The Peril of #Plateau


I’m stuck.  Again. I’ve been up and down the same three pounds for 10 weeks. I made it to 200 pounds, hit my 70-pound loss marker (a very big deal for me), squeezed out another pound, drifted back over 200 pounds, then back down, back up again, sticky for a week, then down again, dancing around and about the same three frustrating pounds.  And it’s gone on for… weeks.

I decided I might try and go back to the way I was eating this time last year, when I was comfortably losing between one and two pounds a week. I hadn’t revisited my food diary for this far back before. So what did I expect to find?

To be frank, I thought I’d be reminded that I was eating a bit less back then than I am today; I thought I’d be forced to face an uncomfortable truth. I expected to be jogged into some kind of ‘fair enough, I get it’ response; I thought I’d be forced to admit that as time has gone on, I’d let things slide a bit.

But I hadn’t.  Back then, so it seems, I was if anything eating more – and a little more indulgently –  than I am today.

I was still making my breakfast Bircher muesli with sweetened yoghurt (horrors!). I had a couple of favourite pre-made salads and even one or two less processed ready-meals (I hadn’t yet got properly to grips with a change in my cooking habits). I was snacking on cashew nuts and rice crackers, toasting soy and linseed bread. I was tucking into mixed Chinese starters and crispy duck pancakes. I was treating myself to cheeses and pates on a regular basis. I was getting away with all of this, and still losing a comfy pound or more every single week.

So I already eat less. I eat better too; more ingredients, fewer processed items, almost no bread, rice, pasta or potato, no added sugar.  But somewhere in there, if I’m to chip away at the remaining 30 pounds or so, adjustments must be made.

When you think about it, it makes sense. I’m hauling around the equivalent of two well-packed medium-sized holiday suitcases LESS than I was this time last year.  Logically, it’s taking me less energy to simply… exist; and when it comes to any level of physical activity, I’m expending less energy there too.

When I think back to last year, a simple 40/50-minute stroll was quite an exertion, resulting in me returning home with rather more than a gentle glow about me.  I would need to go out on any kind of walk in exercise clothes, and with time for a shower once I got home. My heart-rate from such a walk would be high, my sweat-glands over-active, my muscles twitching from the efforts. Today, a walk is… just a walk; executed in any old clothes, at any old time of the day, and without the need to carry a pocket full of kitchen towel for brow-mopping purposes. The first time I realised I needed to put a jacket ON to go on a walk (rather than strip down to a sleeveless vest, even on the chilliest day), was a joy.

So… two things:

  1. I burn less energy simply existing, so I do need to consume a little less fuel
  2. Without going all gym-bunny (never gonna happen) I need to up the ante a little in the exercise stakes. Walking still, but faster; maybe try that ‘Couch to 5k’ App I’ve been threatening to deploy.

Nothing stays the same. You have to adapt, modify, re-calibrate. Whilst, like last time, it’s been frustrating, getting plateaued, I’m also pleased, as it’s telling me positive things about the impact my lifestyle changes have had on my health and fitness over the last year and more – and that’s all good.

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.

10 thoughts on “The Peril of #Plateau”

  1. I’m so impressed with you, Julie. I may be one of those naturally slim people (well, relatively – I am a little heavier than I was 20 years ago) I’m always impressed by the will power people show when making major lifestyle changes. I’m not sure I would be able to do likewise in the same situation.
    I would recommend more exercise. I run – although not as much as I should – and while I haven’t really lost a lot of weight as a small percentage of what was once fat has turned to heavier muscle – it has changed my body shape and given me a lot more energy.
    Good luck!

    1. Thank you, Dylan! Strangely, it was a picture taken at the first Bloggers Bash that proved the final straw for me, and set me on a path to finally doing something about my surplus tonnage. Willpower is certainly a part of it at first, but when you find a way to retrain your mind and change bad habits; when you start seeing the world of food, nutrition and ‘treats’ through different eyes, willpower becomes less important. Besides, you’d have to be super-human to keep going on willpower alone for, oh, the rest of your life!

      You’re right, I should do a bit more exercise; for toning, changing body shape as well as for increasing my metabolism. I would like to increase my stamina a little too (but no running for me!).

  2. I second that motion… Any kind of motion really, rather than stripping more and more from your diet. I too am in awe of what you’ve changed in the past year and I do think that you’ve reduced your diet as much as you can. Swim, dance or wash the windows – if weight loss is a mathematical calculation, then being more active will burn more calories. And when you’re eating so little, your body will have to rely on its considerably less stocked larder.

    1. Thank you – as always – for your lovely compliments. If only weight loss were simply a mathematical calculation! I know I need to move more, but the adjustments must come right across the board – food too!

  3. I must say you are a star to analyse yourself so. The combination of nthe food changes.and exercise are so impressive. Hope you can add in whatever twist you need to reach your goal.

    1. Thanks Geoff! It’s little tweaks rather more than anything drastic – and the need to re-appraise now and again, rein in the odd bad habit, remind myself why I’m doing this, and what I’m getting out of it. Those remaining 30 pounds will be a lot more stubborn than the first 70, but I’m sticking to it – the gains are so compelling!

  4. You have clearly been so successful with your new lifestyle and being able to analyse your current situation is highly impressive. You are definitely getting both mind and body in perfect harmony. So just a more low impact exercise could be the answer – swimming perhaps. Keep up the good work, you are doing incredibly well, with lots of proud folks cheering you on. All the best, Brian

    1. You are always too kind, Brian! I think we all know what we need to do or change – the trick is to get down and do it! That’s where the mental side of it comes in – and all the positivity and encouragement that comes from the lovely people who read my blog. I’m definitely going to refocus on exercise. I’d started swimming regularly, but the last 3 or 4 weeks have been a bit disrupted, so I need to get back in the water. Thanks again for being on my support team! x

  5. As long as it is a plateau and not a creep back up, it should right itself eventually.
    Time to reflect on how far you have come, how well you are doing, and how healthy you are.
    You are doing great!

    1. It’s definitely a plateau! And even that aspect of it, frustrating though it is, feels good, because I know that in past times, I’ve let such things ruin my ‘diet’ and the weight has piled back on. This time, with more lasting and fundamental changes not just to my habits, but to my mindset, it’s a very different thing. Thanks so much for your support too, Elizabeth. Blogging my ‘journey’ (oh… what a word!) is helping to keep me accountable, as well as to better understand the feelings and emotions that surround health and diet for me.

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