Advice about Weight Loss & Weight Gain

Parent Q&A

Trying to lose menopause weight Jun 30, 2018 (1 responses below)
hypnosis or other therapy for mindful eating/weight loss Mar 6, 2018 (1 responses below)
Belly Fat Dec 13, 2017 (7 responses below)
need private diet counselor Jun 21, 2016 (1 responses below)
  • Trying to lose menopause weight

    (1 reply)

    I'm looking for a nutritionist who can help me lose menopause weight. Weight gain of 50 lbs or more over last 10 years; some of it fluid retention, which I'm sorting out with my MD, but not all. I have a fat baby in my belly that has exacerbated my chronic back and pelvic pain and makes it difficult to walk, move, and work. Clothes don't fit. Nothing I've done has worked. I need to see results, something, every week, even a lb lost a week would be a huge thing for me. I can't do this by myself any longer. Just losing any weight, using food as medicine, to help my hypertension and other things would improve how I feel. But I am lost when I go out to eat or to the store .... Do any of you have suggestions? East Bay and eastwards work best for me but I can meet up and continue with facetime or skype. Thank you!

    Hi, I hear you!  I’m 50 and and have a compressed nerve in my hip due to my extra weight.  Dr. Jason Fung’s book, The Obesity Code, was the help that I needed to figure out how to lose weight.  I’m not on any medications, so I didn’t need a nearby doctor to monitor me and change meds as I lose weight.  I have lost 50 lbs in the past 6 months, which is pretty amazing.  Dr Fung partners online with the Diet Doctor website, if you like to have online support and meal plans.  The weight loss has come from diet changes, and I have been doing well enough to walk for 30-45 minutes each day recently.  It’s nice to be able to walk without pain.  I’m continuing  to lose weight, and I expect that I will be eating this way for the rest of my life to keep my weight healthy.

    If you are diabetic or on blood pressure medication, then Virta Health might be a good option.  It’s expensive, but it includes doctor visits (for monitoring and medication changes) and continuous coaching.  It might be covered by your insurance.  They are publishing their results, and the improvement and reversal of diabetes and weight loss is very impressive.

    For the record, I was not able to lose weight on my health plan’s recommended MediFast nor their nutrition counseling that follows the MyPlate guidelines.  Those were things that I tried first, and they just didn’t work for me, personally.  

    Wishing you success in your weight loss journey and better health.

  • Hi, I'm wondering if anyone here has had success with any sort of therapy to help with mindful eating, like hypnosis or something similar.  My weight has bounced around a lot in my adult life, and when I really focus on only eating when hungry, it really helps, but then life gets stressful again...  I'm battling with the subconscious drive to eat as a response to every emotion!  I know this is common, and wondering if anyone has found help with reducing mindless calorie intake.  Thanks!

    You've identified that you use food to cope with difficult emotions, which is good to know.  When people are trying to curb emotional eating, they often mistakenly think that the solution is to somehow stop their behavior, but this never works long term, because it doesn't deal with the root cause of the issue.  If you want to stop emotional eating you need to identify different coping techniques, and practice using them.  It's not a quick fix.  It will take time and effort, and you'll most likely need a good therapist to help you.  

  • Belly Fat

    (7 replies)

    I'd like to hear from anyone who's had success in reducing belly fat -- the kind that creeps in at middle age and is really unhealthy.  How did you do it?  Of course exercise will be key, but I'm wondering what kind?  Pilates/core work?  Interval training?  Or...?  It's not so much a matter of a lot of weight loss, but a lot of weight to lose in that one specific spot.  I really want to do whatever work(out)  is necessary to get in better shape, but reducing that fat is the main goal.

    RE: Belly Fat ()

    weight training, weight training, weight training.  you can run, yoga and do any other type of training you wish, which is great, but it will not rid you of belly fat unless you loose weight all over.  to 'redistribute' (misnomer) aka loose belly fat, you need to lose weight period.   if you don't want to lose mass elsewhere like me (i'm a skinny chick with belly fat) then you need to build muscle on your body everywhere else.  building muscle raises your metabolism so your body burns calories more efficiently, keeps your arms and legs in good proportion while you whittle the belly down. helps slender folks keep proper weight on and is just good for you in any and every case.  there are ZERO ways to 'just' reduce just belly fat, short of surgery, though you wouldn't think it given the informercial universe of hucksters trying to sell you otherwise.  best gift i ever gave myself was hiring a personal trainer for two months.  life changing and cheaper than cable even in the short run.  you got this!!!!  :)  

    RE: Belly Fat ()

    Can I ask if you've had a baby, or are you a man?  I thought I was just fat and then I realized I have abdomen separation post pregnancy (diastasis recti).  Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of belly fat regardless.  I'm focusing on clean eating - less take out, protein breakfast - and light cardio (biking, long walks) to start - starting a big exercise regime has never worked for me.  I've lost 14 lbs since mid December and I no longer look pregnant in every photo I take.

    RE: Belly Fat ()

    Agreed. Build muscle especially the big muscles like legs and butt. Squats! Plank etc. You can’t “lose” fat but you can shrink the size of the cells and make way for muscle which burns at a higher rate. Cardio and diet is good to watch but adding strength and muscle focus is really important. I actually excercise in less time and have lost more stomach fat and built muscle by doing HIIT workouts. I follow free videos on Amazon sometimes that are only 15-20 mins long tops. I am also entering perimenopause and have had to accept I have to watch my calorie intake more.

  • need private diet counselor

    (1 reply)

    I want to lose 10 pounds in a healthy way and I want a diet pro to keep me honest and to help me.   Weight Watchers is not a good choice for me right now, though I respect their program and have used it successfully.  Due to my schedule and other factors, I want a live person, and one on one approach.  I do NOT want counseling about nutrition; just weight loss.

    Anyone have a great experience with someone in or very near Berkeley?  please tell. . . .

    thanks, active Nana

    RE: need private diet counselor ()

    Have you looked into Jumpstart MD? They have an office on Grand Ave near Piedmont. They've been super helpful for me. They do one-on-one and have a smart approach to weigh loss. The focus is on eating low-carb, small portions; that may not be your cup of tea, but you might consider trying them out anyway.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Have you tried the HCG diet?

Oct 2010

I am considering taking oral Hcg to lose 15 lbs quickly.I would like to know whether you have tried it and how it went for you. Please - no moralising and telling me about other diets you have tried. I only want to hear from people who have tried HCG either injections or oral suspension. Sadie

I have a friend who is a nutritionist and did the HCG diet w/the supplements. She ate nearly nothing. It's like 600 calories a day but said she didn't feel hungry because of the supplements. She lost at least 15 pounds very quickly. However, she gained the weight back immediately and said she has some health risks as a result and no longer swears by it. I lost the same amount of weight she did with running 3 miles a day. I started off walking and gradually built up to jogging. I like food too much to eat so little and I am breast feeding so I couldn't do it--oh, and I am also vegan which they don't recommend. It looked really tempting seeing my friend loose so much weight quickly. So, in a sense it did work in the short term although with health consequences. Also, it isn't cheap. Good Luck! ANON
I have just completed 30 days on the hCG diet, using the oral drops. I have lost 16.8 lbs. I have seldom been hungry, and never felt weak- which I was concerned about, as I have a fairly physically demanding job. It's been great to loose an average of half a pound, as opposed to the half a pound a week that I had managed for the last 4 months! I did consult my dr before I started; she said ''you're healthy, give it a try, all you have to loose is excess weight!'' I'm glad I did it, and I'm planning to do it again in January to get the last excess 15 lbs. off - then I'll be at my ideal weight of 155! anonymous
A colleague of mine used HGC to lose 22 pounds in about 3 weeks. She has put the bulk (no pun intended) of it back on, but she wanted to fit into a cute little dress for her reunion. -:-)

Can stress and depression lead to weight loss?

March 2010

To my surprise I've recently found that I've dropped from a size 10 to a size 8 without doing anything different as far as eating or exercise. I've been extremely stressed and depressed for the past two years because I vehemently hate living in California. I want to get back home east but have been unable to land a job there despite many more stress and sadness. Can stress and depression itself lead to weight loss? wanna go home

Yes, stress and depression can lead to weight loss. Unintentional changes in eating habits or weight loss or gain is one of the symptoms of depression. There are also 8 others (one needs to have 5 of them, together, for a period of time to be considered depressed), so I am not saying you are necessarily clinically depressed. But given your situation and feelings, have you considered getting some professional support or therapy? Liz O.
Absolutely, depression and stress can contribute to weight loss. Often you see weight gain as a symptom of depression, but weight loss is also a symptom. Suzanne
Absolutely. Good Luck
Stress and depression can make you eat less, leading to weight loss. But if you are really eating the same amount, and losing weight, you should see your doctor. Unexplained weight loss -- and by unexplained, I mean unexplained by a change in diet and/or exercise -- can be a sign of a serious problem. Please see your doctor.
Yesat least in some people, stress and depression can definitely affect metabolism. I dropped about seven pounds when I was very homesick, and closer to 15 pounds after a bad case of unrequited love. My doctor said that this was normal, if painful, and that my normal weight would return, which it did. In the meantime, I'm concerned that you are still so homesick after two years. If the depression prevents your getting out and making new friends and doing other things that would help you to feel at home here, then you're trapped in a loop. Do think about therapy if you haven't already. Good luck; homesickness and depression are no fun, but they're unlikely to go away unless you take action. Anonymous
Yes, absolutely depression and stress can cause weight loss -- in fact it's one of the symptoms of depression. Just in case, though, I would have it checked out by a doctor, because other health conditions can cause weight loss too. If the problem is only not living where you love to live, hopefully this will resolve soon. But if you are living with such stress and misery in the mean time, it could be very helpful to talk to a professional about it. I am a therapist, specializing in depression, and I find that therapy helps most people find relief for this kind of suffering, sometimes even before life circumstances can change. Cynthia
Hi there... Stress and depression definitely can lead to weight loss. When you keep feelings in and don't have regular healthy release, they build up in your nervous system, and can cause lack of clarity, loss if interest, excess anger, etc. There are healthy ways to release stress and sadness... I teach a class on getting connected as a parent that addresses this very thing. There is a very simple way that you can get support from friends - a listening tool that actually helps you offload stress, think more clearly, have more calm and joy in your life. Reaching out was the first step, and creating a listening partnership that offers true emotional support could be the next. Good luck to you. amy
This is the original poster - I was wrong about dropping to Size 8, it's actually more like between size 4 & 6; some size 4s fit me, some size 6s. And the scale confirms that I'm down to what I weighed in college. Completely Mystified
You may want to get your thyroid checked. I dropped 15 pounds somewhat suddenly and discovered I had hyperthyroidism. Another side effect is also depression. It's a simple blood test. I'd be happy to talk to you about it if you have questions. Good luck getting back east! Kim
So sorry to hear of your 'homesickness' - I moved from NY in '05, and it took me about 3-4 yrs before I started to feel like I was beginning to ease into life on the Left Coast. I still miss the eastern seaboard, but it's better now. Sadly, the stress/depression/homesickness had the polar OPPOSITE effect on me (lol); get a check up, and rule out anything serious, and if you want, call me, I'll do my best Brooklyn accent for ya'... (still!) a NY State of Mind
Just in case, it might be a good idea to see your doctor. I lost a bunch of weight after my son was born -- while eating my usual amount and not exercising much at all. I felt pretty depressed also. Turns out I had diabetes. Diabetes can cause weight loss because so much of the sugar stays in your bloodstream. If you feel tired or thirsty, or need to use the bathroom a lot, these are also symptoms. As a plus, my mood problems cleared up when I started proper treatment! Karen
Yes, absolutely, stress and depression can lead to weight loss. But beware anti depressant meds. I lost weight due to depression. After taking meds I then gained 3x the weight I lost I'm more depressed now and am dealing with medical conditions related to weight gain such as high blood pressure, diabetes. I regret starting meds. anon

Losing the belly fat

Dec 2008

I'm middle-aged, and after a lifetime of high metabolism everything changed. Now I have the belly fat all the reports warn about. I am not overweight overall; it's all concentrated. Would love to hear what's worked for others -- is there any way to target just that area? Like Santa's bowlful of jelly but no ho-ho-ho from me!

What you need is to shake up your current fitness routine. You can't target one area but you can build muscle that will burn fat all over your body. I highly recommend the classes at Phoenix gym in Berkeley: They have bootcamp classes in the morning and personal training. The trainers are excellent and the best part is that the classes are still small so you get lots of persona attention. You'll get stronger and fitter and that belly flab will disappear (or at least get smaller). This would be a great way to start the new year. flabby no more
Stop eating wheat. It is the cause of the fat belly. Just think that the wheat is bloating you up and your body is not able to process the toxins out. Food producers don't really tell us what's in our food and it is up to us to pay attention. To our Bodies. If it feels bad it is bad! Try different experiments with different types of diets- raw, alkaline, wheat-free, dairy-free, etc. (get more info on those) There is lots of alternatives now days. Or stick to fruit and vegetables. The less processed the better. See what your body is telling you. It may take a couple days to get the wheat out. But it will feel good. And that is good! What's in my food?!

Need online weightloss site--with GRAPHS

Nov 2008

I would like to lose 25 pounds in anticipation of an event next June. I have already talked with my doctor, who ran thyroid and other tests, which were normal. It's simply a matter of exercising more and eating fewer calories. I am HIGHLY motivated by recording information and seeing the resulting progress in graph form. Can anyone recommend an online site where I can enter calorie counts, exercise, and weight--and see my information presented visually? --8 Months to a Healthy Weight - it helped me lose about 35 pounds in about 6 months. good luck! Judy
The website is free and has charts and graphs for tracking your weight loss. It also has meal plans, exercise plans, blogs, recipes, etc.. It is a great resource. Also trying to lose
I LOVE this website: I used it to lose 35 lb. and it does have graphs. Have fun! myfitnesspal fan
I really like - it has great graphs for weight, measurements, body fat percentage. Only catch is that it costs $9 per month. -trying to lose weight too
Try the site it's free!
Hi - try, it's free. It tracks your foods, exercises, weight loss and goals. Good luck! Crystal
I've been using, and have been pretty happy with it. I use the free version, which has nutrient info on lots of different foods, lets you add your own foods, and lets you construct ''meals'' of food combinations you eat regularly (saves time in entering). It displays various kinds of progress (calorie distribution, weight lost, etc.) with graphs under the ''reports'' tab. They also offer a paid version with a lot more foods listed, but I generally use (free) if I need more information on a food not listed at nutridiary. lost 10 pounds so far!
Yes yes! sounds like exactly what you need. Little lines with different colors for weight, body fat, exercise output, etc. Have fun, good luck! --losing that baby fat
I just wanted to suggest checking out the bodybugg. I worked with a trainer who recommended it for those seeking weight loss, and though I didn't use it, a good friend did. There are fees, but the graphs and reminders that you need to do 'one 15 minute walk before bed' if you plan to meet the calories burned goal, were very helpful for my friend. The website is Mary
I was in your same situation a few months ago--I had those last 15-20 pounds of baby weight that I was hoping to lose before an event. I came across the 3-Hour Diet ( and it worked like a charm for me. It is a relatively easy diet--there are not really any restrictions on what you can eat, so I never felt deprived of anything. And it taught me a lot of good eating habits--habits that I still use in my day-to-day life even though I'm no longer doing the diet (I lost most all of the weight I wanted to). The site utilizes a lot of visuals--you can post before and after pictures, and there are graphs for total body weight and then each separate body measurement. You can join chat groups, which really helped to keep me motivated. You can also type in your dietary preferences, and the site will generate daily menus for you, along with shopping lists to make all of the recipes. I highly recommend this diet/website. Good luck! Kerry

I have 10 pounds to lose in 2 months ...

Sept 2008

Hi everyone! I'll love to hear from those who have successfully (or not so much) lost some weight on some of those very commercial methods. I have 2 months and 10 lbs to loose for my sister's wedding this December. I have a dress and I'm just not willing to buy a new expensive dress for one night. Please not lecturing... I'm a very busy mom of two toddlers, maybe I can walk for 30 3 or 4x a week, I'm on an overall healthy diet, I RARELY eat out , I know myself what in the food I need to change. I will star to do this waking running, but PLEASE tell me about that magic green tea, other herbal methods, weight watcher, slim fast o the like. Thanks for your input mommy with the big thighs

I lost a lot of weight a couple of years ago (and have kept most of it off) using a book called ''The Diet Cure''. My problem was a sweets addiction though it doesn't sound like an issue for you. The book might be helpful and keep you mindful of your eating. Good luck to you! I hope you make your goal and look stunning for the wedding. - anon
The mother of a friend of mine once said that the only way for women to lose weight is to go to bed hungry. I was never fond of that idea but it does seem true that women need to eat much less (as well as exercise) in order to lose weight. I've managed to lose a fair bit by taking smaller portions at lunch and especially dinner, and never going back for seconds. I also try to remind myself not to eat my 9 year old's leftovers even if tossing them is abhorrent to me. I do eat enough at dinner to not be hungry in the night because it affects my sleep. If I am hungry before bed, I'll eat a handful of almonds or some non- sugary yogurt. If your body is too starving then all you'll want to do is eat and that defeats the purpose. However, exercise is key. hungry but not starving
If it's just 10 pounds - don't worry, buy one of those minimizer things that go from breast to knees and call it a day. Be glad it's only 10 pounds
Try cutting out ALL sugar in your diet - even to the level of ketchup. It's not as hard as it sounds, once you've gotten through a few days, you tend to lose the sweet tooth urge. You can drop 5 pounds quickly b/c eating sugar tends to make you bloated with extra water. No sugar means you also drop all those desserts etc. I also have cut out cow dairy (allergies) and that really helped as well. I still eat plenty, including high fat food (hummus, avocados), I'm not hungry. It's hard to organize sometimes but do-able. If you can do it, cutting out all refined wheat (or as much as you can) really does the trick as well.

The South Beach diet is a great way to lose weight/eat healthy without ''dieting''. It's also based o the no sugar concept, but explains it much better than I am.

I find that my vanity took over once I did lose the weight, so I'm more motivated to stay thin. I am finally able to leave food on my plate. In fact, eating only half of your entree out is a great trick as well. anon

Hi, You can realistically lose 10 pounds in 2 and 1/2 months and in healthy ways as it's only a pound a week. I did Weight Watchers in the past, and have had clients who use Weight Watchers for dieting help and hypnosis to keep them motivated and on track in reaching their goals and feeling great about themselves. A number of years ago I lost about 80 pounds, however, I've kept the weight off, by using hypnosis, self-hypnosis and exercising daily, usually walking and yoga.

Another plus in your favor is that in addition to walking several times a week, you have toddlers who keep you on the go. Have fun and take advantage of their energy, maybe by taking walks or pushing them in their stroller, go to the park and play with them on the apparatus, or dance, jump, gallop with them. Everyone will have lots of fun and you'll burn lots of calories too. Since you are highly motivated to lose weight, you would be a great candidate for hypnosis. If this seems like something you might like to try, let me know. Catherine

Hope this is not a ''lecture'' but look, you can do this. It's fast but not impossible, 5 pounds per month or a little over 1 per week. I lost 30 pounds on my best efforts at a rate of 1/2 to 1 lb/week, after an initial more rapid loss.

I'd say, put a calendar of the two months ON THE WALL. PLAN your meals, write them up there, follow them. Keep to small portions, you know that. Use that 30 min 3-4 X a week to push yourself at a high heart rate, put those 30-mins up on that calendar too and do them when you're supposed to. You have to signal to yourself that it's a new program. Keep the dress in mind. You may drop 5 right off the bat. Keep hydrated. Use all the tricks, vegs & water first, stop before you're full, plan in little sweets or whatever your weakness is. The main thing is make yourself a written plan and stick to it.

My personal favorite mind game is knowing I can do one small (150-200 calorie) late morning meal, then ONE MAIN MEAL late afternoon and be satisfied. I keep my coffees with cream and sugar in because I'd feel deprived without them. I plan what I will eat if my stomach is growling late night, OR if I'm strong I just say to myself ''That's the sound of this body sculpting itself down,'' and go to sleep. You can do it! Good Luck!

Before my own wedding, for about 6-8 weeks, I didn't eat anything white- no sugar, white bread, yogurt, etc..- or anything processed or alcohol. Just good wholesome veggies, fruits, grains. It just peeled off! Good luck. kelley
Oh my gosh...who hasn't done what you are suggesting? Or, thought about it? This past year, I wanted to drop for my husbands 25th high school reunion (had to look good for his ex-girlfriends...right?) I used There wasn't any magic to it. I just put in my weight, how much I wanted to lose, and then kept the on-line food diary. It tallied for me my calories. Once I knew what I was eating, I was able to easily get my intake to what my suggested calories in-line for my weight loss goal. I lost the ten pounds in the ten weeks and I've kept it off for the the past three months. I have another ten I would like to lose...haven't stayed on the thdailyplate, but plan to go back once I my urge to lose the remainder hits me... anon

Always the Before Photo

May 2008

Not easy to articulate this question, for which I would really appreciate some supportive, concrete advise. We just took a look at our Mother's Day photos, and I look like such a blob. Apparently, my two pregnancies triggered my thyroid disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, but the second pregnancy and diagnosis were about five years apart, during which time I both failed to lose my pregnancy weight and then put on a bit more. Now the girls are in their early teens and I'm a silent daily wreck over this issue. Tried Weight Watchers, lost twenty or so pounds about five years ago, hit a four-month plateau, got on a plane to Europe and in frustration, stopped counting points and weighing food and the weight rushed on in a weekend or so. Have been unable since that time to muster the internal resources to reappoach this issue in a meaningful way. I am always locked in my search, never moving into action: I'm always looking for the book to read or the program to join, the blog to believe in, the conversation to have - vbasically I'm still waiting for the tipping point into the new life of activity and empowerment, but nothing seems to penetrate the fifty-years worth of habitual behavior and inertia that charactize this issue for me. I came from a family of total non-exercisers. I don't think I moved much as a kid and it's been downhill since then. Strangely, I think I actually like to exercise but I forget that during the day and suddenly it's evening and another sedentary day has gone by. I'm a consultant for a living so lots of time in planes trains and automobiles, with long work days and lack of structure in my schedule. We do not live near a gym and I can't figure out when I'd get there anyway. My heart is breaking over this issue but I just can't seem to find the language to talk myself into changing, and what would that change be if I could find it? Any help, resources, guidance, direction would be appreciated. Looking forward to learning how to be an ''After''

Get up early every morning and start walking. Do it before you do anything else, then when the day is over, you've already excercised. This is how I lost my baby weight. If I can do it, anyone can. During this time I was already waking up at 5:30, commuting 1 hour to work each way,( teaching 2nd graders all day I might add) then coming home at 5, and doing the rest of the typical family thing. I found that 6 in the eve. or later was too late to work out. So I started waking up at 4:30. After a quick breakfast I'd be out of the house by 4:45, and I'd walk for an hour or less.Walk hard and fast and up some hills if you can. Summer is here so it should be light most of the time. If you can't walk outside for whatever reason, get a DVD like ''tough tape'' or ''the bar method'' and work out in your living room. Do it FIRST THING IN THE MORNING.If you excercise most days then you can still eat normal, just not over the top. It's really hard to lose weight by dieting alone, and if you move your body every day, you don't really have to diet at all. If your excuse is you're not a morning person, become a morning person. good luck hate diets
Try Bikram yoga. Its the kind where they crank the heat up and you sweat a ton and lose a ton of water weight each session. I am like you and have a very difficult time losing baby weight. My youngest was 5 and I was the same weight, maybe bigger, than when he was 6 weeks old. Bikram yoga is the only way I have ever been able to lose weight as an adult. You can't eat before you go or you will feel sick. So you go hungry. Then its such an intense workout that you aren't really hungry afterwards. In about 6 months l've lost about 15 pounds. Try the one in El Cerrito its really friendly and low key. I found the one on Shattuck (Funky door yoga) to be too much of a college scene. Anyway, it feels fabulous. finally shed a few
Take baby steps toward change just be consistent. Try to take a 30 minute walk a day and see where that leads. Try changing one thing in your diet and substitute it with something else healthier that you enjoy, e.g., drop corn chips and eat an apple instead. I changed my diet and my body over a number of years. Slow and steady change lasts. Stop beating yourself up and treat yourself with love. You can do it. anonymous
I hear you sister! I am hoping that my new Wii Fit will be my ticket back to my ''before'' photo... or somewhat close to it! I can't say that the Wii Fit is the solution, since I have only had it for two days, but it is a heck of a lot of fun, which is good. Plus, my son loves to do it with me, which is motivating, even if he is only a preschooler! Check out the video for it on If I am not a blob, I am close to it!
I hear you. I gained nearly 70 pounds during my pregnancy and only after nearly 2 years did I lose it. However, if you have a thyroid issue of any kind, that' s probably contributing to your weight issue more than you realize--even more than exercise or proper diet. There's a dr. in Marin--Dr. Richard Shames who specializes in the issue and even wrote a book, ''Thyroid Power''. So, forget about the diet and exercise books, start with that book or other books about thyroid conditions. My husband has a throid problem and has been to Dr. Shames and he thinks Dr. S is great. So, even if you can't go to Dr Shames, take care of your thyroid and the weight problem I think will be easier to manage (again, once my husband started managing his thyroid, the rest wasn't perfect, but easier). Good luck and don't give up--and it's not YOU in the way you think it is! T. Tish
Maybe you could try going a little easier on yourself. Even if you never lose the weight, you could have one nice outfit and buy some nice makeup so that you can feel good about yourself (and look nice in a picture) the way you are now. If you start with that, the lethargy might ease up a bit and maybe you'd feel like going for a walk? Hope that helps... anon
There are so many factors that prevent people from being able to stick to an exercise and weight loss plan. A huge factor though, has to do with community. Are you in a supportive place with people who are trying to accomplish the same goals? I highly recommend you contact the owners of the Ice Chamber in Albany about setting up an exercise program. There are a lot of women (and men) there in the same boat as you so you will be supported and motivated to change your life. When you visit their website, look at the Before and After page. Those are real women and men who have struggled with their weight but found the solution that works for them at the IC. I won't lie to you - this is not going to be easy and you will have to work hard. But if you are really ready to make a change, I know of no better way. Good luck! Been There Done That
Hello, Bravo for having the idea to put your question out!!! I am happy to share an idea with you: I know about people who where not at all into sports, sitting at a desk most of the day and who lost weight without changing their diet through bouncing on a high quality rebounder (mini-trampoline). The trick is to get a high quality one because the cheap ones are not fun and also you can hurt yourself with cheap rebounders. The most fun ones are based on bungee bands rather then on springs. There is a german company ''Bellicon'' who builds them. With this kind of ''exercise'' (it's more fun then exercise anyways) you don't need to force yourself to move. It's so much fun that you try to find excused to do it rather than excuses not to do it. It seems like nothing but is extremely effective as you work with a higher G-Force (Gravity force) which strenghtens the whole body. For instance you gain the same amount of oxygen in 5 minutes of bouncing that you get from 2 miles of jogging. Rebounding also stimulates the lymphatic flow and helps the immune system to kick in, and on top of that it triggers the body to produce Serotonin - also called the ''happy hormone'' which give you the ''smilie'' on your face. You find a lot of information (including a testimonial of an amazing success story in weight loss) on All the best to you!! Sylvia
Ok, so you hate the photos. I did too. Now take small steps to change your habits. Here's what I did: (1) Set a goal to walk a certain number of miles per week, and do it. Get a friend to join you, if possible. Keep an Excel spreadsheet with the number of miles you walked per day, and add them up at the end of each week. Guilt is an amazing motivator. (2) Stop eating after dinner. (3) Eat what you want, but exercise portion control. 2/3 of what you normally would eat. (4) Get an exercise ball and do crunches every night while you watch the news. Start with three sets of five. Then three sets of ten. Then 3x15. Then 3x25. I started this three years ago. I built up to four sets of 75 crunches every night when I watch the news, and run/walk 15-25 miles per week. I am not perfect, but got down to a size 4-6 from a size 10-12. And I feel better. Fifty and fit
I too kept gaining weight after giving birth for no apparent reason.After gaining about 20 pounds my health worsened - hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, insomnia, etc. Since then I have aggressively been trying everything to feel better and finally something is working. Quit all forms of caffeine. Then quit wheat. Then dairy. Then eggs, then corn, then soy - all the highly allergenic foods. All of which cause cortisol to be released (stress on the body) and causing your body to store fat. Read the book ''The Cortisol Connection''. It is a great book, and will give you a vitamin/herbal regime to follow to balance hormones. Of course eat a healthy diet, exercise, reduce stress etc... But most importantly. Quit those things and watch the pounds slip away. Any questions? E-mail me, or call Dr. Jim Otis a Kinesiologist in Oakland. He is awesome. Do what he says. You can do it. Once you quit one thing it gives you the confidence to quit the others. Just view it as an experiment. And forgive yourself when you cheat. I cheat and still I am losing weight. When you start to see results, do a liver cleanse - (from Elephant Pharmacy in Berkeley.) Good Luck. I feel your pain. I have been there, but in 2 1/2 years I have gotten rid of almost all of my health issues and went from 152 lbs to 136 lbs! ruby
Gosh, so much to say! You are being so hard on yourself. Be kind! I will share my partner's story in response. She gained 80 pounds in our first eight years together, and did not start out as uber-skinny. It got so extreme that she was no longer able to walk around the block with me, but had to ride a bike. She also did WW, and saw a nutritionist for about 18 months to no avail. The nutritionist referred her to great doc who suggested a full blood panel, which pointed to diabetes--not there yet, but inevitable, which scared her. She and her doc set baby goals, the first being to exercise for 200 minutes per week. She thought that was completely impossible, but made it happen with yoga and bike riding. Her doc also gave her the number for a therapist which she LOST THREE TIMES before finally making the call. This took several months. It has now been 2.5 years. She has lost 50 pounds in that time. She is no longer headed toward diabetes. We take walks together. She gardens. She gets her bloodwork done every three months. She now does WW (for the past eight months); she plateaued for 4 of those months, but stayed in anyway. Be more gentle with yourself. See exercise not as going to the gym, but doing things that are fun: gardening, walking, taking the stairs when you go shopping. You sound sad about your thyroid issues. Maybe some therapy, too? It is hard to motivate for change when you are feeling sad. It also sounds as if you are conflicted about losing weight. Maybe you don't know why you want to? Maybe it has become a ''should?'' As you go forward, consider what you are going toward. You will know when it is time. Take your time
I was in a situation somewhat similar to yours, though more recently. I gained 45 lbs after my first pregnancy. I have injured knees so can't do much exercise. But I eventually got it all off in about a year and a half, by myself, no weight watchers. what helped were (1) a daily walk, the faster the better, and even better if you carry weights or put something in a backpack to carry weights. If you are bored walking, listen to books on tape. I did at least 3 miles a day, and this did wonders. The key is consistency, do it every day. (2) Eliminate breads. No bagels, those are the worst. Limit yourself to one slice of whole wheat a day. Carbs are the worst culprit for older women. (3) And one final tip that worked for me after my second child: decide on a low calorie but nutricious breakfast and lunch, and eat the same breakfast and lunch every day. I came across a study that said that those who ate the same meal every day for lunch were able to lose more weight than those who had to rummage around for something different every day. The same meal makes it easier to stick to the diet. I had soup and one slice of toast for lunch, and I found that just varying the type of soup gave me enough variety. And finally (4), buy a good digital scale and make a graph and plot your weight every day. This did wonders for me! It was such a thrill to see my weight go down,even a couple of ounces, and I hated to lose that ground, I really got into competing with myself. I also could tell from the chart the times that were worst for gaining weight back - weekends & holidays, so it helped me watch out extra then. After my second baby the scale helped me get from 171 to 138 (my healthy weight, I'm tall) in a matter of months. Good luck, I know you can do it! Did it on my own.
I cringed while reading your entry because it could have been written by me. I'm three and a half years past the birth of my child, and like you, I lost it all at Weight Watchers when my child was about 9 months old, and in a weekend, I think I put it all back on. And now, I've added another ten pounds. I'm so disassociated from my body that when I catch a glimpse of myself in a window, I literally don't believe it. I'm not writing to offer you anything other than understanding. I, too, am so frustrated and tired of waiting for some epiphany/moment/anything to start back on the road to feeling better about myself. Perhaps a companion would help (I've always been fairly thin and fit, so I'm not accustomed to dieting). If you'd like a partner/voice/email friend to begin the journey to the ''after'', please ask the moderator for my email. I'd love to feel better about myself, too. Every month that passes that I don't do something differently, I'm incredulous. Want to give it a try? I'd love the support. Thanks and good luck. anon
You're over-intellectualizing this. Either you do it or you don't. Either you start exercising, or you need to stop feeling bad about your weight. I think we could use some slack in our society when it comes to mom's bodies. You have two kids, you work full-time. You probably have a lot of stress in your life. What else is your body supposed to look like?

But since you want to be an ''after'' photo, this is how it gets done. You find a workout program, you get up and go to it 4 or 5 days a week and you don't let excuses get in the way. Period. No buts. The skinny women you see around town don't use excuses, or have complicated rationalizations. If you want to be one of them, you have to adopt the same procedures. Anon

You are asking for the wake-up call, right? All I want you to do is watch one DVD. Would you be able to do that, please? You can order it from Target, Amazon and Blockbuster carry it too. Just came out January 2008 with the latest information. It is called ''Healing cancer from the inside out,'' but don't be misled, this path has been shown to reverse all kinds of chronic health conditions from diabetes to multiple sclerosis. This is a documentary divided into two 1 hour parts. The second part is the most crucial part, so I suggest you watch that first! With that knowledge you can digest part 1. This is going to be bigger than Michael Moore. This is going to be bigger than ''The Secret.'' This documentary will evaporate the need for socialized healthcare if enough people will implement the knowledge. Please watch this DVD. It definitely evokes change! For a $3 rental fee or $17.95 to own it and your regular grocery budget without having to join a fitness studio, you will be on your path to ultimate health. Turned me around
Dear ''before'' photo I have been struggling with my weight for a while, having never lost it after 1st pregnancy and gaining even more during the second one. I also never really believed that healthy eating could change my body. However, we hired a professional nutritionist chef who cooked meals for us and was sort of ''food police''. She would grocery shop and will make sure that we always have a salad before a meal, make snacks for us to eat during the day, pre-cook some meals so we can eat them when she is not around etc.I was suprised that I never went hungry after eating what she cooked. It was tasty and filling, and I would be satisfied with a much smaller portion compared to what I usually would eat. Her meals would include all groups of foods, she would make deserts that are actually good for you etc. She stays within our grocery budget too. After 2 montth I shed pounds, lost 4 sizes, and became smaller that I was before my first pregnancy! I feel energetic, I sleep better, I am stronger, and I started to crave the right foods like vegs, and fruit and whole grains. I can actually cook healthy for my family now. The nutritionist is originally from Canada and she is looking to move her practice here. She charges half of her usual fee in order to expand her client base here. It is $50 per hour and she comes twice a week and prepares meals for 3 days ahead. Her name is Katya Zakher and her e-mail is nutritionallyhip [at] tel: 510 809 6853. I would highly recommend her. elena
You are not alone, so many people can relate to how you feel. Photos are so telling. I can look at a photo of myself from any period in my life and I can tell whether or not I was happy or not during that time. Our inner state is reflected in everything about us not just our weight but the glow of our skin, our smile, the way we carry ourselves.

I can say that from my own personal experience of going up and down the scale and using food to comfort myself for many years, that in the end losing weight permanently and living a healthy lifestyle has nothing to do with how many times a week you make it to the gym or what diet you are on. Very few people can sustain the kind of routine we are lead to believe is necessary to lose weight, which is why people give up and gain more weight.

Of course simple science of calories in calories out will explain why you aren't losing weight, that is a no brainer, the real question is what leads you to not eat healthily and consciously in the first place, and why don't you feel that you are important enough to take care of yourself by carving out some time to move every day. We all have busy days and busy lives but just look at how many things you do for other people each day, how much time you spend on the computer or in front of the tv each day, of course you could work in a 30 minute walk. The truth is that somewhere inside you feel that you don't deserve that time. Nothing will change until you really believe that you deserve to take care of yourself and you make taking care of yourself a priority.

Your body is a reflection of what you think about yourself and your state of happiness. For me, when I am happy, grateful, and taking care of myself (including no negative self talk), I naturally lose weight and look better overall because I am not indulging in emotional eating or beating myself up and I want to get outside and walk or run (I can't stand the gym anymore, I work my muscles at home with dumb bells).

Start small, change one thing at a time and tell yourself over and over every day that you deserve to take care of yourself. been there

Hmm, you have a lot of reasons why you cannot do what you say you want to do. You remind me of me! Lots of desire, very little will. Are you willing to re-prioritize your life a little bit? There is almost always a way to find the time for an exercise routine, if you make it a top priority - as important as, say, doing the grocery shopping or seeing a therapist or meeting clients. Can you spend some money? I find that because I have very little will power to do things for myself, that being accountable to someone else really helps. Can you hire a personal trainer, who can come to your house 4 - 5 times a week, early morning or evening, or meet you at a gym at lunch time? As brutal as a 5am work out sounds, maybe that's what you need to do, if even for a little while until you get on track? It sounds like you make your own schedule... instead of fitting in wall-to-wall meetings, can you block out a longer lunch, go work out with your trainer, and eat a light lunch afterward? (I find I want to eat lighter after I've exercized.) You could also work out a diet program with the trainer, and report to him/her each time how you are doing. I also find that I respond well to the competetive aspect of doing group exercise (lazy when alone, do my best in front of a crowd), but not sure if you could make it to classes somewhere. There are places now, like The Bar Method or Daily Method, that have facilities in different cities, and the routines are all very similar. You could sign up in the different cities you find yourself in often, and schedule a class into your trips. (But you MUST go to them! Btw, I found that the Bar Method really jump started me into getting back into shape - 3 times a week and I saw a big difference after 3 - 4 weeks. Enough to make me keep up other exercize, cuz the Bar M is too pricey for me to keep up.) Just a few ideas... Good luck - eventually you will make this happen. Remember: the 1st few months are the hardest! anon
You are in serious need of caring for and investing in yourself and telling the other people in your life they need to grow up and take care of themselves! You sound so drained and running on empty! I suggest that you find a good internist or endocrinologist and get a complete physical exam and endocrine work up. Tell her/him everything you posted here. It sounds like your hypothyroidism is not being managed at all -- hypothyroidism can cause all your symptoms: out of control weight, lethargy, depression. You may have depression and other issues anyway, but endocrine problems makes everything that much worse. Finding a therapist and/or psychiatrist for an evaluation of the depression would be an excellent idea. Have you tried talking with anyone about some of these issues? Maybe a good life coach (or down to earth therapist) could help you figure out how to get control over your day to day life, help you concretely with time management issues that seem to overwhelm you. Once some of these physical and depression issues begin to get under control I suggest joining a good gym or the YMCA and investing in a trainer for a few initial sessions, to learn how to use your body and how to exercise and incorporate it into your daily life -- start small and once you begin to feel better and differently your life will change for the better. Best of luck to you. Anonymous
There's no ''outside'' solution, the motivation and courage to change must come from within. (And from your post, it seems like a good bit of it is already there!) First things first, get thee to an endocrinologist and get your thyroid stuff checked out again. Once you're sure your thyroid levels are properly regulated--and you may be one of those that need to get blood tests every three months--you'll be able to work from there with diet and exercise. It really is just a matter of the number of calories in and out. I am not a fan of counting calories consumed in food of calories burned in exercise. Just eat healthy, whole foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats and seafood. Don't ban chocolate, coffee, or alcohol, but moderate those things, for sure. Know your own limits and set up personal, common sense boundaries for yourself. I can have chips and ice cream in the house for occasional nibbling, but I know if I bring a bag of cookies in, they'll be gone within a day or two. So, I only buy cookies once a month or so. If you don't have unhealthy foods in the house, you can't eat them. It sounds like you're on the road a lot with your job, so you'll have to be even more resourceful. Eating out a lot isn't good for you, so you may have to make a trip to a local market, or pack healthy snacks and meals to bring along with you. Try to plan your meals and snacks as much as possible and stick to that schedule. Eat regularly, because if you skip a meal or snack, you'll be likely to overeat at the next mealtime. As for exercise, you just have to make it part of your life. Wake up and go for a walk in the morning, or take your spouse, a friend, or one of your kids with you for an evening walk. We have such beautiful, inspiring outdoor opportunities here--Tilden, Wildcat canyon, the Berkeley Marina, Point Isabel and Pinole, Lafayette Resevoir, Inspiration point, not to mention many wonderful day-trip places like Point Reyes, Muir Woods, and SF. Approach getting fit by wanting to be a healthy, happy person all-around, and not by what you look like. Don't count pounds lost, just get new clothes as the old ones become too big to wear. If you're really lost, consider consulting a nutritionist for a food plan and a personal trainer for an exercise plan. Try to exercise with a buddy. And be easy on yourself! Get out of your head and stop thinking about all of it and get to the farmer's market and a nice walk! good luck, you can do it
Not that I have all the answers or anything, but I saw this great series on TLC a few months ago called ''I can make you thin!'' It was like 5 or 6 one hour episodes. Lots of great practical advice. It's helped me so far. You could probably find info on the TLC website. Good luck! anon
My thyroid problems were diagnosed over 10 years ago as my youngest turned two -- and I thought that was a long time! We have a lot in common, but in the last half year I've lost 35 pounds and I'm halfway to my goal. I needed a cold-turkey approach and a fresh start with specific guidelines from my doctor. Strategies that have worked for me: I told my family what I was doing and the reasons my doctor gave me. I asked for support in specific ways (try new foods with me, don't be offended if I turn down a treat, be supportive of my exercise program, etc). I added lots of fiber and bulk to my diet. I eat whole grains almost exclusively, including some high fiber/low carb products. I prepare more vegetables for each meal, often two (non-starchy) vegetable dishes and a green salad for dinner, instead of just one vegetable or a salad. (To make things easier, I started using some frozen vegetables, whereas before I always aimed for fresh and local.) My doctor offered advice on what diet strategies would work best for me. I really needed an education about portion sizes! I allow myself treats several times a week -- moderate sizes and relatively healthy, but alway something that I like. If I'm really and truly hungry and it's not mealtime, I have a healthy and satisfying snack to avoid nibbling. I don't eat meat, and getting moderate amounts of ''healthy'' fats from nuts, good oils, and avocado helps me stay satisfied longer after a meal than if I skip the fats. Exercise is now a significant commitment, and I found out how inadequate my previous exercise program had been. I've always liked physical activity, but didn't always find the time -- I've had to re-prioritize my use of free time. I aim for 30-45 minutes 5 days a week, increasing the intensity as I get into better shape. My schedule is flexible, and if I exercise early, I'm more likely to fit it into the day. I exercise at home or walk, and I found friends to walk with. I often travel, and I've found I like walking (outdoors, in a mall, or in an airport terminal) better than most hotel fitness rooms. Two websites I recommend are the Mayo Clinic's Weight Loss Center (/ and My advice would be: make slow but steady changes with exercise but a more drastic fresh start with diet, and just do it. Today. Good luck, keep at it, and save up some money for new clothes! From 2X to a size 14, and counting
for me, two things have helped me lose weight and get back into shape. One, going to Europe for a few weeks where EVERYONE walks or bikes eveywhere dropped a chunk of my baby fat; that was inspiring. You have to walk to get anywhere and voila, weight starts dropping. Admittedly, I have not walked as much back in the States but maybe you can find ways to walk more? park in the far reaches of the parking lot, stop a couple blocks short adn walk the rest. even the little bits will help, if you can make it a habit. Ah, that's the burden - making a new habit. which leads me to my second success - triathlons. wait don't run (or swim or bike) away. For me, training for a triathlon is so much easier to do because each day is a NEW workout. I'm not running the same loop daily from my front door. I get to do different activities daily. AND before you worry about your shape, triathons are full of Athenas! Yes, shapely women who are astonished to find themselves racing. poke around - especially in the Athena/clydesdale and weightloss forums. There is a ''see jane tri'' in aug (or sept?) in pleasanton JUST for women. You have plenty of time to follow a couch-to-tri training plan and finish the race. From the couch training plans start with 1 minute walk/1 minute run exercises and build slowly. The tri community is supportive, I've found. losing some weight and having fun
I had a lot of success with a personal trainer. They can cost as little as 25 or 30 dollars an hour. I went one hour a week. You can find a good one at the gym, but they can show you exercises to do on your own without equipment. It sounds like you might even have the money to hire a trainer to come to your house. They bring equipment for you to use. Even having them come to your house can be very affordable. A trainer can motivate and guide you. I told my first trainer (I have had two) that I just had no motivation and she pointed out that maybe I did, but just didn't really know what to do. With her support I got into great shape and started training for triathlons. Having someone to be accountable to really helped me. They can be gentle and supportive but at the same time they don't tolerate excuses (and I see some excuse-making in your post). Be sure they are certified by one of the national agencies. good ones are familiar with common health issues and I'm sure most have had experience with Thyroid issues. Also, I see my trainer at the gym working with very fit and very overweight people, so don't think you will be ''too out of shape'' to hire a trainer. Give it a try. It really can work.
Well, I think you know the answer. Losing weight is hard, losing weight in middle age is harder, losing weight in middle age without exercise is pretty much impossible.

While it sounds as if your sedentary lifestyle and weight may be putting you at risk for some serious physical problem (diabetes and heart disease), what concerns me most in your post is your description of your mental state.

I understand. I was where you are, having grown up sedentary, overweight and asthmatic. I yearned to be different but could not see how to ''get there from here.'' The first step is to make a decision. A real decision. Once you make a real, heartfelt decision that you are going to take care of yourself, all of the other things (I can't because I travel, no time, no gym) will melt away. Understand that they are excuses and that if you are committed, you can find time to exercise in any lifestyle (this comes from an extremely busy professional single mom).

Second, commit to a little at a time. Instead of ''I am going to change my lifestyle and lose 40 pounds'', try ''I promise to myself that I will exercise for 30 minutes 4 days this week.'' One key for beginning exercisers is to make dates for it, whether it is meeting a friend for a walk or setting up personal training sessions.

Third, be a Buddhist. Understand that your success will come in how your workout will help your mental state right now today, without an attachment to how quickly you are getting to some goal or how well you are doing compared to others around you. I think this is really important since it sounds as f your negative feelings are really affecting your life. Trust me, the benefits of taking time to take care of yourself each day will outweigh the cost of the time taken away from your family, job, etc.

And lastly, understand that you are ''in recovery'' from being a sedentary person. The desire to make excuses, to blow off your workouts will alway come around again and you may give in occasionally. That's ok, just do better tomorrow and the slips will be no big deal.

One more thing: if you do commit there will come a time when exercise no longer feels like a chore but is something you look forward to. It may take a long time, but I promise it will happen. Anon

I so hear you, sister. I am watching myself expand since having two kids around the age of 40 (I'm around the age of 40, they around the age of toddlers). I need to lose about 40 - 50 pounds. I had preeclampsia with both kids and the bp never went down for the last one on its own so I have to regulate it with meds. I had my thyroid checked and all of it is normal and my weight gain has mostly happened after the birth of my last child. My doc tells me if I lose the weight and get on an exercise routine, I won't need the meds. I am stressed with working full time and dealing with the kids and ready to kill all the people saying ''you need to take care of you.'' When? I have a treadmill at home. I belong to a gym and I work 50 hours a week in addition to coming home with the kids. When they are in bed, I usually have to work and then I just go to sleep. I'm at my wits end but really not happy with the way my body is falling apart. It's too soon! I don't want to get old before my time! I don't think there's any trick or secret. It's all about deciding to do it and that's where I have a problem. I do wish I were rich enough to have a personal chef and trainer around me 24/7 to kick my butt and make me eat right. I also wonder why I can't see eating right (and I know what I SHOULD be doing) as something that is good for me and something I want to do. I'm actually working on scheduling in some workouts and getting back to WW. My doc and therapist tell me it's me that needs to change my mindset and I think that's true. But please, tell me WHEN I'm supposed to exercise? GAH! pining to be an ''after'' too
I totally understand your post, as am basically in the same position myself - baby weight never taken off, tendency to prefer being sedentary etc. However, although I have not yet taken my own advice, I believe quite firmly that there isn't a ''blog to believe, conversation to join'' or whatever. The will has to come from inside you, and the problem most probably is that you have some unhappiness in you that you can't currently solve (or don't want to solve), which limits your energy and ability to be more empowered about your life. You may want to try therapy to look at deeper issues of unhappiness and depression, or find some kind of wellness coach who will work you on changing your habits - if you want to start at the outside and work in. But sitting around waiting for something to ''click'' isn't going to work. I hesitate to guess, but you may want to look harder at your career and your marriage, as likely places where the sadness and hopelessness begins. - Know the feeling
My heart goes out to you! My weight has gone up and down since I was 14 years old, and I could have written your exact post on multiple occasions. I KNOW that inertia. I have lost 25 pounds or more on Weight Watchers 3 times and I still don't know what it is that inspired me each time to start. It is so hard to get going. My advice is two-fold: 1) stop looking for motivation, inspiration, or something to ''tip'' you into weight loss mode. JUST START. I know this sounds silly, but just commit yourself to ANY weight loss plan (I do think Weight Watchers is great), and just do it - no questions asked - for a few days or a week. For me, just taking a small step in the right direction fuels my motivation to do more. 2) Exercise in the morning as often as you can. I can't stress this enough. I owe my weight loss and successful maintenance to exercise. I do at least 30 hard minutes (e.g. running, an elliptical machine) 6 days a week. I know that is too much to imagine now, but start with 2 or 3 days a week. Buy a machine YOU LIKE for home. Decide to walk fast or run or bike. For me, getting to a gym just takes too much time. But exercise no matter what. Also, I have found a book I really like about changing the way you think about weight loss. It is called the Beck Diet Solution by Judith (?) Beck. Rather than addressing what one should or shouldn't do to lose weight, it addresses HOW mentally to get started and to stick to a weight loss plan. Good luck! You can do it! anon
Start with a registered dietician. With a healthier, lower-calorie diet, you won't need to go to a gym if you can walk to more errands, use stairs instead of elevators, etc. As a busy consultant myself, I know it is impossible to find low-calorie restaurant meals when portion sizes in restaurants are all designed for lumberjacks. Instead, I have miso soup mix to eat on the run. I like cut-up vegetables with hummus dip to nibble on between meals. Vegetarian chili is healthy and filling and can be made in advance in large batches. Stay away from calorie-laden drinks such as Frappucino, Pepsi, Vitamin Water, etc., in favor of water or tea. I was told that when I briefly left my plate at a potluck party at work last week, people sitting nearby examined the contents of my plate to see what I ate to stay so thin. Vegetables! Good Luck! Common Sense
A lot of research about weight loss has come out in the last few years that is very helpful. Read: Mindless Eating which talks about environmental cues that influence what and how much we eat, You On A Diet, which gives an overview of the physiological aspects of weight gain, and Volumetrics which gives great recipes. The most useful ideas in these books are: 1. We tend to eat the same weight of food every day, so if you eat less rich food (fewer calories per ounce), you can feel full on fewer calories. 2. Muscle burns more calories than fat throughout the day, so a weight training routine that builds muscle will help you lose more weight than intensive cardio (although cardio is still important for heart health). 3. You only have to eat about 100 fewer calories per day than your body needs to lose weight. This is the ''mindless margin'': those few bites you take while cooking dinner, the after dinner snack, finishing your plate even though you are full, etc. 4. You MUST get enough sleep (8 hrs/per night) or you will be too hungry. 5. You MUST find stress relief methods that don't involve eating (this one is the hardest for me).

I lost about 40 pounds by following the volumetrics cookbook and doing moderate excercise over the course of 8 months, but now I have gained 15 back. The thing is that I KNOW exactly why the weight came back - it is emotional eating to reduce stress. It is comforting to know that I could take more weight off if I focused on it again. Even though I am ''overweight'' by BMI, I still feel a lot healthier than I used to because of the excercise, which I have continued to do.

The other really important thing is to lower your standards. The BMI standards of weight are not the be-all end-all for ideal weight. In fact, being in the slightly overweight range of BMI may be healthier long term than being in the ideal wieght range, depending on your body type and other factors. We have had kids, we work hard, our tummies don't have to be flat, and its ok if our thighs rub together. If you can get to a point where you are feeling healthier, where you have some muscle tone and you can breathe easier and sleep better, than that is good enough. I am now 5'8'' and 175 pounds, which by American standards is fat. But I am finally starting to accept myself instead of berate myself for it. You can do it !!! Not before and not yet after . . .

You got many good responses to your post, but I wanted to share one more idea. It took me about 12 years to finally lose my pregnancy weight. What got me back into exercising was training for a 3-day walk-a-thon to raise money for breast cancer research. (A friend had been diagnosed and this spurred a few of her friends to do this together.) I started by walking only a few blocks to walking up to 20 miles right before the event. I don't necessarily recommend doing a 3 day walk (it tore up my knee and that took four years to heal), but the training was great. It was a sensible, medically based training model, and I made it fun for myself by mapping out the routes I'd taken on my training walks (most were on the weekends). I even highlighted the map so by the end I could see how many miles I'd walked. I walked in the Berkeley hills (check out all of the paths and steps) and by the bay. Some walks were with my friends but most were by myself, and I found that blissful. Now I walk for an hour and a half early on Sat. and Sunday mornings, sometimes with a friend but most often alone. I still find it peaceful. During the week I just try to walk as much as I can during my work day. Park far from the grocery store entrance, etc... Good luck--you'll find what works for you. a devoted walker

Gaining weight though not eating more

Jan 2008

I have been gaining more weight (well I never lost all the weight I gained after my youngest child was born 10 years ago) and I am not really eating more than I used to. I exercize about 4 times a week, although I don't seem to sweat when I do so. Now that I am about 27 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, and the weight seems to be going up, does anyone have any advise or knowledge about how metabolism works or how the body responds to exercize now that I have hit 50 and am post menopausal? Thanks for any thoughts on this. anon

I can verify that weight is much easier to put on and much more difficult to take off the older we get!

Weight Watchers always works for me, even though I have a thyroid disorder which is only partially treatable. And recently my acupuncturist suggested that I try out not eating wheat, as that can hold water for some people. It's a pain in the neck to avoid wheat, as it's in more things than you'd think, but I'm feeling much less bloated since I began a couple of months ago. Cece

Have you had your thyroid checked? Low thyroid can cause weight gain because it lowers the metabolism. It's a simple blood test to have all of your thyroid hormones checked. If you ahve low thyroid you can take various forms of thyroid hormone (forever). It's very very common in women, esp. after childbirth.

The other thing to look at is what you are eating? Are you eating sugar? Wheat? starchy foods'' Sugar will pack the pounds on like nothing else! Bread? Pasta? White flour? good as sugar. If you want to lose weight you have to eat less calories. Try writing down everything you eat for a few days. Be totally honest. You might be surprised that you're eating a lot more then you think. Take it a step further and figure out how many calories you're eating...You can also figure out how many calories a day your body needs for your activity level adn to lose weight. ...whatever you are eating, if you cut 500 calories per day out of your diet you will lose about a pound a week (I thnk that's right...3500 cal/#). And drink lots of water. But mostly, cut the sugar.

WHat are you doing for exercise? Weight bearing exercises...exercises that build muscle will burn the most fat. There are many websites that can help you. It might also be helpful to have a consultation or two with a nutritionist or personal trainer/weight loss coach. Since you didn't say anything about what you eat or how you exercise I''m only asking questions here, not making any assumptions.

If you'd like to talk further, please e-mail me. I'm a personal trainer/weight loss coach, massage therapist, have hypothyroidism, am a sugar addict off of sugar, and have lost weight successfully. Good luck. Been there... June

If you are 27 pounds over your goal weight, you are consuming 270 more calories every day than you are burning. My gym recommends that women keep their percent body fat below 20%.

Just by replacing 270 chocolate calories every day with a cucumber-carrot salad, your weight will gradually drop to your goal weight. If you eliminate a Frappuccino every day, you could actually lose too much weight.

If you're over 50, you are probably losing muscle mass, too, so add some push-ups, crunches, and lunges to your daily routine to maintain joint health and to prevent your weight from migrating to places where you don't want it.

And, don't forget the fiber for your aging digestive system. The fiber will make you feel fuller on fewer calories, too.

Aerobic exercise is good for your health, but if you watch the numbers on the treadmill, you'll see that it takes a long, long time on a treadmill (with or without sweating) to burn 3600 calories (the equivalent of 1 pound of fat).

No excuses, just veggies weight is STUCK!!!

July 2007

Last year through exercise and good nutrition I lost about 15# (needed to lose 20). I was doing really well. In April I started putting back on abunch of weight (got sick, mom passed away, other stressful events)..I'm an emotional eater and a major sugar addict. AFter 2 months I'd gained 7# back. Now I''m back on track...back to exercising regularly, no sugar, white flour, dairy, etc. I know a lot about nutrition (in fact in my work I council people on how to lose weight and eat better). As far as food and exercise I know I'm doing the right things. I have a physically active job (I don't sit at a computer all day) and try to eat about 15-1700 calories per day. I take supplements, etc. etc.

Here's what may be an important factor. I'm 54, going thru menapause...I've felt like a period is coming for about 2 weeks now. I didn't get one for 10 months and then got one last it feels like i'm on a regular cycle again. My belly aches, I get crampy, irritable, my face is breaking out. So, given that this holding on the the weight could easily be a hormonal thing....any suggestions? Any herbs, supplements, etc. Thanks to any of you menapausal moms or nutritionists out there who can help. bloated and annoyed!!

i was just reading something about this in a thread ''Premenopause/Menopause Tribe'':

one poster reported that once menopause sets in it is harder to lose weight, because the body is holding on to stored fat as a source of estrogen. she was paraphrasing christiane northrup MD., maybe from her book (she has several) called ''the wisdom of menopause.''

here's the bookstore part of her website: signed: not there yet, but ?close.

Husband's drastic weight loss

March 2007

My husband has lost 15% of his weight in two months. He was thin to begin with. He weighs 30 pounds less than me. I am no longer attracted to his slight frame. He appears very unhealthy in my eyes and my family agrees. He has given me no valid reason for his weight loss, but it may be viral. I have no idea. He is not sick and he does not do drugs at all. He runs twice per week. He has lost some motion is his left shoulder. He also has some bruising near his spine. My question is could he actualy like looking so gaunt? He is wearing tight t shirts and jeans that accentuate his skinny arms! Is this fashionable in some circles? Is this something straight, married men do? How can I be married to someone who looks likes a 43 year old man in the body of a 14 year old? What can I do to convince him to gain more weight? Size 10 married to Size XS

Please use whatever tools are at your command to insist that your husband see a doctor. He may be suffering from an eating disorder or some other serious, perhaps even life-threatening illness. He may be in denial or scared to find out what is going on (this happened to a friend--it turned out he had developed adult-onset diabetes). You can tell him that if the doctor says nothing is wrong you won't bother him anymore. You can tell him that if he loves you he will do this one thing for you, even if he doesn't want to do it for himself. Tell him you will go with him and hold his hand. This is not nagging, this is taking care of the one you love. Good luck to you both.
forget his size or attractiveness... does he have cancer? Seriously. Unless he's stopped eating, that much weight loss is an enormous red flag for a life threatening situation. Call the Dr, now!
It's always the men who lose weight without trying!!! If your husband lost 15% of his body weight by doing nothing in particular looks unhealthy, etc. I'd have him see a Dr. immediately. Does he have an eating disorder? Has he had on in the past that could be lurking back? I'd have him get a blood test and a thorough checkup by his MD. Good luck anon
Firstly, yes, I think you're right to be worried... that amount of weight loss in that short a time can't be healthy. But good heavens, do the two of you communicate? Do you even live in the same house, or town? I'd have to believe there'd be considerable evidence of *something* to explain the weight loss; I'm as worried that there's something far more serious going on than the tip-of-the-iceberg question of whether or not he could think it looks good. Concerned Citizen
How much does your husband weigh? Is he underweight by the BMI (Body Mass Index)? You can find this in books. If he is not underweight, are you overweight by the BMI? Sounds like he keeps fit. I don't know if he is too skinny without first knowing his weight, height and age. Maybe you yourself are overweight and you just don't feel good next to him? I don't know. anonymous member of BPN
He should see a doctor right away. It could be anything. Running can also make you lose weight, but his weight loss seems more extreme and with those other symptoms...really go to the Dr. Better that then have ''us'' diagnose. anon
Please insist that your husband see a doctor ASAP for a complete health screening. Sudden and unexplained weight loss is one of the warning signs of cancer they always tell you to look out for. If my husband had lost that much weight so quickly I would be very concerned to rule out organic causes. The bruising and loss of mobility make me concerned also. Whether or not he enjoys being that thin seems beside the point if he has a serious illness. Running twice a week is not at all an excessive amount to exercise. alarmed
I'd say get him to a doctor asap, and if you haven't already spoken to him about it, ask him! It could be a medical condition (viral, or some other disease, including cancer). And if he doesn't feel well, don't criticize him. Maybe you'll be more empathetic. And if he's already skinny and losing weight intentionally, there may be some emotional/psychological issues. If I were you, I'd express some concern first of all. Put your ''appearance'' concerns on the back burner for now.
Please take your husband to the doctor ASAP. If he has not been trying to lose weight and if he does not have an eating disorder then something more serious is likely going on. I do not want ot be an alarmist, but as the parent of a leukemia survior, weight loss and bruising were some of the tell-tale symptoms that got us in to see the doctor. A 15% reduction in weight in such a short amount of time is more alarming than having a 43 yr old spouse in a 14 yr olds body. Please press him to seek medical advice. A simple blood test could provide you with many answers. concerned reader & mom to cancer survivor
I don't want to unneccesarily worry you but here are a few things to think about. Please remember that there are many many possible reasons for your husbands situation and the ones I mention are just a few, and probably not very likely.

You don't mention if your husband intentionally lost the weight, or it just happened. Drastic unexplained, unintentional weight loss is a classic sign of cancer. The bruising and shoulder pain are also cause for concern if they have no other explanation like he fell and injured himself. Is he a smoker? Shoulder pain can be caused by a lung tumor pressing on a nerve and the pain then radiates to the shoulder (get a chest x-ray maybe). Unexplained easy bruising can be due to a low platelet count which needs an explanation (get a CBC, complete blood count). Leukemias and lymphomas often cause a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia).

Other reasons are emotional or mental problems, food alergies, food phobias, viral diseases and of course extramarital affairs. Or maybe he just thinks he looks hot that way. Get some good looking women to dis him a few times about being too skinny and that should cure him. In any case, sounds like he needs to see a dr. to rule out serious problems if in fact the weight loss was unintentional. sean

Losing the Last 10 Pounds

Jan 2007

Last year I lost a lot of weight with healthy diet and exercise. I've kept my goal weight for about 6 months now, and I'd like to lose 10 more pounds. This would not make me ultra skinny, but pretty trim. However, I am finding it very hard to get these last pounds off. I've amped up the exercise, water intake, healthy diet....the scale is not moving. Any advice? wish I could get the numbers to budge

Hi! I read your post about ''losing the 10 last pounds''. Have you given a thought to the idea that maybe you don't have 10 more pounds to lose? It seems that you are eating properly and exercising routinely, which is the best way to allow your body to get down (or up) to its healthy weight. Why would you want to get skinnier than your natural balance? I would add that eating less while exercising more would be unhealthy as you seem to have reached your natural weight. I would encourage you to work on the image you have of your body, rather than on your body itself... Good luck! anon
Although it might not help loosing the weight, you might look and feel more svelt with weight training. I've alwasy found that lifting weights does more for my looks and sense of self than anything else. You didn't mention weight lifting explictly, so thought I'd throw that in. Merrilee
Hi, you don't mention your form of exercise, but if you really want to be trimmer, try weight training. Despite most women's fears, it will not bulk you up. The numbers on the scale may not go down the full 10 lbs, but a weight trained bod is definitely trimmer. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so your metabolism will increase and you won't have to drop more calories. Good luck. anon
Congratulations on your weight loss. Ten pounds is my 'magic number too!. I started Bikram yoga at the beginning of January and found that going 3 or 4 times a week is bringing my weight right down. The first 4 came off in 2 weeks. I think it's working because I eat a very light breakfast of fruit and a few bites of yogurt, trot off to class. After class, I only want liquids, coconut water, more juice, water w/ a tiny bit of sea salt. I eat a good size dinner around 5pm. Bedtime is around 10pm. Sleeping during the hours of 10p - 3am, studies have revealed, crucial to hormone balance in women who want to reduce weight. Good Luck. Funky Door Yoga Studio is a Bikram studio. There is also a Bikram studio in Oakland. Sweaty and Happy!
Even though you eat a healthy diet you may be eating too many calories (easy to do). Try writing down all your food for a few days and count the calories (you can find out calories/portions on boxes, packages, on line, in a calorie book). 3500 calories = one pound. So, whatever your daily calorie intake is...if you are maintaining your weight, that's how many calories you need to maintain your weight. If you eat 500 less calories per day than your typical, you will lose a pound in one week (500 kcal x 7 days per week = one pound/3500 calories).

Been in your shoes. Upped the exercise, but not till I lowered my calorie intake did the pounds come off. I measured my portions too cause I found that eyeballing my portions was not accurate. So, for example, 1/4 cup of dry oatmeal was 150 calories. 1/4 cup dry looks like not much oatmeal, so I'd add more... But actually 1/4 cup dry was plenty of oatmeal cooked. I could go on, but you probably get the idea. Good luck. maintaining...would like to lose more too.

Make water your only beverage. Beverage calories often get overlooked but they count! And hey, maybe you look a lot better at the weight you're at. As we age, we actually look better with a few extra lbs.!
I didn't see your original post so I don't know how long ago you gave birth. But, if you are physically ready to return to a vigorous workout, I know of no better way to get in shape than the Ice Chamber in Albany. I signed up for bootcamp in June with the goals of losing a few pounds and jump-starting my own workout. Instead, I quit the Y, stayed at the Ice Chamber, lost around 10 pounds so far, built loads of muscle, and feel amazing!

The Ice Chamber is not your ordinary gym - and they don't get ordinary results. At the risk of sounding like an infomercial - you will not believe how effective their approach to fitness is. But don't take my word for it - check out these BEFORE and AFTER photos of Ice Chamber members (including me)

They just added a 9:30 a.m. bootcamp class. Beginning March 5, you can work out, and still have time to get other things done before you have to high tail it back to your nanny, best bud, daycare, mother-in-law, or whoever else watches your kiddo while you take care of yourself. If that time doesn't work for you, there are daily morning classes and evening classes:

Try it. After all, what have you got to lose (besides those last 10 pounds). 510-558-0807 Truly fit for the first time

People commenting about my weight loss

Nov 2006

Hello, I have recently lost some weight. I started at 5'8'' and 150lbs (on the medium end of a healthy weight) and over the course of 3 months I am down to 125 lbs (still a healthy weight). I dieted and excercised. People keep saying to me ''WOW!! You have lost SOOO much weight!'' and ''You look SO much better now!''. This is kind of hurting my feelings, because I wasn't overweight in the first place . Also, I really don't know how to respond. I feel like saying ''Thanks'' is kind of awkward.. I wish someone would just say ''Great job on the weight loss, that takes discipline'' or ''You look great'' or something.. Since most comments seem to be in the surprised/slightly insulting category-- How should I respond? Also, am I being too touchy? Thanks! -Just wanting to feel comfortable in my own skin Anonymous

Great Job!!! Dieting and exercise are hard to keep up. Since I don't know you I can't say '' lost weight, you look great'' but I bet you feel great so I think you might do best for yourself by concentrating on that when people say ''wow....etc''. It's just the way people react. We are all impressed when someone loses noticable weight, and maybe jealous too. I would try to lighten up...and keep up the great work personal trainer and weight management coach
Congratulations on losing 25 pounds in 3 months--that's quite a significant achievement, and something that people are definitely going to notice. It sounds like the people around you are very impressed and are trying to give you positive feedback, even if sometimes it comes out the wrong way. Just smile and say ''thank you.'' Obviously you wanted to lose weight, because no-one loses that much weight that fast by accident, so you should take pride in what you have achieved and not be dismayed that people are commenting on it. Listen for the intended compliment and respond to that! wish I had your problem
I have also recently lost weight; 30 pounds over 4 months. And yes, I get those ''My God have you lost a ton of weight!'' comments as well. It's a little different for me in that I was pretty chunky to begin with. I personally try to take the comments for how they are meant - as compliments. Also consider the person's intentions when they say it. Would they really say, ''Gee looks like you've lost a little bit of weight- why did you put so much work into something you didn't need''? It wouldn't be very nice either. - try to blow it off and enjoy !
First, let me congratulate you! It sounds like you worked on it. That said, you DID diet and begin exercising - wasn't this so that you could lose weight? I think people are just complimenting you and you're taking the way they are saying it wrong. It IS weird to say WOW YOU'VE LOST SO MUCH WEIGHT, but it happens all the time. (Maybe you did look heavy to those people before and now you're super thin and they can't help but exclaim?) I'd just say, Yeah I did, thanks. and call it a day. -Lucky you.
Since you asked, I think you are being a little touchy. You may not have been medically overweight before but you said that you did diet, not just exercise to lose TWENTY-FIVE pounds so you must have felt that it would be good for you to lose that weight. Of course people are going to notice and in our society a lot of people do think you look better. From what you said, nobody is making remarks like, ''Gee I'm glad you got around to losing all that fat!'' I would just change the subject from your looks to how great you feel. ''Thanks, it's kind of embarassing because I keep getting these compliments and all I wanted to do was start working out regularly.'' anon
Why did you decide - or how did you happen - to lose weight? Perhaps you could respond with an affirmation of that. For example, if you lost weight because you enjoy exercise, you could respond with, ''Thank you, I've really been enjoying running more.'' Or if you did it to improve your health, you might say, ''Thank you, I'm feeling healthier,'' etc. Hard as it may be, I'd try not to take those rude comments to heart, because they really truly reflect more on the speaker than on you anon
You'd think more people would know how hard it is to lose weight, but they don't. They assume it was easy for you. Unless they've successfully lost weight and kept it off, they are clueless. I used to be one of those people who would blurt out, ''Gosh you lost a LOT of weight.'' Now that I've done it myself, I am more likely to keep my mouth shut, or if I overhear a comment like that, I chime in with, ''It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to lose weight. Good for you.'' After I lost weight, I'd cringe when people commented - the worst was when they implied that I was now too slim (like you, I'm smack in my healthy weight range). I wanted validation, so I started giving it to myself. When people commented that I'd lost weight, I'd say, ''It was a lot of work to change my eating habits and exercise every day, but I'm glad I overhauled my lifestyle.'' It's annoying, but people have short attention spans; pretty soon they'll forget that you ever looked any different than you do now and the comments will stop completely Heather
Saying thanks is appropriate. Then you can back it up by saying it took lots of discipline and hard work to achieve your goal. You wouldn't have taken on the excercise and dieting if you were happy with the way you looked. You have had a drastic loss of weight, 25 lbs is a lot! I think it would be shocking to me if any of my friends dropped that much weight in that short amount of time. I would probably say the same things, especially if I hadn't seen them in the progress. Just the other day, I saw a girl who works in my doctor's office who lost 150 lbs! I was so in awe, I told her. She lost the amount of a whole person. It is not meant to be insulting, it is a compliment. I think some people are just amazed and wishing they could do it themselves. I have recently lost some weight (not 25 lbs, which is amazing!!!!) in the last few months by lots of exercise, discipline and dieting, I LOVE to hear how much better I look now, because I know I do. I am more comfortable in my clothes, in social gatherings, and everywhere I go. I was not by all means fat before, but I wasn't what I used to be and people remember that. It is a compliment. Be happy and glow! Way to go! still have 15 more to go.
I am 40 lbs overweight and just hate it and I really try to control my eating but i can't right now. i say comments like the ones you mentioned to people who have lost weight because 1) I am soooo jealous because I want to lose weight again too, and 2) in my family, being overweight is really considered ugly and so I am trying to get over the ''thin is pretty'' attitude that i grew up with, but it is still there. I think I am over it for everyone else but me. (My mother wanted me to lose weight for my wedding so bad...she would say things like ''don't you want to be a beautiful bride?'') Please just regard the comments as coming from the other peoples's attitudes about themselves and what society tells them and just let it go. The fact that you are happy with youself at different healthy weights is what matters! Anon
I could have written your email! I grew up a ''skinny'' kid - tall and skinny. Kids called me lanky. I always tried to gain weight. I ate everything, but remained 'lanky.' When I had my baby, I gained weight for the 1st time ever. I was busy being a mom, nursing, staying at home. I gained 50 pounds. During this time, I felt sluggish and low-energy. After my daughter started school, I started running, which I enjoy because it is time to myself in my thoughts outside in the fresh air. I eat, but I don't eat much meat or bread because it makes me feel bloated. I eat a lot of green veggies, whole grain tortillas, tofu, cheese, soups, and yogurt. After 6 months of running, I lost 30lbs, dropped to 120 from 150, felt GREAT, healthy and energetic. My coworkers started monitoring my lunches, commenting on my appearance, telling me they were worried about me. I got annoyed, and sort of offended that people were looking at my body and developing opinions, thinking I was not taking care of myself. We have folks at my work who are very large, and they bring in McDonalds lunches and eat at their desk, and nobody says anything. This seems ironic. Eventually, I had to tell a few of my coworkers to back off. The monitoring of my meals was offensive and intrusive. This was 3 years ago. Today I am still 120 pounds, the same proportions I have been my whole life, and I feel great. I have run 4 marathons, climbed several peaks in Europe, I'm fit and healthy. This is me. Feel secure with who you are. In this day in age, the media sends a message to our daughters that skinny is beautiful. I agree that this is not OK. I appreciate that we have been trained to look for signs of skinny obsession, but I also believe we should never make people feel bad for their body size. We all come in all shapes and sizes, and this means big OR little. You might be little. If you are naturally little but healthy, as in eating when you are hungry until you are full, exercising because it makes you happy and it feels good, and you are content with your body and your mind, then tell people - thanks, I'm OK, please stop asking. You should never worry about what others think of your size Skinny mother of a healthy daughter
Yeah, you're being too touchy. People are commenting b/c they think it's a compliment. I've been on all sides of this, having grown up bony and wondered why people were always commenting about my weight, and post-baby have had much excess weight and began to understand why people comment on it-I started noticing other people who lost weight because I wanted to. It's a compliment, say thanks, smile, don't worry about it. 25 pounds is a lot to lose, it's noticeable. People generally won't say anything if you put on 25 pounds, becasue that would be hurtful. People assume that if you've been working hard on it that you are happy that they are noticing. Great job on the weight loss, by the way. I wish I could say I lost 25 pounds, but I'm just barely cracking about 17. And it didn't bother me at ALL when people started noticing. I was more embarassed when I had gained all the weight, and I know that was obviuos too. They're just being nice by only noticing when it comes off!
I think you are, in your own words, being ''too touchy.'' 125 pounds for a 5 foot 8 person is pretty thin. And a 25 pound loss of weight on someone who wasn't fat in the first place is dramatic. You lost weight, now people are noticing and it bothers you? You are not comfortable in your own skin, obviously. Why did you lose the weight in the first place? Health reasons? Looks? You have to do some inner work to work out your self-image issues. In the meantime, just say thank you to pople who comment on your weight loss. Whether they are complimenting you or not, it lets them know that you think you look good

Husband wants to lose 40 pounds

June 2006

My husband has been trying to lose weight for years but can't seem to do it. Like many people in the Bay Area, he lives a busy working parent life. He's usually good about exercising regularly, and he's tried to be more mindful about what he eats, but as soon as he gets a little too busy, it seems his good habits go out the window. We hired a personal trainer for him for a few months. It taught him a lot about how he exercises, but he still didn't lose any weight. He got on the scale today and found out he's gained another 10 pounds, and he got really depressed about it. I feel terrible for him.

I'm one of those people who can eat donuts every day without gaining a pound, and I'm at a loss for how to help him. I know lots of people struggle with this problem, and some of them succeed in losing the weight and keeping it off. For him, I think it's less about exercise, and more about changing his eating habits. How do you do it? And particularly, how do you fit this change of life style into an already overcrowded schedule? anon

Five years ago after years of swinging back and forth between being about thirty-five pounds overweight and getting close to my ''goal weight'' I finally got down there and kept off the excess weight for four years. Here were the factors that made the difference after years of struggle:

1) something inside me made the choice I finally really decided, without planning or forethought, that I had to change this fact of my life. I think that my Dad's quadruple bypass surgery had a lot to do with the shift, but also my age -- I was 45 at the time and felt very middle-aged. I think that no weight-loss effort will succeed unless this #1 hurdle is cleared. You have to REALLY want it YOURSELF.

2) I exercised EVERY DAY. And I mean EVERY. My husband complained that I was becoming obsessive, but so be it. I needed the every-day regimen because if I, for instance, instituted a three-day-a-week plan, every day would turn out to be the day I ''didn't have time.'' Make the time. Otherwise it won't happen. It has to be the top priority for self-time. If there's no self time in your husband's day, he has to make some.

3) Write down every morsel that goes into your mouth as long as you are on the weight-losing part of the plan. It's tedious, you'll feel foolish, but that's partially the point. Brutal honesty.

4) Make many choices a day. ''I'd love to take one of those cookies, but I won't do that right now.'' ''I'd like to go out for lunch instead of eating my yogurt, but I'll do that another day.'' ''I'd like some brie, but a carrot with dip will tide me over for right now. I can go for the brie another day.'' You can have ice cream. Just not now, later.

5) Weigh in frequently. I know people say not to, but I do it consistently every day. I know that my weight can fluctuate with fluid, etc., but ultimately the scale doesn't lie. Make a graph and mark your weight each week to see patterns.

Your husband can do it if he really wants to. Make it easier by keeping lots of healthy food he likes on hand and getting rid of the fattening binge stuff. Good luck to both of you! happier and stronger

First, you fit in little things: packing a healthy snack for work, taking the stairs, parking far away at the store, taking walks with the kids instead of watching tv, walking treadmill during tv time, etc.

Second, you don't try to pack health into ''an already overcrowded schedule.'' You decide it's more important to be here for your kids and grandkids and to enjoy health into later years, and you cut back on the scheduling. It may mean fewer dinners out or no vacation because of less income. It may mean disappointed people who were relying on your husband to help with committees, volunteer work, etc. He will be happier after losing the weight. One of the major causes of fat storage is stress Anon

My husband and I both struggle with minor weight problems. We both gained about 40 lbs during each of my pregnancies and then had to work at losing the weight post-partum. What we've found has worked for us is Weight Watchers. Neither of us have ever attended more than a few meetings. I have a meeting at lunch at my office so I went to the first few to get all the necessary materials. After that, we simply wrote down what we ate every meal and tallied it all up using their points system. After a few weeks, we even stop writing and simply use our judgment. We started this again about a month ago now that my baby is almost 9 months old and my husband has lost 15 lbs and I've lost 10 lbs. I think the system really works and I've heard of many other success stories first hand. My husband jogs a few times a week, but outside of working, running around and not getting great sleep because the baby still wakes up at night, I don't exercise at all. Good luck! Kelly
My husband and I each lost 30 pounds through Weight Watchers several years ago. I'm now back on the program to shed my pregnancy weight and have lost 25 of the 35 pounds I'm aiming for. The program is all about slow weight loss and changing eating habits. Men tend to lose weight really fast once they get going, so this might provide your husband with the structure he needs. I am very sympathetic with his plight, since I think my metabolism is much like his. WW has been tremendously helpful for me. He can go to in-person meetings (a little cheesy but surprisingly helpful) or do the program on- line if time and/or the idea of meetings are a problem. I think meetings are more effective anon
I understand how difficult this is. My s/o and I have entirely different metabolisms. Mine is very slow, his fast. He has high LDL,cholesterol, BP, mine are fine. I love to exercise, he hates to. What's deceptive about him is that he's very thin and could eat whatever he wants. But if that was his only measure he would be eating junk food all the time.

Since I'm primarily responsible for buying and cooking food I help him with his health and assure that we both have healthy things in the house that suit both of our different bodies. We don't eat junk food and don't keep it in the house -- even though he would and could eat gobs of it and I would (if I ate it) gain gross amounts of weight -- not because of our weight but because we both share a goal to eat healthy food.

''I'm one of those people who can eat donuts every day without gaining a pound, and I'm at a loss for how to help him.''

You may think your lucky, but I don't necessarily see it that way. I consider myself really lucky to have such a slow slow slow metabolism b/c from a very young age I developed really really healthy habits. Healthy eating habits today assure fewer health problems in the future (not just today). It's not all about weight, that's only one part of your health profile. I look and feel years younger than I am and am convinced its due in part to my long standing healthy diet.

You probably used the donut anecdote as an example, but taking it at face value, I think you could help him by not having that stuff around, or not suggesting to go out for donuts (if you do). You could help the most by developing your own healthy eating habits for one, and as well you can both together build a diet of fresh foods that are nourishing and invigorating. Finally, perhaps talk to a nutritionist who can review your diet and help you establish what healthy looks like for your family. anon

Does your husband drink caffeine or alcohol? If so, ask him to give 'em up for 2 weeks and see if that changes his metabolism. He can always go back to them but has to give his kidneys a break. When you start to lose weight, your body goes into panic mode and starts saving everything and adding water. Plateaus will occur through his quest, especially at the beginning. If he gives up the external drugs he also feels calmer and less hungry and better within his skin. Good luck dieternomore
I can recommend a program that I am in that I have lost 54 pounds on so far. It takes a commitment and takes you having to finally put your self and your health first. It's called HMR and is a medically supervised program. You have to make a 13 week commitment to weight loss and an 18 month commitment to maintaining your loss. They do have programs for people who can not commit to that time. When it comes to your health you need to put yourself first as a priority so that your family will benefit. :)

If you are not ready to make that commitment I can suggest a great book that might help as well called ''Thin for Life'' by Ann M. Fletcher. It's a great book with a lot of helpful insights to getting on track.

Good luck! Loosing weight is the easy part it's keeping it off that is the challenge. :) Jennifer

My experience (losing 25 pounds over 5 months) is that losing weight takes a lot of self discipline and being totally anal.

Really the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you take in. Exercising increases your calories burned and watching what you eat manages your caloric intake. I got a book that lists calories of foods and tracked my daily calories in a notebook. I set a target daily intake of calories and stuck to it.

By doing this you really learn a lot about where calories come from and what to cut out or cut down. It's very educational. Some of the ''tricks'' I learned are:
- sugar is a huge source of calories, avoid it. If you're cooking something at home, use half or less of the sugar.
- don't use mayonaise on sandwiches. If you're worried about a dry sandwich, use extra lettuce or tomato.
- speaking of sandwiches, use bread where it is 80-90 calories/slice. Most breads out there are 110 calories or more per slice.
- don't use salad dressing on salads. Flavored vinegar works good.
- if you're making a stew, cut the amount of meat in half and add more vegetables. It'll still be hearty, healtier and fewer calories.
- if you're having some juice, water it down a little (say 25- 50%). Still tastes fine, and you fill up faster on less calories.

Okay, so many of these are tiny, but they all add up. Look at the bread example. You could save 30 calories/slice. At two slices day for say 5 days a week, that's 300 calories a week. Over a year, that's over 15,000 calories, or the equivalent of about 7 or 8 days worth of food. Now that's some weight loss

I had 40# to lose after the birth of my 3rd child. I knew what to do, but I just couldn't seem to do it. I tried for 3 years on my own. I know it sounds old school, but I finally, in desperation, joined Weight Watchers in February and am 23# lighter with not a ton of effort on my part. It has been so much easier than I thought it would be. Wish him luck for me a little bit lighter
Weight Watchers is a fabulous program. I've lost 30 pounds since September. Your husband can attend meetings or use the on-line program. The weight loss is relatively slow (up to 2 pounds per week), but men tend to lose faster. It is all about lifestyle change, making smart food choices, moderating portion sizes. It is hard work, but very doable and worth it anon
If your husband (or anyone) is trying to lose weight, he really should get in touch with Courtney Zaleski. While she spends time teaching people the usual fitness and diet information, where she really shines is in helping us change our bad habits. Trust me, I am a man who knows about weight troubles, and she really helped me turn things around. You can reach her at 510-919-9952. I believe that she charges $75 an hour to come to the home and $15 for a 15 minute phone check-in. It really kept me on target knowing I was going to have to report at night what I had done Anon

Meridia for weight loss?

March 2006

I'm just wondering if anyone out there has taken the drug Meridia for weight loss, and if so, how did it work? Were there any side effects? How long did you stay on it? I am considering Meridia, a drug that decreases the seratonin levels that affect appetite. The main side effect is higher blood pressure. I work out endlessly and have a very healthy diet but just haven't been able to loose the weight from the 3 babies. I have about40 pounds to loose, and I jsut feel if I could get some help with appetite control, I would be able to get back to my regular weight and maintian from there. Any advice about Meridia? very anon

I took Meridia for about nine months approximately six years ago. At first, it was absolutely fantastic -- along with exercise, I lost about 35 lbs in five months. I decided to stop taking Meridia after my blood-pressure got a bit too high. And, as I was warned, the weight creeped back on in about six months -- despite still exercising and being conscious of my food choices. I understand that taking weight- loss medications is a personal choice, one that I am still tempted to do. But, really, the only way to get that baby weight off and keep it off is a good healthy diet and lots of cardio and weight training. I suggest spending money (most insurances don't cover Meridia) on a nutritionist and/or personal trainer -- it's a much slower process, but ultimately the healthiest way to go. anon
I have not tried drugs for weight loss, but I work with women everyday who struggle with their weight and are winning. It is a slow process, but one well worth attempting without drugs. Exhaust all other avenues first. Weigh the price of the perscription, and the cost to your health against the price of a gym membership, a nutrition counselor, and a personal trainer. Any one of these alternatives or all three can help more and do not have the side effects that you mentioned. I worked in the health field for the last twenty years; I do not claim to be an expert, but I do own my own fitness club. But I remember some very bad weight loss drugs, very bad side effects and results that did not last. Curves Lady

100 lbs overweight - medical solution?

March 2006

After having 3 kids in 6 years, I'm 100 lbs overweight. I'm very motivated to be healthy again, but also very addicted to food. I use it to stay awake (chocolate, sugar, caffeine...), and to reward myself for being such a good mom, and I eat the wrong things because I'm always in a rush and want quick satisfaction. I've used Weight Watchers in the past, but right now am not motivated to go to the meetings (kids in tow--ugh), when no one will miss me if I don't show up.

I'm very tempted to call my primary care doctor and ask for help...but what should I ask for? I'd like to find a nutritionist or hospital-run program where they expect you to go every week...for weigh-ins, consultation, etc., at least at the beginning. Does such a program exist? If so, would insurance cover it (BX HMO)? (I'm willing to pay for something that works, but insurance coverage would be nice...) Any advice for this exhausted, fat mommy? Big Mama

I too am a food addict and though I don't have more than 20# to lose, I've gained and lost that 20# many times over the years. I eat really healthy food, exercise regularly....but I overeat and in addition to really healthy food I (did) eat plenty of sugar and white flour.

I recently found an on line seminar called The Fast Track Kick Sugar Program ( It's a 10 week siminar where you hear live weekly phone lectures given by various nutritionists. I can't go into too much detail here cause it would be over the 2300 word max but I can tell you due to this program, I've now been off of sugar since January 5th and I feel SOOOOO great. I've lost 11 # so far with about another 10 to go.

The important thing is how healthy I feel. Some minor health issues have cleared up (including achey joints, to the woman who wrote about arthritis at 42).The amazing thing is that generally I do not crave sugar. I find now that fresh fruit or small amounts of dried fruit(no sugar added) fills that need for something sweet. You can get in touch with Connie Bennett, the woman who puts on this seminarat the website, or you can e-mail her at connie [at]

I also was recently told about''Food Addicts Anonymous''. FAA is a 12 step program and is more strict and structured than Overeaters Anonymous. In FAA you have to commit to 3 meetings a week (I'm told),follow a food plan and check in with a sponsor every day.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please e-mail me if you want to talk more about the kick sugar program. Good luck. If I can do it ANYONE can do it. J

I was 70 pounds overweight last year and have lost 54 in a year.I too was severely addicted to sweets especially chocolate. I actually cut refined sugar and chocolate conpletely out of my diet and was amazed at how nicely I lost weight. I ate so much sugar that I think I cut my caloric intake in half by doing this. I repaced the junky sugary items with fruit and now I just crave fruit! Add an hours worth of walking, it does not have to be done at once. 15 minutes here and there throughout the day works just fine. Good luck I hope that you can also conquer your food addiction. You would be surprised at how well this works :) Sherri

My husband wants to lose 30 pounds

Dec 2005

My husband want to lose more than 30 pounds. I was about to recommend e-diet (or another online program), but there may be on this great network people with experience with effective programs for men, who would like to share their experience with us. He has tried many ''book-diets'' and has regain everything, he thinks that a support group might help, or a dieting buddy to ''share the pain''. Any tip will help! Thanks wife

Atkins worked really well for me. I started about six months before the big ''low carb'' craze kicked in a few years ago, and I've been low-carb for about three years now. I dropped 40 lbs (205 - 165) and eventually put about 10 lbs back on over time. This may not be the best solution for your family (depending on food preferences) but I'm pretty happy eating lots of protein and salads -- plus there are lots of products out there to help satisfy cravings (esp. low carb chocolate at Trader Joe's and various ice cream brands). I confess I still miss good microbrew instead of Miller Lite, and chips, and popcorn, and homefries, and.... aw, cripes, don't get me started. But it's worth it in the long run. Jeff
That's great that your husband cares enough about himself to want to lose weight, good for him! However, if he is truly serious about losing weight then he really ought to consider weight training AND modifying his diet. This summer I lost approximately 30 pounds myself, but it was a combination of things that helped me lose the weight and keep it off. Diet alone will not keep the weight off. Would you both be able to afford a personal trainer at your local gym? My husband and I both went together. He went to gain weight and I to lose it. We have both been very successful in our endeavor and we now go to the gym regularly about 4 times a week. It is a big change, but we are very committed to our routine now. I used to snack, watch tv, have dinner and then snack some more. Now it's a light snack, go to the gym for about 1 1/2 and then eat dinner. Working with the personal trainer I realized that I could endure the taste of brown rice, that it was okay to say no to sugar and it's been months since I've been to a fast food place. I can still eat some of my favorite things but I do so in moderation so I don't really miss it. Weight training itself is fun and the personal trainer will help you develop a routine that you can still follow and modify once you're finished with them.

I couldn't believe how much weight I lost and the jeans I could fit into. I've had to buy all new pants. I am sooooo happy!!! I had lost weight after my first baby and I knew I looked great, but I just couldn't see the results. I was doing cardio 4 times a week then, but I just wasn't tone, so I couldn't really see the weight I lost. Then I had my second son and I never was able to get the weight off and with school and work, there was never time.

Weight training has been great. I can actually see tone in my body. My arms and legs are tighter as well as my tummy. I don't have to lift heavy either. It's great... You should definitely check out a personal trainer. mary

Jioning a support group for dieting is a great idea. It's one of the reasons why weight watchers is so successful.

But since your husband regains weight after dieting, that shows that he has not made the crucial lifestyle changes that are necessary to achieve permanent weight loss. So in this respect, it does not matter which diet he chooses, they will all fail in the end if he does not change his nutritional and exercise habits.

The key to being lean-for-life is eating a nutrient rich diet in the proper amount for one's individual needs\x97caloric balance\x97and regular exercise.

Your husband should focus on eating generous amounts of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals; and lean protein-rich foods such as meats, fish, and legumes.

When you diet without exercise, about half the weight lost is actually from protein that your body has ''cannibalized'' from its muscles. Over time, lean muscle loss will lower basal metabolism, which makes weight loss all that much harder, and weight gain after dieting practically inevitable. To be healthier, you want to improve your lean mass ratio, or the percentage of lean mass to fat that you carry. Dieting without exercise does not efficiently inprove lean mass ratio.

This is just one of the reasons why succesful weight loss REQUIRES exercise. Studies show that the optimal amount of exercise for fat loss to be about 200 minutes per week. To maximize fat loss, aerobic exercise should comprise about 70% his weekly program, and strength training about 30%.

It takes about 20 minutes of sustained cardiovascular exercise to start burning a substantial amount of fat as fuel\x97before that it's mostly carbohydrates. I'd recommend 40 minutes of sustained aerobics 5 times per week, with 20 minutes of strength training three times a week. This will quickly burn fat and build muscle mass which is the FASTEST way to improve lean mass ratio. Helene

I highly recommend Weight Watchers. It is very realistic and the only weight loss program where you actually KEEP the weight off! Everything has a certain number of points and you have a maximum # of pts per day and then an extra 35 or so for the week. The points are based on calories, fiber and fat. The more fiber, the lower the points. So you don't deprive yourself of anything. You can ''save'' your points and have a piece of chocolate cake. If you ''mess up'' and eat a donut, oh well, you count it in your points and then you eat less (or only salad) that day or another day. I have NEVER been able to stick to a diet, but I was able to do weight watchers very easily. If you are going to a restaurant, you can usually look up their dishes' nutrition facts online and determine how many points each one is. You don't have to go to meetings, but supposedly people do better when they do. I have lost 12 pounds in the last 2 or so months, a steady 2 pounds a week. --Can't diet either
I highly recommend Weight Watchers, a program he can do by attending meetings or by participating on-line. At meetings he'll have face-to-face support, although more women than men attend meetings. Through the on-line system he will certainly find a group of like-minded men who are facing the same weight loss challenges. Weight Watchers is a relatively slow process (1-2 pounds per week is success), but men seem to lose faster than women. And in the long run the weight is more likely to stay off because WW is based on lifestyle changes and not simply restricting or limiting food intake for a few weeks/months. Liz O.
My husband lost about 55lbs. after our daughter turned one (she's 5 now). He gained some back when I was pregnant with our son, but not all and is now focused on losing that weight. What really made the difference for him: 1) He just made the final, absolute choice for himself (I couldn't do it for him) that he didn't want to be that heavy and had to make some changes. 2)He had a friend who was also losing weight - they met once a week for a ''weigh-in'' and basically to give each other a hard time about how much the other did or didn't lose. I have to say their banter amazed me - I know of no women who could joke around about how fat their bellys are etc... and not feel awful later - ''being supportive'' for my husband was totally a different process/mind-set than I could have ever provided, so I'm glad he found that support. And 3) he found the exercise he likes to do (biking) and I agreed to support him - meaning watching the kids while he took rides - sometimes it pissed me off (just because I don't have 50lbs. to lose I'd still like to exercise) but I held on to the big picture and I'd say about 85-90% of time I came through - took the kids in the am,or for a chunk on weekends so he could ride. (When he started out he was too heavy to ride comfortably - so he'd walk through the Berkeley Hills with our daughter in a backpack). He also accepted the advice that every bit of exercise counts. So a 10 minute work-out is better than no work-out. In the past he just wouldn't ride at all if he couldn't do a full hour ride. This last time, he really understood that once you have kids you have to take what you can get, and that often that 10 minute ride will get you excited for a ride the next day that is longer, or even keep up your stamina for a better ride the next week. There were a lot of short rides, but a lot of long ones too and the weight really started to come off. As he got more into the exercise he felt better and then started to pay attention to his diet. He is a terrible dieter (who isn't?) so he focused on the exercise - which is fun and makes you feel good - and the food kind of fell into place. Hope his story helps - good luck! Go hubby go!
I would highly recommend Weight Watchers, either meetings or their on-line version. If you have Kaiser, you may get a big discount off your joining and meeting fees. It's a straightforward program that teaches you how to deal with food in a healthy and long-term way. I think they, appropriately, focus on changing habits (both diet and exercise). lost 30+ through WW

Stackers for weight loss?

Jan 2005

A repy to a post recently made reference to a ''nice little dietary supplement called Stackers'', to aid weightloss. I tried finding it on and no luck. What is the pharmaceutical name of this supplement? intrigued

Regarding the inquiry about Stackers - I was curious too, so I did an advanced googl search - dietary supplement stackers - took me to a useful website, here's the link I'd be interested to hear more about this product from others who've tried it. anonymous
There are so many realistic sounding scams out there. The weight loss industry is a huge money maker. The FTC has info on how to spot a diet pill scam, as well as an entertaining fake website on a new miracle pill, made out of eggplant. Check it out.

There is not a lot of success with weight loss. Those who do have success try, try and try again, much like it takes smokers many times to quit. Also exercise and recording what you are eating are the simplest yet some of the only tools that have been proven to work for weight loss. I like the book Strong Women's Journal by Miriam Nelson as a way to record and review diet and exercise habits to continually work toward making small permanent changes. a dietitian

I can't exactly remember this discussion, but I believe someone asked about the safety/effectiveness of stackers. I recently came accross a consumer reports article on this drug (January 2004, pg 23, ''Ephedra-free But is it safe?'') In case anyone is still interested, they said that stackers are based on bitter orange (synephrine) instead of ephedra. Quote: ''There are little if any data showing that they work, and there's no convincing evidence that they're safe, even for healthy individuals.'' Alisa

Losing 4 or 5 pounds

June 2004

I am 46, have a small frame and for the past several months have been trying without success to lose 4-5 lbs. I realize that this might seem trite to those who are more challenged with weight, but I am struggling with this. I have a healthy diet that does not include wheat, gluten, cow dairy and generally eat organic veggies, eggs, some chicken and fish and other low carb unprocessed foods. I do indulge in chocolate. I exercise 3X a week including about 20 minutes on the treadmill at a challenging speed/ grade, and about 20 minutes of weight training each time. I know that I might have more muscle (tho I absolutely don't see these muscles!) and that affects weight but I am measuring myself by how I fit into things, the flab on the back of my arms and my increasingly heavy legs , both of which are significantly less when I am a few lbs lighter.

My thyroid is fine. I probably am not eating enough protein. I would welcome any ideas for how I might lose these few lbs or inches . I'm a single mom working full time, so these ideas would hopefully fit into my life. THANKS! Anon.

Hi - I think 20 minutes of cardio 3x a week is not enough for weight reduction, just weight maintenance. If you can't increase the lenght of your workout, I suggest that at least once a week you do 40 minutes of cardio rather than 20 cardio / 20 weights. One day do 30 cardio / 10 weights. Then the 20/20 the third day. Also, try for two weeks to write down everything you eat (EVERYTHING), including the time you eat it. It may be small snacks adding up, particularly those late in the evening. Good luck. I need to lose 10!
I think you are doing good for your health. I love chocolate, too! This may not work for everyone but if you haven't considered it, I suggest trying this approach. When I was 46 I was 35 pounds overweight, which I had been for 20 years. Today, at 48, I weigh 112 lbs, which is just right for a 5' 2 frame. The turning point was when I started reading the food labels and realized, by the serving size, I had been eating for two or more people. I then cut back to one serving at each meal. I had already been eating healthier foods, but now just eating less of it. I also started to eat less rice, bread, and pasta. I love this stuff, but ate no more than one serving per meal, and try to limit to only once a week.

I didn't stop there. I started adding good fats to my diet. I ate more nuts, especially almonds and walnuts. But, I watch how much of those I eat, too. My breakfast usually consist of a cup of orange juice mixed with half-cup yogurt, and 10 almonds. For variation, I have an apple with peanut butter. For some lunches, I throw almond pieces or pine nuts in my salads. (Yesterday I had an open sandwich consisting of one thin rye bread slice, topped with sardines, baby spinach and shredded cheese, and baked for 5 min till the cheese melt. It was something spontaneous, but I was in the mood!) I use only olive oil in my dressings and cooking. I developed a craving for avocados, so I'd pick up a bag of avocados at Trader's Joe and have one avocado for lunch, spread on a piece of rye toast.

I love fish and meat, too, and eat small portions whenever I feel the urge. If I feel hungry between meals, I munch on few nuts. For me, when I need to lose few pounds or maintain my weight, the bottom line is to eat fewer calories and listen to your body. Once you do it, it becomes a way of life. I think our perception on what is the right amount to eat is out of whack. Until I started looking at food labels, I had no idea I was eating too much. At the time, I expected to lose about 20 pounds. I had heard that the last 10 pounds would be difficult. But, to my surprise, losing the last of the extra weight was much easier than I thought. I didn't even bother to count calories. I just stayed with the serving size information on the labels and listened to my body when enough is enough. That goes for chocolate, too! The weight will come off slowly, but surely. Amy

First of all, an important thing to know about losing weight: people with a lot of weight to lose lose it much more quickly and easily. The last 5-10 pounds are the MOST DIFFICULT to lose. You can lose them, but it can take a loooong time, and diligence. One thing is, change your routine. Your body becomes accustomed to doing the same thing over and over, so you reach a plateau because your body isn't challenged any more. If you're just doing the treadmill, do something else, the stair or the bike, then switch again. Also, the amount of exercise that you say you are getting is pretty much maintenance exercise. It will keep you healthy, but it will also keep you at the weight you are at. You will either have to restrict your diet more (which I don't really recommend) or exercise more (especially the aerobic), or both.

Finally, the *weight* is (especially at your size) probably not the best thing to focus on. What you really want to concern yourself with is ''lean body mass.'' That is, replacing fat with muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat does, so you can lose fat, drop in size and actually weigh *more!* You might want to look into Callanetics. I love it, and man, it really does work! (at least, for me and other people I know who have stuck with it). You can find her books and videos at Just type ''Callanetics'' into the search engine. anon

I was in your same situation and went on the South Beach diet. I lost 7 pounds in two weeks, and through maintenance kept it off (and took off 3 more pounds) over the past 8 monts. You can get all the info on line at a modest price. Highly recommend it! anon
I am in my early 50s. Last Thanksgiving both my sisters showed up looking much slimmer. One had combined weightwatchers and Curves, and had lost at least 15 pounds over several months. The other had just decided to skip the treats offered at work and to stop eating at meals before she was more than full. I was inspired by them and by a friend who said losing weight let her stop her blood pressure medication. I was 20+ pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. I decided to try sister #2s method. I ate far fewer of the treats offered at work, I took smaller portions with me for lunch (rather than trying to finish all the family leftovers) and also took smaller helpings at other meals. I waited before taking a second helping, and often found I didn't really want it. I also increased my exercise from about 4 days a week (15 min stretches, 20 min walking or other weight-bearing/cardio) to 6-7 days and an extra 5-10 min/day. I began losing weight gradually and in 6 months lost 20 pounds. Now I'm trying to figure out how to maintain (I don't want to lose more)and not regain. Just how many of those treats at work can I indulge in? 20 pounds lighter
To lose the last four or five pounds, you will need to do longer cardio workouts of at least 45 minutes each. Adding an extra workout per week will help during the losing phase.

Also, you may need to switch your workouts around. If you always do the same thing at the gym, you will cease to challenge your body, and it will go into ''maintenance mode.'' Instead of always doing the treadmill, try the pre-cor elliptical trainer, or the stairmaster for 20 of the 45 minutes you are exercising, for variation.

Spin classes are also great, because they keep you going for a full 45-50 minutes. Trying some different weight lifting exercises would not hurt. Lift some heavier weights--no, you won't get bulky, but you will build muscle (which burns fat). Good luck, Elizabeth

You don't say how much chocolate you indulge in, but that is an easily identifiable high calorie food that you might cut out in order to lose weight. I would find a way to cut 200 calories (but not more than 500) a day out of your daily intake and add one day per week to your workout schedule. If you are not at risk for injury, increase the intensity and duration of the aerobic part of your exercise. Do 30-45 min. cardio and 15 min. strenght training 4X per week and reduce daily intake by 200 calories. It really all comes down to calories in vs. calories out. Stick to it for a month to 6 weeks, I bet your extra weight will be gone. Then you can go back to 3x per week exercise and a little chocolate now and then. Good luck
I've heard that the three bites rule is a good one: leave about three bites of food on your plate at every meal. that way you're not feeling totally starved. also, are you drinking enough water during the day? when you are dehydrated, the signal to your brain telling you that you are thirsty can mis-fire and tell you you're hungry instead. does this make sense? you might eat a little less. maybe you can increase your cardio sessions by 10 minutes - from 20 minutes to 30.... just a few little suggestions that might work. if you can fit one more exercise session into your routine, that would be great. it's hard, i know, but worth it. Jen
I too am small-framed (or used to be, anyway), and would love to lose those extra few pounds. My conclusion is that we're older, and the metabolism is different, so either you're content to keep the extra few, or you have to be super-motivated to get rid of them. That means GIVING UP CHOCOLATE (my problem too), and EXERCISING. When you were younger maybe you could eat whatever you wanted and give it up for a couple of weeks and bounce back to your tiny body, but even those of us formerly taunted as ''twiggy'' have to watch what we do now. anon
I may not be the one to give advice, since I'm pretty much in the same boat, but I do have a couple of thoughts. First of all, are those 4-5 pounds recent acquisitions, or have you pretty much always weighed what you do now for your adult life? At our age, it's quite common to gain a few extra pounds. But if it's been your typical weight, you may be at your personal ideal body weight (assuming it's not hugely overweight. Check one of the BMI calculators online, such as It's generally healthier to stay at a consistent weight, even a couple of pounds over ''ideal'', than to lose and (almost certainly ) regain weight repeatedly.

That said, Can you increase the cardio part of your work-out to at least 30 minutes each time? I think the recommendation is to exercise at moderate intensity 5 times a week for 60 minutes (yeah, right!), but even an extra ten minutes, three times a week, of really burning calories will increase you cardio time by 50%.

Are you able to adjust your routines to do more stairs rather than elevators, walking a few blocks to work from your car or bus stop, parking in one spot and walking between places when you do errands? Do your kids enjoy biking or swimming or other active pursuits you can do on weekends as a family? Good luck - and let us know if you try something that really helps! Just a few more pounds!

Because you are neither gaining or losing weight with your current eating/fitness routine, this means that you are at caloric balance. Calories in equals calories out. To lose more weight you need to tip the scales a bit so that your calories expended are slightly greater than calories consumed.

Since you have been strength training regularly for 20 minutes 3x a week, I will assume that your body is not ''under muscled''. I would suggest that you lenghthen the aerobic portion of your workout to 40 minutes, and try if at all possible, to fit in one more session a week. In order to most effectively burn fat as fuel, you need to use up your available muscle glycogen, which usually occurs after about 15 to 20 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise. Only then will your body go into the pantry (stored fat) for additional supplies. This is particularly true with women. We are genetically/hormonally designed to hoard our energy suppplies.

Adjust your diet, and skim off 250 - 300 calories a day, to create a slight inbalance on that end too. But be careful that you don't go under 1200 calories a day. If you take away too many calories, your body will attempt to ward off starvation by lowering your metabolism. You want to make sure that this does not happen.

Be aware too that as we age, our metabolic rate lowers about 10% per decade. So the amount that you ate in your twenties and thirties is now too much. Many women notice a big change in their bodies at around 40. And it is a little harder and slower to lose weight when you are small framed because you have a smaller metabolism and already eat a lot less than others to begin with. FYI, I'm 5', 105lbs., and 47, and have had to cut back on total calorie consumption just to stay even too.

Since you are small and not eating dairy, you need to take calcium supplments daily to maintain bone mass. Calcium citrate is more esily absorbed than calcium carbonate. I like the brand Citricel(sp?) beacuse it also provides Vitamin D and other trace elements like magnesium. Some studies have shown that high calcium levels in the body helps with weight loss. If you're eating chicken and fish regularly, you probably are not protein deficient. Very few Americans actually are. That's a marketing myth.

And lastly, be patient. Slow weight loss is the healthiest and most effective long term. Small women should aim for no more than 1 lb. per week. Fast weight loss is almost never permanent. And a lot of times side effects have too many negative health consequences. Helene

Slowly gaining weight despite Weight Watchers

Feb 2004

I have been a member of Weight Watchers for the last few years with some success. However, recently, although I have diligently followed the program by journaling, exercising (including increase) and drinking water, as well as attending meetings and getting a tremendous amount of support, I have been slowly gaining weight in small increments. Needless to say, it is very frustrating. I will say that I have met my goal to be heart healthy, which was my main motivation for joining. I have asked for advice at meetings, but feel that working directly with a nutritionist would be helpful as well. I would like to find someone who is supportive of the WW program, as I plan to continue with the program and want to continue to learn life long habits. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

I, too, had some success with Weight Watchers but never fully achieved my goal. That last 5-10 pounds is really tricky. I recently found a book at Whole Foods called the Fat Flush Plan. I'm very impressed! It's a very healthy way of eating, beginning with a two week liver detox. You won't be hungry on this diet! I lost 6 pounds the first 10 days. You can learn more about it at Imagine eating well, losing weight and inches, and gaining tons of energy while you break your carb & sugar addictions! I still use the WW online journaling just to keep track, though when I follow the Fat Flush Plan I am always within my point allowance anyway. Feel free to email me directly if you want to know more about it. Good luck! jvb

Weight loss resources:

June 2003

I am looking for inexpensive nutritional advice to help me lose weight and I wondered about signing up for and talking to their nutritionists. (I am not interested in their menus, shopping lists etc. but I would like advice about how many daily calories I should aim for in order to get slow, steady weight loss without getting hungry.) Has anyone tried their service or can anyone recommend a good alternative? E.g. a nutritionist I could see for one session? I checked the website about nutritionists but the recommendations were all for people who do herbs, acupuncture etc. and I'm looking for plain- vanilla basic advice. Anonymous

I've done both Weight Watchers (several times over the years) and eDiets and had more success with eDiets plus it was a fraction of the cost of attending WW. I lost and kept off 13 pounds on eDiets first then switched to WW and lost 7 more. I think the nutrition advice available through eDiets is the meal plan itself and would encourage you to try it for a few months to see if you have success using it. Using the menu planning software, I spent 1-2 hours/week creating a meal plan for the entire week, went shopping for the groceries, and posted it on the fridge to remind me what I had previously ''chosen'' to eat. Perhaps you are better than I am at planning what to eat once you have general guidelines on how many servings of this or that you should have and how many calories, etc. but I found that I needed something much more specific to keep me on track. I stopped doing eDiets because I got tired of doing all that planning and am now stuck and haven't been able to lose the last 20 (I haven't gained any back though so that's progress). --Progress not perfection

Other recommendations received:

  • Nutritionist at the Y, health plan
  • Michele Vivas

    I'm unable to lose weight - need help!

    June 2003

    Several years ago I was able to lose 25 pounds, just by sheer will power. I have tried and tried to continue losing weight, but now find that I am just unable to do so anymore. I can't find the will anymore. I am looking for a counseling program or some way I can succeed that really works. It's not Weight Watchers or any other program like this. I've tried these kinds of programs with no success. It's got to be some kind of powerful counseling program. Might anyone know of such a program? T

    Have you read ''Curves'' by Gary Heavin? I got it at the Contra Costa Library and have been following the plan. It is Atkins- like. There are also gyms (such as in El Cerrito plaza). I feel I can stick with it. (He promises you can go back to normal eating eventually) I also had an instant morale booster due to losing 5 pounds in a week. My rate has slowed, as described in the book, but this is better than I've done on other diets. good luck
    Having struggled my entire life with obesity, I can say that one of the things that I dislike the most about this particular problem is that I have no privacy. Because my weight at any given time is obvious, people feel that it is ok to discuss it. I really dislike discussing my weight, whether I'm gaining or losing, whether I'm obese or ''normal''.
    I have just discovered a book called The Diet Cure, by Julia Ross. She has recently come out with a book called The Mood Cure. She theorizes that overeating is due to certain chemical imbalances in the brain, and that we overeat certain foods in a vain attempt to achieve a healthier balance. She recommends a whole host of supplements. I have been taking several different amino acids based on her program and have been very surprised at how my appetite feels normal, I don't feel driven to overeat now. I have yet to lose weight, but I am still hoping for that. anon

    Depressed and overweight

    July 2002

    Does anyone know of a weight loss doctor in the east bay, that perscribes appetite suppressants? Overweight and depressed!

    This response may fall more into the category of advice than recommendations, since I do not know of any doctors who prescribe appetite supressants. But I had to write back to you anyway, since I have been ''overweight and depressed'' for much of my life. First on the topic of appetite supressants -- they can mess you up more than they help. When I was fifteen, my mother took me to a weight-loss doctor and had him prescribe an appetite supressant (Presate). It worked like a charm in terms of getting weight off, but the drug made me into a nervous wreck. My heart raced, my hands shook, and I had dreams that could have qualified as hallucinations. And while I did lose fifty pounds (in four months!), most of the weight came back on immediately once I stopped taking the drug. Of course there are many different drugs out there, and there may be one that doesn't make your life more complicated than it already is. But we all know about the drugs that have been taken off the market for their sometimes fatal side-effects. And replacing your own mental will with drugs is something that I believe will not work in the long run, since losing weight and keeping it off is about changing your life, ultimately without the help of drugs.

    Just this past December, when I wasn't even consciously thinking about weight loss, I happened to get hold of a book called The 9 Truths about Weight Loss by Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, a weight-loss and sports medicine doctor. I don't think of it as a bible, and it isn't the most eloquently written book, but it offered a plan for weight loss that I felt I could try. You have to 1) write down everything you eat 2) cut back on fats and sweets to the least possible amount and 3) exercise every day. It was the last requirement that made the difference for me. His plan requires at least thirty minutes of aerobic activity every day. I started following this plan at the beginning of December and have lost twenty pounds (and this was through the holiday season).

    It's the exercise that gets you out of the depression and helps you lose the weight even when you have trouble adhering to a stringent diet (I usually eat between 1500 and 1800 calories a day). I joined the local Y and go in almost every day (other days I jog, bike, or walk). I like it because I can choose my aerobic machine, a class, strength training, etc. You have to take an hour or so a day for yourself, and this is hard for parents. But I tell myself that in order to be a good parent, I need to be a happy, healthy parent. So I selfishly (!) take that time for my well-being. Another method that works is Weight Watchers, but you have to stick with the program, and it costs money. I lost weight with them, but when I dropped out because of cost, I found that I wasn't sufficiently self-motivated to stay on track.

    Even if you are very overweight, you can start with the exercise plan I mentioned on a very low level -- short walks for ten minutes or so, for instance. It will make a difference on your scales and more importantly, in your mood. Good luck and God Bless. Formerly overweight and depressed

    I'm afraid I don't have any doctors' names to give you, but I know many people who have had short-term success and long-term failure with drugs, not to mention the side effects and problems.

    The bottom line, in my experience, is that most of us who have a problem with eating and weight aren't eating only out of hunger, so suppressing the appetite doesn't always eliminate the eating behavior. Weight lost on diets, augmented with drugs or not, tends to return. I have been struggling with food and weight for most of my adult life. I've weighed everything between 140 and 295 pounds, I've been on the commercial diet programs, fasting programs, etc.

    I apologize if the following seems like unsolicited advice, but I want to share the existence of an alternative that has worked for me. For about a year and a half now I've been going to a support group called Overeaters Anonymous, and for the first time in my life I've lost weight without feeling deprived all of the time and without immediately gaining it back. OA is a fellowship of people who have problems with food who meet to share support. It is modeled on the 12 steps of AA, which people use to help them handle life without excess food. There are no fees for members, no weighing in, no requirements to follow a particular diet. Every person decides for themselves what way of eating they need to follow. You can contact OA at 510-273-9292 or the web site at

    This may or may not seem like what you want right now, but if you didn't know about it I just wanted to let you know it exists. I used to feel very frustrated when people gave me advice about eating right and exercising and I felt that nobody understood me--''if I could just do that, I wouldn't be in this situation!'' At OA I'm not alone. It's not a perfect program, but it's given me more than any other way of addressing the problem. I've lost 70 pounds, and more importantly, I'm living my daily life free of the obsession with eating. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck in feeling better, whatever you pursue. divalent

    The real issue about weight loss is your metabolism, how well does your body metabolise the food you eat. All the drugs and exercise and diets in the world will not help you if your metabolism is screwed up. There are ways to jumpstart your metabolism so that your body works with you instead of against you. I would first check with your regular doctor and ask him/her to give you a complete checkup (including all blood tests to include thyroid) just to make sure nothing is wrong physically. I say this only because I have a friend who had a thyroid problem and a weight problem. Once her medication was right, she began to lose weight and is now comfortable with herself.

    There are many reasons people are overweight and they don't all center around diet and exercise or no self-control. You need to find the reason before you can really start successfully losing weight and that requires starting with your regular doctor. Or ask for a referral if you don't feel comfortable with the one you have.

    Make sure you don't have a physical problem before you knock yourself for being overweight. marianne