I have experienced the double whammy of weight gain – quitting smoking and entering full-blown menopause.
Now, while just ‘eating less and moving more’ or ‘mindful eating’ might have worked when I was younger, at a certain age, losing weight gets harder and harder. I needed to do something more than simply count calories.
In the last two months, I have lost almost 7kg (15 lbs) by applying the weight loss principles I am going to share in this post. I even went on holiday for a week where there was a free daily buffet breakfast and dinner and I didn’t gain a gram.
It goes without saying that I am not a doctor, a nutritionist, a scientist or a dietitian so please take my advice with a grain of salt. Don’t blame me if it all goes horribly wrong!
My weight loss plan
#1 The longer you can go without eating the better (no snacking!)
I discovered this principle from reading Mastering Leptin: Your Guide to Permanent Weight Loss and Optimum Health. Although I didn’t understand all the science (and I am not sure I am convinced it is all true) I did quit snacking and now limit my eating times to two or three times a day.
#2 Rest your digestive system (intermittent fasting)
The book The Obesity Code blames insulin rather than leptin for weight gain and is a compelling book well worth reading. In order to reset your insulin sensitivity you need to fast. I tried all sorts of fasting regimes, but what works best is a combination of 18 hour and 24 hour fasts (see the diagram below).
#3 Keep your body guessing
In my old body-building days, I had the most weight loss success when I cycled my carbs. I’m beginning to think it wasn’t the low carb/high carb combination that brought success, but because I was doing something different every day. If you eat 1200 calories day after day, your body will adapt and think this is normal (and stop losing weight). Mix it up by eating different amounts of calories each day.
#4 Don’t choose an extreme food regime
If you choose a low carb diet, after a while, all you want is thick, grainy bread, and if you choose a low fat diet, before you know it you’re craving bacon and eggs. Cutting out a particular food group is unsustainable and causes cravings.
I personally like the Mediterranean diet with moderate carbs, moderate protein and good fats. I eat wholemeal pasta, potatoes and bananas. I even drink red wine and the occasional stack of pancakes. Food is good stuff and deprivation leads to bingeing.
#5 Give up artificial sweeteners
There is some evidence that artificial sweeteners cause insulin spikes so I’ve given up sweetening my tea. I don’t know if it makes a difference or not but it is part of my diet plan.
#6 Exercise for stress relief, not for calorie burn
My exercise regimes is now based around walking and gentle jogging. It seems to help relieve my anxiety. Cortisol (caused by stress) is another hormone that causes weight gain so if your workout regime is stressful, you won’t lose weight. Exercise for the enjoyment you get while doing it, not some perceived benefits you’ll get once it is over.
Putting it All Together – The Diet Strategy
Here is a sample of my weekly diet strategy.
Monday: (no breakfast) | lunch | dinner | 1200 calories
Tuesday: (no breakfast) | (no lunch)| dinner | 500 calories
Wednesday: breakfast | lunch | dinner | 1800 calories
Thursday: (no breakfast) | lunch | dinner | 1200 calories
Friday: (no breakfast) | (no lunch)| dinner | 500 calories
Saturday: (no breakfast) | lunch | dinner | 1200 calories
Sunday: breakfast | lunch | dinner | 1800 calories
These books have alternative dieting strategies that are worth checking out.
The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting
The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body Through Intermittent, Alternate-Day, and Extended Fasting
The Every-Other-Day Diet: The Diet That Lets You Eat All You Want (Half the Time) and Keep the Weight Off
I remind you that I am no nutritional expert, but I am very pleased at the results I am getting.
Please let me know if you try this weight loss plan. I would love to hear your results.
8 thoughts on “How to Lose Weight When the Odds Are Stacked Against You”
We have both come to the same conclusions! As a life coach & weight coach and having experienced my own life-long struggle with weight, I read and studied every piece of information I could get my hands on. What you describe above is precisely what I also uncovered. Kudos to you, Katie, for ferreting out the truth for yourself. You are like having a soul sister down under.
That is awesome! I have also lost 15 pounds, but it has taken me much longer than you (six months)~~it’s because I don’t count calories on non-fast days and I’m sure I eat many more than you and that is why~~but I do try to eat only 500 calories two days per week.
Simply amazing considering I am smack in the middle of menopause at age 56 and eating and drinking pretty much whatever I want on the other five days of the week! I am going to switch over to 500 calories one day per week for maintenance very soon and hope the weight can stay off that way. Kudos to you, Katie!
Have I stumbled back in time? I first found your blog when you were putting up two fingers to the diet industry, so this post has really surprised me! It’s just a low calorie diet, and carries the risk of metabolic damage like any other diet. ????????
I once heard a great quote that being around food is like “letting a tiger out of the cage.” That’s the way I’ve always felt about food. If I can limit the times I have to expend self-control, I’m better off. I gain weight when I make myself unnaturally eat 3 meals a day, and am usually thinner when I don’t eat breakfast. Good to hear that you’ve found this method. I’m borrowing it!
Great post! Thank you for sharing your experiences and tips with us!
(BTW I LOVE the color theme on your blog.
Looks like a great plan to me. I also like intermittent fasting and cycling calories. I say, some days high, some days low, some days stop, some days GO! That is just my way of looking at it 🙂 Great job on the 15 pounds.
Love your blog!
You can combine 2 useful things: make a trip and at the same time lose weight. It’s better to take a trip to some extreme place. Physical labor plus brain activity plus a little danger will give an excellent effect. And if you’re with the guy… The main thing is it has to be systematic.
One can not lose weight unless one first thinks they must gain.
If all you think is to lose,
your mind/body will ensure you ALWAYS have something to lose,
be it weight, be it fat or what have you.
Change your mind, change your results.
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