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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What can I do about my reduced weight loss?

    I am 49 years old and over 100 kg and are being told by personal trainers - there have been 3…. that I need to reduce my exercise as I am not losing weight.

    I am on a weight management programme, including curves training 3-4 times a week and I walk on average 10,000 steps per day.

    When I am on 1200 calories I lose the weight but once I increase calories to 1500 my weight continues to rise. Your thoughts!
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    This is quite a hard question to answer through this forum. But I have a couple of thoughts I'd like to leave you with. 

    When we reduce calories too low and it is not enough to fuel our daily exercise and bodies physiological functioning, this results in a lower metabolic rate. When our metabolic rate slows, we become more efficient at storing fat (and carbohydrates) because the body doesn't know when its next meal is. 

    When you look back at our hunter-gather ancestors. They experienced periods of feast and famine. During feast periods they would gorge on as much food as they could to top up their fuel and fat stores to get them through periods of famine. In today's society we never experience famine, therefore our weight tends to keep on rising.

    I think that you are consuming far too few calories to meet your daily energy demands with your phsical activity. 

    I would also consider that weight is not a very reliable measure on its own. Many factors affect our weight and daily fluctuations of 1-2kg can be normal during the day accounting for food and fluid. I would suggest focusing on optimising your body composition (i.e. reducing body fat, increasing muscle mass) as this is a more valid way to measure health.

    I would highly recommend you speak with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) or Accredited Sports Dietitian (AccSD) for expert dietary advice.

    It is outside of the personal trainers scope of practice to provide dietary advice beyond that of the Australian Dietary Guidelines and they are not insured for this.

    To find an APD or AccSD near you, head to or

  • 1


    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Losing weight and getting into good habits is hard work. You are doing extremely well. Unfortunately when your weight is very high you tend to move slower and fidget less. Often there has been a history of  yoyo dieting which affects your metabolic rate. It is called the Thrifty Gene Syndrome. Your body is so accustomed to starving that when you give it more to eat it stores the food – this was a survival mechanism when food was not so readily available.
    You have been very logical in finding the calorie count your body works best at – so you should maintain your exercise routine and keep your food intake to 1200 calories. This works for you so why try and change it. Keep your portions small and take your mind off food by getting involved in other activities. As your weight drops and you become more active you might be able to increase your calorie intake.
    If you need to be monitored you should consult an Accredited practising dietitian who would also individualise your diet to suir your lifestyle.

  • 1


    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 also important to consider food quality and macronutrient composition eg: fat, cabrohdyrate and  protein as this can impact metabolism, weight loss and effectiveness of activity. It may also be worth assessing some bloods with your GP (such as thyroid function, liver function, blood sugar levels).

  • Dr Kevin Lee

    Endocrinologist, Nuclear Medicine Physician

    Consultant Physician in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nuclear Medicine. I am on Twitter @dr_kevinlee. I am on Facebook I help patients with obesity, diabetes, thyroid, … View Profile

    Lifestyle-induced weightloss inevitably plateaus followed by future weight gain.
    In addition to the very good answers above, another major factors is changes in the brain and gut hormones that control hunger/satiety.

    Increase in two of the gut hormones that increase food intake (ghrelin, gastric inhibitory polypeptide)
    Decrease in many gut hormones lead to increase food intake (leptin, peptide YY, GLP-1, cholecystokinin, pancreatic polypeptide, and amylin )
    Decrease in brain hormone leptin increase hunger.

    All these hormone changes appear to persist after 1 year of dieting (1).

    The body really tries hard to regain weight. One gets more hungry and easier to put on more weight. Simply looking at calories by this stage unfortunately does not explain the whole picture. 

    It is generally advisable that you see your doctor if there is concerning weight gain despite lifestyle change. 

    I remain hopeful that one day we will be able to manipulate these hormones to lead to effective weightloss with dieting.


    Dr Kevin Lee
    BSc(Med), MBBS, MHS(Clin Epi), FRACP
    Consultant Physician Endocrinologist.1.    Sumithran P et al. Long-term persistence of hormonal adaptations to weight loss. N Engl J Med. 2011 Oct 27;365(17):1597–604.

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