not careful can eat far too much without noticing. What can I do during the rest of the month to help balance this out, so it doesn’t wreck my diet?
A: The easiest way is to ‘bank’ some of your calories in the weeks prior to your cravings and then ‘spend’ them on cheese when those cravings hit. Saving just 50 calories a day over three weeks will give you 1,050 calories to splurge on cheese in the last week. But be warned, that still doesn’t give you free licence to munch your way through a large block of Cheddar. As you will already know, most cheeses are very high in fat and so are packed with calories. Even an extra 1,050 calories will only ‘buy’ you an extra 250g/9oz Cheddar!
Fortunately, there are now many reduced-fat cheeses available – but remember these are reduced-fat and not low fat so you still need to limit how much you eat! Some varieties are also lower in calories too. For example, Edam, Brie and Camembert are slightly lower in calories than Cheddar. Meanwhile, Mozzarella, Goats’ cheese and Feta are lower still, while cottage cheese is the lowest of them all.
In my experience, one particular danger zone for cheese lovers is during cooking. It’s all too easy to frequently cut off a slither of cheese and nibble on it while you’re preparing a meal – but these ‘little’ slithers can easily add up to more calories than the meal itself! Get round this by dividing a large block of cheese into individual 25g portions as soon as you buy it. That way you can always be sure of the amount you’re actually eating. This also works well for tubs of low-fat soft cheese – divide a 200g tub into eight (simply draw lines along the top of the cheese) and a 300g tub in 12. That way each portion will weigh 25g.
Grating cheese can also make it go further, especially for sandwiches, cheese on toast or to serve with crackers. Meanwhile, buying a mature cheese will mean that you’ll get plenty of taste without having to eat loads.
Check out the chart below to compare the calorie counts of different varieties of cheese.
|Cheese||Calories per 100g|
|Plain cottage cheese||98|
|Reduced-fat cottage cheese||78|
Q: Last year I was diagnosed with a number of medical complaints including an underactive thyroid, liver disease and an early menopause. My doctor has told me not to worry about my weight but to eat healthily and not take too much exercise. Nevertheless, my size still depresses me. Is there anything else I can do?
A: On this occasion, you should follow the advice of your doctor. It’s important to remember that WLR is designed to help healthy people lose weight and all the information and individual nutrient profiles recommended by WLR are based around this. Consequently, if you have a medical condition, the advice may not be appropriate. That’s why we recommend you check with your doctor before starting the diet – and if he has told you that you shouldn’t be dieting, you should follow this advice.
A: Providing you are sticking to your calorie allowance, losing weight at your chosen rate and are enjoying meals and snacks, there’s no reason why you can’t eat slightly more protein and less fat than is recommended by WLR. In fact, there’s evidence that higher-protein diets can actually help to suppress appetite, so that you feel less hungry. Related Question Ultimately, deviating slightly from the nutrition profile won’t stop you losing weight as long as you don’t go over your daily calorie allowance.
Q: I’ve never been tempted to try the Atkin’s diet but I recently watched a TV programme that said a high-protein diet could help to suppress appetite. Would a high protein, low-fat diet, with reduced rather than eliminated carbs, be a good idea?
Q: I have quite thin arms and legs and am not a big eater. However, I feel constantly bloated and have a rounded stomach. I’m enjoying using WLR but don’t feel it’s helping with the bloating. What do you recommend?
Q: After gaining weight and having no energy to exercise, I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid gland. Now having been on thyroxine I have more energy and am back at the gym twice a week. But instead of losing weight as my doctor promised, I’m continuing to put on weight. Does this mean that even when treated, an underactive thryroid will make it impossible for me shift those excess pounds?
Q: I’ve lost just over a stone in 11 weeks but am soon going to have a hysterectomy, which will severely restrict my activity levels and leave me off work for three months. How can I best protect the progress I’ve already made and maintain my weight loss in these circumstances?
Q: I’ve been having the Depo Provera contraceptive injection for the last nine years. Over this time, and despite several diets, I’ve gained 41/2 stone. My family planning nurse has told me the weight gain has nothing to do with the injection and I should simply eat less. However, I find it difficult to stick to a diet in the long term as there are times when I feel constantly hungry and I’ve even considered coming off the injection. Should I be trying harder or is the injection a factor?
Q: I weigh less than I have for a long time but my body fat has been lower in the past. Surely if I’m at my lowest weight, I should expect to have the least amount of body fat. Can you explain why this isn’t the case?
A: Moderation is the key when it comes to eating healthily and losing weight. This means it’s fine to include diet drinks as part of your diet, but you really shouldn’t be relying on them as your only source of fluid.
To start with, diet cola contains caffeine, too much of which can result in insomnia – and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to put on weight. Diet cola is also potentially harmful to teeth. Even though it’s free from sugar, it’s still very acidic and this acid can wear away the tooth enamel, potentially leading to decay.
I suggest you broaden the drinks you include in your diet, perhaps starting with drinking more water. If you like fizzy drinks, you could try sparkling water or soda water with a squeeze of fresh lime.
Q: I don’t like water and as a result, usually struggle to drink enough each day. Is it OK to use squash to make it taste more interesting and should I include this as part of my daily calorie intake?
A: It’s fine to add squash to water, but you do need to count the calories. Undiluted squash can actually be quite high in calories and sugar, so only use small amounts and get used to having a weak fruit flavour. There are also plenty of sugar-free varieties of squash available and these might be a better choice for you, both in terms of losing weight and keeping your teeth free from decay. In fact, most sugar-free squashes contain so few calories that you don’t need to worry about adding them to your food diary. Finally, don’t just stick to plain tap water. Sparkling water with a dash of lime or lemon juice is really refreshing. Or try soda water for a change.
Q: I’ve recently been diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia and am taking iron tablets three times a day. My doctor has suggested I eat liver and eggs but I don’t like either of these. What other iron-rich foods can I eat without ruining my diet?
Q: Most diets recommend including at least half a pint of skimmed milk each day but dairy products don’t agree with me and cause unpleasant side effects. Is it really so essential to include milk and if so, are there any suitable alternatives?
Q: I have an intolerance to cows milk and so avoid all dairy products. As a substitute, I use goat’s milk, cheese, butter and yoghurt. For my food diary, I’ve been adding goat’s milk as cow’s milk, goat’s cheese as Cheddar, goat’s yoghurt as cow’s yoghurt and goat’s butter as butter. But really I have no idea how they compare calorie wise. Can you shed any light?
A: WLR’s database actually includes quite a few unbranded and branded goat’s milk products. Simply type in ‘goat’s milk’ and you’ll find a range of milks, yoghurts and cheeses come up. In the meantime, take a look at the chart below, which compares the fat and calorie content of goat’s milk products with cow’s milk products. You’ll see there’s little difference with the exception of cheese. In fact, goat’s cheese or chevre, is a speciality in France and if you like the taste, it’s a good option for slimmers as it contains around half the fat and calories of most hard cheeses.
In the meantime, bear in mind that reduced-fat goat’s milk products aren’t as widely available as standard dairy products. However, semi-skimmed goat’s milk is sold in some places so opt for this if you can.
|Food||Calories per 100g||Fat per 100g|
|Goat’s milk, whole||60||3.5|
|Cow’s milk, whole||66||3.9|
|Goat’s milk, semi-skimmed||45||1.7|
|Cow’s milk, semi-skimmed||46||1.6|
|Goat’s whole milk yoghurt||63||3.8|
|Cow’s whole milk yoghurt||79||3|
|Goat’s milk soft cheese||198||15.8|
|Goat’s milk butter||717||81.1|
|Cow’s milk butter||737||81.7|
A: Congratulations on reaching your target weight and maintaining it for a couple of years. Your calorie intake from food and drink is clearly matching the amount of calories you use up each day so it’s important that you stop worrying about counting calories. I know it can be daunting to suddenly start eating to your appetite rather than counting the calories of every mouthful you have. But it really is time for you to make this move.
Counting calories, especially when you don’t need to, can quickly turn into an unhealthy obsession that takes away all the pleasure you get from eating. As you feel guilty when you consume more than 1,500 calories, it sounds as though this has already happened to some extent. Plus constantly analysing the calorie content of your daily diet means you’re probably not thinking about the nutrients in food that you need for good health such as protein, vitamins and minerals.
It’s time for you to make it your mission to stop thinking about food as a sole source of calories and instead start viewing meals as a provider of nutrients that will give you plenty of energy, boost your immune system, keep your skin looking great, keep your heart, lungs, liver and digestive system healthy, and keep your bones strong. It’s time to start celebrating your weight loss rather than continuing to hide behind figures that you no longer need to worry about.
In the meantime, if you still find it difficult to let go of calorie counting, you might find it helpful to talk to someone, who will help you identify any fears or worries you have. To find a counsellor in your local area log on to The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy website at www.bacp.co.uk
Q: I gave up smoking 3 months ago but am now at my heaviest weight ever and have recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Having yo-yo dieted for at least 18 years, I think my metabolism is rather slow. Can you give me any advice to kick start it once and for all?
Q: As a fat child I starved myself to be thin and went from a size 16 to a size 8. I loved my new life but put on some weight to see if it would make my boobs grow. Unfortunately, it got out of control and I gained 2 stone. Now, at the age of 19, I’m fat again and this time the weight won’t come off. I run 30 miles a week, do loads of toning exercises, go to the gym four times a week and have tried eating less, but nothing works. I don’t like leaving the house anymore and haven’t been out since Christmas. Has starving myself in the past made it impossible for me to lose weight now?
Q: I’m 52 year’s old, 12st 6lb and 5ft 3in and over the years have been on many diets. I’ve lost weight each time but then put it back on and more. Now I’m finding it difficult to lose weight at all – the calorie allowance on most diets allows me more than I eat to maintain my weight, let alone lose any. Have I damaged my metabolic rate by frequently dieting so that now I need to eat less and less in order to avoid putting on weight, and if so, what’s the solution?
Q: I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which makes losing weight really difficult. My doctor has advised me to limit carbs. Do you have any other tips on how I can boost my weight loss healthily?
Q: I have my evening meal at around 6pm and then go for a run at 8pm. I usually feel hungry when I get back in but just drink water and go to bed. Am I leaving enough time between eating and exercising?
Q: I broke my shoulder in January and so haven’t been able to do any exercise. I’ve gained so much weight and now weigh around 15 stone. What diet should I follow, bearing in mind I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m fully mobile?
Q: I’m a sales advisor and can either sit behind my desk all day or spend six hours showing people around houses. On the days I’m out of the office I walk for around 30 minutes and climb stairs for 20 minutes. The problem is I don’t have much energy. What foods do you suggest I eat?
Q: I go to the gym a lot and in the past instructors and nutritionists have recommended I try supplements aimed at mobilising fat to help me lose weight faster. I don’t want to do anything harmful to my body though or use them, only to regain all the weight when I stop taking them. What are your thoughts?
Q: I’m worried about all the additives in ready-made ‘healthy’ and ‘diet’ foods, but eating fresh, natural foods seems to tip me over my calorie allowance. Is it safe to eat foods with so many additives?
Q: I’ve noticed the warning ‘Contains a source of phenylalanine’ on many low-calorie drinks and yoghurts. I’ve heard this chemical can be dangerous. Is it better to consume drinks with sugar rather than those with these substitutes?
Q: A friend of mine is on a diet called Herbal Life, which consists of a green tea drink, some powders that are mixed with milk, a few vitamin tablets (I think) and a ‘no carbs but lots of salad and meat’ diet. It says you’ll lose 1lb a day or 20-30lb a month and costs £85 a month. My friend is very overweight and says she’s fed up trying to lose weight slowly by calorie counting or joining a club. But surely it’s not healthy to lose this much weight so quickly?
Q: I recently had a baby boy and have started a low-fat, high-fibre healthy eating plan given to me by my GP. I’ve also started to exercise twice a week. The problem is I’m not seeing any results. I’ve never dieted or exercised before. How long before I’ll see any difference?
A: This is a question you need to ask your doctor. He or she will have full details of your condition and any medication you are taking for it and so will be in a far better position to advice you on this. Consequently, I suggest you tell your doctor how many grams of fat WLR advises for you and ask whether this is appropriate. You may also want to let your doctor know that this figure is based on fat providing 30 percent of your daily calories. This is in line with current healthy eating guidelines, which recommend no more than a third of our calories should come from fat each day.
Q I rarely get home from work before 8.30pm and so don’t normally eat my dinner until gone 9pm. After I’ve eaten I don’t do much, except watch TV or read and then go to bed. Will eating so late at night stop me from losing weight?
Q Eight years ago I lost 8 stone through sensible eating and exercise. Since going through the menopause, I’ve gained 3 stone in 18 months despite eating the same way and going to the gym 3-4 times a week. Now, I can’t seem to shift it. What do you recommend?
Q: I stick to 1,000 calories a day but do very little exercise as I have sciatica and arthritis. I’ve lost just over a stone since joining WLR and am enjoying the diet. But I’m worried I’ll soon stop losing weight because I’m not very active. My GP thinks it’s highly unlikely that I’ll carry on losing weight. Should I be referred to the hospital dietitian?
Q My friend and I are the same height but I’m 2 stone heavier. We’ve both joined Weight Loss Resources and chosen to lose 2lb a week. Can you explain why I’m allowed more calories a day than my friend? Surely the heavier you are, the fewer calories you need to lose weight
Q I’ve opted to lose 1½lb a week with WLR but am finding it hard to stick to the same calorie allowance every day. During the week I tend to have less calories than I’m allowed, but at weekends I find I’m usually over my calorie allowance. Is it OK to bank any calories that are left at the end of the week and have them at the weekend when I’m more likely to go out for a drink?
Q My WLR profile is set to allow me to lose 2lb a week. But despite sometimes having calories left at the end of the week, I find I’ve only lost 1lb or worst still, nothing. I write down everything I eat in my diary. Where am I going wrong?
Q: I’ve done well so far but can’t get past 17 stone. I’m sticking to the recommended 1,950 calories and am exercising every other day at the gym, burning 800-1,000 calories according to the machines. Should I change my exercise programme or alter my diet to start losing weight again?
A: Reaching a weight loss plateau is a common complaint amongst slimmers, with many finding their weight loss suddenly stops even though they’re sticking to the same eating and exercising habits. The good news is, this is usually only a temporary problem and the weight soon starts to drop off again. Related Question The key is to be patient and to keep motivated. Keep reminding yourself of your successes to date – that might mean trying on an old item of clothing that’s now too big for you, comparing pictures of yourself when you were bigger with ones of yourself now or simply totting up how many pounds and inches you’ve lost in total.
In the meantime, there are several things you can do to help get those pounds shifting again. Start by checking your portion sizes. Unless you’ve been constantly weighing out servings of foods like cereals, rice, pasta, meat, poultry and fish, it’s likely these portions have gradually increased in size – and this could be all that’s keeping you at a plateau. For a couple of weeks return to those habits you picked up when you first started your diet, such as weighing out cereal rather than putting it straight into a bowl or measuring 1tbsp dressing rather than pouring it onto salad straight from the bottle. It’s these little changes that may well help you start losing weight again.
You may also find it helpful to keep a notebook with you for a week detailing every single mouthful you have each day. This way you can be sure that your food diary is accurate. In the same way that portions can increase over time, you might find you’ve allowed more treats to creep into your diet which you’ve been forgetting to add to your food diary, such as having the odd cake in the office, treating yourself to a bar of chocolate once a week, nibbling on sweets while you’re driving or pouring yourself a larger drink than normal. You might be surprised to find that you’re actually having more than 1,950 calories a day.
You might also find it helpful to shake up your exercise programme a little. Your body needs to be continuously pushed in order to burn fat and tone muscle so it’s important that you keep pushing yourself harder at the gym. This might mean trying some different cardiovascular machines, or upping the intensity of your workout, such as walking for a longer distance in the same amount of time. Why not ask whether one of the gym instructors can work with you to vamp up your current programme?
Whatever you do, don’t give up now. You’ve done so well that it’s really not worth letting this small setback undo all your hard work. Good luck!
Q I’ve lost a couple of stone with WLR and am just half a stone from my target. Now, all of a sudden I’ve stopped losing weight, and nothing I do seems to work. What can I do to get off this weight loss plateau?
Q: A friend has told me that as a vegetarian, I’m in danger of missing out on essential vitamins and minerals, particularly zinc and the B vitamins. Is this true, and if so, what foods should I eat that provide these nutrients but aren’t that high in calories?
Q: I’m a vegan but have also been told not to eat wheat due to an intolerance. However, I’m finding it very hard to get the right nutrients and find foods that I can eat that don’t contain wheat or dairy. What do you recommend?
Q I need to lose about 1 stone but find it difficult as I have an intolerance to raw fruit and most raw vegetables, except for lettuce, red onion and cucumber. I can however, eat cooked fruit and veg. Can you recommend any substitutes that will give me the same nutrients as those provided by raw fruit and veg?
Q I’ve lost 4 stone and have another 8 stone to go. I’m new to WLR and think it’s fantastic, but it’s made me realise I might be having too many carbohydrates. Normally my fat intake provides about 20 percent of my calories and my carbs around 60-65 percent. Is this OK?
Q I need to lose 7 stone and have finally decided to do something about it. However, I’m concerned that once I’ve lost weight I’ll be left with lots of sagging skin, especially around my stomach. I know exercise will help but at the moment I get tired just carrying my bulk around and anything that exerts me causes soreness and rubbing. What do you suggest?
You can use the tools and databases in WLR to find the best diet for you. Keep online food and exercise diaries, set a weight loss goal and see how many calories you need to get there. Try it free for 24 hours.