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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Losing Weight - Is The Scale Wrong? Why Have I Stopped Losing Weight? How To Understand Weight Loss

When we step on the scale and see that we've lost a pound or two since last week, we are excited and motivated and thrilled with our success. But what about those times when we step on the scale and find to our utter dismay that the numbers have not budged since last week? Now what?

What could have gone wrong? You haven't deviated one crumb from the plan you first embarked on. You've been faithful to your exercise program. Others have complimented you on the way you look. You haven't changed a thing. Why has the weight loss stopped?

First, know that the weight loss has not is temporarily stalled. You have reached what is called a plateau which means that the weight loss seems to have run into a brick wall. You are going nowhere. So what should you do?

When you begin a diet it is natural to lose weight quickly. After the first few weeks the losses will likely be less dramatic. This is normal. Before you began the diet your body had become accustomed to a certain weight. Extra energy (from the higher intake of calories) was stored for future use. When you reduce the number of calories you eat, the body is "tricked" into believing that extra energy is needed. So, the body draws upon the energy that has been stored (called glycogen) to meet the energy needs of the body. Glycogen naturally holds water. As the glycogen is metabolized, the water is released and excreted. This results in rapid weight loss which will stabilize after the first few weeks. This is a plateau of sorts.

However, this is not the plateau that is so disturbing because even though the weight loss is less pronounced, it is still occurring. The plateau that is of concern to most dieters is the one that occurs a second time. This plateau is more pronounced and long-lasting. You seem to stop losing weight.

If you continue your food and exercise program at this point, your weight will be maintained but you won't lose very many additional pounds. This is a cue for you to slightly bump up your exercise and reduce your calories by just a bit more. Often an additional reduction of only 100 calories and an extra walk around the block may be what is needed to get you back on the weight loss track.

Weight loss needn't be a mystery

By Sue Bristol, R.N.

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