When the Scale Lags Behind Your Healthy Diet

Let’s face it eating a clean diet for the purposes of feeling great, having super-human energy & immunity, and thinking like Einstein is all well and good. But the real reason we eat real food is the immense joy (albeit fleeting) of slipping effortlessly into a single-digit sized cocktail dress.

So whut-up when you eat & feel better but the little-black-dress-joy doesn’t come because the scale doesn’t seem to be budging? It’s frustrating. Disappointing. Downright egregious!

Here’s where weight gets a little bit more complicated than simply calories in & calories out. In fact, losing weight is your body’s last priority. So you kind of have to make your way through the list of reasons your body wants to hold on to extra weight to protect itself before your body knows and agrees it’s okay to let the scale budge.

There are numerous potential causes for weight loss resistance. I could not possibly cover them all or guess which one(s) applies(y) to you which is kind of a mute point anyway because, in general, it’s a good idea to apply all of the strategies below when you are recovering from having eaten the Standard American Diet for years & years. The SAD is known to cause impaired gut integrity which often leads to inflammation. Without going into detail here about “leaky gut”, the single most important treatment is to clean up your diet.

Still, the gut can take a while to heal. Thus, weight loss can lag behind. So I can see how it’s tempting to think you’re doing something wrong. In all likelihood, you are not. And the weight loss will come.

If you otherwise feel well but simply aren’t losing the weight, here’s a quick list of checks just to be sure you’re set up for success:

1-Continue to eating a clean, whole foods diet rich in variety of deeply colored & fibrous foods. Rethink your diet. Yes, even your new & improved diet. I’m not saying it’s not great. I’m just asking if it needs to be even greater. That’s all.

A few possibilities tweaks come to mind: 1-you may need to eat more (and if I know you, what you need to eat more of is fat) and 2-you may need to eat fewer carbs while your body becomes less carb dependents and more fat adapted

2-Avoid toxins. This might be “duh”, but in reality there’s a good chance you’re exposing yourself to some things unnecessarily and without even knowing it.

Eat organic when possible.

Buy locally raised foods from trusted sources.

Drink filtered water.

Avoid GMO foods.

Rethink what you’re putting on your skin (especially the stuff that does not get washed off quickly).

Breathe cleaner air if you can.

Eliminate harsh household cleaners that leave toxic residues on surfaces.

3-Restore you gut bacteria. A series of 8-10 posts is needed to fully explain gut bacteria and how it impacts metabolism & health. It’s unreal. What you need to know is that many, if not most, people (for a variety of reasons spanning from c-section birth to artificial sweeteners!) have a less-than-ideal balance of good to bad bacteria. The bad bacteria are exceptionally good at wrecking your weight loss efforts. There are two equally important ways to address this: 1-eat living/probiotic foods such as organic fruits & veggies (uncooked) and probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha (all also uncooked – because heat kills the little buggies) and fibrous foods and 2-take a quality probiotic supplement (this is the exception to supplementation – see below).

Consider withholding supplements. In some cases synthetic vitamins can be problematic because our body’s may lack the ability to make adequate amounts of the enzymes needed to convert the unusable form of vitamins supplied in their synthetic form (also commonly supplied in processed and “fortified” foods) to the usable form. Of course, this is not medical advise and if you have specific diagnoses and/or are under the care of a medical practitioner, you should discuss this with them first.This is a complex topic and most general practitioners are not adequately educated (if at all) on the matter.

As luck would have it, this podcast episode was magically delivered to my inbox at the very time I needed it most; right now. Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness does a great job of breaking this down with Dr. Ben Lynch, so have a listen right here. It’s pretty important stuff!! And there’s a good chance it applies to you.

A note about supplements: they may be necessary over the long haul, but in the beginning supplements can complicate & confuse results. Ideally, meet as much of your nutrient needs with food as possible. Due to soil nutrient depletion and other factors, particularly magnesium and vitamin D will likely need to be supplemented eventually. Please work with your health care practitioner to determine the correct dose for you.

5-Enhance detox/elimination. Dr. Mark Hyman does an exceptional job of covering this right here.

6-Sleep. I intend to dedicate an entire blog post to sleep because it’s that important. But for now, get 8 hours of sleep. If this means you have to spend 10 hours in bed to get 8 hours of sleep, do it. It’s that important. And you really need to be asleep by 10. Yes, that’s important too! This is your body’s healing time and it won’t give up the extra weight until the inflammation is healed and hormone balance is restored. Capish?

7-Manage your stress. Meditate, do yoga, walk in nature, spend time in nature, laugh with friends, have strong & meaningful connections. Breathe. Increase your mindful awareness. Get a therapist if you must. But find a way to manage your stress.

8-Exercise smartly. This deserves it’s own blog post as well but for now, if you’re actively addressing a possibly broken metabolism, your best bet is strength training. Lift heavy things (including your own body weight via squats, lunges, push-ups and pull-ups if you don’t have access to a gym) but not too much and not too often. A few times a week is plenty and be sure to allow for more than adequate rest in between. As important as it is to do it is to not overdo it. The concern here is that your body doesn’t need more stress placed on it. In addition to strength training, walk a lot.

This is not an exhaustive list. There are other potential, more serious causes for resistance to weight loss and these would require the assessment and intervention of a skilled health care practitioner. However, you should know that if you do not have bothersome symptoms, these more serious possibilities are much less likely.

It’s cocktail dress season!!!! I can’t wait to see you in yours (and if you’re a guy, go with this post like the super hero you are and know that everything everything in this post but the black dress part applies to you too!).

As always your questions are encouraged!!

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