Why is there more LyzzyBee all of a sudden after years of being the same?
June 20, 2011 5:24 AM   Subscribe

After staying the same weight, eating the same stuff (changed a year ago but stayed the same since then) and doing the same exercise, I've suddenly put on several kilos in weight. It's quite frustrating. I have been using the same scales: they have a fat measurement thing on and while I know these are not accurate and I am not x% fat, that measurement stayed the same while my weight did, and has now gone up with it. I have cut out sweets and most snacks during the day but still gaining (2 months now). a) how can I get my normal weight and size back b) how can I cope with the disappointment and angst?

I lost a few stone a few years back through exercise. Always ate healthily with a few dodgy biscuits/cakes/choc - this time last year cut saturated fat out of my diet to (successfully) combat raised cholesterol levels, weight went down then stablilised as I found enough to eat.

Weight has been around 63.8-64.5 kg for 4 years. Now up to 67.4 after jumping up to 66 ish for a few weeks. Height is 5 ft 2. Eat healthily, whole-grainly, lots of veg, fish etc and this has not changed in the past year. I exercise for 4-5 hours a week, about 60/40 cardiovascular/strength and again, this has not changed in about a year.

I have now cut out sweets during the day (had quite a few at one point) and just an up to 50 cal snack when I get home from work and if not going to the gym. But getting heavier. And fatter, I feel it and see it round my apple-y waist and my jawline. Yuck.

One further data point: I have recently stopped taking the Pill (Mercilon) after years on it. I am on a low dose of a high blood pressure medicine, but that has not changed in 4 years. I'm not p.g., though.

What I don't need, but thanks: info on the fat scales thing, I know that is not an accurate measurement, but it was another constant which has now changed. Info on sat fat and cholesterol- this diet has worked for me, thank you. And acceptance of fatter self - I don't feel well or healthy and I can't see how it can be good to suddenly gain like this.

Thank you!
posted by LyzzyBee to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you consulted a doctor about possible thyroid issues?
posted by thomas j wise at 5:46 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

1 - How old are you? I know a lot of women who say that around 30, their metabolism suddenly changed and they had to eat much less to stay the same weight.

2 - Changing/starting/stopping the Pill can cause significant weight gain or loss - some of the answers to this question I asked seem to confirm my experience with that.

3 - I'm sure lots of people will say this here - have you had your thyroid checked?
posted by DestinationUnknown at 5:47 AM on June 20, 2011

and doing the same exercise

Yeah. This happened to me too. "How can I gain weight when running 3 miles a day, and doing 100 pushups in 3 minutes".

I found out the hard way that the body adjusts to the exercise...this may sound bad...but its just the body optimizing efficiency (less calories expended doing the same activity).

Change your workout plan. You'll see results immediately.

Also...I have female friends who have gained weight because of a certain brand of pill, and others have lost being on another brand of pill. I'm guessing that may have a bit to do with your weight gain as well.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:49 AM on June 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

You don't mention what time period you added the 4 kilos.
I find the work I'm doing and the amount of sleep I am getting seems to make a big difference to my weight over the course of a year.
posted by compound eye at 5:51 AM on June 20, 2011

speaking of which I should go to bed, good luck!
posted by compound eye at 5:51 AM on June 20, 2011

Thanks people.

To answer questions:

I'm 39.

Exercise - I've been doing a gradual build up in exercise for years so it hasn't been exactly the same but hasn't jumped.

Thyroid - did wonder but don't have any other symptoms ...

Pills - this is useful, thanks. I'm suspecting it's this but need more evidence ... (and how do you get rid of the weight again??)
posted by LyzzyBee at 5:52 AM on June 20, 2011

More answers:

Compound eye: as I said "but still gaining (2 months now)" so I spent a few weeks at 66-66.7 then jumped up to 67.4. Seems fast, is all.
posted by LyzzyBee at 5:54 AM on June 20, 2011

There may not be an evidence that your stopping the pill is the cause of your weight gain, but it's a pretty common occurrence. Hormonal contraception can really do a number on one's system.

But more than that, and I'm afraid there's no delicate way to put this, but you're pushing 40. Bodies change as they age, and a lot of people--women in particular--find that once you start approaching the big four-oh, maintaining one's previous figure becomes increasingly difficult. Doesn't mean there's necessarily anything wrong with you, it's just what bodies do. The change can be pretty dramatic, unfortunately. I've known several women who, as they aged, seemed to hit some kind of magic switch and suddenly gained ten pounds or more over a period of a few weeks, with no significant changes in their lifestyle. There isn't necessarily anything for it.

I mean, feel free to get yourself checked out, but my suspicion is that this can be explained by the combination of dropping the pill and normal aging. The fact that you've stopped the pill recently is probably going to be enough to check off the "explained" box in any differential diagnostic exercise. As physicians aren't really worried about weight gain/loss unless it's unexplained, that fact is likely to limit the willingness of anyone to probe too deeply into this, particularly as you seem otherwise healthy.
posted by valkyryn at 6:01 AM on June 20, 2011

Perimenopause and menopause can throw your entire system out of whack (more hormones!). I knew one woman who had five kids and was always svelt during her reproductive years. Start going through menopause and blew up like a balloon. More stretch marks from rapid weight gain than she ever got when pregnant. Finished menopause and suddenly was as tiny as a bird, smaller than she'd ever been, hardly more than bones. Almost concerningly tiny. All while eating basically the same diet.

Women's bodies are funny things, and definitely, definitely change as we age. Some women lose weight when they hit menopause and they no longer need the extra fat to support reproduction. Some women lose weight breastfeeding; others hang on to weight while breastfeeding to keep the extra fat to support it and only lose after they stop. You might weigh the same but store fat in different places. Etc. If you know how your mother/maternal aunts reacted physically to aging, that might give you a clue, even if your lifestyle is drastically different than theirs.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:09 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've just remembered I had my thyroid levels checked recently in a load of bloods for my regular blood-pressure meds check, and nothing showed up there.

Although I'm nearly 40, women in my family tend to go through m/pause later than that and I have no other signs of that, still the same as ever ...

Thanks everyone so far though!
posted by LyzzyBee at 6:11 AM on June 20, 2011

You could try getting back on the pill; studies have shown that women with higher estrogen look younger. Maybe your weight gain is directly related.
posted by 200burritos at 6:16 AM on June 20, 2011

A family member has lost lots of weight doing the P90X "extreme" workout regime. It might help with the angst, if nothing else. My relative says he doesn't crave a drink anymore to help him relax, because he exercises himself into exhaustion.
posted by Net Prophet at 6:23 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

To understand these sorts of phenomena,

I would read this guy's blog:

And this guy's blog:
posted by zeek321 at 6:24 AM on June 20, 2011

How old are you? I know a lot of women who say that around 30, their metabolism suddenly changed and they had to eat much less to stay the same weight.

I was going to say exactly this. I spent my 20's and 30's eating like a hog and never gaining any weight -- in fact, I was underweight that whole time, despite subsisting on butter and cream sauces on everything and eating entire bags of cheetos in one sitting. Then when I turned 34, that changed...and over the course of the next 2 years I gained 40 pounds. (I also wasn't exercising too much, which I'm sure compounded the issue.) These days I'm eating a lot healthier and am actually exercising, but I'm still hovering around that new weight (although I'm not too concerned because I'm a bit more in shape).

My hunch is that you did hit a metabolism change, but you were already pretty active (unlike me) and so it took a while to register.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:33 AM on June 20, 2011

You might consider doing somewhat more strength training. Even if the number on the scale stays the same, adding more muscle may help with the area around your waist and it will also make you burn more calories while you are doing your cardio exercise.
posted by tuesdayschild at 8:57 AM on June 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thanks people. Regarding the weights, I feel I already do enough of them in terms of time and weight and ratio with the cardio - I get really tired if I do more than 40 mins solid strength training, something that I already do 3 times a week. The 60/40 might not be entirely accurate - in a week I tend to do something like
Tue - 30 mins cardio 40 mins weights
Wed - 40 mins cardio 40 mins weights
Fri - 30 mins cardio 40 mins weights
Sun - 1 hour 30 cardio
Plus every other week 2 hours' heavy cleaning around the house and the other week an hour of heavy gardening, wch prob count as both. I don't think I could physically do more than that? What do people think?
posted by LyzzyBee at 10:04 AM on June 20, 2011

About the working out - I know it's different for everyone, but for me it doesn't matter at all, it's all down to food. My two thinnest times of life, one I was very active - tons of walking and hiking - and the other I was a total office worker sit on my ass all day lump. The only thing that has any effect is what I eat (and of course the birth control debacle I linked to above.) The weight that I've lost so far has been because I made an effort to eat less, and I notice now while trying to lose the rest, how little extra food it takes to hold me back. I only say this because it sounds like you're quite active already. If you also took up marathon running, it might just make you hungrier. Just anecdotal and all, but that's my $0.02.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:31 AM on June 20, 2011

My recent successes have all been about adding muscle as well as losing fat. Instead of doing more time on the weights, try more body-weight exercises for strength. I've had good results from 'bootcamp' style classes that have me doing more pushups and squats and jumps than I was doing previously because they work bigger muscle groups. If you don't already mix up your cardio, do that, too. I used to do the same machine the same way every day, and am astounded by how much more I burn in less time by switching things up.
posted by ldthomps at 11:24 AM on June 20, 2011

Any chance you're pregnant?
posted by Snarl Furillo at 12:26 PM on June 20, 2011

I'm 39.

More than likely, this is what it is. Your metabolism slows down as you age, even if nothing else changes. You can either accept this extra weight, start eating a bit less, or as tuesdays child said, do some strength training - especially your abdominals.

I'm 50, and for me, age 39 was when I saw the big change in my metabolism.
posted by MexicanYenta at 3:06 PM on June 20, 2011

Nope, not pregnant (as said above but said p.g. for some reason, probably to do with being cautious about that jumping out at people who find me on here!)

I do a lot of squats and free weights while lying on a ball and millions of sit ups done properly and all that stuff, and the running is long distance and I will be into a late summer of HALF marathon training too ...

But since enough people have agreed with me, I'm going with the pill thing ... I don't mean there's a consensus or I choose to believe that, but the fact that this has EXACTLY coincided with the Pill thing AND that other people have actually experienced this leads me to believe it's what's happened.

Thanks everyone. I'll carry on eating less and exercising more and hopefully it will stop going up, even if it doesn't go down yet.
posted by LyzzyBee at 3:27 PM on June 20, 2011

Do you sleep enough? Ideal sleep time and quality have been linked with better metabolism, and thus weight loss. If you're sleeping less (and not enough), maybe your body metabolism isn't as high as before and that's why you're gaining and not losing weight now even with the same exercise/food.
posted by kitsuloukos at 9:10 PM on June 20, 2011

Sleeping just as well/badly as ever, but thanks for the idea!
posted by LyzzyBee at 10:54 PM on June 20, 2011

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