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Newsletter 10, August 2007

This issue of the Good Diet Good Health Newsletter includes...

  1. Why is my weight loss so slow? It's not fair!
  2. A special deal on insurance for our visitors
  3. Latest Recipes In The Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook
  4. Did you know?
  5. Your successes, requests and questions
  6. Tell us what you think
  7. Visit our newsletter archive
  8. Resources

1) Why is my weight loss so slow? It's not fair!

When we read about the latest diets in magazines and newspapers or see them advertised on the TV, we could be forgiven for thinking that losing more than a couple of pounds each week, every week, is normal. The reality is that many of us can't lose weight at this rate, even if we keep to our diet one hundred per cent.

The trouble is, we've been led to believe that all that's involved in losing weight is eating less and exercising more. We're told that a pound of body fat equates to around 3,500 calories, and all we have to do is calculate how many calories we will need to 'save' each day (or how much more exercise we will need to take) to burn the desired amount of fat off.

Unfortunately, that's just the theory. In practice, it's not so straightforward. There are many different factors which affect how and when we lose weight.

Firstly, men on average lose weight at a faster rate than women. We women may complain at how unfair it is, but there's nothing we can do about it! Also, weight loss will be much slower for a person who is mildly overweight compared with someone who has very many pounds to lose.

When comparing our weight loss with the number of pounds the diet magazines claim we should be losing, it is important to consider how much of the weight loss is water or lean muscle tissue, and how much actual fat. If our own weight loss is less, it may be that we've lost fat and gained muscle (which is exactly what we want). The secret is that muscle weighs more than fat. It is denser, and takes up less space. So if we our clothes are looser even though we haven't lost much on the scales, then that may indicate that, although our weight loss may be a bit slow, our fat loss on the other hand is right on target.

Very often we become disappointed when our weight loss slows right down after an initial rush of success. A loss of 4 to 10 pounds or more in the first week of any diet is common. This is due to the depletion of our glycogen stores. Since we are not fulfilling all our energy needs by eating, our body starts to break these down, using up the glucose and excreting the water in which it was dissolved. This initial period of substantial weight loss is not sustainable, and is mostly only water anyway. This phenomenon is in fact what most 'crash' and 'lose 10 pounds in a week' diets rely upon for their apparent success.

Hormonal factors can also prevent us from losing weight as fast as our calorie calculations lead us to believe we ought. For instance, hormones are thought to play a part in how quickly weight is lost after giving birth. Pregnancy hormones 'instruct' the body to deposit fat in readiness for feeding the baby, and it seems logical that it may take time for the body's fat deposition to return to normal. Most sources advise that it takes 8 to 12 months to return to pre-pregnancy weight.

Slow weight loss (and even complete failure to lose weight on a diet) may also be related to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism (low or underactive thyroid). Many prescribed medications can also interfere with weight loss.

Even eating too little may stop us losing weight. As part of the body's natural survival mechanism, metabolism slows when food intake drops excessively, in an attempt to conserve energy. That's why gradual weight loss, although frustrating, is likely to succeed in the long term where 'crash' diets fail.

Other problems such as food allergies, intestinal yeast overgrowth and carbohydrate intolerance can also play a part in slowing or stalling weight loss. The science behind all these factors and strategies for overcoming them are explained in the e-book "Why Can't I Lose Weight".

2) A Special Deal on Insurance For Our Visitors

If you're diabetic or overweight, you could be paying over the odds for your life insurance! Now, help is at hand from The Insurance Surgery. Read more about the fantastic deals Laura and Tracey obtained with the help of The Insurance Surgery, and check out how you could get a better deal on insurance too.

3) Latest Recipes In The Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook

For those of our readers who are subscribers to the Low Carb / Low GI Cookbook, a new recipe has just been released: Quick Chicken and Bacon Casserole. You will find this recipe already in your Cookbook next time you log in at

4) Did you know?

Did you know that ...

  • ... Breast fed babies have a slower pattern of weight gain than bottle or formula fed babies. Unfortunately, this was poorly understood until recently, and some breastfeeding mothers may have been pressured into overfeeding their babies as a result. This is because the growth charts used to check whether babies are putting on weight properly are based on the faster rate of growth of babies fed on formula milk. Some mothers may even have been persuaded to supplement their milk with the bottle, or even to stop breastfeeding altogether.
  • ... Experts advise against giving babies formula milk before they are at least six months old, if it can possibly be avoided. This is because a baby's immune system is too immature to cope with the 'foreign' protein in cow's milk or soya milk at such an early age, and an increased tendency to allergies can result. There is also mounting evidence that the brain establishes feeding and appetite patterns during the first few months, and that overfeeding during this period may lead to obesity in later life.
  • ... Breastfeeding is claimed to help weight loss after giving birth because it triggers hormones which help the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size and shape. However, many find that they have to wait until they stop breastfeeding for the pregnancy weight to come off.

5) Your successes, requests and questions

This is your spot. Whether it's your dietary success story, a request to cover a particular topic in a future newsletter or a question you would like answered, we would love to hear from you. Please do contact us.

Here is a question we answered recently:

  • Q Today is day 2 in the induction phase of the Dr Atkins diet. I have gained 4 pounds. Is this normal? I am starting to feel frustrated already. Thanks.
  • A Does your weight often fluctuate a lot from day to day? It's virtually impossible to gain 4 pounds of fat overnight, so it's probably just water retention, not 'real weight'. Have you been eating anything particularly salty? Or has the weather been particularly hot and humid? Either of these things can make you retain water.

    There are lots of other reasons why you might retain water, such as food allergies or sensitivities. Have you been eating anything in the last 2 days that you hadn't eaten in the previous 7 days? Are there any medications that you've just started taking?

    My advice would be to see how things go in the next week. Don't give up yet! Let us know how you get on.

6) Tell Us What You Think

Your opinions matter to us. If there is something you particularly like or don't like about our newsletter or website, please let us know.

7) Visit Our Newsletter Archive

Did you miss an issue? Want to review an issue you really enjoyed? Be sure to check out our newsletter archive.

8) Resources

With best wishes for your continued good health

Jackie Bushell
Founder Director, Good Diet Good

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