Plateau #frustration

cape-town-456754_1920I’m stuck.  For the last 2 weeks, I haven’t shifted a single pound. I appear to have arrived at a plateau and the frustration is immense.

However carefully you manage your consumption of food and drink, however diligently you exercise, it happens eventually.  The plateau.  The damned, excruciating, bloody-well-not-fair, I-must-have-a-sluggish-colon, oh-not-again-come-on-you-can’t-be-serious, my-scales-must-be-broken… plateau.

The unfairness of it all.

I’ve given up added/refined sugar – totally. I’ve had no potatoes and no bread so far this year, and only a few teaspoons of rice – the wild, brown stuff. I’ve had one tiny weeny alcoholic drink since Christmas. I eat seaweed instead of potato chips. I munch my way through a forest of greenery every week, with no mayonnaise. And I never, ever snack between meals. And yet… And yet…

Okay, so maybe I’ve become a bit lax on one or two little things.  Are my tiny slivers of cheese still a maximum of 20g? Has my little knob of butter in a scrambled egg lunch got a little knobblier than it should?   Was it really very naughty to put a tablespoon of half-fat crème fraiche in a home-made, pure and clean tomato soup? Guilty, m’lud. If that’s all it takes, mea culpa.

But then there’s the exercise. I’ve been building this up and now, instead of a lunchtime 30 minutes, I’m getting an early morning 45-60 minutes (temperatures close to zero) under my belt before I start work, almost every day. I know that’s not a massive amount, but it’s more than ‘Government recommendations’ and it’s about as much as my still ample frame and overworked joints can regularly tolerate. To that, I add Pilates and an occasional half-hour swim. When I weigh a little less – when I can push past this persistent pesky plateau – I will up my game again.  I will… I will…

But in the meantime, it’s a real punch-in-the-gut that this amount of pavement pounding on chilly mornings, and the seismic changes I’ve made to my diet, aren’t proving sufficient to nudge my weight down a notch or two past that horrible horizontal line.

I know. Sooner or later my constitution will reawaken. I might kick-start it with a fast-day. Or perhaps it will be one of those days (a little more frequent at the moment than usual) when emotional disturbance intrudes – the kind of thing that puts your gut through the wringer – but, oh, you know, every cloud and all that.

Eventually… it will pass. Meantime, readers, avert your eyes whilst I throw sugar-free yogurt at the wall and curse my weighing scales.

Author: Jools

Abundant, Bold, Confident, Determined, Empathetic, Forthright, Grumpy, Healthier, Individual, Just me, Kind, Loving, Mellifluous, Natural, Optimistic, imPatient, Quirky, Real-world, Single-minded, unTreatable, Unwound, Verbal, Wilful, eXtraordinary, Young and old, Zero-tolerance.

23 thoughts on “Plateau #frustration”

    1. I wish I were exercising too much! I suspect if anything, it may be not quite enough. But it’s enough for me, and for now. I don’t believe more exercise would help shift the plateau, but eventually it will become necessary.

  1. Sorry to hear you’ve reached a plateau. It doesn’t help that it’s winter. That always seems to slow things down. I’m so impressed you’re getting out in the cold to walk. With that kind of dedication, I suspect the plateau won’t last long. Wishing you continued success.

    1. Thank you Carrie! Weirdly I prefer chilly mornings to warm ones – so it’s not so much the cold that gets me, but the fact it’s still dark. 😱

  2. Julie, hang in there. This too shall pass. Be patient, be kind to yourself and stay the course. These are all the things I will need you to say to me when I hit a plateau. You’ve got this! You’ve come so far! Be proud of what you’ve accomplished. I’m with you every step and pound!

  3. Have you thought about the muscle you build when walking the tight hard calfs… muscle takes up less space than fat but weighs more therefore stop weighing for two weeks and use the tape measure only. Or that is what my doc told me. I have also been told 980 calories are not enough… the thought if upping them scares the whatsits out of me. Doc said don’t stop carbs just take on the most efficient ones, sweet potato, oats, spelt flour, we need to eat enough carbs to convert exercise into fat burning mode. There are no easy answers or we wouldn’t be still trying. I Just purchased ( I never buy diet books EVER) Dr Mosley the eight week blood sugar diet, I will let you know how it goes. He developed the 5.2 diet and this is a more scientifically refined version about making you type two and cholesterol med free, it is a way of eating that promotes brain health too. No I don’t get royalties or commission, but I have been at plateau for three months, so I am reading it tonight . good luck x

    1. Wow, plateau for 3 months – that needs commitment and staying power to overcome.

      I’m inclined to agree with your doctor re 980 calories, although I do remember from my youth that diets for weight loss were aimed around 1000 calories. That seems low to me, especially for those people with quite a bit to lose.

      I think Dr Moseley’s books talk a lot of sense and if I fast, it’s in the style of a 5:2 fast day. I don’t tend to follow diet books or count calories, because I want my body to learn what it needs, and I want to learn when enough is enough.

      I’ve toyed with LCHF (low carb high fat), but it doesn’t feel right for me, although having given up added sugar, bread, pasta etc, I’m already pretty low carb. But I still eat porridge/rolled oats, sweet potato, crackers, rice, and fruit, which feels ‘balanced’ to me.

      Good luck with the blood sugar diet book – I read it a few weeks ago. Plenty of good sense – and inspiration and encouragement. Don’t give up Ellen!

      1. I have just under 2 stone to loose it is frustrating. I need to be as near as possible to the optimum weight for height after an op I had two years ago. They want me about 7 stone 7 lb as i am four eleven and a half “Tall”.
        I think 8 stone will be hard enough. But it sounds as if we are doing the same things except I am motivated by a calorie app.

        1. I think from where you are, it’s probably worth being very precise with the calories. You have strong motivation, and the support of your doc. Keep going, you’ll get there!

  4. Talking of Mike Mosley did you catch Trust Me I’m a Doctor? Really interesting about women should exercise after eating to burn calories so morning exercise is often no so effective. Also a study from Israel on gut bacteria and which specific foods sugar spike you. Best of luck Jools

    1. I did indeed see it – fascinating insights. I’m firmly convinced that the ‘experts’ know very, very little about how weight gain/loss works at an individual level. The established (excuse the pun) one-size-fits-all approach to dieting will – I’m certain – be blown out of the water as we learn more about the influence of genetics, gut bacteria, hormones and so much more. I believe people of the future will look back on the way the issue of overweight is treated these days with amazement. Those ‘Trust Me’ articles are great – they only scratch the surface though. So much more will come to light.

  5. Oooh… the dreaded plateau. I can offer a few suggestions. (1) The best quote I heard was ‘winning begins by not losing’. Thinking positively, you could look on this as fantastic that you have managed to slip those little extras in (cheese, butter, cream) and NOT put weight on. A weight plateau is a good thing. After all that will be the eventual aim (after the weight loss) to maintain weight, and how much it is possible to ‘get away with’. So regard this as a ‘maintenance’ interlude. Accepting plateaus as ‘maintenance periods’ has done wonders for my confidence. (2) It is quite right about the muscle mass. If you are doing a lot of exercise and building up muscle strength, you will put weight on (but still lose fat and inches). Keep going, you are doing the right thing. (3) I have never ‘fasted’ (except overnight, of course). However, in the beginning of my program or after a period of indulgences (like after Christmas), I set three days a week aside to only have fruit and vegetables. I remain fairly strict the other days but allow myself other things such as lean meats and dairy. But for those three days, I forego EVERYTHING else except the fruit and veg. When I began doing this, that started my period of more consistent weight loss, week in and week out. (4) Your diet appears to be low in carbohydrate. Going low carb depletes glycogen stores in your muscle. When you do that you also lose water (generally at the start of the diet). However, if that rapid water loss has occurred in the beginning (due to low crab) it means that if you increase the carbohydrate in your diet, the water will be retained again and your weight will go up (or at least not down). I am not advocating that therefore you should stick to low carb. I am not. But it is something to watch out for (weight fluctuations due to fluid not fat) and it may be the reason why you have plateaued. (5) I find green leafy vegetables really boring. I prefer to fill up on the bulkier more satiating vegetables such as carrot, pumpkin, celery and – dare I say it – potato. Filling up on vegetables of every kind makes me feel full with minimal calories (although I do not count the calories).
    Good luck and keep going. You will get there in the end.

    1. Thanks so much for such a thoughtful and detailed comment – I really appreciated your perspective. You’re right about thinking positively. I’ve counteracted the negative of the plateau in the last couple of days by trying on a variety of clothes I’ve had tucked away, waiting for some future date when I was miraculously slim again. Actually most of them are from a time 10 years or so ago, when I was about the weight I have reached now, so I’ve been enjoying the positivity that comes from getting back into old favourites that haven’t fitted me for years.

      I know my digestive system is a sensitive little flower – I’ve never been one of those people who can eat whatever they liked and not have it show. A tiny bit of this or that goes straight to the weighing scales, so those ‘little extras’ have to be reined in.

      What’s interesting about a plateau/maintenance period is that your body keeps on changing shape. It’s a bit like ground settling after an earthquake perhaps. As for muscle mass – that’s another good point, as my calf muscles have been beefing up (no pun intended) with all the walking.

      I struggle with fasting, but am quite able to eat breakfast and a light lunch, and nothing until the next day – which apparently gives you very similar benefits to a full 24-hour fast. But I like your idea of fruit/veg days. I know I eat too much meat, and fruit/veg days could help to redress that balance too.

      As for LCHF (low carb high fat), I’ve tried it, and whilst I love the idea of all that butter and cream, it’s not for me. But as you rightly observe, I’m fairly low-carb anyway, now that I’ve given up sugar as well as bread/pasta etc. As always, it’s about getting the balance right and I am sensitive to the fact that I do tend to retain water some days, and (ahem…) dispense with it, with vigour, on other days! With a very overweight body, water can make a significant difference on a day-to-day basis.

      Unlike you, I actually like green, leafy vegetables! I’m a big fan of spinach and old-fashioned spring greens (both of which used to reduce me to tears at school) and broccoli (does that count as ‘leafy’?). I also love the newly available flower sprouts – worth a try, for sure.

      Elizabeth, thanks so much for your warm encouragement. It’s always so helpful to read of other people’s experiences. Things that work for one person, could well work for others. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. I think dieters (and non-dieters) everywhere feel your pain. I was pained just reading the list of exemptions in your diet. Hurl the yogurt…but try not to lick it off the walls afterward. (My kind of diet advice involves not eating the ENTIRE cake.)

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