You were all excited to start your “weight loss” program and you jumped right in. You probably started off good, started to see some of the weight dropping off and then a week or so into your program – STALL!
This can be very very very frustrating, especially if you’ve been struggling with your weight for so long. In this blog
What your body is doing when it stalls
Firstly you have to understand why your body gains weight at all. When we as humans lived out in the wilderness, high caloric foods were scarce. Our diets mainly consisted of plants and then, on occasion, an animal would come strolling by and that became lunch. We became accustomed to “feast & famine.” Therefore our bodies developed mechanisms to store energy during times of “feast” so that we would be able to function in times of “famine.”
FEAST Mode – Store Energy
FAMINE Mode – Burn Energy
Fast forward to modern day and we see that everyday is a feast, but our bodies are still programmed to store for times of famine. This becomes a big problem, because we rarely encounter times of famine. So we store and store and store.
Now, you begin a “weight loss” program with the intentions to decrease all the energy you stored up for this time of famine. But your body hasn’t been exposed to famine before, only feast. So it’s used to only storing. Many weight loss programs focus on decreasing caloric intake and replacing high caloric/low nutrient foods with low caloric/high nutrient foods. But as you begin to make this switch your highly intelligent body begins to adapt. This is when famine mode kicks in.
During the famine mode a whole cascade of hormones will kick in. Basically the goal during this time will be to utilize stored energy (i.e. body fat) and store calories. But in our day an age we see a huge disparity for caloric intake of the “Standard American Diet” therefore we experience a paradox reaction of the famine mode – you continue to store energy.
Let’s back up a bit though…we have to take a look at what got you to being overweight in the first place. Here are the main reasons:
- Too much high calorie/low nutrient “food” intake
- Too little caloric expenditure (i.e. exercise)
- Blocking of normal hormonal function by environmental toxins & other stressors
As you step into your weight loss program you bring with you faulty biochemistry. It’s like having a house where the light’s aren’t turning on correctly when you flip the light switch on, but you only focus on changing the light bulbs. Majority of the time, the wiring is all off! So you can change light bulbs till the cows come home and it still won’t work properly.
Why you’re stalling – The 4 H’s
Reason #1: Hormonal imbalance
Reason #2: Hydration
Reason #3: Healing damaged tissues
Reason #4: Hidden sugars in your food
How to break out of the plateau
Step 1: Stop beating yourself up. You have to remember why & how your body got into the state that it’s in. It takes time to “re-wire” your house. I know you want the “lights to go on” now. When you constantly get frustrated as you look at the scale and not see the numbers dropping it only adds more stress which further pushes your biochemistry out of balance. Remember that it took some time for your body to get out of balance and it will take some time to get it back in to balance.
Step 2: Shift your focus from “losing” weight to “gaining” health. As you start to get your internal wiring straightened out your body will start to repair itself (remember the 3 steps to healing). This repairing will be focused on those faulty biochemical pathways.
Step 3: Address the reasons why you’re stalling. If you see, the first two steps address your mindset. Your mindset will affect everything. Once you’ve addressed that, then you can move on.
- The primary hormonal players: leptin, insulin, cortisol. Excess energy is stored as fat. If your cortisol levels are high due to stress, then insulin will also be high. When insulin is around, it’s next to impossible to break down fat. Your body will keep storing and storing.
- Leptin resistance is another huge factor. Leptin tells the body that you’ve taken in enough energy…so you feel full and stop eating! Behind all of this is balancing your body’s pH levels and curbing oxidative damage.
- You must keep hydrated, try adding a pinch of sea salt to every liter of water you’re drinking to improve absorption
- If you have cellular/tissue damage in any organ of your body, then your physiology will be thrown off. Give your body the nutrients to help cellular repair like essential amino acids
- Lastly, you must be diligent about looking for hidden sugars in your food. This will affect your insulin load and remember that insulin spikes will shut down your ability to burn fat and you’ll store fat! Oh and not to mention that you’re increasing the inflammatory response.
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