I Feel Your Pain, Seriously
There is nothing anymore frustrating than expecting to see that cursed number on the scale drop and hopping up there and either have no change or, God forbid, GAIN. I have fought this battle for a long time. My anorexic mother placed me on my first diet at age four against the doctor’s advice. I struggled with my weight for about 56 years before, at the age of 61, I discovered David’s Way. I manage my weight well now by daily maintenance. After doing every diet that you can imagine and being a lifetime member of a major weight loss corporation, I have discovered a lifestyle, not a diet, that works for me and it’s free. I don’t buy special food and I can always find something to eat. I don’t have to go to meetings or check in online. I just live it every day of my life. I don’t eat sugar and I eat whole foods. I count my calories and stop when I eat them all. The truth is, some days I find it hard to eat them all because whole, high quality foods fill you up and stay with you. I am seldom hungry.
The Mysterious “Plateau”
When we first start to count our calories, there is usually an initial loss if water because we are eating less volume. Along with that volume, comes less sodium. Many of the high calorie foods that pack on the pounds are also high in sodium. Chips of all kinds are a common culprit in overweight and obesity. Almost all chips, and other empty calorie snack foods, are sodium bombs. Add the volume that we consume into the equation and you can just imagine the sudden release of water from our bodies when we cut these nutritional nightmares from our diets. Sugar also causes us to retain water as our bodies attempt to dilute the sugar for us to achieve a normal blood sugar. So, while we do lose fat in those first weeks of a weight loss program, we are losing a lot of water along the way. At some point, if we continue on with healthy habits, we will stop losing water. Then the scale will reveal our actual fat loss each week and if we are on a healthy program, that will not exceed 2 pounds per week. Any more than that is an indication that we are not eating enough calories. So, your first “plateau” may just mean that now you are seeing how much fat you are losing rather than fat and water.
Again, at the beginning of our program a decrease in calories will yield fat loss but, unless we accurately count our calories each day, the scale will stall or go the other way. I have tried “I know what I should eat.” thinking. That’s where you think that you don’t have to track your food because you just “know” what you should be eating. Seriously? If we did what we know to do, we wouldn’t have a weight problem in the first place. Tracking makes us accountable. If we track every bite, we are much less likely to grab that extra handful of almonds or add an extra pat of butter to our oatmeal. Little things do mean a lot. All of those BLT’s (Bites, Licks and Tastes) add up. Track your food for success. “Pre-tracking” works best for me. Plan, track and then eat. If you eat anything other than what you pre-tracked, make sure to track that also.
This has got to be one of the most common and ridiculous habits that we can possibly employ in our weight loss journey. It is common for people to over-estimate their calorie burn during exercise. One of the groups that I was a member of for many years had a system where you earned points, or calories, that you could “spend” on food. Oh. My. God. I knew a woman who swore that she earned the equivalent of about 4,400 calories a week that she could eat. She never lost weight and surely enough, began to gain and just quit trying to lose at all. Those 4,400 calories every week were causing her to put on over a pound every week, after her initial weight loss at the beginning of the program. When anyone tried to counsel her concerning the absurdity of her so-called “earned points” and how that would affect her weight loss, she violently disagreed. She would say, “But I EARNED those points!” No, she didn’t. She couldn’t have earned that much extra food if she worked out 12 hours a day. She was over-estimating her level of difficulty. She counted every activity as being high exertion. Unless you cannot talk and can barely breathe, you are not exerting yourself at that level. I work out hard, with heavy weights, for two hours at a time and I don’t even count those calories burned. Do you want to lose weight? Don’t lie to yourself.
Yes! Progress towards your goal may be one reason that you are not losing! As your weight declines, so do your caloric needs. You can calculate your caloric needs as often as you like with our Calorie Counter Pro. You can have the results sent to your email for losing or gaining 1-2 pounds per week or to maintain your weight. This is a free service to our readers. Take advantage of this great tool. We strongly advise losing only one pound per week. Slow weight loss is better on your skin. You are less likely to have sagging skin than if you lose fast and slow loss is safer overall. You can also adjust your personality as you go when you lose slowly. Otherwise getting slim quickly can be like waking up in someone else’s body with no idea how you got there and unable to maintain that new body. Slow loss enables you to truly change your habits over time so that they become ingrained in your life, a lifestyle, not a diet.
“You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet” David Yochim
This is an ongoing topic of discussion here at David’s Way. While we both work out hard and regularly, we also know that we MUST track every bite and be selective about how we spend our calories. Quite often, people who are athletic or active slip into thinking that they can just run another block or Zumba one more song and burn up that hot fudge sundae. No, you can’t. I had the revealing experience years ago of joining a new gym to swim laps and gaining weight like mad! Boy, was I upset! The problem was that the new gym was on the other side of a great frozen yogurt shop. Almost every time that I went swimming, I stopped for yogurt. I just figured that ALL THOSE LAPS had earned me a sugar cone…full of yogurt…a big one. It had not. Although I was swimming like an Olympian, I gained weight. Just work out because it’s healthy and count your calories according to how many it takes to lose. Trying to squeeze in every extra bite that you possibly can, will sabotage your efforts to lose.
While the scale is a great indicator of over-all progress, it is also a bit fickle. Salt, lack of sleep, carbs, stress, heat and so much more can cause us to retain water in our bodies. Our weight will fluctuate accordingly. Hard workouts cause inflammation in the body and then the body heals and creates muscle. While that’s a little over-simplified, the point is this, you may be doing everything exactly right and the scale may say that you have gained weight. Sometimes, if we are too dependent on the scale as the measure of our success, we will just give up if it appears to chastise us, especially if we truly believe that we are doing everything right. Weighing once a week at the same time of day in the same clothes will give you your most accurate weight. Don’t obsess about daily fluctuations. If you know that you are constipated or retaining water due to a hormonal issue or salty food, just wait a few days, until the problem has subsided and then you will have a more accurate idea of your progress.
If you quit trying to lose weight and be healthy, you will gain weight and be unhealthy, most likely. If you fall down, get up. Don’t quit. That’s why it seems that you never lose weight. You try a while and get a craving or a mood swing and quit. The only difference in a winner and a loser is that the winner got up one. more. time. Get up. Don’t quit. Keep going through all the hurdles and you will win the race.