I am eating less but still gaining weight – help!

You eat low fat food, you exercise, you are consuming fewer calories than you used to, but you are not losing weight, in fact you have put on a few pounds since your last weigh-in.

It’s frustrating, but this is a far more common problem than you might think. There are a number of reasons for this gain in weight, and one, some or all of them might apply to you.


But, don’t lose heart as most problems can be reversed.

1. Give it time

All too often people embark on diets and exercise regimes and expect to lose weight immediately. This will not always be the case. For example your muscles will be working harder, and so may be retaining water. Your body will take time to adjust to your new regime, and so you will not see the benefits of your new regime for at least four or five weeks – do not expect miracles over night.

2. Look at your shape not your weight

You might be developing muscle – which weighs heavier than fat – so you will look toned and slimmer, but weigh more. Rather than looking at the scales, look at your clothes sizes – you might find that you have gained a pound but lost an inch.

3. Beware starvation

If you are eating too little in a desperate attempt to lose weight, then you will not only be putting your body under dangerous stress levels, but you will also send it into ‘starvation’ mode. This means your metabolism will slow down and your body will try to store any calories it does get for survival. Your body does not know the difference between dieting and starving.

4. Watch out for hidden calories

Your meals might be low calorie, but are you really counting everything? Fruit juice is high in sugar, dried fruit is a great energy source, but it is also high in calories. Even that cup of coffee has calories in it. And fizzy drinks are full of sugar.

5. Eat little and often

If you eat small amounts of food throughout the day, your metabolism will be fired up and working efficiently, so you will burn the energy as you need it. If you skip breakfast and then eat a huge meal at lunchtime your body will take a long time to process the food, and anything it cannot process it will store (as fat). Likewise, if you eat breakfast at 10am, then a snack at 11am, then eat lunch at 12 noon then your body will not have time to process each meal and so will go into storage mode. Space your meals out so your body has time to digest each meal.

6. Don’t forget to exercise

It is all very well only eating 800 calories a day, but if you lead a totally sedentary life you will not see the benefits. The only results will be a tired, lethargic and grumpy you. Build a daily exercise routine into your schedule and you will soon feel full of energy and vitality – and you will look great too.

7 Accept yourself

Many people have unrealistic expectations. If you were born with wide hips and broad shoulders you will never look waif-like. What you can do is look great for your shape. Be proud of your curves, celebrate your muscles and be happy when you reach your ideal weight for your shape and fitness requirements.

Additional information

The following foodstuffs are low in calorie content, and because they take time to breakdown and process they make your metabolism work harder than usual – which keeps your metabolism efficient and helps keep you slim.

These foods are known as negative calorie foods, but there is no such thing as negative calories, insteadthey are foods that, when eaten raw or slightly cooked, cause the metabolism to work at a high intensity.

Apples,  cranberries,  grapefruit,  lemons,  mangoes,  oranges,  pineapple,  raspberries,  strawberries,  tangerines,   asparagus,  beets,  broccoli,  cabbage,  carrots,  cauliflower,  celery,  chili and peppers, cucumber,  dandelions,  endives,  garden cress,  garlic,  green beans,  lettuce,  onions,  papaya,  radishes,  spinach and turnips.


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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans