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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I be healthy and active yet not lose any weight?

    As a kid I ate too much though I never was that much overweight. When I was 16 I entered a metabolic balance program and lost a couple of pounds after months of strictly following the program. Then it stopped. I have tried multiple programs, never reduced my calories, I am an aerobic teacher and therefore work out 4-7 hours a week. I walk 30 minutes daily and only eat 3 meals a day. I can cut out carbs and bad fats for 6 weeks or more and neither the scale nor the clothes show me any results.

    My doctor said it could be caused by hormones as I am only 21 now. She also stated that maybe I had reached a weight, where my body just stopped the process. I do not need to lose 50 pounds, 10 or 15 pounds is all I want to get rid off to be considered a healthy young woman.

    I really am lost and ready to try everything to get to my goal!
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 4


    Dr Carolyn Ee

    Acupuncturist, GP (General Practitioner)

    I'm a Sydney GP with a special interest in women's health especially menopause and TTC ( trying to conceive). I specialise in acupuncture, and am … View Profile

    Our bodies hang on to balance tenaciously and most people find it challenging to shift excess weight.

    What you are doing is a great start and hence you do not have 50 pounds to lose, just 10-15 as you say, to make you feel better about yourself and your health.

    If nothing is changing in terms of your clothes or the scales, you will need to change something - exercise routine/diet - and preferably both.

    Exercise-wise, it has been demonstrated that 60 minutes at least 5 days a week is what is needed to achieve weight loss. Also, intensifying your workout and starting some strength training is very helpful. So, you could start adding jogging into your walk, and when you come home you could add strength training for 20-30 minutes (eg a pilates DVD or a Fitball DVD or home strength training routine).

    Can you start teaching a more intense aerobics/fitness class? We all get very efficient at what we do physically, and need to increase the pace and intensity every now adn then as our bodies reach a homeostasis (balance).

    It is difficult to advise on diet at this stage but reducing calorie intake and portion sizes do help, and monitoring your calorie intake can be helpful in terms of identifying where you might be consuming extra calories that do not provide much nutrition. Often we make mistaken assumptions about the calorie content of the foods we are eating and underestimate our portion sizes. Following a Mediterannean style diet can help.

  • 2


    Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    It is a good idea to record all food and drink intake as well as exercise to assess where you could improve.

    Limiting foods such as sugar and breads may help and also try reducing alcohol and other non-water beverages. Particularly if your hormones are at an imbalance, the above triggers an insulin response which inhibits fat burning.

    Try adding in 2-3 sessions of resistance training each week. Resistance exercise improves body composition and health outcomes by reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass.

    If your GP suspects a hormonal imbalance is present it is worth getting it investigated. From my practitioner experience iron and thyroid testing may also be warranted particularly when accompanied by fatigue.

  • 1



    How much sleep are you getting and is it sound sleep?

    Is the exercise you are doing, it may be too much for your body - are you eating before you exercise. 

    You may need to have a couple of snacks a day — either mid morning and mid afternoon or after dinner… - these snacks could include vegetables and protein — eg carrots and cheese or boiled eggs…. 

    What about fluid intake?  Are you drinking water?  

  • 2


    Leah is a Clinical Dietitian with a passion for understanding how the body works. Special interests include: gut and systemic change food and mood mind-body … View Profile

    Hi,  From what you are saying, you are certainly doing a lot of exercise 4-7 hours a day is a lot.  

    With out haveing a good conversation about what is happening and what you are eating, drinking etc, it is difficult for anyone to give structured advice.  Hormones are powerful chemicals which can certainly influence body weight and structure. 

    Inflammation is also an insidous driver of weight, fatigue and a whole host of other more subtle conditions.  Low grade inflammation really does change the game.  Do you or have you injured yourself.  Are your food choices irritating your body, even if you have always eaten them?  Stress either in your professional, personal or your actual body can also interrfere with body function.  Medication can also make changes that we may not appreciate. 

    With the amount of exercise you are doing, it is possbily doing a few things - physical stress on the body; draining your glucose/gylcogen supply;  changing hormones, and in particualar your metabolic rate to ensure that the food you eat will remain enough for the level of exercise you do.  Are you eating enough, as another professional enquired?  Is this contributing to the BMR reduction, if it is occuring. 

    A thorough blood work up, diet diary, emotion and symptom diary combined with exercise routine would give a lot more insight into the possible underlying issues of your weight holding. 

    Hope this helps some what, and feedback is welcomed. 



  • 1


    Vangel Rizos

    HealthShare Member

    I used to be an aerobic instructor,  teaching up to 5 classes a day, for  30 years.  
    how much do you want to loose ? what bmi are you now ? what bmi do you want to get down to?
    do you drink anything other then water?  sports drinks, coffee, tea, soft drink, zero drinks ? dont, drink only water. 
    3 meals a day is ok, but is it a healthy nutritionally calorie controlled balanced diet, eg.  do you have 5 + pieces of veggies a day included in your 3 meals ? 
    if you have any drink  other then water, if you don't have a nutritionally balanced with veggies, and salad,   example if your having big meat, (or powder protein shakes)  and potato, ( hi carb veggies) type meals or pasta and bread type carbs in big portions your eating to much calories.  Burn more calories ( do more full body dancing type aerobic workouts ) or eat less calories of what you eat now or eat lower calorie salad, veggie type foods raw or cooked.

    I only consult with obese and over weight 

  • 1


    Dr Shelley Kay

    Exercise Physiologist

    I'm an exercise physiologist, lecturer and researcher with a PhD from the University of Sydney. My academic experience is in diabetes (type 1 & 2), … View Profile

    With exercise studies, EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF WEIGHT LOSS, body composition and metabolism research consistently demonstrates reductions in fat, gains in muscle, and improved glucose and fat metabolism. All this is good news without weight loss. If you diet, you will lose fat and muscle which looks impressive on the scales but represents a metabolic loss (you need muscle to burn energy and sustain movement for life). If you exercise, you may reduce fat, particularly in the abdomen (a very healthy change) but have NO CHANGE IN WEIGHT on the scales in the early stages. If you lose weight with exercise, this represents a greater fat loss than for dieting alone, becasue of the added weight of muscle gain. The recommended prescription for healthy body composition is combined aerobic and resistance training along with healthy dietary changes that you can sustain for life.
    The energy in energy out equation fails to explain many of the fat and muscle changes with exercise, particularly why exercise, as opposed to diet alone, stimulates fat loss preferentially in deep abdominal fat cells. There are clearly metabolic signals going on with activity. Weight is not a good measure of change with exercise but over time, this should happen due to greater fat loss. We all have our own experiments going on. How much time we sit, move or exercise, how we sleep, what and how much we eat, our genetic makeup that determines our individual response to all these factors, determines the outcome. If what you're doing now makes you feel better, your clothes feel looser around the waist, there's no resons to see this as a negative. If over time no further changes occur, what you're doing isn't enough, you have to exercise more and eat less, sit less and determine what works for your energy level and appetitie. If you have a metabolic condition, this requires appropriate management along with the lifestyle maintenance. Although it doesn't tell the whole picture, a DEXA scan may help to quantify changes in muscle and fat that are obscured by weight and BMI.

    Dr Shelley Kay, Accredited Exercise Physiologist

  • 1


    Dr Tarryn Morrissey

    Chiropractor, Personal Trainer

    Tarryn has a special interest in maximising performance for athletes, and functional re-training.Tarryn primarily works with athletes, families and individuals with chronic problems. Tarryn has … View Profile

    Before you spend anymore time worrying about what your ‘Weight’ is i would recommend that you assessed your ‘composition.’ The most effective and least invasive way to assess this is by a DEXA scan that you can have performed at a variety of centres. I'm not sure where you live, but In victoria the rules are that a referral is required by a GP or Allied health professional that can refer for X-rays as it is a modified low radiation X-ray of sorts. As A chiropractor I refer for these for my athletes, so i'm sure that your GP or chiropractor can refer you for one. They're quiet cheap and will give you a reading almost to the gram of your composition of muscle vs. Fat. Once you have determined if in fact you actually do have a need to lose body fat, then you can look at potential causes.                                                                                                                            The first reason may actually be the sort of exercise that you are doing. Teaching Group fitness classes tells me that you engage in at least 4-7 hours a week of high intensity cardio (if you teach RPM, attack, step ect;). From the research, that sort of exercise- taught at instructor intensity- in some individuals can cause high levels of cortisol release, which will cause your body to store more fat. It can also create large changes in your appetite and satiety regulators of your body, which may cause you to actually eat more food than you need.                                                                                                                                                          Another point to consider is the types of food that you are eating. Some foods are inflammatory to the body when broken down and can inhibit normal weightloss as the bodies' response to low grade inflammation is to release stress hormones (cortisol). These foods are grains, sugar and dairy. While i'm not an advocate of extreme paleo lifestyle diets, there is quite alot of research to indicate that sugar, dairy and grains (wheat ect;) can be harmful to our health long-term. From the research sugar seems to be the worst of the bunch, so if you eat alot of sugary foods (muesli bars, yoghurt, sweets, biscuits, cereals, pasta sauces/all sauces, most packaged foods) that may be where you might want to start.

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