Did Something Happen

If you're losing neither inches nor pounds and four weeks have passed, let's consider the next possibility.

People frequently get frustrated after a week or two without weight loss, when a little reflection would tell them what's gone wrong. Certainly if you've been put on some new medication-including hormone treatment or birth control pills-around the time you stopped losing, you'll need to consider its possible metabolic effects. Turn to Chapter 20 for guidance in dealing with this problem. Medications are a common and often formidable obstacle to weight loss, and I outline many of the problem drugs and chemicals in that chapter and offer alternatives that a physician may be able to prescribe for you.

Significant changes in your lifestyle also can alter the rate at which you consume energy daily. Maybe you've been hit with an urgent deadline at the office and you've been glued to your chair for three weeks. No more lunchtime walks, no more half-hour sessions at your health club and no more tenblock strolls with your spouse after dinner-because you've been eating too late.

If you've reached OWL (see Chapter 14) or Pre-Maintenance (see Chapter 16), changes like those could be enough to halt your loss for a few weeks. Not only are you burning fewer calories, but when you get less exercise, your metabolism tends to slow down (just as increasing exercise revs it up). Dear reader, from a health perspective, exercise is a beautiful thing. I just wish I could inject a love-exercise gene into all my patients-and readers. It would make their lives a lot easier.

Having mentioned lifestyle, I wouldn't want you to forget the obvious. Have you been living it up on a vacation, eating all sorts of foods of dubious carbohydrate content? Did the holidays come and, with them, four hors-d'oeuvre-laden parties in the past three weeks? And now you're blaming me? If so, I hope this makes you blush, and I hope you had a good time. Not guilty? Well, then, let's look at a more serious panoply of problems that might cause your weight loss to plateau.

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