This is a refrain we hear often. First off we must define ‘weight’. Is it just the number on the scale, or are you losing body fat and your shape is changing? This is a good thing, even if the scale does not move much.

However, if it is true lack of progress, then we have to look at many factors. Most often, we are eating more than we think. There is often a disconnect between what we think we are eating, and the amounts of extra cream in our coffee or snacks that we tend to forget. Often, even if the food seems of good quality, it is more than our body actually needs. We need to be honest with our needs; document everything. And I mean everything!

As an example, today I met an old friend who remains very active and continues to teach medicine. He developed type two diabetes a few years ago. He has reversed his diabetes and has lost 4 inches off his waist. How? He simply eats one meal a day (his son does too). We fool ourselves on our daily caloric needs. It indeed may be higher when we are younger, but often we need very little food, depending on our activity level and metabolic rate (which varies tremendously from individual to individual).

He is not the only one I have met who eats this way; many do; it has become their habit and they aren’t hungry. Some will do just fine on two meals per day; but again, the quality and type of foods matter. Ideally unprocessed food, and meals that are lower in the obvious starchy carbohydrates.

Many of us eat just to eat, to fill an emotional void, or because we are stressed. However, once our bodies become fat adapted (burning our own fat as fuel), there is much less ‘brain’ hunger.

So, if you’re stuck, think about decreasing to two meals per day. Most importantly, learn to eat into hunger. If you aren’t truly ‘stomach’ hungry (vs, “I want something to eat), then don’t eat. Wait until you are truly hungry. Keep portions small; eat off a luncheon plate, and never ever finish a full plate of food, just because you think you need to eat what is on your plate.

Learn to get rid of foods that tempt you. If there is processed food in your cupboard or something that you know you are going to snack on sometime, then throw it out or give it away. If the box is unopened drop it off at your local grocery store’s bin to donate to the Food Cupboard.

If there is one thing that will help us all, it would be to stop all evening or night snacks. Stay busy; don’t just sit in front of the television, get up and move around. Do some strength training when you are watching television. All of us need much more exercise and movement than we are getting; going to the gym 3 times per week is great, but not so great if we are just sitting all the rest of the time.

Stress, poor sleep, chronic pain, relationship issues, IBS, fatigue, lack of activity all will impede loss; look at these things and see if there are things you can do to reduce their impact on your physical health.

I realize how complicated and difficult weight loss is; just keep trying and searching for what works for you.

You can do it; never give up!

Dr. Doug