Weight loss mind games – Fighting the scale

This week was a particularly difficult week. My empathy for my clients is strong because I have been there. Going from 139kg to 72,5kg has its fair share of heartbreaking moments. and the scale plaid a big role in those.

This week a few of my clients took a dip in their mood. Happy Banting turns into anxiety, tears, fears and heartbreak even before getting on the scale.

Caroline’s 5-month experience with the scale

One such client, Caroline (not her real name) has been so scared of the scale that we decided to completely stay away from it for 4 to 6 weeks at a time. The human mind still wants to see the scale move so it’s a gamble to allow to weigh or not. Caroline is 53 and has been dieting her entire life. Each new diet required an exact amount of weight loss per week. This is madness.

To dictate how much weight you MUST lose in a week is just stupid and sets everyone up to fail. I have learned over the years of coaching that everyone comes with a set amount of weight loss in mind. I want to explain why you can not predict at all what the scale will show.

In Caroline’s case, approximately 190kg, diabetic, with stomach ulcers, immobile, high blood pressure, wearing compression socks and a good size cocktail of meds every day.

Within weeks of signing up to work with me, her blood sugar started to drop, she started to cook (standing longer), her stomach quieted down, the bloated feeling subsided and she was taking in information like a sponge. She was happy and cheery and looking forward to seeing more results.

Then the topic of weighing comes into the picture and all is forgotten. Depression kicks in and she feels desperately saddened. Anxiety building up as she gets closer to going to weigh in. Her first weigh-in resulted in weighing in at 180,5kg. Happy once more and a sigh of relief.

The next stage resulted in lessening medics, feeling fabulous, being able to sit at the dining room table (normal chair) and have dinner with friends and family, and even more mobile. She even reported feeling the nerves in her legs. Questions came up with the possibility of getting the feeling back in her feet. Hopeful, positive, determined and experimenting with new recipes.

Then the prospect of another weigh-in came up. But this time she was nervously looking forward to it. There was a bit of doubt and what-if creeping in the closer the time came. It is a clear pattern of fear of the scale. She weighed in at 172kg, joyful results.

The results that followed is mindblowing. Now in month 6, she is not taking blood pressure meds anymore, she is only taking metformin, every 3rd day she still takes stomach meds instead of every day. Her ankles have shape, her feet are not as swollen anymore to the extent of needing new compression socks. She often walks only with her crutch instead of the walker. She has altered her clothes so many times that it is now time to start with new clothes. The tailor measurements speak volumes.

And now that we are fast approaching the dreaded weigh-in she, unfortunately, hit a really bad depression stage. So much so that she is struggling to sleep. Unfortunately at the same time, she is what we believed to be fighting a flu virus. This amplifies the sadness and depression. Her fear of failure overrides all of the great results she has enjoyed up to now.

It is my first instinct to fix and help and make it better, but that just puts a plaster on the problem. I helped her with some supplements to fight off the lack of energy and feeling weak. But, she came up with the idea to buy a scale which she can now use on her own to weigh herself in private once a month. This way she does not have to go through the stress of getting to and from the weigh-in, but the scale will be stashed away in the garage the rest of the time.

From desperately down to looking forward to next week, in just a few days. This is the reality of a weight loss journey.

Katelin’s first 2 weeks with the scale

My client Katelin ( not her real name), starting weight was 175.8kg, severe sinus issues, swollen feet, extreme discomfort and pain in the one ankle. She weighed in today at 172.3kg after a hectic week and her first words were that she wishes it was 5kg loss.

After talking with her for a few minutes, she said that she will still not be trying out dairy for a while. This is because her sinuses are already feeling so much better. It is easier to breathe and that for her is amazing.

Unrealistic expectations can lead to many disappointing results, no matter how great they are.

Different reasons for stalled weight loss.

There is no doubt that a stall in weight loss can happen and it does. The why, however, is more elusive than we care to admit.

Carbs prevail

The number one reason that weight stalls is because of overdoing carbs. They sneak in where you least expect it. I encourage my clients not to track because that too becomes an obsession. But it is still important to check and double-check what you eat.

Unsuspecting ingredients in products which claims to follow the Banting lifestyle can be contributing to the extra carbs as well. Check and double-check all ingredients before you buy, for it can be an expensive mistake in more ways than one.

Insulin resistance can stretch out far

Insulin resistance happens long before it is picked up in a simple blood test. When you become insulin resistant, your body simply makes more insulin to compensate, therefore your blood glucose shows normal while in fact, you have high levels of insulin in your bloodstream. Therefore, you can live with IR for many years and pick up lots of weight before the problem is detected.

The process in reversing back to insulin sensitivity is a healing process which does not happen overnight. The less insulin in the bloodstream, the more the body can utilize the stored fat. This also only happens in the absence of high blood glucose levels.

Snaking temptations

I have been guilty of this many times. Just half a cup of yoghurt, then another, and another. Before you know it you finish an entire tub of yoghurt with way too many carbs.

One late night working, having a snack, leads to another. Yet again, night after night it becomes another bad habit. It is extremely important to control any snacking, to the point of eliminating it completely.

If like me, you give up smoking as well, this is obviously wonderful and definitely something to consider, however, do arm yourself with coping tools. Quit smoking does lead to uncontrolled snacking. For most, going cold turkey works well, just use the first few days to plan out a strategy to stay away from snacking.

Excuses to overdo it – The mind game

Have you ever had this conversation in your own head? I know I have, many times in the past, and now, less now but they are still there. “I deserve a treat or a snack, I worked hard.” or “I deserve something good in my life.” or “Just one won’t be that bad.”

You know exactly what I am talking about. That voice that can reason away any bad habit. Going into new dietary changes in your new lifestyle is just one of many new adventures. Getting the mindset right, setting up your environment to work with you and knowing how to handle nosey people who would love nothing more than to see you fail, these are parts of a new lifestyle.

Conclusion: When you know you have the correct ingredients, minimise your meals and plan a good strategy to help you through it. Anything can happen, keep a positive outlook, and you will be stronger.

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About Me

Ilze Czubora Main Portrait sipping coffee

I fill the role of mentor, specialist, speaker and teacher. It is my passion to help as many people as I can reach to also make these changes and help you reach for your dreams.

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