We all know the feeling. We’re chugging along, committed to getting healthy and looking good doing it, and BAM! Suddenly, the scale stops measuring our progress. If you are committed to a good nutritional program and tracking your food intake religiously, you are making progress. The scale won’t always be the only indication of your success, but it is still an important tool. If it has stopped in it’s tracks, here’s a few ways to get it going again.
1-If you have managed to lose some weight but you are still eating simple carbohydrates, stop it! Simple carbs cause fluid retention and even the carbs that do not contain sugar as an ingredient, will degrade into sugar in your body. Our bodies hold onto extra water to dilute sugar in our bloodstream. Cut out all simple carbohydrates to see a little drop on the scale.
2-Increase your exercise intensity, with your doctor’s permission. Always consult your medical doctor before beginning, or intensifying, any weight loss program. As you lose weight, the number of calories that you need to stay alive drops, and you can’t eat as many calories and still lose weight. If you increase the intensity of your exercise, you can offset this change.
3-TRACK EVERY BITE THAT GOES INTO YOUR MOUTH. I heard a saying years ago that sums this up, “If you bite it, write it.” Don’t think for one minute that you will remember what you ate and “keep track of it in your head”. You won’t. Be accountable and honest with yourself. You are the beneficiary of accurate record keeping and you are doing this for YOU.
4-Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is not your friend. It will lower your inhibitions and increase your appetite. It will also keep you from accurate record keeping. Once you get buzzed, all of your good intentions will fly out the window. It is also a source of empty calories and sugar. If you are serious about getting to a healthy weight just leave it alone.
5-Make sure to get enough fiber when you eat. Fiber will slow the absorption of your food, giving you a feeling of fullness much longer.
6-Stay well hydrated. Water is a catalyst and jumpstarts metabolic processes in your body. If you are well hydrated, your metabolism will perform smoother and better. You will get more benefit from your food and stay full and satisfied longer. One study showed that people who drink a serving of water before meals lost 44% more weight. (1)
7-Get your sleep! One study found that sleeping only 4-5 hours for 5 nights in a row caused a 2.6% decrease in the resting metabolic rate. (2) This drop was rectified by 12 hours of good restorative sleep. Less sleep also means an increase in cortisol, your stress hormone. This hormone will cause an increase in hunger and fat storage, and cause major problems for your weight control program.
8-Make sure to get protein at every meal and snack. Protein increases your metabolism because it’s harder to digest than carbs or fat. It will keep you from being hungry longer than carbs or fat also, and help to preserve and build muscle. You need muscle to be slim, toned, strong and healthy.
9-“Make your world small.” (David Yochim) Remove negative people and circumstances from your life. Cut out the dead wood. These situations raise cortisol levels just like lack of sleep and can make you stress eat and store more fat. Walk away from stress and you may see the benefit at the scale.
10-Plan your work and work your plan. Always have healthy food available and never skip meals. If you allow yourself to get too hungry, you will almost always overeat the first chance you get. By planning your meals and snacks, you can even pretrack your calories, carbs and protein and have more control of your nutrition throughout the day.
Never Give Up!
The only difference in a winner and a loser is that the winner got up, one more time. Don’t quit and you will win.
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.
I was doing a little reading today to find a little inspiration for something to write about, and came upon this question within a weight loss forum where the individual asked if anyone else decided that losing the last few pounds was just not worth it.
If you have ever followed any weight loss social media sights, you know this mindset of quitting is actually quite prevalent, even among those who have had great success at losing a good amount of body fat. It seems it is almost always that last 20 pounds that people have the most difficulty with losing.
And there is no good reason for anyone to just give up on their weight loss journey, especially when they are so close to their goal weight.
When you follow any of these weight loss social media sights, you will see a myriad of excuses why some cannot lose weight, or why some have done well and then cannot get past a plateau.
I just cannot lose these last pounds!
Is it that you cannot lose those final pounds or is it that you simply do not want to remain committed to doing what it takes in order to obtain your goal weight?
It’s too hard!
Too hard? What is going to be harder in your life, losing a few more pounds or living a life that has you less than healthy. A life that involves regular doctors visits for unnecessary ailments that are almost always going to be related to your nutritional habits.
I Just can’t eat any less than I do now.
Really? Do you think you need to eat less in order to lose unwanted weight? If you have quit eating sugar and processed foods and only eat healthy whole foods that meet all of your nutritional needs, you will have a difficult time managing to actually eat enough to not lose weight.
I’m missing out on all the fun my family and friends are having.
Is a few moments of bliss worth the life that comes from gluttonous eating of poor food choices? Is that momentary fun worth the disgust you feel when you peer upon yourself in the mirror? Is that ice cream sundae worth the expense of new clothing because even though you are at an age where your body should have quit growing, it is anyhow? Is the fun on Friday nights out having pizza and beer worth it when you are worried that you might not fit in your wedding dress you recently purchased upon getting engaged? When you have to take readings of your blood sugar and then take your diabetic drugs or insulin, is it really worth having it to join in with your co-workers when one brings donuts to the office?
I’m miserable, I feel so deprived, I’m too depressed all the time.
This is a common problem for those who know that simple carbohydrates and sugar are a problem for them, yet they refuse to quit eating it. Being miserable, feeling deprived and depressed is part and parcel to an addiction to sugar and simple carbohydrates. As long as you keep feeding the addiction, even just a little bit, you are going to feel this way. Quit sugar, quit simple carbs such as breads and pastas, and quit processed foods and soon your mood will improve as the cravings you get from simple carbs and sugar will soon subside entirely as your hormones will come back into balance.
Just one more binge with the junk food and I swear I will be over it, or, I just cannot imagine life without my favorite junk food.
No, you will not be over it. You will not be over it until you actually get it in your mind to get through the first couple of weeks after quitting sugar and simple carbs.
I’m not good at exercise and I have never really liked it anyhow.
So what? Despite the fact I encourage all who are capable of exercise to do so, it is not necessary in order to bring your weight down. Exercise is about strengthening your body and improving your quality of life, however, losing weight is still simply a matter of not consuming more calories than your body burns in a day. If you cannot lose weight, no matter what you think or believe, you are eating more calories than your body requires. Exercise just allows you to eat a few more calories than you would be able to otherwise. But truth be told, most people do not burn as many calories with their exercise routines as they believe they do. Most of the calories you burn every day are a result of body functions you do not even have to think about. It takes energy for you to breathe, and sleep, and for all of your internal organs to function. Only about 15 to 30 percent of your calories burned through the course of the day are through intentional physical activity such as walking, jogging or maybe while doing the Funky Chicken when your favorite song comes on the radio. No matter what you might think, your exercise is not your primary pathway to burning fat, it is only a fraction of it.
You don’t understand, my body is comfortable at this weight. My metabolism will not let me lose more, it’s not my fault.
Really, is it that your body is comfortable being over weight, or is it just all in your own mind? Your metabolism can be revved up through proper nutritional habits and exercise. Odds are you have a larger problem in between your ears than you do with your metabolism. Your metabolism is a dynamic element, it is not static , meaning it cannot be changed.
My hormones are out of whack, therefore I have no hope.
Have you been to a doctor and had blood work to know this for fact? If not, you are just making an assumption that is not well founded. If your hormones are not in balance or being produced in the adequate amount, your doctor can prescribe you medicines to assist with this. However, most of this can be remedied through healthy eating and exercise. You have 9 hormones that tell you to eat, and 14 hormones that are supposed to tell you when to stop. By taking responsibility to consume all the nutrients you need for proper hormonal balance most of these imbalances can and will sort themselves out. However, we do recognize your body may have a genetic glitch such as not producing enough leptin, or maybe it makes too much cortisol. Maybe none of your satiety related hormones are working at all. If that is the case, no amount of willpower is going to overcome this problem. If this is the case, then between you and your doctor, you will need to reprogram your hormonal circuitry. This is going to possibly require medications, but it is definitely going to take you making a choice to begin eating responsibly for your health. The more body fat you lose while adding lean muscle mass, the more your hormonal balance will get back into sync with your body’s needs.
I have done everything right, and now I do not know what to do in order to lose my final 20.
You probably have done everything correctly if you have successfully lost a good amount of weight over time. You may have all the keys in your hand to lose that final 20 pounds, but are overlooking an important step. That step is to continuously evaluate your caloric needs as the calories required in order for you to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week were spot on at 300 pounds, that same total might be what is required to maintain at your current weight. Worse yet, that caloric total might actually be enough for you to begin gaining weight again. You have to make continuous adjustments during your weight loss, and even once you have met your goals. For instance, the total amount of calories you burn during the summer may be significantly higher than those you burn in the winter months. Consider, 1 pound of body fat equals 3500 calories. It takes a deficit of 500 per day in order for you to lose 1 pound of fat per week. Now, let’s assume that while your body requires 2000 calories per day in order to maintain during the active months of the summer, it may only need 1750 calories per day during the winter when you are more likely to be in your home and sedentary. If you have not adjusted your intake down, you will find the fat coming back on at a rate of 1/2 pound per week with only an excess 250 calories per day over your needs. Weight management is truly a management issue. It is not difficult, but it does require constant attention and adjustments along the way. Here at David’s Way, we can help you with this. We have 600 articles and healthy recipes now which have always been, and always will be free to you. If you have questions or comments, then please do so in the comments section, or you can contact us through e-mail through our Contact Menu tab.