Your body after Lap Band Surgery and eating a low carb. diet is like a well-oiled machine. The weight starts falling off and your body is running like a sports car—but what happens if that car stalls? For some reason, every once in awhile your weight loss seems to slow or stall. And that is frustrating, especially if your weight loss goal is closer than it has ever been, but now you have hit your very first plateau?
When your weight just won’t budge—what then? Well, then it’s time for a tune-up. There’s no need to panic. Weight loss doesn’t occur in a straight line. It is time to think long and hard about the foods that you have been eating and pinpoint where you made a wrong turn or just need to make a few adjustments to your routine.
Everybody is different, but when I am asked for help in these situations I rattle off the following list of possible culprits
- Hidden sugars and starches in purchased food, vitamins, and medications.
- Hidden sugars and starches in restaurant food if you eat out often.
- Sugar alcohols, and many “so-called” low-carb products, especially sugar-free candy and ice cream are made from these corn syrup alternatives like Maltitol, Sorbitol and most anything ending in “tol” that they claim can be subtracted from the total carb count.
Overindulgence in more specific things like dairy, caffeine, alcohol, sugar substitutes, diet sodas, soy flour, fruit, nuts, tomatoes and onions can slow or halt weight loss.
If you have no idea what’s causing the plateau, the best thing for you to do is to strip your diet down to the bare bones of low-carb, to all those healthy fresh foods. When it comes down to those last stubborn pounds standing in your way, calories can catch up with you. You may see stalls as your worst enemy, but getting back to basics is never a bad thing. Using a food journal to track your eating pattern is very useful tool to help work out of a plateau. When you have your eye on the prize, every little bit counts. Don’t just record calories and what you ate, but really scrutinize your choices. Focus on eating more reasonable portion sizes, this may be the boost you need to see that magic again.
Other Reasons Your Weight Loss Has Stalled
I can’t tell you the number of times people have told me they were eating healthy, only to find out that their diets were filled with processed foods. Make sure you’re eating whole foods. For the most part, that means there should only be 1 ingredient on the label (oats, beans, etc).
You’ve probably already heard the golden rule of shopping – shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where 95% of the healthy food is. If you spend more time in the aisles, then you know your problem.
I am not anti-carb. Carbs are necessary to efficiently fuel high-intensity exercise and central nervous system function. The keyword is “efficiently”.
Carbs should be eaten in proportion to activity levels. The more active you are, the more you’ll need. If all you do is a work out and then sit behind a desk, you won’t need as many as someone who is very active.
For many people snacking goes hand-in-hand with sitting at your desk, or watching TV. These calories add up fast. Even a healthy snack like popcorn can cause a problem if you over eat it. In addition, many of the 100 calorie snacks from the stores are just empty calories that do nothing to help you lose weight.
Make snacking work for you. You don’t want it to just not hurt you, you want it to help you. If you’re intent on snacking, at least consider eating one of these healthy snack ideas
Do you sit behind a computer all day? A little activity can go a long way. Sometimes a single workout followed by a day of inactivity just isn’t enough. Buy yourself a pedometer and track the steps you take in a day. If it’s less than 5000, you probably need to get moving a little more. A walk after dinner couldn’t hurt.
Are you just going through the motions when you exercise? Give your body a reason to change. You need to be pushing yourself to your limits when you work out. Don’t expect your body to drop the fat if you don’t physically show it it needs to. Boosting your intensity can increase your fat loss.
When most people think of losing weight, they think of cardio and long drawn out sessions on the treadmill, or running to lose weight. In reality though, strength training, not cardio is the real fat burner, and should be the focal point of every weight loss exercise routine.
Weight, weight, weight…we all seem to be obsessed about it. It’s been a month and you’ve lost 4 pounds. Great! Or is it? For some, this is considered a failure. They aren’t getting back what they put in. Give it some time. If you’re losing fat, you’re doing great. Get it out of your mind that weight loss is a giant leap from week to week event. Be happy about what you’ve accomplished. Progress is progress. Keep it up and it accumulates over time.
Prolonged calorie restriction can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Your body adapts to calorie restriction by slowing its production of many hormones. You can combat this through changing up your meals and exercise routine.
How much sleep do you get a night? If it’s not 8-9 hours, you’re making your weight loss goals much harder to reach. Sleep affects everything from appetite to glucose metabolism. Make sure you’re making it a priority.
How is your mental health? Your “mental fitness” is an often overlooked part of a fitness program, yet there is such a strong connection between mind and body. Stress affects hormone levels, motivation, and weight loss.
A workout here or there isn’t going to get you anywhere. Consistency is a major key to success. The same goes for your diet too. You can’t expect to eat processed food whenever you get the urge and still make progress. Make a plan and stick to it.
Motivation, or lack thereof is a big problem for many people, and weight stagnation certainly doesn’t help things. What do you do? You find that source of inspiration that got you started in the first place
Have you ever considered the fact that you are not losing weight because you don’t need to lose any more? If you’re already small in stature, the problem might be a lack of lean body mass, and not an excess of weight. Yes, you might have some fat to lose still, but fat loss does not always equal weight loss.
Yes, there are medical reasons for why your weight loss isn’t going anywhere; however, these affect a very small percentage of people. Understand that a low thyroid is many times (but not always!) an effect of a poor lifestyle choices, and not the cause.
That being said, some people have legitimate medical issues, and if you think you’re one of them, definitely talk to your doctor. Medications can also make it more difficult to lose weight.
As I’ve said over and over again, successful long-term weight loss doesn’t come from dieting, it comes from changing your lifestyle. If you’re the person who jumps on and off diets, you need to take a different approach to weight loss – one that focuses on lifestyle changes. Weight loss is a side effect of living a healthy lifestyle.
Always keep in mind that maintenance is waiting for you at the finish line when those same small steps you take to get to your goal can be taken in reverse toward a more satisfying, effortless maintenance—for life!