7 Reasons Your Weight Loss Program Plateaued
- March 08, 2021
You don’t drown by falling in water, you drown by staying there
I bet you’ve met someone who claims not to eat much and yet is overweight. He may not be lying! That’s the result of a metabolism damaged by half-wit dieting. The key to losing weight and keeping it off are two simple things:
(a)Fixing the out-of-whack hormones and brain chemistry that drive hunger and overeating.
(b) Increase your metabolism so you burn more calories all day long. The reasons why your weight loss efforts seem to be hitting the wall is outlined below:
1. You use willpower instead of science to control your appetite: There is a science to hunger. Unfortunately, most diets (eating less) will trigger hunger. You can only hold your breath for so long. Powerful ancient mechanisms compensate and protect us from starvation (even if it is self induced). Our hunger dramatically increases, cravings ramp up and metabolism slows way down to conserve energy.
Solution: Seek the science. Yes ( by reading this!) Check out meal plans and adapt your favorite to local foods available. Research(Google ahoy). Listen to your body, weigh yourself. Check the caloric value of your favorite foods. Eat protein for breakfast and avoid eating 3 hours before bed. Compose your meals to balance blood sugar and lower insulin. Combine protein, fat and low-glycemic, non-starchy carbs (vegetables, fruit in small amounts and less than half a cup of grains and beans) at each meal.
2. You focus on calories: Some calories make you fat, other calories make you thin. We now know that any food that spikes insulin (sugar, flour and even excess grains, fruit and beans) triggers a shift in your metabolism. What does insulin do? It drives the fuel from the food you just ate into your fat cells (visceral or belly fat).Then, your body thinks you are starving even though you just munched a giant Agege bread or sucked down a Big bottle of soda. And remember, two things happen when your body thinks you are starving – hunger increases and metabolism slows.
Solution: Check your portions! Focus on very low-glycemic foods as the staples of your diet. Nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, grass fed meats, low-glycemic veggies (greens, salad fixings, etc.) Use grains and beans sparingly; no more than a half cup once a day .Use sugar as a drug – in very small doses. And all sugar is the same. If you have to ask “is it OK?” Then it isn’t. Don’t use artificial sweeteners – they trigger sweet receptors, hunger and slow metabolism leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
3. You eat a low-fat diet: The old idea that fat has higher calories than carbs had us cutting out fat, enable weight loss. Well, look what’s happened to our low fat diets! Many of us are overweight. Pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes or what I like to call “diabesity is no news.”
Harvard scientist Walter Willet reviewed all the science on low fat and weight loss and found that it is not eating fat that makes you fat but eating sugar. A recent study by David Jenkins found that a low-carb (26%), high-fat (43%) vegan diet was more effective for weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk factors than a vegan low-fat diet. In the study, the high-fat group lost 4 more pounds and dropped their cholesterol 10 more points by eating high fat. They called it Eco-Atkins! Other studies show that by eating more fat and less carbs can increase your metabolism by 300 calories a day (eating the same total calories a day).
Solution: Don’t fear fat. It actually makes you feel full, speeds up your metabolism and helps you lose weight. Eat good fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut , butter or oil. Eat clean animal fats (organic eggs with the yolk, chicken, grass-fed meats) and fish with omega 3 fats (sardines, herring, wild salmon, black cod). However, these doesn’t relegate the place of portion control in weight loss.
4. You have hidden issues and need medical help: The biggest hidden causes of weight gain or resistance to weight loss are the things that cause inflammation. And inflammation triggers weight gain by worsening insulin resistance. But don’t switch to gluten-free or dairy-free options. Gluten-free cakes and cookies are still high in sugar .
Gut Problems: The microbiome – the 100 trillion bacteria in your gut – play an enormous role in metabolism and health. If you have bad bugs (from eating refined, high-sugar, carb, low-fiber diet or taking antibiotics, acid blockers) they can either trigger inflammation or alter how your food is broken down and absorbed.
Toxins: Science has discovered that common environmental chemicals (pesticides, household cleaners, make up, pollution and heavy metals) can be “obesogens”, Chemicals that make you fat. In animal studies, giving rats a toxin caused weight gain though they ate the same amount of calories and exercised the same.
SOLUTION: Find hidden causes of weight gain or illness in your home Try an elimination diet. Not eliminating calories but getting rid of inflammatory foods. Start with gluten and dairy. Avoid gut-busting drugs (acid blockers, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories). Starve the bad bugs by eating a low-glycemic, low-fermentation (starch) diet. Take probiotics. See a Functional Medicine Doctor or a Naturopath to get help if you don’t succeed on your own. Detox your body and your life: Reduce exposure to environmental and common chemicals. See the resources at the Environmental Working Group to reduce exposures. Initiate a medically supervised detoxification program.
5. You don’t have a long term plan: Health is not something that happens to you. You must plan, like a vacation or your retirement! Focus on the principle of “Design.” How do you design your life so that you don’t have to think about doing the right thing? Have all the right foods in the house, have your menu in print and online, set up your exercise schedule.
Solution: Create a Plan. Commit to designing your health. Make it a lifestyle!
6. Lack of communal participation: Everybody needs a buddy! Joining a group of people doing this in person or an online community or group makes it fun and makes it work. Find what works for you but don’t expect health to happen overnight. You have to persist!
Solution: Join a community on WhatsApp, Telegram ,any other app or get a loved one in on your plans and be accountable to them.
7. Living with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome(PCOS): PCOS is fairly common, with over 55% of its sufferers being obese due to an inherent insulin-resistance and high cortisol secretion (causing excessive eating) condition that accompany it. Essential fatty acids rich foods such as avocado, coconut oil and walnuts is also encouraged. Find detailed resources for PCOS patient here.