Weight loss is seldom just about losing weight - it's also about changing habits and lifestyle. For many committing to lose weight is a big step, and the start of a long journey that can often be disheartening if tackled alone. Our Weight Loss Support Group offers advice and encouragement, and celebrates each goal reached and maintained. Take a look at the questions most frequently asked and how others have dealt with it.
For more expert advice visit the DietDoc and FitnessDoc.
Q: How do you stay motivated during your weight loss journey?
To everyone who has lost weight or still in the process, how do you keep motivated? I have been at it for just 3 weeks and have lost 3kg. It's like I wish I could fast-forward the whole process and wake up weighing 58kg. I hate this losing 0.7 a week story! This is after I took a 1 year break last year after losing 8kg. I was just tired of thinking before I eat. Any tricks you use to convince yourselves it's worth it, especially on weekends?
A: I think of how I feel when I am looking and feeling good. I also keep in my mind how bloated and gross and depressed I felt when I was overweight, fat. I feel more confident weighing less, and it has a good effect on my home-life, and my job too. Just keep counting the kilo's lost, soon you'll be into double figures!
Q: How do you control your eating habits?
I cannot seem to be able to control my eating habits or say no when am offered food. I'm not big, but I don't want to gain more weight. How do you lose the flab around the waist and on the sides?
A: Make sure you eat 5 to 6 times a day, healthy food of course. This will make you feel full all the time. Eat protein, as it takes a bit of time to digest thereby making you full for longer. You can also supplement with chromium – some people recommended it. What used to work for me was magnesium; I did not crave sweet things. As for the love handles, make sure that when you do your cardio (cycling, walking, jogging) that you hold in and tighten your stomach all the time, and do your abs work out twice a week.
Q: How do I get rid of stretch marks?
I would just like to find out who is also struggling with stretch marks. What are you guys using? What works the best? I have bought bio-oil 2 weeks ago, but I see no difference. I can't use it in the mornings as it is so oily and takes long to absorb.
A: The trick to tackling stretch marks is patience. You cannot see much difference in 2 weeks. I mix Bio-oil or tissue oil with my body cream and use it every day. I am seeing a difference. It's been over a year now and it is working.
Q: What can I do to control my sugar craving?
I decided to completely go off sugar (fruit, sweeteners , coke , biscuits , chocolate etc) and white carbs, but the cravings are so intense- you won't believe. I'm on day 5 today and I can't handle the cravings any longer - I had small chocolate and I feel so much better. What can I do next time when the craving becomes more and more intense? I don't want to eat a chocolate every 5 days. I want to do without sugar for 21 days straight as part of my detox. Any Ideas? The sad part is that I can't even nibble on fruit. I need to get off sugar completely to stabilise my blood sugar levels.
A: People are under the misconception that they have to detox, but this is unnecessary as the body literally detoxes itself daily. Secondly, the body actually needs sugar, so in fact you have to incorporate it into your diet daily. If you want to avoid sugar, then avoid refined sugars and rather supplement with fruit. The reason you are craving is not only because you have made your body accustomed to a lot of sugar, but because your body actually needs a bit of sugar from a health perspective. Be aware that lots of foods contain "hidden" sugars e.g. tomato sauces, condiments etc... avoid these rather than cutting out necessary things like fruits. You want to detox by cutting out fruit when the irony is that fruits are the body's natural cleansers...certain fruits contain lots of antioxidants and are vital for detoxing the body.
Q: Starvation vs diet pills
I've been thinking about this and I hope you have an explanation. When one is using diet pills (appetite suppressants) one hardly ever eats and the weight comes off. But when one counts calories and eat less than 1000 cal, the body goes into starvation mode and no weight comes off. How is this possible?
A: Diet pills contain ephedrine or other stimulants which stimulate your body into burning fat faster, hence the weight loss. When starving yourself without pills, your body goes into a "protection" mode, i.e., if you starve yourself, your body will store all the food you eat in fear that it will be starved again. Please remember that a properly balanced weight-loss diet is the only healthy way to lose weight and keep it off.
Q: Has anyone used Duromine and are there any side effects?
I am considering taking Duromine to kick start my weight loss for a month only. I am just concerned:
Will it mess up my metabolism? So that in the long run it actually slows down more than it is operating now? I have heard it works, but really don't want to put my body (in the long run) at risk for a (short period) kick start.
A: I am on Duromine and it works for me. I get it from my doctor only. I started recently and, to date, I've lost 8kg. I am gluten intolerant so I only eat meat and veggies and a lot of water. I feel very good on it I have a lot of energy and I do not get hungry at all, but it has been specifically prescribed for me and my dietary needs.
Q: What side effects have you experienced while on Duromine?
What side effects have you guys using/who used Duromine experienced? I started yesterday with 15mg. Last night about 8pm I was starving. I woke up twice last night and battled to get to sleep again. My feet were icy and sweaty. I ate again. This morning I woke up a little tired and took 2 capsules. Tonight when I get home I am going to take a sleeping pill after I' m done with my chores. I don't know what else to do.
A: Unfortunately one of the side effects of Duromine is that you might struggle to sleep at night. Try to drink it as early as possible that might help. And you must remember to still eat while on Duromine. Duromine is supposed to help you eat less, but you still have to eat otherwise you will definitely feel the hunger pains at night. Other than the sleeplessness, I really did not have any other side effects while using Duromine, and I used it on and off for about 5 years.
Q: What are the side effects of Reductil?
Has anyone ever used Reductil? I got it prescribed for me as I'm severely overweight. I started today and just wanted to know what the best time is to take it. I heard things like Duromine keep you up if you don't take it before 6am - any help would be appreciated. I have also started walking at 5am and bought that shaking machine and a stepper, and I have started to eat healthily.
A: I have been on Reductil 2 weeks and, I must be honest, I haven't experienced any bad side effects, other a mild headache on the first 2 days. I do however take the tablet between 7 and 8am, I normally go to bed at about 11pm and I only had one night that I battled a little, but that was in the first few days. Duromine has a lot more side effects and my Dr absolutely refused to even consider it. I am happy on Reductil at the moment, I'd lost 3.5 kgs in about 8 days when I last weighed. I have been eating as I find it doesn't really take my appetite away - I just feel full after a lot less food. Remember it is NOT a miracle pill, and you still have to eat correctly and exercise.
Q: How much weight are you supposed to lose?
I have been on weigh less for 3 weeks now, in the first week lost 2kgs, in the second week I lost 0.4 and this week I lost 0.8 - am I doing something wrong? Shouldn't I be losing at a rate of 1-1.5 per week? I am sticking to the diet religiously - no cheating at all, and I am walking for 45min at least 3 times per week, but the weight loss is still so slow and one becomes very discouraged after all the hard work and seeing such low weight loss, especially when I still have 12kgs to go. Any advice?
A: Its normal to lose 0.2 to 1.5kg, don't give up and you don't want to lose it too fast, otherwise it all comes back on. You also reach a plateau after a few weeks as your metabolism adjusts, but the this is health and long-lasting weight loss.
Q: I'm not losing weight, what am I doing wrong?
I have picked up 5kg and I'm struggling to get rid of it. I am exercising 5 times a week (walking 50min, light weight training and sit ups, swimming 500m 3 times per week). I eat 3 meals per day and include something naughty now and again, but I haven't lost a kg or any cm on my body. I do not mind the weight so much, but would have expected that I would have lost some centimetres. What is wrong?
A: I could think of three things:
1) You have reached your plateau. Try to shake up your routine. If you eat the same cereal every day, change it to something else. Try eating 5 small meals instead of your usual 3 (don't increase your intake though!) Instead of walking for 50mins, try doing a gentle jog for a minute every 5 minutes. Or change from walking to another form of cardio for a bit. Mix it up, and see how your body reacts.
2) You are losing weight the healthy way: slowly. The first time I tried dieting I didn't' loose kg's or cm's for the first few months, and then suddenly I lost a whole whack.
3) Perhaps you aren't eating the best things. Have you cut out as much fat as you can – using fat-free dairy products, limiting oil from things such as nuts and avocados, and choosing lean meat? Are you eating a lot of refined carbs? Maybe change to something with a lower GI. It could also be that you need to change your food combinations. Look into it - I have found that my body responds best if I combine a carb with a protein.
Q: Can I continue losing weight during pregnancy?
I just found out that I am 6 weeks pregnant. If possible I would like to continue losing weight or gain very little because with my first pregnancy it took me a long time to start losing the weight I gained during and after. Please help me. If you tell me which programme to follow, I will do that.
A: I went on Weigh Less when I found out I was pregnant. It was the best thing I ever did for myself. I gained 12kg and lost all of it afterwards! With my first baby I picked up 17kg, so I was happy with the 12kg. Anyway, they have a diet for pregnant ladies - more than enough food, believe me. I did not follow the pregnancy diet to the T, but went onto the normal eating plan and just added more to my carb portions etc.
It was so nice being part of a group - I got weighed every week and could see exactly how much I was picking up. It also helped eating frequent meals as I suffered from morning sickness. Also I joined Curves before I fell pregnant so I just continued with my exercise program - obviously I check my heart rate frequently to make sure I' m not overdoing it. I's ok to pick up weight, don't worry too much, as long as you eat properly and exercise regularly you will lose everything quickly afterwards.
Q: What is the best exercise training to lose weight?
What the best exercise training is to lose weight quicker, I am on Weight Watchers. I have been going to the gym twice a week for 40min and also walk for 1hr twice a week. To date I have lost 5kg in 4 weeks. I have 16kg to go?
A: How about getting a personal trainer he/she will help you a lot and help you afterwards to get trimmed up. You could also try Hip Hop abs or Taebo it really helps with my bottom, thighs and stomach. You can get a DVD at Game stores. And increase your cardio training.
Dieting extreme jaw-wiring – what was she thinking?
'I had my wiring taken out 2 weeks ago. I have lost a total of 18kgs to date and I did it in 10 weeks (in the two weeks after removing the wiring, I've also lost an additional of 1.2kgs by just going to gym). My fat percentage is 26. I am still going to gym everyday for 1 hour and have also joined Weigh less. I have dropped 3 dress sizes (from a 16 to 13).
I feel light, energetic and healthy. I will never go through the experience of jaw wiring again, but I'm glad I did it. I look better than I ever did before. I used to have double chin, now people do not recognise me until I introduce myself.'
Write in to the Weight Loss Support Forum and share your journey.
(Leandra Engelbrecht,Health24, May 2010)