Linda Melone
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How to cope when weight loss isn’t happening

I’ve often talked about a few of my personal life situations where I didn’t know where to turn next… an emotionally abusive relationship, an eating disorder, and battle with panic attacks that left me nearly housebound. 

Nice way to start off a motivational post! you may be thinking. Woo hoo! Happy Monday.    

But contrary to what you read on Facebook, life isn’t all tropical vacations, parties, and political strife.

Okay, maybe the last one, but I wouldn’t know since I have a political blocker app protecting me from anything to do with politics in any way, shape or form. Not surprisingly, without political posts my timeline has been reduced to crickets. Unless the crickets talk about their political views, in which case they’re gone, too.

So it’s quiet.

I DO, however, get emails. Most are from women over 50 with questions about weight loss, getting in shape, belly fat, or all of the above.

Frustrations run rampant.

  • “I don’t know what to do! Nothing works!”
  • “I lost weight but can’t seem to keep it off!”
  • “HELP! I broke a fingernail doing biceps curls!”

Whether you’ve lost weight and are having a hard time keeping it off, can’t lose it to begin with or have reached a weight loss plateau, I hear ya.

First step: Take a deep breath. Seriously. Right now. Breathe in slowly for a count of three and exhale for a count of six.

Repeat a few times and you will feel yourself relax. (Note: This is an actual relaxation exercise I use often.)

Now, ask yourself these three important questions:

  1. Look out your window. Do you see a film crew, paramedics and a helicopter, all waiting for when they airlift you out of your house because you’re so heavy you can no longer walk?
  2. Did you require the Jaws Of Life to get your out of your car the last time you drove somewhere?
  3. Are you currently stuck in a doorway or wedged in a bathtub?

If you answered no to all three questions, congratulations! I have some tips that may help you.

If you answered yes to any of these questions,  you need more help than I can provide in this blog post, unfortunately.

Those qualifying questions test the gravity (pun intended) of your situation and provide some perspective and yes, levity, to the situation.

Other things to consider…

If you’re struggling with weight loss, keep in mind these important bits of info. These are exactly the things I tell myself whenever I feel I’m struggling. If you’re feeling frustrated because you weigh more than you’d like right now, allow yourself to absorb these tips…

1.You are still you, regardless of your weight. You’re a good person (how do I know? Because you’re reading this :)), and your weight has nothing to do with your inner self. Your body weight is simply that: data. It’s a number. If you were floating in outer space you’d weigh zero. Both people are one and the same.   

2. YOU are in control. You may not feel like it, but you are. Maybe you haven’t found what works for you, yet, but if you keep at it it will happen

3. It takes 3,500 calories above your needs to gain a pound of fat. So, unless you feel you’ve eaten that much more than your usual diet, look at the salt and/or sugar in last night’s meal. A dinner of Chinese food can easily add a couple pounds of water weight to the morning’s weigh-in. Do not panic! 

So, now that we cleared the air a bit, let’s take a look at a few likely offenders.

What are you “not counting” when you think of your daily intake? 

  1. Food eaten while trying to decide what to make for dinner, usually while standing in front of the frig at night
  2. Leftovers off your grandson’s plate while cleaning up
  3. Beverages, including adult beverages
  4. Salad dressings, sauces and other “add-ons” to what would otherwise be lean, healthy food choices (I confess, I’d eat my desk if you covered it with barbecue sauce)
  5. Anything consumed while you’re in an emotional state and not really hungry: happy, sad, depressed, lonely, etc.
  6. The Creep. I’ve talked about this many times. It’s a term I coined to describe the slow increase of calories we do without thinking… an extra tablespoon of sauce, a second helping, an extra little bit of this or that. Even a five or 10 or 25 calorie excess adds up over time.

You can’t fix the problem if you don’t know where it exists. Chances are, it’s one of these (barring a health issue or medication that contributes to weight gain).

Know the best way to start addressing the problem?

I’ll give you a hint: It rhymes with “mood mournal.”

Ya! You guessed it: FOOD JOURNAL.

Yup, that again.

Here’s the thing. If you’ve recorded in a journal in the past, and discovered exactly where those excess calories are coming from, you may not even need to do this. Just rein in the issue that’s causing the weight gain:

  • Season foods with no-calorie spices and herbs and skip all condiments until you’re back on track 
  • Stick a piece of sugarless gum in your mouth when clearing plates or gnaw on celery or carrots to keep your mouth busy
  • Create a list of activities (do it now, not when you’re vulnerable) to do when you’re tempted to eat for any reason other than hunger: knit, call a friend, go for a walk, do a crossword puzzle, etc.
  • Do not drink ANY of your calories, only water or flavored water — at least during the week

Note: This is not forever! These are simply steps to get you back on track. Once you reach your goal you can lighten up a bit. I won’t go the rest of MY life without catsup or BBQ sauce, but I’ll give it up for awhile when I think it’s an issue.

(If you’re wondering, Geez Louise, how much catsup does this woman use??? It’s not that much, honestly, but those calories add up quickly.)

NOW YOU. Does any of this ring familiar? Do you have a tactic you turn to that helps you get back on track or off a plateau? Let me know in the comments section below…  and please share this with any friends who may benefit from this post.

Other posts you may enjoy:

How to overcome fear of anything

3 Ways to cope with life’s challenges

3 Unseen, self-sabotaging, forces that keep you stuck

Your Ageless Body Coach,

About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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Leave a Comment:

Patricia Scott says

So how many calories does a peppermint lifesaver have? That is my “creep”. My stomach feels better with peppermint in the morning when I’m rushing to class. When I can’t sleep I eat a peppermint to get my mind off of things. I’ll start adding those babies up!

    Linda Melone says

    lol! Pat, a single candy isn’t a “creep” on its own. A roll of them, yes. I believe they’re about 10 or 15 calories a piece.

Son Hudgins says

Appreciate this post. Will try it out.

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