When The Diet Stops Working

How's diet going edited

I don’t really diet. Dieting to me feels temporary. Instead, I looked at my weight loss journey as a lifestyle change. And it was–a complete change. The way I was living wasn’t working anymore. My body was rebelling. It was developing diabetes, my blood pressure was so high I’d have dizzy spells and almost blacked out too many times to count. In other ways my body was letting me know that extra 100 pounds on my body was hurting me. Achy joints, back pain, constantly catching every cold/bronchitis/flu that was going around. I wasn’t healthy, period.

If you are new to the blog, check out these two posts I wrote about weight loss plateaus and cheat days: Why Wednesday – Why I’m Not Losing and Why Wednesday – Why I Don’t Have a Cheat Day.

While I didn’t diet to lose 100 pounds, I have tried a few different diets over the years. After maintaining my weight for awhile, I wanted to try something new.

The first “diet” I tried was the Slow-Carb Diet.

The Slow-Carb diet didn’t work for me for a lot of reasons. The biggest challenge was not being able to eat fruit. Fruit is healthy. Eliminating it entirely from my body seemed unhealthy. Also, I didn’t really see any benefits of this diet. While Michael lost a good amount of weight doing this diet, I did not. Clearly my body didn’t like it! Here are some of the posts from that experience:

The Four Hour Body Diet Experiment

Four Hour Body Diet – The Beginning

Slow Carb Food List

My Thoughts on The Four Hour Body Week

Challenges of Day Three

Day Four: Half Way There

Saturday: Binge Day Part One

There are things about the Slow Carb Diet that I agree with. I think it’s beneficial to limit bread and pasta and stuff like that. Those things seem to make my body want to gain weight. I LOVE bread. Love it. I crave it. But if I stop eating it, those cravings go away and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. However, the second I eat some bread after not eating it for awhile, it’s like crack. It becomes the #1 thing I want to eat and I get kind of obsessed. Yikes!

The second “diet” was going gluten and dairy-free.

The reasoning behind this diet actually came from my mom. She was having some different issues and going dairy and gluten free helped resolve those issues. In my reading I found that the diet cleared up acne for many people, as well as sinus issues. It was worth a try and the fact that my mom was successful on this diet (and lost a lot of weight) gave me hope. Once again, I didn’t see any significant change or improvement. The sinus issues didn’t go away. I lost about an inch around my waist–which IS significant but I didn’t lose any weight. It didn’t fix my acne, either.


So it Begins

Dairy-Free Update #1

Dairy-Free Update #2

Dairy-Free Update #3

In the end the diet seemed more of a struggle than anything and since I wasn’t getting the results I wanted, I stopped it. One thing that stuck around is trying to limit the gluten and bread I eat. We found some gluten-free bread at Costco that is actually REALLY tasty and that’s what we buy now.


When The Diet Stops Working

This post is about the moment when the diet stops working. If you’re just hitting a plateau, you need to do something to shake your body out of it’s habit. Check out these posts: P is for PlateausBusting that Plateau and Why Can’t I Lose Weight? They will give you some good ideas on how to bust that plateau and get back to losing.

If it’s NOT a plateau and you just simply aren’t losing weight, then CHANGE IT. There is absolutely no benefit or reason to continue something that doesn’t work. The Slow-Carb diet didn’t work for me, either did the dairy/gluten-free diet. If the diet itself is more of a struggle and misery and you aren’t getting results, TRY SOMETHING ELSE. There is no shame in quitting and trying again. Everyone is different and what works for one person, may not work for you.

To give you another example, I have a friend who has been trying to lose weight and fix her diabetes for a long time. After trying so many different things, high protein diet, dairy-free diet, counting calories, going vegetarian…what ended up working for HER body was going vegan.

Find what works for YOUR body and stick with it!


So it Begins

I was wishy-washy on whether or not I wanted to try this whole dairy-free thing.  I started to feel like I was depriving myself of something I really wanted before I even TRIED it! That’s not a good mindset to have. A few readers suggested I try it in February because it’s the shortest month. Psychologically that worked for me. Sure it may only be like 3 days short of a typical month but mentally it feels like doing something like this in February is doable. Not only that, Michael said he was on board. That definitely made it easier to wrap my brain around.


So for February we are going to go dairy-free and try gluten-free. It’s sort of like the Slow Carb Diet we tried a few years ago, but I’m not giving up fruit. I refuse. There are a lot of similarities to the Four Hour Body Diet.

Have you ever Googled “What foods have gluten in it?” Let me save you the trouble: EVERYTHING. Apparently! 😛

I don’t know how diligent I’m going to be quite yet. I’m taking it one week at a time. I know that a lot of products have dairy in them. I will try my best to avoid those things but I know stuff happens. As for the gluten–I will not be eating bread products or pasta but I doubt I’ll get super focused on things that might have gluten in them–like soy sauce.

I’ve made up a meal plan for February for lunches and dinners. It was actually really easy and not much different than what we normally eat now. Where I saw a difference was lunches: no more sandwiches. Snacks will be the hardest for me because I eat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt before going to the gym. It works really well for me and I’m not sure how that will fair. I haven’t found anything that works as well as that for a pre-workout snack.

What Do I Expect?

Honestly? I don’t expect to lose any weight. Sadly, I gained a few pounds on the Slow Carb Diet. I have no idea why. Michael dropped about 25 pounds. It worked really well for him. I am expecting this experiment to go about the same. It would be really nice if I lost a few pounds, but I’m not expecting it.

My hope is that I see a difference in my skin. It would be awesome if my acne cleared up due to diet and I could stop taking the acne medicine I hate. I also hope it fixes my runny nose. Other than those two things, I don’t have any expectations.


In preparation for this, I made a grocery list of must haves. I won’t get super specific but to give you an idea here is the list:

  • Fruit
  • Veggies
  • Chicken
  • Pork chops
  • Seafood
  • Hummus
  • Nuts
  • Dates
  • Raisins
  • Almond Milk

We already have a lot of the stuff. We have canned veggies, peanut butter, frozen seafood (scallops, shrimp, salmon), a bag of Quinoa from Costco that should last the month and some other items. I’m going to look for some things like salad dressing that don’t have dairy in it. I need to find an alternative to the coffee creamer I use.

Like I said above, I’ve made a food calender for February. I don’t know how closely we will follow it, but it’s nice to have a general idea of what meals to expect. I plan on making a bunch of soups on weekends for the week’s lunches. I printed a bunch of easy, simple recipes to make.

What Will Be Hard?

Giving up the dairy will be the hardest. I love sour cream, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. I also eat a lot of it! It’s funny–we haven’t had ice cream in the house in over a month and yet knowing I won’t be able to eat it in February makes me want it more!


Going gluten-free means no beer. Or at least, not very much. Michael’s friend Mike is gluten-free due to a severe allergy and he’s mentioned that there are a few beers that are gluten-free but honestly I think I’d rather just skip the beer.


The hardest part for Michael will be giving up pizza for a month. He gets slices for lunch during the work week and his go-to dinner when he doesn’t want to cook is pizza. It’s a huge no-no having both gluten and dairy! Also, I know he’ll struggle with giving up cheese (I think it’s his favorite food).

Somehow I need to change my thinking away from “What I Can’t Have” and focus on what I can eat, otherwise this will never work and I’ll be a crabby mess for a month!


I’ll do a post about once a week with an update on that week. I’ll include the high notes (good recipes, etc), challenges, observations and thoughts.

QUESTION: Are you dairy-free or gluten-free? Please share any tips, ideas, or suggestions!