Can't Shed Weight

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Spedagno 6 days, 7 hours ago.

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  • #14478

    Jasmo
    Participant

    I’m completely stumped on this one. I’m 217lbs and just cannot lose the weight I’d like to. Neither can my husband who is at 200lbs.

    We have been whole food vegans for 1.5 years, started out with just walking then easing into getting regular exercise nearly every day at the gym(strength and cardio!) for the last six weeks, burning 2500-2700 calories a day while only eating 1800-2000 calories a day.

    We get about 7.5 hours of sleep per night and drink no coffee.

    I have a not stressful work life and take breaks to stretch and walk every hour. Hubby has a bit more stress but he walks a lot at work, sometimes getting a few miles in on top of what we did at the gym. We relax in the evenings.

    We can tell our bodies are slightly changing shape, we are lifting more and jogging longer at the gym BUT it’s a little infuriating for me that the scale isn’t budging and we aren’t shrinking more?

    Anyone else having struggles like this? Do we need to be more patient? Eat more? Exercise more often throughout the day?

    #14529

    EatPlantsNotFriends
    Participant

    Hi Jasmo!
    I share your pain many times over! We have a lot in common, and I’d like to share a virtual high five with you for making the commitment because I know it is valiant and requires a lot of grit! Seems like you’re working REALLY hard and seeing a difference, which is definitely something to celebrate and be proud of! “We can tell our bodies are slightly changing shape, we are lifting more and jogging longer at the gym” – THAT IS SO IMPORTANT! Try to focus on that for encouragement whenever possible! 🙂
    I’ve been obsessed with all this lately, so I have a lot to say…hopefully it’s not all repeat info for you, and I think there is good news!

    It might be helpful to take a close look at how much oil you’re consuming, using for salad dressings and cooking, as well as foods or recipes that have added sugar. I’m actively trying to decrease my oil and refined sugar intake, and it seems to be helping what I’m seeing on the scale.

    Cooking with vegetable stock has been a total game changer for me, as well as keeping it simple and steaming veggies with water. Replacing oil in dressings with vinegars/lemon juice/mustards/avocado/herbs etc. (Google some recipes) will help your salads a lot and are actually a lot tastier once you get the hang of it.

    Also, I noticed I have to be careful with salt/sodium content. Too much can cause water retention, which for me can make a difference of 2-3 pounds from one day to the next, and I imagine the range might be even wider depending on the individual. Whole foods are very tasty when flavored with lots of herbs, especially fresh ones. That said, drink a lot of water, especially with ice, it helps everything!

    Sugar, too — I allow myself a little vegan sweet treat every day like pure dark chocolate, or I love Newmann’s Own sandwich cookies because I think they’re even better than Oreos, and I have a major sweet tooth. I stick to a serving size or less and make sure I eat it mindfully so I can really savor it and then don’t immediately feel like I need more. If I still want sweetness after that, I’ll eat some berries or a peach. One thing I actually am trying to eliminate 100% is high fructose corn syrup, despite my addiction to Coke. It’s not as hard as I thought it was going to be, and I do miss it a little, but feeling better and noticing small changes in my physique has been reinforcing my motivation to stay away from it.

    Are you getting enough fiber? Fiber helps appetite regulation and aids digestion. I love adding flaxseed to my oatmeal and fruit in the morning, and there are some great vegan whole grain breads out there that I love with peanut butter. I also love an apple with peanut butter and flaxseed on top. Also, speaking of cinnamon, because it goes great on all of those things and so much more, I’ve read that it supports metabolism, which certainly can’t hurt!

    It’s always great to stay active, but it doesn’t sound like you need to work out more than you already do, especially because you could exhaust yourself and even sustain injuries (been there done that in my weight loss adventures and it’s one of my biggest regrets). It’s good that you’re giving yourself time to relax because with a stressful job your body might be trying to retain cortisol, which is a hormone produced by stress that can cause us to hold on to fat in our stomach area. Stress is aided by exercise and reduces cortisol, but there are other negative effects if you overdo it. Be kind to yourself and pay attention to your body, always give yourself what you need to feel energetic, pain free, and as content as possible.

    Try not to worry about how much food you’re eating as long as you’re eating whole, plant-based foods, which you said you are doing. The most important thing is to eat until you feel satiated and when you’re hungry allow yourself to have a healthy snack. If you’re changing your habits to the recommended framework of whole foods plant based diet, weight will gradually come off sometimes in phases and plateau at times. Of course you want to mind the WFPB food pyramid so as not to overdo certain higher calorie/fat items, but what’s more important is that you’re enjoying your new lifestyle and not feeling deprived. It takes a lot to overdo it on this diet, even on things like avocados (which I can’t seem to get enough of). Slow weight loss is lasting weight loss…I keep having to remind myself of that too.

    If you are exercising while on a WFPB diet or any diet change, you may not see as much weight loss as fast as you would like, but the good news behind that is your body is probably converting fat cells into muscle tissue. Unless you’re both just retaining a lot of water weight, that’s why you’re seeing your body composition changing without that reflecting on the scale yet. A pound of muscle is more dense than a pound of fat, and therefore tends to result in leaner and thinner body composition regardless of the amount of weight lost.

    I hope this is helpful…It seems like you could really use a break – I could use one myself! – so let’s all try to stay optimistic!

    Best wishes to you and your husband!!
    Abby

    P.S. I’ve found “The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted,” by Compbell & Campbell (revised edition, 2016), as well as a lot of really inspiring and helpful documentaries, like “Plant Pure Nation,” “Food Choices,” and YouTube channels like “Mic the Vegan” have been essential to stay motivated and take enjoyment out of this endeavor!

    #14535

    Jasmo
    Participant

    Thanks for the reply!

    We’ve been oil free for over 1.5 years(we don’t eat salads or salad dressings) and our daily raw sugar is one tablespoon of coconut sugar in our oatmeal(that has flax and freeze dried berries). Other than that, we’re whole food plant based with the most processed thing being vegan bread(1 slice per day with raw cashew butter before working out). Water wise, we each drink 70-90oz of water per day, no coffee except for maybe a cup or two on the weekends(if we remember we have any).

    What I thought would stand out is the salt but, as I count it I get about .5-.75 teaspoons per day(if that) and that’s what I add to our meals for seasoning and is in our bread.

    We have been eating until we’re satisfied and if we’re still hungry afterwards we make a trail mix from those freeze dried berries and some walnuts or a banana ice cream.

    We are still fairly overweight for our heights, especially myself, so the only thing we can do is focus on our improvements on the gym even if the scale doesn’t budge.

    #14540

    EatPlantsNotFriends
    Participant

    Wow, that’s amazing! I need to take a page from your book! 🙂
    Of course there’s no way I could really know, but I’m wondering if you were onto something with the idea of eating more. Maybe if you just add in some more raw veggies?? Like greens, if you try to make a big salad every day and eat that it could give your body a boost with more of those phytonutrients? Or a green smoothie every morning? (not juice, since you still have the fiber in a smoothie)…I don’t like smoothies much but I hear they work miracles for a lot of people. I don’t know what your specific daily meal plans look like but from what I understand you can never have too much of that green stuff and it only seems to help in any situation! Just brainstorming, I would say maybe look more into the dried fruits and sugar substitutes you’re using but it doesn’t seem like it should make that much of a noticeable difference if you’re staying in a calorie budget. I can understand why you feel frustrated, it sounds like a mysterious predicament. Only thing I end up with is I definitely agree it sounds like your progress at the gym is the best guide post!!
    Also I’ve been meaning to try making banana ice cream… it sounds so good, and I’m always craving something sweet like that in the evenings after dinner! Do you make it yourself and if so what’s your method?
    Abby

    #14590

    ALinJapan
    Participant

    I’m having the opposite problem…
    Aren’t there people who have a genetic issue? Ever considered that?

    Also I’ve been meaning to try making banana ice cream… it sounds so good, and I’m always craving something sweet like that in the evenings after dinner! Do you make it yourself and if so what’s your method?

    I use Greger’s method, he has a video, just throw frozen bananas into a blender. With mine it won’t become creamy enough so I add soymilk. For flavor, you can add cocoa, matcha, frozen berries, etc..
    I admit I haven’t made it recently anymore, got a bit tired of it.

    #14611

    EatPlantsNotFriends
    Participant

    ALinJapan, that’s a good point, I guess it is possible it could be something genetic. I just have been learning recently that genes only influence our outcomes like 10% as opposed to diet/lifestyle being the other 90%. My family has a history of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and being overweight, among other things, so I’m really trying to fight it and hoping the chances are low for me getting any of those diseases if I keep myself healthy. Obviously though, with 10% there is still a chance! I would definitely be talking to a nutritionist about it if it continues, because I too would be frustrated and confused after working so hard without the results I was expecting.
    Thanks for the referral to Greger’s video, I haven’t seen enough of his videos, though I know of his work and appreciate it very much. I actually did make banana ice cream a couple times since I posted last! My way was similar to what you described, but I did it in a Magic Bullet and I’ve tried it in a variety of other flavors too (I want to try your berries idea next). I used a tiny bit of hazelnut milk once, and the next time I tried oat milk, which is my favorite. I like it thick and creamy so I don’t use much milk. I’m a big chocolate and peanut butter person, so I used unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and I’ve tried adding peanut butter, and this delicious non-dairy Nociolata spread (like non-dairy Nutella) and it gets nice and creamy, even almost fluffy like a whip sometimes. If I’m really feeling fun and indulgent I put some rainbow sprinkles on top! It has been a delicious experiment! I also noticed it doesn’t take very much of it to feel satisfied, which is great when we’re talking about a sweet treat. However, I definitely understand what you mean about getting tired of it. I’ve tried limiting myself so I don’t overdo a good thing! Otherwise, recently I’ve been having a square of Ghirardelli Twilight Delight dark chocolate (non dairy of course) and that is lovely and just enough when my sweet tooth comes out to play!

    #14617

    ALinJapan
    Participant

    Not a fan of raw peanut butter (eg. on toast), but do like it processed, so I’m keen to try your ice cream idea 🙂 I also use it with soy yogurt to make a kind of cream cheese.

    #15779

    rfish2540
    Participant

    I know this is an old thread so I don’t know if anyone will see this…I’m having the same issue. I’m taking a look at how much of the processed meat and cheese replacements I’m eating. Maybe that’s an issue?

    #15781

    Jasmo
    Participant

    I finally found out why we weren’t losing weight:

    We weren’t eating enough. I feel super dumb.

    Anything over a 500 calorie deficit was working against us. We started to up our calories and BAM, started to lose weight.

    I used Cronometer to check how much we were eating and then upped the numbers to what we *should* be eating. We had to double the protein, halve the carbs, and up the veggies(we were treating potatoes as veggies and just had two servings). Fats were on point.

    Our food these days is:

    Breakfast: Just bagels and tea or oatmeal and spinach/fruit smoothie.
    Snack: Granola bar or toast with almond butter/jam.
    Lunch: Dinner leftovers.
    Snack: Granola bar or toast with almond butter/jam.

    Dinner: Pick one of each-
    Protein: chickpea, navy bean, black bean, lentil, split pea, tofu, homemade seitan.
    Carb: potato any kind, root vegetable any kind, corn, peas, tortilla, rice, quinoa, pasta.
    Vegetable: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, onion/pepper, tomato, combo.
    Flavor: a sauce or seasoning bought or made.

    Dessert: Fruit smoothie without spinach- if we’re still hungry.

    Each serving amount for breakfast/snack/lunch/snack/dinner/dessert is tailored to our calorie needs. We need 2,300-2,500 calories so I measure out so everything adds up to a roughly similar number every day for each of us.

    And it’s been working, I lost 4 pounds in the first week. It was startling but everything was/is in the green. My hubby didn’t lose weight but he’s getting muscle way faster than I am and had way less fat to begin with.

    #15828

    Spedagno
    Participant

    I’m glad you were able to figure that out! Congrats on losing weight.

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