Every Dieter's Nightmare...
It’s every dieter’s worst nightmare… the dreaded “weight loss stall”
If you’ve been dieting for any significant amount of time, then you have probably experienced this at some point, or you may be dealing with it right now!
In this post, I am going to cover what a weight loss stall IS and ISN’T, as well as identify the common culprits causing stalled progress and what to do about them.
Firstly… is it a Weight Loss Stall?
Are you sure you are actually experiencing a “stall” in your weight loss journey?
If you've only judged your progress based on the bathroom scale, then there are a multitude of possible reasons why you are holding onto stubborn weight that likely has nothing to do with a stall in fat loss…
Before jumping to any conclusions, make sure that you aren’t making progress in other areas such as waist measurements, how clothes fit, how you ACTUALLY feel (go figure...).
If you have only been using the scale to track progress, then try adding in weekly waist measurements and use general mirror observations…
I’ll write about different ways to track weight loss progress, but for this article, I'll stick to identify some of the most common culprits that are causing your weight loss to stall.
You are Experiencing Water Retention
Water retention is probably the most common culprit for stalled weight loss.
There are many things that could be causing water retention such as:
- Sodium Fluctuations
- Lack of Sleep
- Monthly Cycles
- Etc, etc, etc…
Unfortunately, how severely a person will experience water retention mostly varies. Similar to one's metabolism, people responds differently to fluctuations in water. It sucks, but just the way it goes...
Determining if you’re one of those people who are sensitive to holding water will require testing one of the common reasons for water retention I listed above…
Does your weight fluctuate after eating out? (likely from high sodium)?
For the ladies: Do your monthly cycles cause you to gain a lot of scale weight? (You might just need to become more aware of this as it's unavoidable!...well...)
Do you experience a lot of stress? (stress causes a host of issues, water retention being one of them…)
Here is what you should do
If you’ve determined you are susceptible to water retention, start regulating some of the main causes of it. Try to keep your sodium intake the same each day and start practicing stress-reduction activities such as meditation.
Make sure you’re getting a solid 8 hours of sleep at night to reduce stress (if you can get away with 9, do that).
I am not a big supplement guy. However, I have recently been using this adaptogen herb called “ashwagandha.” (links out to examine.com which is the best site for learning about supplements for us regular people!)
Ashwagandha has some seriously awesome research behind it, including multiple human studies showing how it can reduce stress and anxiety! (source).
You’re Eating too many Calories
But I have been eating sooooo healthy! There is no way I’m still eating too much!
I know, I know… dieting can be annoying, and calories (love em’ or hate em’) do in fact count.
Just because you’re eating a more whole foods based diet DOES NOT mean you will magically begin to lose weight…
It’s true that eating a healthier diet will likely lead to a lower calorie intake. However, you still have to consider that you may still be eating too much.
Some of the sneaky health foods packing high calories include oils, avocados, fatty meats, nuts and nut butters. While these foods are no doubt beneficial for your health, eating too many of them can lead to stalled weight loss.
Here’s what you should do
Be cognizant of the higher fat foods you’re eating. While eating an extra serving or two of nuts or oil may not do much regarding satiety, it does have the potential to stick to your waistline…
Also, you need to be aware that simply eating more whole foods won't always eliminate an underlying psychological health problem... you may have issues with eating that go far deeper than simply bad food choices.
You're too Sedentary
How much are you actually moving a day? Be honest.
Most people work a job where little to no physical activity is required. Being sedentary, in my opinion, and the opinion of many researchers is one of the biggest reasons for the rise in health complications.
When you move less, you burn fewer calories. Burning fewer calories means you need fewer calories for fuel.
It’s pretty simple.... but most people fail to catch on, or don't like this fact and choose to ignore it.
While I believe that exercise plays a vital role in health and weight loss, I don’t believe in one “Almighty” method of going about it. There are many ways to workout and be active - find one that you like and stick to it.
I personally prefer weightlifting for its ability to build muscle, and the benefits it holds for people losing weight, but you can be more active with a host of different things…
Here is what you should do
Experiment around with different styles of physical activity.
Whether you get into Crossfit, marathons, strength training, or simply walking more… being more active is going to benefit your weight loss and health immensely.
Better yet, working out and sweating a little can help with that pesky water retention issues we spoke about earlier 😉
From what I have read and experienced (personally and with clients) - a stall in weight loss typically comes from one of the three common culprits I mentioned in this article.
If you are experiencing a sticking point in your weight loss journey, make sure you address one of the common culprits above.
Also, be on the lookout for an article covering the topic of “tracking progress”. Far too often people rely solely on scale weight….
Here is a sneak peak: In my opinion, scale weight is probably the worst way to track progress…. More to come later this week…