Getting Unstuck: Breaking out of weight loss limbo

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August 2012

It’s an old and infuriating story. You’re trying to lose weight. It seems like you’re always trying to lose weight — you’ve been trying for a year, or five years or three decades.
 
Aren’t you tired of it? I know I am. I’m exhausted by my own internal monologue rambling on, “Someday, somehow I’ll lose the weight.” Can we pause for a second, take a look at the obvious causes, and change one of them? Just this once? Can we set aside the drama, and make a concrete, behavioral change? 

 
If you are anything like me, one of the following statements may be true:
 
A. You are stuck and always have been stuck; 
 
B. You lost some weight but now you are definitely stuck; 
 
C. You are killing yourself at the gym and are still very, very stuck. 
 
Is the fat you are trying to lose actually fat (and not just skin that you are irrationally fixating on)? Are you carrying an extra 10 pounds or more? Are you are getting exercise on a daily basis? Are you are doing everything right, yet you still can’t lose weight? 
 
Well, it’s your diet. 
 
It’s almost impossible to maintain weight loss without exercise. It’s even more impossible to lose weight in the first place if you’re eating too much junk. 
 
Junk food is a powerful thing. We have physiological responses that keep us coming back for more sugar, salt and fat. As a result, trying to transform your whole diet can be overwhelming. Measuring every meal — calories in vs. calories out — can be exhausting and self-defeating.
 
Sometimes it is much easier to choose one unhealthy ingredient and cut it out entirely. Is there something that sends you careening down the rabbit hole of a late-night binge? Find it, and banish it. If you can do it for two weeks, you will lose weight. If you can do it for three months, you will keep the weight off and begin to wonder why you were so married to it in the first place.You are looking for your trigger food.
 
Here are a few common culprits to consider:

  1. Sugar — This demon that haunts us in the night is the number one trigger for most women. It’s everywhere, but you can cut it out to varying degrees. You can simply stop eating dessert, which is enough for some people, but if you want to go further, look for added sugar in cereal, salad dressing, juice, bread and just about everything else that comes in a bag, box or bottle. Seek it out, and shut it down. Soda, of course, falls under this category, too. If you drink non-diet soda every day and you stop cold turkey, you’ll cut out thousands of calories a week. 
  2. Wheat — Go gluten-free, or at least wheat-free. This will automatically remove bread, crackers, pasta, cookies, cake, brownies and candy bars. You can find alternatives —rice bread or rice, corn and quinoa pastas — but they are not nearly as available or as tempting. And while I’m not talking about a low-carb diet, it’s unlikely you would eat them frequently enough to replace all of the calories lost by cutting out wheat. There many healthy carbs in the world, but wheat flour is so prevalent that cutting it out almost guarantees weight loss success. 
  3. Alcohol — Sadly, alcohol has lots of empty, pointless calories. Most of my clients have no interest in refraining from drinking, so a less extreme option is to go alcohol-free during the week, Sunday through Thursday nights. If that means you are skipping one drink per night, five nights per week, you’ll create a calorie-deficit of 1000 calories per week. You’d lose a pound every three to four weeks. Also, alcohol tends to lower your resolve for cutting other things out (like fat and sugar), so if you avoid the alcohol, you might do a better job turning down other tempting substances in your life. 

Other culprits include fried food, chips, cheese, cream in coffee, and high-calorie smoothies. Any food that is dense with calories that you eat a lot of on a regular basis is worth evaluating, especially if it is a food that triggers you to eat even more. 
 
I speak from experience. I have been stuck for years at a time. I have worked out like a mad-woman, watched my diet and wondered how I would ever break through. I finally cut out wheat and got incredible results.Then I hit another plateau and had to decide if I was happy there or if I wanted to take it a step further. I was still eating dark chocolate and miniature peppermint patties every day. I cut out the sweets and, within a week, went sailing past that very stubborn plateau with very little effort. 
 
After avoiding wheat for four months and sugar for two weeks, I went on a trip and ate bread and desserts again. I couldn’t believe how awful I felt. I’m talking nausea and headaches, lethargy and depression. I knew these foods were addictive before I quit, but I didn’t realize how much they were dragging me down. 
 
I still crave sugar after dinner, but I have found that if I can get through an hour without giving in, I can make it through the night. I might be grumpy about it in the moment, but the payoff is priceless. 
 
If you are stuck and unhappy, be honest with yourself. Find the one food that is most problematic in your diet, cut it out for one month, and watch what happens. At the very least, you will learn that you are not a slave to your cravings. At best, you’ll wake up in the morning feeling light, fit and ready to radically unstick other parts of your world.
 

Comments

crazysony's picture

Thank you for providing this great post!I am working at the Midwest Reproductive Center and I have a lot of patients who are concerned about their weight especially mothers who have recently gave birth and became overweight.Loosing weight and trying to be sexy is something that makes you feel confident but we should be very careful when deciding to keep a diet as it has to be a healthy one.

crazysony's picture

We all dream to look great and to have a perfect body shape but in order to obtain this we have to train harder and longer.A healthy diet and exercises are the secrets of a good looking person.

crazysony's picture

Weight loss is something that concerns many of nowadays people.A healthy diet and exercise can help us to maintain our shape and to look great.I am trying to have a normal lifestyle and I am going to the gym every day and I am eating a lot of tropical fruits from cairns markets.

crazysony's picture

It is very important to know when, what and how to eat in order to look great.There are some weight loss tips in order to get rid of those annoying extra kilos that are making your life a hell.My doctor recommended me to make some colon cleanser procedures in order to loose weight and it worked.

crazysony's picture

It is essential to be careful to what we are eating as food is not related only with obesity but also with skin problems.It is very important to eat food for clear skin which refers to vegetables, fruits and honey.

crazysony's picture

As a nutritionist I consider that it is very important to have a healthy lifestyle in order to feel self confident and to look sexy.I am recomending very often to my patients to eat healthy food ,do exercise and a very important part in the weight loss process is represented by colonic irrigation procedures.

morisgrace's picture

Sugar,alcohol and junk food are doing nothing more but growing obesity problem especially when it comes to teenagers.Children and teenagers like sweets and junk food and many of them become obese after a few years.

imwilliam's picture

Controlling your eat and breathe habit is the key to maintaining a healthy life. By controlling I meant that proper diet and regular exercise. I always preferred holistic method for my clients when loosing weight is concerned as it is harmless.

Thank you for this interesting article.After giving birth I had some health issues like extra kilos and among them was acne.I went to a lot of doctors but none of their treatment worked.Finally I tried some Homemade Acne Remedy and my problems were gone.I recommend to all of you who suffer form the same problem.

Glucose,alcohol and unhealthy meals are doing nothing more but increasing being overweight issue especially when it comes to youngsters.Children and youngsters like candies and unhealthy meals and many of them become overweight after a few decades.

Crystal Lake Personal Trainer

Well, it's a very hard for everyone to lose weight. I've recently meet someone who lost some weight and now she learned how to take steriods responsibly to gain some muscular mass. Se is very content and very happy.

coragirl's picture

In order to get a healthy weight loss, one has to fallow a healthy diet, weak meat, vegetables, fruits, but also to loose calories doing sport activities: cardio and weights lifting to improve flexibility, resistance and a healthy muscular mass. We have red that many professional body-builders or actors who have to get very quick in shape use all kinds of steroids combination.
But as much as I am concerned I totally agree with this article that junk food is more a psychological problem than a real physiological need. We become addicted to suits, salt, fats and what ever ingredients this junk food consists in, and that takes a lot of guts to get rid of this nasty habits.

crazysony's picture

Weight loss is a problem that concerns a lot of women.Unfortunately very few of us go to the gym for the love of sports.The majority of us look sports as something awful and this is way we prefer to keep restricted diets and to avoid practicing a sport.

I know that women have a problem with their weight, that's why I find several foods you must try if you want to get away of what bothers you. This recipes are healthy and it improves your muscular mass.

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crazysony's picture

I am working as a nurse at the Kovak Laser Center and I am aware of how important is to have a normal weight in order to stay healthy.This is why I encourage all the people to have a normal lifestyle based on healthy meals and exercise.

morisgrace's picture

I am working as a doctor to an outsourcing imaging diagnostics center and I have a lot of patients who are suffering of obesity. The most dangerous is that obesity can cause serious diseases and it is very important to do something in order to loose weight. A normal weight reduces with 50% the chances of suffering a heart attack or stomach cancer.

Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work!
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opaler's picture

There's no guaranteed method of breaking out of the weight-loss limbo, there are some methods that work, like Thera-band or a strict diet of starch and uncooked vegetables, but you are your own biggest enemy, and the weight battle is one you fight with yourself.

opaler's picture

I wouldn't go under the knife to get out of weight loss limbo except when everything has stopped working. I think that you should try to lose weight in a special way , and after reading about vasectomy reversal in Austin TX I'm sure it's possible. After you have tried and you have reached a few goals but you got stuck on one of them then you can consider surgery.

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