Why is my weight loss plan no longer working?

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 3 December 2019

Does this sound familiar?

I am eating the same but I'm still gaining weight,


I'm eating better than I ever have and I'm still not losing weight,


I'm following my plan but it's not working!

You will lose weight initially with a better food plan because you release excess water as inflammation reduces. Think of inflammation as a smouldering fire that needs water to keep it cool. The more inflammation in your body, the more water your body will want to retain. You may also lose some "easy fat" that just seem to slide off.

When you reach a plateau of sorts it's going to take a little more work to figure out how to get off those more stubborn pounds.

Here are 6 tips to help you move out of the plateau phase:

  1. Start counting macros - Of course the benefit of eating a whole food, nutrient dense diet is to NOT have to count, weigh, or measure everything you eat. The problem is it's really easy to get out of balance with your ratios of carbs, proteins, and fats, aka your macros (short for macronutrients). If you want faster results with weight loss, reversing diabetes, improving blood lipids, decreasing inflammation, then tracking your macros in an app like Carb Manager or My Fitness Pal is the best way to bring an understanding to how you're doing. Meals should be 50% non-starchy veggies, 25% protein, and 25% carbs (this includes starchy veggies, whole grains, and fruit) and healthy fat on everything. PRO TIP: Whatever gets measured gets managed.
  2. Eat less protein, more fat & more veggies - this is an issue with patients who know they want to keep their carbs down so they start reaching for more ready-to-eat protein foods like beef jerky, protein shakes, protein bars, etc. The issue is that too much protein isn't great either. An excess of protein will get converted into sugar in the body, plus there can be hidden sugars in processed "high protein" products. PRO TIP - too much protein can stall progress, even it it's grass-fed.
  3. Cut down on paleo, low-carb, or keto-approved packaged foods or homemade snacks/desserts - when patients get more comfortable with their new food plan they naturally get a little more relaxed about food and beverage choices and they start eating more snacks/desserts with questionable ingredients. These small changes can really slow things down! PRO TIP - go back to eating whole, unprocessed foods; yes it will require more work in the kitchen but it will be less frustrating than not losing weight.
  4. Consider carb cycling - some patients get so excited with their progress that they get too restrictive and end up eating too few carbs for their body type and metabolism. If you are experiencing a weight loss stall with other symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, and cravings, then a high carb/low protein day might be just what you need. This is also more likely to occur if you are doing regular exercise of moderate to heavy intensity. Women also need to do this more often than med. PRO TIP - Pick a day to eat 150-200g of total carbs while lowering protein to 20g or less. Carbs should be healthy choices like root veggies, fruit, rice, quinoa or legumes if you tolerate them. This can be done weekly or biweekly. You may feel a little bloated at first but the key is your weight loss should start rolling again.
  5. Try intermittent fasting - this is by far one of my favourite strategies and I use it more days of the week than not. I love the convenience of not having to make breakfast. It gives me a full extra hour to get things done before my day with patients starts! This is achieved by extending the period of time (usually 13-18 hours) before eating breakfast so that your metabolism can switch from burning glucose to burning fat for fuel. Eat dinner before 8pm and then go as long as you can with only water, black coffee, or plain tea the next morning. Another effective way is to have a Bulletproof coffee for breakfast and nothing else. The reason this works is because it only has fat in it, which doesn't trigger an insulin release and you can remain in a fasted state without feeling hungry. PRO TIP - if you have symptoms of hypoglycemia when you try to fast you need to improve your macro ratios before trying this advanced strategy.
  6. Eat more - many patients still follow the old paradigm of eat less, exercise more. At first you will lose weight, but then the body will panic and actually slow down metabolism to protect itself from the low caloric intake. The last thing you want your body to do is to think it's going into a state of prolonged starvation. PRO TIP - make sure you are not going into a calorie deficit and go back to tip #1.

Of course the easy way to incorporate many of these tips is to join one of my five week detox programs. Every January I start the year off right with my Belly Fat Detox. Look for your invitation in early December.

Now I would love to hear from you! Which one of these strategies would consider giving a try? Leave a comment below and I'll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday!

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