Where am I going wrong? :-(

18 messages
07/08/2011 at 20:22
So sorry to introduce myself with such a miserable, whiney post! But quite frankly I’m desperate!! I am 5ft 10”, 27 and currently weigh 11 stone 9 pounds. Two years ago I weighed 10 stone and I maintained that by eating healthily and doing 1 mile runs 4 days a week (alternate days).Due to work and family commitments, I gradually had to cut down on the running and my diet got steadily more unhealthy with additional calories being consumed. The long and the short of it is that 2 years on I am 1 and ½ stones heavier. Which brings me to my present VERY frustrating situation; Two months ago I changed jobs (much the same work (ie; no more or less active than before) but with more time off) which has allowed me to start running again and to try to take control of my diet.For these whole two months I have been working up to running 1 mile every other day (the first month was spent gradually working up to that distance) and I’ve been consuming 1400 – 1500 calories a day – ALL calories coming from lean protein and good carbohydrates (leafy greens, vegetables etc). I have also been diligently keeping a food diary to ensure no calories sneak past me.The first week I lost 2 pounds. However since then I’ve lost no weight at all. I’ve also maintained my body fat percentage (my scales are more high tech than my television) which is even more disappointing. My first thought was to cut down on calories but to be honest I feel so lethargic I don’t think I’d be able to run on any less. I visited my doctor as I was convinced something must be amiss – he said he didn’t think so and to keep doing what I was doing. He did run a thyroid blood test to shut me up but it came back perfectly normal.Could anyone please tell me where I’m going wrong? I just feel like I'm destined to never return to my former weight
07/08/2011 at 20:34

Could it be possible that you are not eating enough?  I have lost weight recently with WW, and have discovered that I need to eat to loose weight, the plan I am on gives a minimum per day and I have been known to be uber keen and not eat enough and find the weight going on or staying the same.  The plan also rewards exercise, hence more running meant more food allowance and no damage to weight loss.

Good luck getting to your target weight, I'm sure you can do it

07/08/2011 at 20:43
err - when you say you are working up to 1 mile 4 times a week - that is ONE mile - no typo!

One mile shouldn't require you to eat any extra - this is a very insignificant amount of calories in the scheme of things.

I am sorry but running 1 mile 4 times a week will have practically no effect on your weight - it's all down to your food.

If calorie counting is frustrating and you are not getting anywhere then I would suggest you join a group like weight watchers.(I am trying hard to believe this is a genuine post - perhaps it's just typo)
Edited: 07/08/2011 at 20:45
07/08/2011 at 21:09

Actually no that's not a typo! And I find your response rather rude.

We aren't ALL marathon runners - we all have to start somewhere and I have gone from being completely inactive and unfit for a good while to building up to getting my body working out again.

I am actually intending to gradually increase my distance, but started out by just walking the mile 4 times a week, then increasing to running with walking intervals, now I can just run the 1 mile 4 times per week. That is what I meant by 'working up' to it. And if my mere mile is insufficient to ask a perfectly polite question on a running forum then please do tell me how far I should run before I am allowed to post!!!

Heather - thank you for the advice. I hadn't considered that it might be that. I wouldn't imagine that's the case but will give it some thought! Thanks

Edited: 07/08/2011 at 21:17
07/08/2011 at 21:25
Four miles a week will give you a calorie burn of 400kcal - that's about one-ninth of a pound.
07/08/2011 at 21:29

Intermanaut - Thank you for that information. I'm a little confused as to whether I should be increasing my milage or decreasing the time I run a mile in. The info on google is so varied.

07/08/2011 at 21:53
I would suggest as well you join a group like WW or Slimming World.  They both have very "healthy" approaches to weight loss. It depends on your build but you are quite tall and I wouldn't say you are that heavy.   I would also suggest that you completely rethink your approach to exercise.  Consider at least 30 mins or better 40 mins walking at a brisk pace on a daily basis.  You would do well to get yourself a heart rate monitor and train in your fat burnng zone.  The runs you are doing are minimal and probably not doing you much good at the moment, however I would really encourage you to stick with it and gradually increase your mileage as quickly as possible.  You should also consider joining a gym and doing some circuit classes to improve you over all fitness. Good luck!
07/08/2011 at 23:07

vivi - I don't think GymAddict was being rude at all. As Intermanaut says -

Intermanaut wrote (see)
Four miles a week will give you a calorie burn of 400kcal - that's about one-ninth of a pound.

1 mile will burn approx 100kcal - you need to be running approx 35 miles a week to burn enough kcal to loose 1lb so your exercise will have little or no effect on your weight. This is what gym addict was getting at. You should not be feeling too lethargic to run 1 mile unless you are not eating enough to keep yourself going. You should not be trying to starve yourself to lose weight. Don't stop running though because you are helping yourself to get fit which is more important. Women will have a very hard time losing weight through running. I usually run 45 miles a week and it has no effect on my weight.

I would caution against increasing your milage 'as quickly' as possible - rule of thumb is no more than 10% increase a week. If you want - increase the distance of one run only and increase the speed of one run only - leave the other two runs exactly as they are so that you do

run 1) long 1 mile increasing + 10% each week
run 2) 1 mile easy
run 3) 1 mile steady (fast) - if you cant run the mile fast then break it up, either start slow; increase pace; finish slow or intervals - slow / fast slow / fast etc.
run 4) 1 mile easy

Make sure that you are well hydrated - don't forget your scales will mistake water for fat. Also - measure yourself - this is a better measure of body fat - decrease in physical size. Make sure that you are eating some slow release carbs as well - sweet potato and oats. Add nuts and seeds if you like them.

07/08/2011 at 23:18

Allison and -,,,,- - thank you for your replies. That has assisted me a lot and has been really helpful. Thank you

As a side note it wasn't the mention that 4 miles would burn 400kcal that I found rather rude in the afore mentioned message. It was his/her mention of assuming my milage must be a typo and that my post may not be genuine. It was quite unnecessary and the fact that 4 other people have managed to respond to my thread in a constructive and helpful manner just shows how unnecessary his tone was.

I was quite polite and only wanted a little guidance, which the other four posters (you included) have kindly given me and I now think I have a better idea of where to go from here.

So all that being said, Im hopign it's onwards and upwards with my training and I really appreciate the advice

Edited: 07/08/2011 at 23:20
08/08/2011 at 07:52
The other thing you can do is to look up one of the beginners to 5k training plans. I used the one in the book running made easy

This helped me get from nothing to 5k in 12 weeks. During the 12 weeks I changed to a more healthy eating plan, just about cut out alcohol and lost about 1st.

For me one of the main things that helped me lose weight was almost cutting out alcohol, it is surprising how many calories you can consume without realising it !

If you have scales that measure body fat some of them will also calculate your calorie consumption to maintain your existing body weight, this can be useful as a starting point because everyone is different.....

If it is any consolation I am 43, 5'3", before I started running about 16 months ago I weighed 11st 11lb I now weigh 9st 2lb. I haven't made any major changes to my diet, just tried to substitue more healthy options and be aware of my snacking habits.... It did seem real that'd to begin with but sticking with it really will work.
08/08/2011 at 09:36

Good carbohydrates-leafy greens???

08/08/2011 at 09:53

For some people, losing weight is very hard, others less so. As mentioned, if you wanted to lose weight through running alone, you would need to increase your weekly mileage dramatically, which isn't advisable as a beginner.

What can help you burn more calories is increasing your lean muscle. One of the reasons men find it easier to lose weight than women is they will build muscle quicker than women and once they have lean muscle mass, it causes their daily calorie burn to increase. Running will help you build a little muscle, but not much, so I'd suggest a couple of sessions a week of resistance work. You don't need to bulk up, but by replacing fatty tissue with muscle, you'll find you'll lose weight easier.

Losing weight through diet alone can be almost impossible for some people. I can live on 1200 calories a day for two weeks and not lose a pound. As mentioned, I'd suggest you look at the couch to 5k running plan, with additional weight training and perhaps one other cardio session a week, such as class at your local gym. Increasing your physical activity should make huge changes. Keep an exercise log and try to be active at least five days a week.

If you find after say six weeks of dramatically increased activity you're still not losing weight, go back to your doctor. There are a number of factors that can inhibit fat loss for women, including hormonal contraception.

Finally, don't get hung up on your weight. Muscle is denser than fat, it takes up less space. As you build muscle, you might find the scales stay the same, but your clothes feel loser.

Good luck. I know how frustrating trying to lose weight can be.
08/08/2011 at 11:50
Sorry Vivi - I didn't mean to be rude - I did think it was a typo. This is runners world - i.e people on here are runners - you don't have to run a marathon to get help but to see you talking about working up to running 1 mile a day, 4 days a week - that is a really unusual distance for on this site.

There are a lot of odd posts on runners world at times with people posting stuff just to get a reaction. My first thought was to offer help and then I wondered if I was being naive. So - very sorry you got upset - only genuine help from now on. I have totally been where you are - frustrated as heck that no weight has come off despite (what I thought) was heroic efforts.

I am a member of weight watchers online and there are a lot of ladies there who are working up to becoming a runner - they follow the C25K programme which takes you up to running 5k continuously. (this is the one ALlNew is talking about) the ladies on Weight watchers rave about this and there are folks there who have gone on from that programme to doing half marathons.

I would highly highly recommend Weight watchers as an excellent plan to help you lose weight. However - 1 mile is a very short distance and you will be burning very few calories doing this (as others have mentioned).

08/08/2011 at 13:51

I was going to come on here and write hundreds of words, but no need - GymAddict has said it all, and better than I was going to say!  GA wasn't being rude at all.  If you come on here asking for  advice, then be prepared to receive it!

 One mile just isn't enough, I'm afraid!  The body burns approximately 115 calories per mile, which in the greater scheme of things, just isn't enough to get your weight down.  Build your mileage weekly - if you have a Garmin or Polar etc, do 1 1/4 miles per day for a week, then 1 1/2 miles per day for a week etc, untilyou're up to a decent distance.  You don't have to run the whole way, we're just after a decent amount of cardio to burn off those calories.

As for Weight Watchers/Slimming World/Fat Fighters - don't throw your money away!  Just eat healthily an come on here for motivation.  Good luck!

seren nos    pirate
08/08/2011 at 14:01

so many people struggle on their own...................jopining a club that encourages the right kind of eating helps many people..........especially if you are at the right placein your mind to do it............

I would recommend walking in addition to the building up running....it will cause less chance of injury but will get you exercising and feeling good which will help the weight lose.................

good luck

08/08/2011 at 14:33

Dear Vivi,

 Just 2 years ago I was 4 stone heavier than I am now.I lost the weight   through WW and increased exercise. If you want a little read of my journey then have a look at this on page 8.

 Good luck in whatever you decide to do, whether it's increased exercise, a weight loss plan or a combination of both. I kept a food diary, and still do , and it helps me stay focused.   If you decide to increase your running then slow down, do a combined walk/run programme - say run a mile as you normally do but a bit slower, then walk for 3 minutes then try running again, keep it slow. It's not easy, if it was we'd all be exactly the weight we want to be, but you're head needs to be in the right place first and it sounds as though yours is.

Let us know what you decide to do.

08/08/2011 at 14:43

Vivi, just dug out my WW folder.

You say you're 5'10. Well according to WW a healthy weight for you is between 9'13 and 12'6. You really don't need to lose much. If you used to be 10st then, accoring to WW you were almost underweight for your height.

Edited: 08/08/2011 at 14:45
08/08/2011 at 15:30

Don't worry to much about having to work up to a mile. It is a short distance but some people start by only being able to jog between lampposts. Just don't limit yourself to constant running at 1st.

The beginner schedules mentioned on here get you to run for a short distance then recover by walking (there's an 8 week one in the Beginner Training Section on this site which I've used and I am just about to finish again after returning from a lay off). They build you up with lots of short reps to begin with, increasing the length of time running as the number of reps reduce. You'll soon build you up to 5K (3.1 mile) or 30 minutes continuous running. From there you can do a 5K race or start training to do a 10K.

The effect of running early on doesn't have a massive calorie burn unfortunately because it isn't long enough in the initial stages. But it will encourage you to change your lifestyle to be more positive and generally healthier and you should feel better for it as well. When you can go out and run for an hour though it does have more of an impact. The science folk say that your body starts burning calories at a greatly increased rate once you get past the intense activity for 25 min mark and it knows you aren't going to stop.

WW is a good idea, their points system helped me to train my brain about the impact of certain foods. You might be suprised which ones cost you and which ones you can have more of. Cooking your own meals based on fresh meat, fish, carbs and fresh fruit/veg I think is the best way of eating well. Be aware though that the human body isn't always a simple as reduce x amount of calories = y amount of weight.

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