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Why Have I Regained My Weight?

03/12/2009

Question:

I am having trouble losing weight. I have a BMI of 23, am 1,67 m tall and weigh 63,6kg. That means I am not really fat. I just want to get to the weight I had one year before. One year ago I weighed 59kg. I`ve gained many kilos (66kg) because I was going on a high fat diet (ice cream and chocolate) without exercising.

I always did around 3 hours per week of exercise while I was at my hometown in Brazil, but since I moved to Luxembourg in 2004 I stopped all due to the cold weather.

I started following a diet (1000 kilocalorie average) at Jan 2006 and doing sports, but I just saw a result in losing weight counting from April. I lost 5kg until August (60kg).

I also started exercising more, as I started running and training for a half marathon since July.

But from August on, although I doubled my sport activity and continued with a diet of 1300 kcal I regained most of the kg I`ve lost (63,6kg now).

I would like to add as well that those kg are fat and not muscles. I have an equipment to measure fat percentage and I am back to 30%. So I cannot say that I am gaining weight because I am losing fat but getting muscles.

Also, I have hypothyroidism, but it`s medicated and under control.

Why can't I lose weight?

Answer:

You don't say if you are male or female, but I am guessing that you are female. Your diary of sport activities/exercises might be helpful in determining if the exercises are aerobic ones or if they include some strength training also. If your body fat is staying the same, it sounds like you need to include more strength exercises.

Also, you may not be eating enough calories. If you greatly increased your aerobic exercise by running to get in shape for the marathon and only increased your calorie intake from 1000 kcal to 1300 kcal, you may have pushed your body into starvation mode. Or it may have gone into starvation mode when you started eating only 1000 kcal per day. In starvation mode your body's basal metabolic rate (BMR) slows down and you need fewer calories each day. To increase your BMR you need to eat more calories (try 1600 to 1800) and increase your strength training.

Strength exercises build muscle. Aerobic exercises don't. It takes about 10 times more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than a pound of fat.

Also, you didn't mention your age. I'm guessing that you are in your 20's. However, your body composition shifts to a higher body fat composition after menopause, so if you have reached menopause, that could be one reason for your body fat being at 30% when your height for your weight is okay.

Good luck to you.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University