By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)
Since I weighed 460 when I started my journey and I weigh 334 now, you can bet that I’ve had my fair share of plateaus. They are frustrating to say the least and sometimes are the one thing that can break your resolve to stay in a healthy lifestyle, even after months or years of successful fit living.
Personally, I blame the scale. It takes itself too seriously and convinces us that it is the only way to judge whether we are making progress. We want so badly to see those numbers go down. I don’t know if you’ve ever had this experience or not, but I can be having a perfectly “thin” day (where I feel good about myself and my body) and then I jump on the scale. If that number goes up even slightly, sometimes it’s like putting an anvil on my back. All the bounce goes out of my step and I feel sluggish, depressed, and as if I’ve failed. Sometimes I feel as if I should just give up.
Since SparkPeople has come into my life, I’ve learned that sometimes the scale goes up or stays the same because my body decides it is time to rest and adjust. I suspect my mind needs time to rest and adjust too. My mantra? Lose, maintain, but just don't gain. Gains do happen, but bodies are alive and changing by the minute. Haven’t you noticed that you weigh differently at different times of the day? Picking one consistent time and not weighing as often, for example weighing weekly or monthly, helps avoid the pitfalls of the body just doing its thing.
There are many reasons why you might plateau. Sometimes we become less vigilant about measuring, take more bites, licks, and tastes, we retain water, gain muscle and the list continues. The thing to remember is that your body is changing more than in numbers. Think of your body saying to you “I can’t change everything at once; I’m working on inches for awhile.” Inches are nothing to sneeze at either; losing those are what will get you into the new clothes you’ve been eyeing. Maybe this plateau is building some healthy lean muscle tissue for you. Studies have shown that when people begin to exercise, they sometimes gain weight. Don’t forget the comfort factor with your eating habits. Maybe you’ve become lax with weighing, measuring, and aren’t counting some of the “little” things you have throughout the day. There is also the possibility that your body is just being stubborn and you’ll just have to wait.
So how do you break through a true plateau? First you have to be honest with yourself and ask if you’ve been treating yourself a little more, measuring a little less or taking too many bites, licks and tastes. If you think any of those may be the culprit, that’s a good place to start.
Here is how I break my plateaus:
Sometimes it just takes your body time to come around. Be patient and kind to it. You will see weight loss again, but in your body’s time. Give it all the love and help it needs.
Need help breaking through your own plateaus? Check out our three-part series: Plateau Busters.
How do you break through a plateau?