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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Am I doing something drastically wrong?

I decided if I got to 15 stone I would lose weight, in 08 I did and I did! I did it in a way similar to this site advocates, I set myself a target of eating less and exercised, I was already training in thai boxing and another martial art, adding in rowing on a Concept 2, recording my days intake on excel and hey I lost a stone without too many tears. But without really noticing I put the stone back on. In May 09 I again thought better lose weight. I started at say 15st 4lb and again started rowing on the Concept 2, jeez it gets boring! I looked online at what I 'SHOULD' be doing to lose weight, the idea of a fat burning zone has been more or less dismissed, anyway the C2 site had a link to NC so I joined et voila still here logging food! I was trying to follow the calorie limits, doing thai boxing and Jeet Kune Do and also rowing, putting in say 500 to 800 calorie rows of say 10k / 12k and topping it up til I hit a round number. I lost weight steadily and got to 12st 8lb sometime last year, without logging off I couldnt say when! In September last year I mentioned to my JKD teacher that rowing was boring me, there are only so many DVD's I can watch! He suggested yoga, someone at the gym did it and he reported on all the attractive girls that attended the class! I googled it and found a Bikram Yoga class, I went and suffice to say I liked it and true I'm sure there are attractive girls there but I'm too busy trying not to topple in poses to notice (hmmm maybe a peek) I gave up or at least stopped the martial arts and practice yoga 5 times a week right now. I did a 30 day challenge (30 classes in 30 days) in January, well 30 classes in 25 days to be precise and gained weight aaaarrggghhhh! So now I'm about 12st 10lb, consuming say 1459 calories by the site's suggestion but more like 1500 to 1800 depending on the day, however a Bikram class is said to be 700 calories and I have started rowing again 5 times a week at 400 to 600 calories. My weight isn't changing much, maybe a little this week .... I am toned, Bikram Yoga has changed my body, I am better for it and certainly not fat, HOWEVER I still have a tummy, I have decent tummy strength, maybe great abs but these are under fat and push my fat tummy forward! I have the side at back fatty areas and I think after all the calorie deficits and calories I burn, I should lose fat. So what's occurring? What am I doing wrong? There are no quick fat removal answers it goes in the order it wants but hey ... I should be a rake! If I 'need' 2500 calories a day plus say 700 for yoga and I consume say 1600 then that's a 1600 per day shortfall and say 11,200 pw ... that's enough in theory to lose 3lbs per week. I don't eat celery and salads, I eat normally but in moderation. Breakfast - fruit n fibre Lunch - maybe chicken and grab a medium fries or maybe the other half or a meal from previous night - fajitas or chicken/steak in a sauce with rice Dinner - as mentioned, maybe steak/chicken in a sauce with rice, curry /Szechuan / satay .... maybe a kebab (meat only with fries) or small pizza on the way home I must stress that all is within the 1500 calorie limit, plus a bit of chocolate .... I'm not cheating or deluding myself on portion sizes, its all honest and I feel fine, fit, healthy and more or less satisfied with food. I don't think you have to kill yourself on salads, just be sensible - that's why I have kept the weight off and have never lapsed too badly. So the question is why no further weight loss and especially tummy and back fat?


Our expert says...




I have had a look at your notes in detail so I can describe and explain exactly where changes need to be made and though essentially you are on the right track there are some clear reasons why you aren’t losing anymore weight! 


Two main issues which I will address separately: 


1) Calorie consumption: With your target intake being 1482 with a 200 calorie loss from exercise, it looks like you are still exceeding your calorie consumption target on a consistent basis. If we disregard exercise for a moment the below figures (from your diary's first 9 weeks in 2010) highlight the amount of calories over your suggested intake figure you are:


Week 1 - 418 over

Week 2 - 1894 over

Week 3 - 150 under

Week 4 - 3058 over

Week 5 - 934 over

Week 6 - 381 over

Week 7 - 666 over

Week 8 - 3204 over

Week 9 - 2146 over


Simple answer, though you are right you don’t have to eat none-stop salad you do have to discipline yourself enough to create the daily deficit, of calories. Certain food choices like chocolate, kebabs, chips and curry can all contain higher levels of saturated fat and therefore higher calorie contents so be aware of your overall daily consumption of fat. Fat can only be stored as fat! 


2) Exercise: on analysing your data I have summarised your exercise for January and February below: 


29 x hot yoga in January - no other exercise

28 x hot yoga in Feb, rowing 5 times, no other exercise 


The volume / frequency of yoga is really good, however because you are focusing soley on one type of exercise and although Bikram Yoga is a good style of yoga.....it is still yoga – whose main aim and benefit is flexibility. Its focus on breathing techniques and relaxation make it a low calorie burning activity, with minimal benefit to health, metabolic rate and significant impacts on body shape. Postural improvement yes…..effective muscle toning or calorie burning…no! 


As a form of exercise that accompanies other activities in a weekly plan it is an excellent addition but used alone you are missing out on metabolic rate increases from mod-high intensity exercise as well as the increased metabolic rate benefits from targeting muscle toning. 


People make claims about its calorie burning potential but this relates to the higher temperature utilised within Bikram Yoga classes and though the body has to work harder to dissipate heat and we lose ‘weight’ through sweating out water…it is all replaced and is a false economy. I think if you use the 700 calorie figure they claim it burns, youy will massively over estimate what you burn and that too will affect your end day calorie balance! 


So eat less, consider what and how much - you need to hit that target bang on and consistently. Also, recalculate what Bikram Yoga burns and get more rowing or whatever other activities you like into your week that gets your heart rate higher and provides muscle toning!


Hope this helps, 



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