I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

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I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby glassbird » Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:42 pm

I am SO frustrated.

Seven months ago, I returned to the McDougall fold yet again. I have been lacto-ovo vegetarian since 1988, with long stretches of McDougalling during that time. This time around, it feels much more permanent, and I am availing myself of tools that I never had before, like this board and several DVDs. I have three of the books (12 day, MWL, McD for women) and the Quick and Easy cookbook.

I am doing so well in terms of staying on track, and I am really proud of myself for that. I am surrounded by "bad" food, both at work and at home. But I walk away, and that is a miracle in itself. I started out (this time) intending to concentrate on my cholesterol problem (which has improved) and NOT get obsessed over weight loss, which is where I have fallen before. But my concern has shifted, despite my intentions, and I have been at a plateau for at least three weeks now and I can FEEL the discouragment creeping in!

For the first 5 months (or so) I was not doing MWL, just regular but less fruit (not much of a fruit person). But I lost 20 pounds and was pretty much happy with that! (More would be better, but!) January was slow, so I started tweaking things...I dropped the whole wheat pasta, dropped my much beloved air-popped popcorn, gave up all bread (including my home-made version), stopped eating out (which was rare to begin with but is completely eliminated now). I bought Jeff's Fast Food DVD and have really upped my veggie intake (Thanks Jeff!). I have made a serious effort to explore the world of potatoes (I get attached to Yukon Golds, so I am trying others...).

And the results? Nada, also known as bupkis. I have tried blaming it on water-retention, inaccurate scales, heavier shoes, you name it. But repeated weighings on different scales (with and without shoes) still result in bupkis.

The ONLY two things that I can think of, diet-wise, just do not seem like they should be issues...but maybe I am wrong. Three days a week, I have acess to a salad bar at work. I make myself a large salad and the biggest portion of that is chick peas. I like chick peas. I add in broccoli, carrots, some greens (not much, it never looks very fresh), onions, and cucumber. But mostly chick peas, maybe 1 and 1/2 cups each time. I bring my own fat-free dressing and use darn little of that.

The other possible problem is oatmeal...pretty much every day for breakfast I have a cup (before cooking) of oatmeal, cooked in the microwave. I either sprinkle a little brown sugar or have 1/4 cup of maple syrup. I prefer the brown sugar, so the syrup is maybe once a week.

Could either of these be bigger problems than I can see?
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby TominTN » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:55 pm

Do you know about the idea of calorie density? Here's a thread discussing it: viewtopic.php?t=6032

I hope it helps.
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Weight Loss Through the Magic of Calorie Density: http://wp.me/p1utH8-v
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby glassbird » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:57 pm

Yes, quite familiar with the concept of calorie density. That's why I dropped the popcorn, and the bread, and have upped my veggie intake. (That was a very good thread, by the way...)

I just finished one of my salads at work and I must up my estimate of the chick peas...I think this one had more like 2 cups of chick peas...not the cup and a half that I previously estimated. I also have about 10 croutons per salad. :oops: I just can't believe that 30 croutons a week could be a problem, but I can cheerfully drop them from here on out.

Dropping the chick peas will make me very sad, however.... :crybaby:
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby Katydid » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:15 am

You don't need to give up chick peas, but 2cups is excessive. Dr. M recommends keeping beans to under 1cup a day to keep protein levels moderate. The salad bar beans are also likely from beans canned with salt. Just use a couple of tablespoons not cups at a time. Instead bring a baked potato with you to supplement your salad. A small baked potato would add around 100 calories, 2 cups of chick peas is around 500. Also 'homemade dressing' may still be too rich even if it has no added fat. I've seen some people make 3-2-1 dressing where they switch the ratio of vinegar with maple syrup! And speaking of maple syrup, 1/4 cup is an awful lot. Dr. M says it's ok to add a teaspoon of sugar to the surface of your oatmeal.
I did some quick math and the amount of calories just between your breakfast and lunch was around 1300 - 1500 calories depending on if you add fruit to what you mentioned. Add in dinner and you would get to around 2000 for the day. I would gain weight on that amount. But just by cutting back a little on refined sugar and eating fewer beans, you can bring it down to a level where you can get losing again. I recommend the CRONometer (google it) as a way to tack calories and nutrients until you get an idea of what works for you.
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby ETeSelle » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:09 am

How much do you weigh now and how tall are you?
Starting: 207 lbs/ BMI 33.4
Current: 123 lbs / BMI 19.9

Read my Star McDougaller Story and my Testimonial thread

Trust me on this: One day you'll wake up and realize that it no longer feels like "being strict." It just feels GOOD. :)
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby glassbird » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:33 am

Hmmm...some things to think about.

The chick peas contain no oil, but do contain salt. I asked to see the can. The chick peas used to be pretty much the only beans that I ate, but recently I have been making various versons of Jeff's "fast food" from his DVD. Those each have one can of beans, mixed with large amounts of veggies. I put those over rice or potatoes.

I could cut back on the chick peas, but cutting back to a few tablespoons would make the salad pretty unpalatable to me. It's a very basic salad bar, and the greens are not much to look at. The chick peas are the best thing out there! I already bring a potato, and/or Jeffs veggies for lunch. The salad bar is dinner. Out of 5 days at work, two are not days where I have access to the salad bar, so I bring enough of Jeff's veggies and rice/potatoes for two meals.

I can quit the maple syrup entirely, no problem there. I do not add fruit to my oatmeal, but have been thinking about starting with that just because I do not get much fruit otherwise in my diet. I can hold off on that.

I started out at 200 pounds, at 5 foot, 5 inches. I have been at 178 for about three weeks now. I would like to get to 150 by this summer, and eventually (maybe the following summer) get to 140.

ETeSelle, I have been following your posts with interest because you and I are the same age, gender, and height. You started out at the same place I did, so your success means alot to me!
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby Gweithgar » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:10 am

I feel your pain regarding the plateau, but, in the scheme of things a three-week plateau is nothing to stress over. If your climate is like mine, the last three weeks have not exactly been conducive to nice long walks for exercise, you know?

It might help to keep a food diary for a week or so to track everything you are eating. Speaking for myself, food sort of sneaks up on me and when I take the time to track, I often find that there are a lot of "little bites" or "just ones" in there. Even if the food is on-plan, you can eat too much (or at least I know I can!) and hamper weight loss. And if the little bites are off-plan, making yourself very aware of that is a good thing.

Review what you are eating, re-read the MWL rules, and be really honest with yourself about cheats (if any). Up the exercise if you can. And give it time. My own loss has been very slow, but I keep plugging along.
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby ETeSelle » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:24 am

Gweithgar wrote:It might help to keep a food diary for a week or so to track everything you are eating. Speaking for myself, food sort of sneaks up on me and when I take the time to track, I often find that there are a lot of "little bites" or "just ones" in there.

I agree with this. It's amazing how often people are SURE they aren't "cheating" but when they document every bite they put in their mouth, turns out they are. Maybe start a journal in the journal forum and link to it here--keep it religiously for 2 weeks or so. We can look at it and see what we see. Be very clear on all ingredients in anything you post.

That said, plateaus DO happen! You sometimes just have to grit your teeth and get through them. :)
Starting: 207 lbs/ BMI 33.4
Current: 123 lbs / BMI 19.9

Read my Star McDougaller Story and my Testimonial thread

Trust me on this: One day you'll wake up and realize that it no longer feels like "being strict." It just feels GOOD. :)
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby Dovima » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:21 pm

I plateaued too until I figured out my body wasnt tolerating rice that well anymore, bummer. Now I do buckwheat, millet, wild rice and quinoa. I still occasionally indulge in rice noodles just to keep myself off of gluten.
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby glassbird » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:18 pm

Argh. A food diary...that smacks of my run-in with Weight Watchers back before I discovered Dr. McDougall. I admit there is wisdom to it, but it's a hard step to take.

After much thought, and advice in this thread, I think I am going to take the following steps first (and have already done so)....

Cut the chick peas in my thrice weekly salads back by half, and up the broccoli and carrots to take up the space formerly filled by the chick peas. It's 2 dollars to fill the box that the salad comes in...so it ruffles my Yankee feathers to see ANY empty space in there! I have dropped the croutons, completely.

Cut my oatmeal intake by half...so half a cup (before cooking) instead of a whole cup. A whole cup was really more than I needed, but I did enjoy being stuffed. IF I get hungry later, then maybe another half cup later. And the maple syrup is no longer an option.

It has occured to me that part of the problem may be that I have stopped walking. Yes, it is too cold to walk outside right now (which is what I was doing for the first 5 months), but I now have a membership at a very basic gym, and had been using the treadmills there for an hour, 5-6 days a week, for more than a month. Then I started getting physical therapy for a shoulder issue, and just got out of the habit of going to the gym. I was getting bored with it, too. I much prefer to walk outside. I need to find a way to get back into that, or find something that I enjoy. Another reason to look forward to warmer weather...
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby glassbird » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:53 pm

Time for an update on this thread, I think...

I acted on the advice given, and cut back on the chick peas and oatmeal. Eventually, I did join a different gym, as well. One with more options (swimming, yoga, other classes).

But the absolute most important thing that I did was that I stuck with it, hung in there, did not give up. And for me, that is remarkable as I have always given up in the past.

Not this time. I just kept on trucking. I am still fighting for every pound lost, but I AM fighting and making progress. I am now down to 154 pounds, and am hoping to lose 18 more pounds over the next 6 months. My goal is to hit 136 on, or before, my 50th birthday in June.

AND...I just had a recheck on my cholesterol...4 months ago my total cholesterol was 205 and as of two days ago I have lowered it to 152! (Two years ago it was 289 on an ovo-lact vegetarian diet.)

I am insufferably pleased with myself. :-)
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby greentea » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:07 pm

Glassbird that's wonderful news! Thanks for posting an update.
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby pinkrose » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:16 pm

glassbird wrote:Time for an update on this thread, I think...

I acted on the advice given, and cut back on the chick peas and oatmeal. Eventually, I did join a different gym, as well. One with more options (swimming, yoga, other classes).

But the absolute most important thing that I did was that I stuck with it, hung in there, did not give up. And for me, that is remarkable as I have always given up in the past.

Not this time. I just kept on trucking. I am still fighting for every pound lost, but I AM fighting and making progress. I am now down to 154 pounds, and am hoping to lose 18 more pounds over the next 6 months. My goal is to hit 136 on, or before, my 50th birthday in June.

AND...I just had a recheck on my cholesterol...4 months ago my total cholesterol was 205 and as of two days ago I have lowered it to 152! (Two years ago it was 289 on an ovo-lact vegetarian diet.)

I am insufferably pleased with myself. :-)


Ha ha!!! Can you feel the big slap on your back? :?:

Way to go!!! You worked to form the good habits and now they are serving you well!!! :nod:
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby lmggallagher » Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:34 pm

So happy to hear that the plateau is behind you - and isn't it so cool that people jump in with great advice and you figured out just what you needed to do and what would work for you. Most excellent!

I learned a ton on this thread. Intuitively, I knew I was going over the bean level before I read about the cup a day cap. I think Dr. McD also says you can go over that if you don't have any the next day. When I did the chronometer I found out how much fat is in those little chickpeas - hence my deep abiding desire for them. :lol:

I have hit some discouraging plateaus too - oddly, though I always seem to be loosing inches like crazy even when the scale registers not a bit. This is one strange and wonderful way to diet :)
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Re: I'm stuck...the scale is not moving...

Postby djunamod » Sat Jan 14, 2012 2:35 am

Hi glassbird,
I'm not doing MWLP but doing the regular plan but I just wanted to say that I totally understand where you're coming from. I have also been losing very slowly, according to the scale.

However, like you, I'm also trying to focus on other things this time around and make this a permanent change and not just a "fly by night lose 60 pounds" thing. That approach has helped me a lot so far. I have been much more permanent with this way of eating and it has given me the tools to make healthy changes in my eating and behaviors which, to me, are much more important than the number of pounds I lose.

For example, I used to be a huge binge eater and that has curved a lot in the past few months since coming back to McDougall. Even though I've slipped a few times, the slips haven't been nearly as bad as in the past and I consider that progress. I have also made other good changes, such as automatically saying "no" to temptations my parents put in front of me, like going out to dinner or lunch or for an ice cream or (just this morning) joining them in a very fatty brunch. I have also stuck with being vegan and as low fat as I possibly can when I do have to eat out. These are things I never did in the past even when I was trying to be on a healthy plan - temptations like restaurants were "throw in the towel" times for me.

I'm finding that if I focus on sticking with the plan and making healthy changes, I will continue to lose weight, even if the scale doesn't show it. My clothes are definitely fitting much loser and I can put on my bracelets and ring in the morning pretty easily whereas in the past, my fingers and arms would usually be to bloated for me and I'd have to wait a few hours before I could put them on. I'm also noticing health changes - less migraine headaches, more energy, more clear focus.

Another thing that has helped me is to also take measurements. I find that even if the scale says I didn't lose anything, the tape measure often times says something different.

I would also say, don't get discouraged! I think keeping consistent is the key. If the weight doesn't come off in a week, it will come off sooner or later. I don't believe you can eat this way and not lose weight in the end, even if it takes a while :D.

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