When doing protocol, we almost all experience stalls. In Pounds and Inches, Dr. Simeons addresses the main causes of stalls and what to expect. There are many reasons for stalls and you may find that you fit into one of the categories listed below. If none of these apply, it could be dietary errors or lack of diligence with tracking. It is important to know your body will not lose pounds every day (it is called Pounds AND Inches) and that everyone stalls. Dr. Simeons states in the “Former Levels” section that some stalls can drag on for up to 2 weeks. This process is complicated and we believe if you understand it better, it will help you have patience with the scale when the stall shows up at your door. You can experience stalls mid-cycle, and towards the end. If you are close to your goal weight, you will experience many stalls getting there. Let your body work the process and continue to stay on protocol. The end result is worth it.
We are sharing advice from Pounds & Inches on this subject, but we really recommend reading it cover to cover. Knowledge is power!
- “We distinguish four types of interruption in the regular daily loss. The first is the one that has already been mentioned in which the weight stays stationary for a day or two, and this occurs, particularly towards the end of a course, in almost every case.”
- “After the fourth or fifth day of dieting the daily loss of weight begins to decrease to one pound or somewhat less per day, and there is a smaller urinary output. Men often continue to lose regularly at that rate, but women are more irregular in spite of faultless dieting. There may be no drop at all for two or three days and then a sudden loss which reestablishes the normal average. These fluctuations are entirely due to variations in the retention and elimination of water, which are more marked in women than in men.”
- “When these cells are empty and therefore serve no purpose, the body breaks down the cellular structure and absorbs it, but breaking up of useless cells, connective tissue, blood vessels, etc., may lag behind the process of fat-extraction. When this happens, the body appears to replace some of the extracted fat with water which is retained for this purpose. As water is heavier than fat the scales may show no loss of weight, although sufficient fat has actually been consumed to make up for the deficit in the 500-Calorie diet. When then such tissue is finally broken down, the water is liberated and there is a sudden flood of urine and a marked loss of weight.”
- “This simple interpretation of what is really an extremely complex mechanism is the one we give those patients who want to know why it is that on certain days they do not lose, though they have committed no dietary error.”
Interruptions in Weight loss
Plateau: “The second type of interruption we call a “plateau”. A plateau lasts 4-6 days and frequently occurs during the second half of a full course, particularly in patients that have been doing well and whose overall average of nearly a pound per effective injection has been maintained. Those who are losing more than the average all have a plateau sooner or later. A plateau always corrects, itself, but many patients who have become accustomed to a regular daily loss get unnecessarily worried and begin to bet. No amount of explanation convinces them that a plateau does not mean that they are no longer responding normally to treatment.”
Former Level: “The third type of interruption in the regular loss of weight may last much longer-ten days to two weeks. Fortunately, it is rare and only occurs in very advanced cases, and then hardly ever during the first course of treatment. It is seen only in those patients who during some period of their lives have maintained a certain fixed degree of obesity for ten years or more and have then at some time rapidly increased beyond that weight. When then in the course of treatment the former level is reached, it may take two weeks of no loss, in spite the diet, before further reduction is normally resumed.”
Menstrual Hormones: The fourth type of interruption is the one which often occurs a few days before and during the menstrual period and in some women at the time of ovulation.
Dietary Errors: Any interruption of the normal loss of weight which does not fit perfectly into one of those categories is always due to some possibly very minor dietary error. Similarly, any gain of more than 100 grams is invariably the result of some transgression or mistake, unless it happens on or about the day of ovulation or during the three days preceding the onset of menstruation, in which case it is ignored. In all other cases, the reason for the gain must be established at once. The patient who frankly admits that he has stepped out of his regimen when told that something has gone wrong is no problem. He is always surprised at being found out, because unless he has seen this himself he will not believe that a salted almond, a couple of potato chips, a glass of tomato juice or an extra orange will bring about a definite increase in his weight on the following day. Very often he wants to know why extra food weighing one ounce should increase his by six ounces. We explain this in the following way: On protocol, the blood is saturated with food and the blood volume has adapted itself so that it can only just accommodate the 500 Calories which come in from the intestinal tract in the course of the day. Any additional income, however little this may be, cannot be accommodated and the blood is therefore forced to increase its volume sufficiently to hold the extra food, which it can only do in a very diluted form. Thus, it is not the weight of what is eaten that plays the determining role but rather the amount of water which the body must retain to accommodate this food. This can be illustrated by mentioning the case of salt. In order to hold one teaspoonful of salt the body requires one liter of water, as it cannot accommodate salt in any higher concentration. Thus, if a person eats one teaspoon full of salt his weight will go up by more than two pounds as soon as this salt is absorbed from his intestine. To this explanation many patients reply: Well, if I put on that much every time I eat a little extra, how can I hold my weight after the treatment It must therefore be made clear that this only happens as long as they are on protocol. When treat melt is over, the blood is no longer saturated and can easily accommodate extra food without having to increase its volume. Here again the professional reader will he aware that this interpretation is a simplification of an extremely intricate physiological process which actually accounts for the phenomenon.
Ways to Break a Stall:
The Plateau: “In such cases we consider it permissible, for purely psychological reasons, to break up the plateau. This can be done in two ways. One is a so-called “apple day”. An apple-day begins at lunch and continues until just before lunch of the following day. The patients are given six large apples and are told to eat one whenever they feel the desire though six apples is the maximum allowed. During an apple-day no other food or liquids except plain water are allowed and of water they may only drink just enough to quench an uncomfortable thirst if eating an apple still leaves them thirsty. Most patients feel no need for water and are quite happy with their six apples. Needless to say, an apple- day may never be given on the day on which there is no injection. The apple-day produces a gratifying loss of weight on the following day, chiefly due to the elimination of water. This water is not regained when the patients resume their normal 500- Calorie diet at lunch, and on the following days they continue to lose weight satisfactorily.
The other way to break up a plateau is by giving a non- mercurial diuretic for one day. This is simpler for the patient but we prefer the apple-day as we sometimes find that though the diuretic is very effective on the following day it may take two to three days before the normal daily reduction is resumed, throwing the patient into a new fit of despair. It is useless to give either an apple-day or a diuretic unless the weight has been stationary for at least four days without any dietary error having been committed.”
Investigating Dietary Errors:
“When the reason for a slight gain in weight is not immediately evident, it is necessary to investigate further. A patient who is unaware of having committed an error or is unwilling to admit a mistake protests indignantly when told he has done something he ought not to have done. In that atmosphere, no fruitful investigation can be conducted; so we calmly explain that we are not accusing him of anything but that we know for certain from our not inconsiderable experience that something has gone wrong and that we must now sit down quietly together and try and find out what it was. Once the patient realizes that it is in his own interest that he plays an active and not merely a passive role in this search, the reason for the set-hack is almost invariably discovered. Having been through hundreds of such sessions, we are nearly always able to distinguish the deliberate liar from the patient who is merely fooling himself or is really unaware of having erred.”
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