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Why you shouldn’t panic if you have a weight loss stall

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My week-by-week weight loss with THM (including stalls)...it works!

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

 

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12 Comments

  1. This very much matches my journey. I have lost 18 lbs in just under 4 months. Your up and down matches mine almost exactly day to day. I’m fairly strict with very few crossovers and very few cheats. I think healing is a big thing. I stuck with it because my energy was soooo much better. Even if weight doesn’t come off, I love the energy!

    1. Hi Amy! I had a baby about a year ago, after maintaining my weight for a long time, and now I have about ten pounds left. So to be brutally honest about myself, I’m not at goal weight anymore, but I think a baby is a great reason for that and I’m really close to being back to where I was! I have been on Trim Healthy Mama consistently since I started it several years ago, though, and it’s definitely made the baby weight come off way easier than I anticipated.

  2. I lost 7 lbs in the first 4-6 weeks, but have now been stalled for months! I tried a fuel cycle and lost another lb but that was it. It’s frustrating to not see results when so many others I know are singing the praises of the plan. I’m wondering if it has something to do with body type/shapes.

    1. Hmmm, it could be. There are a lot of reasons that you could stall – accidental cheats, stacking your fuels by accident (that was the culprit for me!), hormone issues, thyroid issues, too many heavy S meals…have you tried the Turtle Facebook groups for THM? They helped me troubleshoot and got my weight loss moving again.

  3. Jen,
    We started a THM Sunday School Class at our church with the new year. It’s been great to have a large support group. I’ve been learning and adjusting as we go. I know I’m still 100% accurate on everything, but I seriously have been trying very hard to follow it. It has been 10 weeks and I have not lost 1 lb. 🙁 At first I actually gained a couple which I knew could just be my body adjusting to everything. I feel better and know I’m doing my body good but it is beyond frustrating to never see the scale go down……at all. Ideally, I would like to lose 15-20 lbs. Any suggestions?
    Thank you for any help.

      1. Hi Sara! May I ask if you’ve tried a Fuel Cycle with THM? That’s usually the first step after several months of no weight loss. If you’ve done that without good results, I’d check into getting your hormone levels tested.

  4. This was mentioned in the post but I just wanted to reiterate that your cycle has a huge effect on weight loss. I’ve been tracking my weight daily and noticed that 3-4 days before ovulation and 3-4 days after ovulation I won’t lose any weight at all or even gain. Last month, I went 4 days without losing a pound, gained a pound, then went another 4 days without losing anything. That’s a 9 day stall. The next week I lost 5 lbs and the week after I lost 2 lbs. Right now, I’m in another stall. I have been at the same weight for the past 4 days and my period app says I should be ovulating today. If I continue to stick to my diet, I should see another big loss in 3-5 days. I will also gain a few pounds during my period but this usually only lasts for a day or two. Typically, my monthly weight loss pattern will be: 1 lb loss, 2 lb loss, stall/gain, 4 lb loss. It averages out to about 2 lbs a week but that gain/stall week really messes with me.

    1. Thanks, Ally, I’ve had similar experiences! But it’s so hard when that’s happening and you don’t realize what’s going on for awhile. Thanks for sharing your numbers!

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