Yes Virginia, there are a lot of reasons why stalls can be good for you.
And for what it’s worth, I don’t believe that stalls = maintenance. Not exactly. What I believe is that stalls before reaching a healthy weight (which is primarily determined by a bodyfat percentage in the low 20’s for most women) are exactly where you are going to stay unless/until you make some changes. And here’s the really hard part for most of us to swallow. If you make temporary changes that result in you getting yourself to goal, especially something like an egg fast or extreme temporary calorie deprivation, and then revert back to the diet where you were stalled before, your body will almost assuredly return back to that higher weight or higher.
If you want to make the changes that are almost 100% guaranteed to work, change to KISS lowcarbing. Along with regular exercise—both aerobic and strength training—everybody who has ever been stalled has started doing that religiously now, right??
If those changes don’t get you all the way, then it is my opinion that you’ve hit “the yeast wall” and until you make the anti-yeast changes, you’re gonna stay stuck. And my long-term observation is that this is not a place that most people will take up permanent residence. They’ll eventually get frustrated and change because of that. Sometimes it takes just a few weeks, other times it can take several years. Which way they change will determine the results.
Now there is nothing wrong with being stuck. In fact, I think that spending some time being stuck in the place of feeling a lot better on lowcarb and simply not being as heavy as you used to be, can be a valuable place to sit for a while, probably even a necessary place. A place where we have to examine hard what we really want from all these changes, and what we are really willing to do to get what we want. I sat there for 21 months (at weight 165) myself. Anybody wanna beat that stall?
But my long-term observation is that eventually people in this situation come to find that it is not at all gratifying to be eating differently from the rest of our friends and family and still not getting any more results or payoff for your trouble. Trouble? Wait, didn’t you once feel, probably even announce publicly, that lowcarb was your own personal miracle, a heady dream—I could eat this way forever, even if I never lost another pound!?? (I sure did.)
This can be when your feelings toward lowcarb start changing big-time. It’s where people often do a 180-degree-turn from loving to detesting this way of eating. This brings you to the place of needing to examine why you loved lowcarb and when I got right down to it, it was because it allowed me to not change as much as I needed to. Lowcarb still allowed for some methadone and overeating in my life. For most people, the foods that encourage that are cheese, cream, artificial sweeteners, mayonnaise, nuts (especially peanuts and cashews), alcohol, grains and other “lowcarb” crap. It’s because lowcarb still allows for some recreational substance abuse if, like me, your drug of choice is food.
But sooner or later, if you’re walking around the world overweight (instead of obese) it won’t feel a whole lot different from any other heavier size. We didn’t go into this expecting to come out “not as fat as I used to be.” You will still feel—and be perceived as—a fat person. That this is not fair has nothing to do with it. That a few lowcarbers don’t seem to have the physical/emotional addiction issues with foods and can get all the way to goal without addressing this stuff is also irrelevant.
This really seems to be the critical do-or-die place—the point where so many lowcarbers end up throwing in the towel and giving up. They throw the baby out with the bathwater. But that’s not the only way to read or react to the signs. In fact, it’s a terrible way. We already know what the consequences of that decision will be. And doing it IS deciding it.
The other choice is scary—it’s where the BIG changes happen. But the few people who decide instead to double down on their diet almost always find that their fear of changing was a whole lot worse than making the changes. There can be freedom in simplifying your diet. A freedom that feels surprisingly, sometimes unnervingly, wonderful especially when it starts working after it appeared to have stopped working for so darned long.
So you consider your choices: you can go back to the way it was (along with all the feelings of self-loathing and “failure” that come with that decision), or you can change your actions (your food choices) and just wait and see how that feels.
So over and over I say lead with the diet—but it has to be the right diet for where you and your body are in the process.