WHEN WEIGHT LOSS SLOWS OR STOPS
Don’t just ride the same old wave if you are not losing weight. BUT… don’t cut yourself short, either. To determine if you actually are losing, compare your average weekly weights: Add up your weights for seven days, and then divide that number by seven. That is your average weight for that week. Compare that number to your average weight for the previous week. If you are a woman and like most women, don’t even bother with your weight during the ten days surrounding your menstrual cycle!
Now, if you aren’t losing and aren’t gaining, You absolutely MUST keep in mind that you could be building muscle tissue at the same rate you are losing fat…. Many of us are so protein deficient when we start eating LC, our bodies seize all the suddenly available protein and use it to build new muscle at a ferocious rate. That’s a good thing, because muscle burns calories by virtue of its very existence, insuring future losses, PLUS, muscle may weigh more than fat, but it takes up a whole lot less space and looks a lot better “on”! I’ve lost many inches when the scale wasn’t moving at all. I weigh MUCH more at my current size than I did at the same size when eating low fat, and that’s okay too, because I am so much stronger and look so much better at the same weight.
Look at what you are doing. Anything that might be a problem, you can weed out for a full week or better yet, two weeks, and decide if it could be stalling you. Try lowering your carbs, raising your carbs, upping your fat, upping your fiber, cutting out bars, cutting out artificial sweeteners, cutting out caffeine, dairy, whatever. But don’t try it for just a day. Try each thing for a full week. If you’re a woman in your “childbearing years” your cycle will dictate when you can trust the scale enough to even conduct these experiments (what a bitch that is, huh? Only two and half weeks out of each month when you can feel fairly certain that any sudden change might not just be “bloat”.) Make sure you are taking your measurements and checking your body fat calculations. If you are exercising, or even if you’re not (you should be!) remember that you could be building muscle tissue at the same rate you are losing fat. If you don’t know how to figure your body fat calculations, try one of these sites, as tracking this will help you to determine if you really ARE building muscle tissue, or not:
Here’s one online calculator: You will need your weight and waist measurement: Calculator You should note that there are TONS of calculators out there and they all seem to come up with a different measurement. I myself figure my BF% using the formula in Protein Power, and I find that works pretty well for most people.
CHECKLIST FOR STALLS
RATIOS: Track your percentages of fat, carbs, and protein. If you’re not losing, go back to 20 carbs per day maximum for a couple weeks. And track it, don’t just “think” you are below 20, even if you are pretty sure. You will be shocked when you see how fast those carbs add up in a program like Lifeform, which adds up all the hidden ones. A salad & a serving of veggies often adds up to 20 carbs alone. And that is before cheese, cream, etc. Make sure your fat percentage is high. Make sure your protein is not too high. Up to 52% of protein ingested CAN be converted to glucose (and fat!), so you don’t want to eat more than you need. But you must eat sufficient quantities, to protect your muscle mass, which is what you need to burn fat. Protein Power includes a good formula to compute your protein needs. Mine happens to be 120 grams per day for my 140 pounds of lean mass. Based on my lean mass, I came up with a goal weight of 185 pounds, much higher than my wedding weight of 160. (And I ultimately got into my first size 14 when I still weighed 210 pounds! and so decided THAT was actually my goal weight.) Muscle weighs more — but looks much better! If you are within 20 pounds of your goal and can’t seem to lose, maybe you don’t need to lose any more…
FRUIT: I ate fruit very rarely until I reached maintenance. Even though it was the one thing from “the old days” that could always make my mouth water. Definitely give it up if you are in a stall!
ARTIFICAL SWEETENERS: I treat myself to a Diet Rite with sucralose about once a week at this point but some people cannot tolerate ANY artificial sweeteners at all, since just the taste of sweet can cause an insulin spike in very sensitive people. I do okay with sucralose, myself, and I like it the best by far, which is why I sell Fiberfit.
STAY AWAY FROM ASPARTAME – the more I learn, the more I think it is VERY VERY BAD stuff. (Hey, I found the best new way to drink pop – with an Isi soda siphon and DaVinci syrups! And while you look at it, check out the Isi whip cream maker too.)
CITRIC ACID: Dr. Pepper is one of the few diet pops on the market that contains none. Citric acid is present in many, many foods. Be aware, because it is reported to stall some people – and in most American products where it is added, it is derived from corn, not oranges!
GUM: I almost never chew gum. It reportedly can cause an insulin spike just because of the sweet taste. When I do indulge, it is in a single piece of Dentyne’s “Ice” or “Eclipse” gum, which has only 1 carb per piece. Wrigley’s Extra is a good substitute with 2 carbs.
SUGAR? One time I ate ONE Sara Lee Cheesecake bite with only 4 carbs in it and I gained 2 pounds that day – and my total carbs – not net carbs but total carbs – counting that little treat were under 20 for that day. Another time I used 5 carbs worth of evaporated milk in my coffee because I was out of cream and that one cost me three pounds. If you are indulging in ANYTHING with the real stuff in it, and you are stalled, give it up.
NUTS: Nuts are a good snack, and I eat a lot of pecans, macadamias, almonds, walnuts, and sunflower and pumpkin kernels, but do try to take it easy on them, no more than 1/4 to 1/2 cup per day is a good rule of thumb, due to their high calories and/or sodium content. Stay away from peanuts and cashews entirely, which are not really even nuts, but legumes.
SKIPPING BREAKFAST?: It is an absolute necessity that I eat breakfast within one hour of rising or I WILL NOT lose weight that day. Period. Doesn’t matter what else I do or don’t do. Perhaps you are the same. *Exception — if I have a little something (like coffee with cream) then work out hard and don’t eat for an hour after the workout ends, I do just as well. I heard that this helps facilitate fat burning, and it seems to be true. But if I don’t eat a little something and go about a normal day without some major sweat involved early, I am sunk.
RESTRICTING CALORIES?: Fuggetaboutit! At least at the beginning. Count your carbs more strictly instead. Strive for HIGH high fat and LOW low carbs. The exception to this is in the case of someone who already has verified that their carbs are low and their fat high and who still isn’t losing weight OR inches – you could be overdoing it. Try limiting your calories for a few days and see what happens. The closer you are to goal weight, the more you may actually need to count those calories. And if you have been keeping them low for a while and it’s not working – you might not be eating enough! I myself go directly into starvation mode (read that STALL) if I lower calories consistently. Our bodies tend to adjust to the things we throw at it – be sure to keep yours on its toes by changing things up occasionally.
SALT?: Be aware the eating very salty foods may cause a temporary and sudden gain of several pounds. Try not to freak out about it, because it will likely pass just as suddenly.
ATTITUDE IS IMPORTANT: so pick a good one! Some of us just have to work harder, and sacrifice more, and still accomplish our loss at a much slower rate than many others. It’s not fair, but hey – real life seldom is. Fortunately, when I feel as good as I do on low carb, I find that an acceptable trade off. (Most days.) If you are as resistant to loss as I was, I hope you do, too.
HIDDEN CARBS? Be sure to not miss this very important post.
NOT TAKING SUPPLEMENTS? Some people need them more than others. Try it!
EXERCISE: Not doing any? I always thought it was a dirty word. I love to do sports but I hate to “just exercise”. If there’s a ball I want to catch, I will run. Getting me fired up about walking or running for its own sake is pretty tough, though. But it is necessary to succeed with your weight loss program. Yes, you can lose 50 or 100 or 200 pounds without exercising. But if you want to look GOOD when you are done losing, you had better make an effort to tone what you’ve got left! Your skin is much more likely to shrink back into shape when you lose weight in combination with exercise. So just DO IT. I mean, let’s be brutally honest here – those of us with lots of weight to lose most likely have addictive personalities anyway. Why not put that trait to work FOR us, this time. Exercise is as addicting as anything else, and much more rewarding! I myself walked my ass off – literally. This diet would NOT have worked for me without exercise, that is painfully obvious. Some people do fine with none. And some people, like myself, do not! Luckily, I have come to enjoy my walking so much that it is no longer just “exercise” but has become “me time”. It is something I get to do, all by myself, three times a week, and I don’t feel guilty for doing it (taking the time for myself). I feel better after doing it (because a happy Mommy is much a better Mommy … and wife!) After the first couple months, I added wrist weights, and some light lifting for my triceps, biceps, and pecs (darn gravity anyway!) and I even did a few crunches yesterday after the 3 miles w/ weights and the lifting. *grimacing*
07-04-00 2 weeks after that – today I did 150 crunches! And I now workout on my metal monster Nordic track instead of walking, which wears me totally out. I couldn’t even use this thing, before walking myself into some kind of shape over the last few months.
07-20-00 It is two weeks later than that and today I did 20 minutes on the NordicTrack followed by 150 crunches (half of them in the advanced position!) followed by 150 arm lifts with dumbbells, followed by a 2 mile powerwalk with wrist weights. Whew!
11-11-00 I now do FOUR HUNDRED crunches at a time and a full weight lifting routine. *And thank God! because I BROKE my BACK on January 5, 2002 and can only imagine how much rougher the whole thing would have been if I hadn’t been in shape when it happened. I am happy to report that I was able to maintain MY FULL LOSS even after such a severe injury, which left me bedridden for six full months (not to mention permanently impaired… but everything does work again, even if it hurts, and I am grateful.)
February 2001: Sold the metal monster and now I power-walk on a new treadmill and do ab crunches. I still enjoy my workouts but I more often settle for 250 crunches and 40 minutes on the treadmill with light hand weights… I am more likely to do this workout regularly when I don’t overdo, and I think consistency is key.
Find SOME kind of exercise that YOU enjoy – then do it. And keep doing it!