My partner eats really healthy and quite low fat / calorie, and has pretty much all her life.
She's a vegetarian (well, she eats seafood, so technically an "aquatarian"), and basically this is her daily diet...
- Breakfast (6.30am) - a bowl of muesli with fruit, non-fat milk, and a black coffee
- Lunch (12.30pm) - a salad roll (turkish bread) with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, no butter (she has a tiny bit of hummus instead, or else nothing at all), twice a week she has a thin slice of cheese in it, and a chopped up olive
- Dinner (6pm) - mainly salad with either some tofu or a boiled egg or some thin slices of smoked salmon. Either that or a veggie & tofu stir fry.
- After dinner (6.30pm) - fruit with a small amount of non-fat yoghurt
She walks everywhere as neither of us drive, she doesn't really drink, doesn't smoke, hardly ever eats any actual fatty or junky foods...and yet...
She's 5'3" and weighs 65kg, which isn't FAT but it's not slim and she does have a fairly large stomach. She does stomach exercises every night as well.
I eat the same dinners as her, and also have more food in terms of snacks. I also walk everywhere and don't drink or smoke, and yet I'm slim and find losing weight pretty easy.
The only things I can think of is that I'm 32 whereas she's 48 so her metabolism would be naturally slower and it'd be harder to shift any weight...and also the fact she hardly eats any fat and also eats her meals (with no snacks in between) quite far apart...this could be slowing down her body's rate at burning up the food as well...
But she doesn't really want to eat MORE in case it puts on weight instead of getting her body's metabolism up.
Any ideas? I've suggested she may need to do actual intensive exercise and not just walking...and I also suggested maybe eating more protein, but again, she's worried it might put ON weight.
It does get harder to lose weight as you get older. Still, that diet sounds like it's about 1000 calories or less. You haven't mentioned portions, but it might be a good idea to actually measure and count calories for a few days, just to have some specific numbers to work with.
More demanding exercise, especially weight lifting, could help. She might not lose on the scale, but she'd gain muscle and lose fat. This is usually noted as a decrease in pants size.
No, she's never had her thyroid checked...I kind of assumed with a thyroid thing, you'd be quite large and actively put ON weight no matter what you do...she hasn't really put on weight for about 5 years but just can't seem to lose it. She'll lose maybe 1-2kg (about 5lbs) but then if she so much as eats something slightly fattier than normal it'll all go back on again immediately.
Our portions are small to medium. Neither of us are huge eaters.
We've both kept food diaries at various times over the years, and she tends to eat around 1200-1800 calories per day, and about 30g of fat. I eat more calories and around the same amount of fat per day, but as I said, I'm 32 and find it easier to lose weight.
Spot reduction of body fat by exercising nearby muscle is not effective in a practical sense. It can make the muscles under the fat grow bigger, though.
A better approach to strength training is to include all of the big muscles like chest (e.g. pushups and dips), back (e.g. pullups and rows), and legs (e.g. squats) as well as core (e.g. plank and various crunches). Increasing strength and muscle will increase metabolism and counteract the usually-age-associated decline in metabolism (which is due to declining muscle among inactive people; such decline in muscle can also result in disability, as in older people being unable to get up out of a chair or being too weak to walk unassisted).