60 lbs lost, but now I'm stuck!

by Laura Crozier
(Wilmington, DE, USA)

I started the diet in the book in January 2009 and have since lost 60 lbs. It's been a long road with trial and error, some big losses, some small gains back. But all in all, I'm thrilled.

My only problem is, I have hit a tremendous plateau. My weight has stayed within a half pound for the last 5 weeks and it's becoming very frustrating. I have tried exercising more, eating less and am still stuck.

I think the cause may be that I had my gallbladder removed on March 2 (it's now April 13).

After I recovered from the surgery itself, my weight loss just stopped. Has anyone ever experienced this before?

I have read online about many people GAINING weight after gallbladder removal, but I just can't let that happen. I feel that I've finally gotten my PCOS under control and my self confidence back.

I'd ideally like to lose at least 40 more pounds (I'm currently at 197 lbs), so this plateau feels defeating.

I'm not going to give up on my new healthy way of living, but I'd like to again see the weight come off. Any suggestions?

Could it be gallbladder and body readjustment, or do I now have to start counting calories since I'm in a whole new weight class?

Thanks for any help you can give, ladies. And keep up the good work out there.

I love reading the success stories. There's nothing more motivating than reading about real women taking control of their lives!


Editor's comments: First of all, congratulations on the HUGE achievement of losing 60 lbs.!

I might suggest you give yourself additional time to recover from surgery before worrying about whether you will lose more weight or not.

Even if you never lose another pound but maintain the 60 lbs of reduced weight, that would still be a remarkable achievement and will have major long-term health benefits. Your body has to reconfigure itself after invasive surgery (any removal of an organ is invasive surgery).

Your body also has to figure out how function without a very important organ that is used every time you eat a meal. The gallbladder is described as a "non-essential" organ. Well, that depends on how one defines "essential". I view it as "essential" for optimal health, although the medical community seems to suggest that it is quite dispensable and anyone can get along just fine without it.

Additional weight loss may be slower and smaller from now on. That's OK. Also, it's very common to reach plateaus that can last from some length of time. Just be patient and persistent with your good health practices.

The purpose of the gallbladder is to produce bile, which helps you to emulsify and prepare fats for digestion and absorption into the body. The body can produce as much as one liter of bile per day.

Now that your gallbladder is gone, it may be more difficult for you to handle and absorb the fats in your food.

However, you need fats in order to be healthy. For example, you need "essential fats", which can only be obtained through the diet and which are essential for every cell in your body to properly function.

In addition, you also need the fat-soluble vitamins D, E, K and A.

Your ability to absorb essential fats and fat-soluble vitamins is now diminished. I suggest you consult with a qualified health professional to determine whether or not you might benefit by taking digestive enzymes with your meals to improve fat absorption.

You would also want to be especially attentive to the amounts and types of fat you consume.

I would suggest you pay special attention to your vitamin D status by getting a vitamin D blood test. Monitor your vitamin D levels from time to time. This data may give you some clues as to how well you are absorbing fats.

If you look around, you can find liquid "micellized" fat-soluble vitamins such vitamin E. These vitamins are pre-emulsified for better absorption. This is something to discuss with your health professional.

Adequate levels of essential fats and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin D are important components of long-term weight management.

Your liver is another organ to think about. Since you were quite overweight and assuming you have PCOS, you have a much higher risk of "nonalcoholic fatty liver disease" or NAFLD. This is also known as fatty liver degeneration.

Your liver plays a role in fat metabolism and your ability to control your weight. But if your liver is clogged with fat, it can't do its job.

You could ask your doctor for a liver function test to find out whether you might have an issue with NAFLD.

Your thyroid gland plays a central role in your metabolism and your ability to burn calories and lose weight. Is your thyroid function optimal? That's something else you can check out.

The diet Laura is referring to can be found in this e-book.

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I feel your pain
by: SameBoat

Hi there,
I too lost exactly 60 lbs and am hovering around 197-200 lbs. I lost 50 lbs in 5 months last fall and then an additional 10 into late February and since early March, I've been hovering around the 200 mark. I can gain and lose the same few lbs but NEVER do I drop under 196. I've kept the same diet (low carb/gluten free) and even started doing a bit of ZUmba here and there but NOTHING is budging. I swear some days I feel my clothes are even tighter.

I had my gallbladder taken out 2 years before I started losing this weight so I honestly don't think it has anything to do with it. I too am NOT happy that I'm so close to 200 and would love to lose 40 more. I am so frustrated, I don't know what else to do.

I feel your pain and I haven't quit my healthy way of eating but I don't know WHAT to do!!!!

Just thought I'd send out a sympathetic not.


Editor's comments: Suboptimal thyroid function can make it nearly impossible to lose weight, in spite of diet and exercise.

How's your thyroid function?

If you are tested at all, your doctor will likely just test one hormone, called TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone.

Although obviously better than nothing a TSH test is NOT a complete test for thyroid function.

What's your stress level and what's your cortisol (stress hormone) level?

Elevated stress causes thyroid hormones to not work properly. This situation is called "Wilson's Syndrome". We will have a newsletter shortly on this topic.

Finally back on track
by: Laura C.

It's May 11 and my body is finally getting back on track. Its been just over two months since my gallbladder was removed (two months and 9 days) and I have now lost 5 lbs since being stuck, and then gaining 2.5 lbs.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Dr. D, for your priceless advice on the digestive enzymes, and your encouragement. My body is now losing weight again and I'm officially down 64.5 lbs. I would like to ultimately be down a total of 100, but I'm on my way again. I'm so happy!

Thank you!

Now I'm gaining ...
by: Laura C.

Well, I thought I was just at a plateau, but the last three weeks, I have gained overall 2.5 lbs. I know that doesn't sound like much, but I'm at 199 now and desperately don't want to cross the 200 lb threshold again. I'm sad. I feel like this is out of control and I have kept up with my diet, so I don't know how to explain the gaining other than my gallbladder being gone.

I've started taking digestive enzymes, but I think I need to have some blood work done to find out how my body is functioning. (What blood work? I don't really know.) This is so disappointing. My sister is getting married in 8 weeks. At this rate, I will gain 12 lbs by then and my bridesmaid dress will be too tight. I was looking forward to having it altered - I just thought I'd have to have it taken in, not let out! I'm scared. I don't know how to stop the gaining.

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