On the Cleanse But Not Losing Weight?

I occasionally hear from people who are doing the 14-day Cleanse detox and are surprised or frustrated that they’re not losing weight. Here are the questions I ask to help them figure out what might be the reason why:

1. Are You Eating Too Many Grains?

More and more, we have found that cutting out all grains (not just gluten) can help people to lose weight. If you are eating lots of brown rice, quinoa and gluten-free bread or pasta you might want to consider cutting back or cutting them out altogether to see if it helps. This means that your meals would center around protein, lots of vegetables and healthy fats.

2. Are You Over-eating “Trigger” Foods?

We all have trigger foods – those foods that we find it incredibly hard to stop eating once we start. For me, it’s granola. For many people, it’s nuts, nut butter or hummus. For nuts, a serving is one ounce, which is about the size of a shot glass. Nut butters are good in small amounts, but they are incredibly dense and a little bit goes a long way. A serving size is about 2 tablespoons. Same with hummus – a serving of hummus is not the whole container! If you know that it’s very hard to keep certain foods in the house without overeating them, you might not want to keep them in the house, at least while trying to reach your weight loss goals.

Even eating too much fruit might be a problem for some people if you’re very sensitive to sugar. Berries are good because they are low-glycemic. But you might want to avoid the very sweet fruits like pineapple and mango, and limit your fruit to 1-2 servings per day.

3. Are You Eating Enough?

Not eating enough can backfire when you’re trying to lose weight. You want to eat enough at your meals so that you are satisfied and nourished. If you eat a satisfying lunch with a high volume of nutrient dense foods, you are less likely to graze on snack foods and you’re more likely to stick with your healthy eating plan. If you’re having a salad for lunch, make sure it’s not a “wimpy” salad — you’ll want to add some protein and healthy fats like avocado, nuts or olive oil so that you feel satiated.

4. Are You Exercising?

You may be tired in the first few days of the Cleanse, but usually people are able to pick up their exercise again and this can support your weight loss efforts if they are stalled. Even if your exercise is more gentle than usual, try to fit in some cardio or take walks to get moving.

5. Are You Eating Late at Night?

Giving your digestive system a rest for at least 12 hours at night can be helpful as well. This means that if you finish dinner by 7pm, you wouldn’t eat again until 7am the next day.

6. Are You Eliminating?

Waste = weight!  If you’re not having a bowel movement every day, you may want to increase your fiber, drink more water, try taking magnesium at night (1000 to 1500 mg of magnesium citrate), or try a formula such as Swiss Kriss or Triphala. You can also take probiotics to support your digestion and elimination.

7. Have You Had Your Thyroid Checked?

If you are eating well and exercising but still having trouble losing weight, it could point to an underlying thyroid problem.  Dr. Lipman recommends asking your doctor to run a full thyroid panel, which includes the following tests:

  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
  • Free T4 (free thyroxine)
  • Free T3 (free triiodothyronine)
  • Reverse T3- Antithyroglobulin antibodies (anti-TG)
  • Antithyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti-TPO)

If the test shows that any of your thyroid levels are off, you may benefit from supplements or even hormone to correct them. He talks more about this in his book Revive.

8. Are You Being Patient With Yourself?

Sometimes I hear from people who are upset that they “only” lost 3 pounds in the first week of the Cleanse. Be patient with yourself! Slow and steady weight loss is better than a crash diet. On the Cleanse, we are supporting you with a long-term healthy lifestyle, so be gentle and hang in there!

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