I have data for you. Real, I-can't-believe-I'm-sharing-this data to prove that you should not freak out if you are a Trim Healthy Mama and the scale stops moving.
Here's the deal – with any diet, you can see plateaus, or weight loss stalls. When I was on the South Beach diet in 2004, I lost twelve pounds in two weeks, and gained it all back within six months (even though I was sticking to the diet!). It was frustrating and made me want to give up on dieting altogether.
In 2012, I discovered the then-newly-published book Trim Healthy Mama. I went back and forth on whether or not to actually start the THM way of eating for a few months, then finally really committed to THM in May of 2013. I lost the weight and kept it off – which was amazing! But along the way, when my weight loss would stall, I would doubt myself – was I doing the right thing? Was the weight coming back? Was I messing up somehow?
I track my weight loss in whatever daily planner I'm using at the time, so I have an account of my pattern of weight loss. I know some people lose weight more slowly, and some lose faster. I am very thankful that my weight loss went as well as it did! This is how it went for me:
May 5, 2013: 152 lbs.
May 12, 2013: 147 lbs. (at this point, I was like, “Yeeeeeehaw! 5 pounds in a week!” That is not typical, but I stand by my excitement – it was an awesome feeling, and I did know better than to expect to consistently lose 5 pounds a week).
May 19, 2013: 146 lbs.
May 26, 2013: 147 lbs. (<——– this is where I started to get a little stressed)
June 2, 2013: 144 lbs.
June 9, 2013: 142 lbs.
June 16, 2013: 138 lbs.
June 23, 2013: 139 lbs. (<——— it's totally normal to see an occasional gain of a pound or two, it's usually just water retention and no big deal)
June 30, 2013: 136 lbs.
July 7, 2013: 135 lbs.
July 14, 2013: 133 lbs.
July 21, 2013: 133 lbs.
July 28, 2013: (I forgot to write this one down, sorry)
August 4, 2013: 129 lbs.
August 11, 2013: 128 lbs.
August 18, 2013: 126 lbs. – GOAL!!!
Of course, results will vary. But the point is, you can see a pattern – I'd lose weight, stop losing for a week or two (or even gain a pound or two!), then start losing again. Why did this happen, if I was following the same eating habits?
Here are some reasons that remind me NOT to panic if I see these stalls:
First, I wasn't tracking inches, but I should have. I was losing clothing sizes and inches even though I wasn't necessarily always losing pounds. I was exercising, which definitely helped.
Second, I know hormones play a part in weight loss plateaus (which, by the way, are often defined as three weeks of no weight loss or more – I definitely never went that long without losing weight on THM, but it is a possibility! Again, if this happens to you, please don't panic).
Third, I've helped lots of women use Trim Healthy Mama to lose weight, and I've seen these mini weight loss stalls happen a lot. In researching, I can't find a lot of scientific explanation as to why this happens, but I've seen many references to stalling in weight loss because your body needs to heal. I think there's something to this, and it makes a lot of sense to me (although I'm not a doctor or scientist or nutritionist, this is just my experience!).
Now, you may ask – when SHOULD you panic? Well, you should never panic. But if you have gone a few weeks with just gaining weight, or go more than a month without losing, you may want to consider changing things up a bit. If you're a Trim Healthy Mama, it's always great to submit a menu of your meals to an admin on their Facebook group to ask for a review. You could be eating something that's causing you to gain that you don't even notice! A few other things to look at (this isn't a comprehensive list – I recommend re-reading the Trim Healthy Mama book if you're stuck!):
- Are you eating too many Heavy S meals? Too much dairy or nuts?
- Are you skipping meals or snacks?
- Have you tried switching up the balance of meals (more S, more FP, or any variation like that)?
- Are you eating off-plan?
- Is it time to try a fuel cycle?
- Are you eating enough?
- Are you getting your healthy carbs? (If you are following the THM way of eating, this shouldn't be a problem)
- Are you weighing too often? Sometimes, you can put a lot of stress on yourself and look at the scale way too much. If it's stressing you out, put it away.
- Do you have an underlying health issue? If you are really stalling, you may want to get the health tests recommended in the Trim Healthy Mama book.
In summary – never panic, don't worry about a few weeks of gain or no loss, and look at potential problems if you stall or plateau for a long time. This has been my experience with THM, and it's been a great one! If you're new or re-committing to Trim Healthy Mama, you may want to check out my Top Tips for THM.