What to Do When the Scale Won’t Budge

Three Ways To Shed the Pounds

Juliana Leamen
4 min readApr 25, 2021
Plate with a sad face, representing those who feel hungry when dieting
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

There are many reasons for weight loss plateaus and it is not uncommon for women over 40 to be doing “all the right things” when it comes to diet and exercise and still not see results. So let’s look at some less commonly discussed reasons that may be causing the scale not to budge, so you can troubleshoot your way out of it.

Is your (healthy) food keeping you stuck?

If you find yourself in the midst of a weight plateau and you have tried everything without avail, I want you to look at your food, even if it can be considered healthy. Here are some points to consider:

Are you eating the same thing day in, day out?

The issue with lack of variety is you’re probably not going to get as much enjoyment and satisfaction out of your meals and boredom can set in, making you more likely to break your diet later on. But most importantly, if you’re eating the exact same things every day, there is a chance you may lack some key nutrients, which are needed for your hormones to stay in balance, for the liver to detoxify the body and even for your gut flora to stay happy and healthy.

Do you have a food sensitivity?

It is also important to observe if your (healthy) foods are causing some issues behind the scenes. Food sensitivities are common and often missed during a weight loss journey. I often suggest clients track how different foods make them feel, using what I call a Food, Mood & Poop Journal. Alternatively, you can also work with a qualified professional to run a Food Sensitivity test to gain knowledge of which foods you may be sensitive to. When I first tested myself, I realized eggs were a real issue for me, even though they were a staple in my diet. Going egg-free was not easy, but it was an important step towards getting the results I wanted for myself. Dairy sensitivity is also fairly common among my clients and I have seen women finally break their weight loss plateau when removing foods they were sensitive to.

Are Your Hormones Out of Balance?

Often in weight loss, we hear lots about the hormone insulin and adopting a low carb diet to manage insulin spikes is common practice these days. However, there are two other hormones that should also be mentioned when it comes to weight loss after 40 — cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenals, and the thyroid hormones, specifically T3 and T4.

Your hormone may be out of balance for several reasons, but the ones I see most commonly in my practice include (1) inflammation, which can lead to poor hormonal function even if the glands are still producing the hormones at a normal rate, (2) stress, which not only depletes the body of key nutrients, but also inhibits thyroid function and (3) poor gut and liver function, which directly impact the conversion of the thyroid hormone T4 into its active form, T3. If you suspect hormone issues, click here to grab a copy of my 7 Steps To Hormone Balance and learn my favorite hormone-balancing recipes.

Are You Experiencing a Mindset Weight Loss Plateau?

Did you know that your emotions could actually be one of the key reasons why your weight has plateaued, no matter how well you eat or how much you exercise? Mastering this strategy can be a game-changer and I have seen countless clients finally break their plateau when they address their mindset.

The first thing to contemplate is your relationship with food. Do you use it as a treat? Do you use food for punishment? Do you use food to escape certain emotions or to feel comfort? If you have a love-hate relationship with food, rather than looking at it as simply a tool for nourishment, then you may benefit greatly from this new perspective. Your body got your back — always — and this is coming from someone with a laundry list of health struggles. A food craving, for example, is your body’s attempt to give you more advantages than disadvantages at that given time. It is not your fault, it is not the body’s fault and it is not the food’s fault. But, if you know that eating the bag of chips late at night won’t be supportive of your weight loss goals, then I suggest you start by contemplating what is the job that this craving is performing for you. That is right, let’s uncover the “job” the craving is performing for you.

A great exercise is to list all the ways that late night potato chip craving is benefiting you. The goal here is to gain awareness of why you make the choice to eat the chips, despite it breaking your diet rules. What emotions is it providing you with, how it is serving you, so you can make a conscious choice to get that “job” fulfilled by something or someone else. Once you get clear about your hidden motives for performing the task, it becomes easier to find alternative ways to get the same results without eating food products you know won’t get you to your goals. For more on this topic, visit my YouTube channel.

Out of the three ways we discussed, which one do you relate to most?



Juliana Leamen

Juliana Leamen is a Midlife Weight Loss Coach and Podcaster helping women over 40 get back in control of their weight -> naturallyjoyous.ca/freetraining