Weight Loss Support - Let's talk about plateaus

View Full Version : Let's talk about plateaus

04-08-2011, 07:59 PM
Can we make a comprehensive thread about overcoming plateaus? Both the emotional and physical aspects of them? What are the best ways of overcoming one (when even cutting calories and increasing exercise isn't working)? Rants and personal stories are also welcome! :D

04-09-2011, 09:43 AM
I've been stuck on a plateau for a while, despite eating the same way I've been eating for nine months. Staying within my calorie goal just wasn't cutting it. I've been trying to eat less processed "healthy" foods, and replacing them with raw veggies and lean meats, as well as getting more fiber in my diet. I also starting taking my work outs more seriously, and that's what has been helping me the most. I think my metabolism just died a bit, but working out often seems to.. uh, jump start it a bit?

04-09-2011, 09:48 AM
I've been stuck on a plateau for a while, despite eating the same way I've been eating for nine months. Staying within my calorie goal just wasn't cutting it. I've been trying to eat less processed "healthy" foods, and replacing them with raw veggies and lean meats, as well as getting more fiber in my diet. I also starting taking my work outs more seriously, and that's what has been helping me the most. I think my metabolism just died a bit, but working out often seems to.. uh, jump start it a bit?

Thanks so much for posting, I was just about to bump this. ;)

I'm sorry about your plateau. Has switching up your food choices helped? How did you change your workout? Have you been able to break out of it now? Good luck!!!

I've recently started counting calories but have not seen changes in the scale (I did have one day that it dropped a pound but it bounced back up immediately afterward). I'm going to stay at 1800 for a week and if that doesn't work I'm going to try and drop them further. But I'm already really struggling just staying around 1800 so I'd rather not drop them anymore.

I've also really increased my workouts but that doesn't seem to be helping either. :?:

04-09-2011, 09:52 AM
I think my food choices have helped, but I haven't totally been sticking to it 24/7 because I'm lazy and sometimes a frozen diet meal is just that much easier. :P

The exercise, however, has helped a lot. Here's a picture (http://i.imgur.com/r2wD8.png) showing only a ten pound difference (bathing suit), but it looks like A LOT more because I gained a lot of muscle. So even though it feels like I've only lost 10 or so pounds in the past couple of months, I've really lost more.

What are you struggling with regarding the calories? Are you still hungry? That might be due to your food choices. When I first started losing weight, I was near your weight, and I had a VERY large appetite and I struggled at first. Instead of small portions of high-calorie foods, I'd graze on raw veggies all day and make my veggie portions of my meals the biggest. You can eat MORE things to keep full, but they have to actually be healthy things.

What sort of work outs are you doing?

04-09-2011, 10:06 AM
My biggest struggle with calories is nighttime. I do just fine during the day. I get in a lot of veggies and have been eating a lot of salads too. But it's after dinner. I normally eat dinner around 7? But I stay up late (11-12) because I need to work at nights and that's the worst time for me. So after dinner I've normally eaten 1200-1400 calories but I can't sleep shortly after that because I have work that needs to be finished after DD's in bed (and that's the only chance I get to have any adult conversations with DH).

I normally eat healthy foods during that time but I'm STARVING and always make it up to 1800 during that time no matter how well I ate during the day before that.

As for activity, I'm really active. We don't have a car so we take walk/take public transit everywhere. I have a 2 year old so we do a lot of outdoors stuff with her too. I work out pretty much every day and right now I'm alternating days between weight lifting and HIIT.

I have been losing inches but I'm 6-7 lbs away from getting into the overweight range and it's driving me nuts not seeing the scale move at all. :mad:

Oh, and you look great in your picture, you can definitely see the difference! Congrats! Intellectually, I know that losing inches means something but it's the whole emotional insanity of being so close to being out of the obese range and not seeing any movement on the scale that's driving me nuts.

04-09-2011, 10:33 AM
I have also been stuck and finally this week dropped 2.5 lbs! :carrot: I hadn't lost anything in more then a month before that. I kicked up my exercising ALOT and also watched my food choices a lot closer then I had been. I also have cut out red meat to see if that would help.

04-09-2011, 10:47 AM
Sometimes your body just needs a little time to catch-up. If you stay OP and exercise then you will eventually see a loss. Just like our minds don't immediately catch up to our bodies, our bodies don't immediately show the results of our hard work. It will happen, just give it time.

04-09-2011, 12:07 PM
I don't know if my situation is technically a "plateau," but I know I'm definitely experiencing a lot of frustration over my inability to lose more weight.

4 years ago I went from 235 to 200 (I'm 5'3") and then maintained that during a pregnancy. Then 3 years ago I went from 200 to about 155. Since that time I've gained/lost weight but stayed in the 150-160 range. There have been a couple times - most recently a year ago - when I actually pulled out the old notebook and kept track of my calories for a few months and lost 5-10 pounds. But otherwise I don't work any kind of plan.

It's not the end of the world if I spend the rest of my life at this weight. According to the charts I should be 140 lbs max, and my personal experience is that my lowest maintainable weight is around 125-130. So I think 140 is a good goal weight for me. Yet that's been my goal for about 2 years now and I can't seem to motivate myself to go (and stay) below 150.

I guess I've lost my motivation. I told myself last year when I'd gotten back down to 150 that I shouldn't stop, because it is so much easier to just stay on the diet train than to try to get back on after a "break." Sure enough, that "break" has been a year now. I've stopped weighing myself regularly, and haven't tracked my calories for more than a couple days at a time. I was weighed at the doctor recently and luckily haven't gained much (I was 152) but I don't want to wait until I'm 160 again to find motivation. Especially because losing that 10 pounds just to get to 150 again is going to tick me off.

I haven't weighed 140 since before I had kids - gosh, that would be almost 12 years now. I know I'd feel so good if I could achieve that. If nothing else I would feel proud of myself. But I think I could also really, really use the boost to my self-esteem in terms of how I look. I don't know how much a 10 lb loss at this weight would effect my energy and health, but I'm sure it wouldn't hurt.

I'm new here, and I guess I just needed to tell my story. When I saw the word "plateau" in the title I just felt compelled to write it out here. (Then I saw criss's pictures and wow! that was motivating! Although I'd have to do a lot more than lose 10 lbs to rock a swimsuit like that!)

I'm hoping I can find the motivation and determination I need to get going (and stay going) through another 10 pounds.

04-09-2011, 01:06 PM
I had about a month of a plateau followed by a gain of 2lbs!! Omg I almost threw my scale out the window.

Just started practicing IF (intermittent fasting) and I've lost 1.5 lbs in the last week so it seemed to be the jump start I needed.

I take a plateau as a time to switch things up!

04-09-2011, 01:32 PM
Any discussion of plateaus should first include what we're going to define as a plateau.

1 week without a loss? 10?

The body can retain water for a long time masking fat loss.

04-09-2011, 01:55 PM
I think I just broke the worlds longest plateau! OMG!:carrot:

I have heard that plateaus occur around the time we hit a 10% loss of weight. That's when mine hit, almost three years ago. I scrutinized my diet, cut calories, switched up exercise, quit everything, changed what I was eating, took vitamins, drank more water, slept more...nothing happened.

It was a long slow process to figure out what to do...lots of trial and error. I have issues...PCOS and type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, stress-induced high blood pressure. I also discovered I have a soy allergy. I had to eat clean (NO processed foods and very careful about eating out). I had to cut carbs to below 120 gm/day and cut out all processed carbs, including bread, pasta and anything sweet (even Splenda and Stevia). I had to also cut all starchy vegetables (potatoes, legumes, carrots, sweet potatoes). Most of my carbs come from non-starchy vegetables, like greens. And it all has to be organic too. I eat a single serving of fresh fruit a day. All my proteins had to be soy-free, which also meant cage-free eggs and poultry, grass-fed beef, lamb and pork, and wild caught seafood. My dairy is all full-fat because it's lower in carbs. As much of my fats as possible had to come from vegetable sources (olive oil, raw nuts, etc.)

I also had to eliminate medications I was taking that prevented me from losing weight, like my blood pressure meds and depression and anxiety med. I had to learn to manage all that without meds.

On the non-diet front, I had to make sure I slept seven to eight hours a night. I had to learn to manage and eliminate stress from my life. I had to do a variety of exercise in a timely manner (cardio after eating, weight training three times a week, Pilates up to five times a week).

Even with all of that, I would lose less than half a pound a week, sometimes. Mostly I just maintained. Going off that structure and I would start to gain back one to eight pounds.

I then started looking into taking different nutitional supplements, which is what finally did the trick for me. I take stuff to support my thyroid and adrenals for metabolism, for my pancreas to enable better blood sugar maintenance, for my liver to enhance fat processing, for my bowel health to improve digestion.

I have to do ALL of that to lose weight. Have lost 10 lbs since getting all that under control. I am willing to maintain that in order to lose the weight. I'm not perfect, but it's working, so I'm feeling encouraged to keep going.

04-09-2011, 02:14 PM
Any discussion of plateaus should first include what we're going to define as a plateau.

1 week without a loss? 10?

The body can retain water for a long time masking fat loss.

^^This. I think it would be really helpful if anyone complaining about a plateau includes in their post an honest statement of how many weeks they have followed their plan without seeing any loss.

I honestly believe that if it's not been at least 4 weeks, preferably 6 or more, it's not time to change your plan - rather, it's time to trust your plan and give it a few more weeks to shake itself out. Most of us lose in fits in starts, not in nice clockwork uniform increments week after week after week. And, especially after a period of weight loss, your body sometimes just takes a rest to regroup.

In fact, I think mucking with your plan too often, especially because you haven't seen any loss in some small amount of time like a couple of weeks, is actually a bad idea, because it makes it harder for you to develop a routine, and harder for you determine which changes to your plan actually make a difference.

I have just been working through a difficult period myself where my weight loss (which was already not terribly quick) has slowed down even more over the past month. I may have lost 2 pounds of fat in the last 30 days, but I may not have - regular fluctuations make it hard for me to resolve changes at the 2-3 pound level.

This has been maddening, frustrating - but I'm not ready to say it's a plateau, because it just hasn't been long enough. Also, I'm pretty sure my shape has changed during this time - some pants and a belt I just bought are already fitting way too large. So what might be happening is that my body is regrouping, redistributing itself after the last round of loss, and for all I know another whoosh is just around the corner. So, I am going to stick to my plan for another couple of weeks before I decide that it's time to reduce my calories or step up my exercise or whatever.

I know it's difficult and frustrating; I know we work so hard every day and we want to see results NOW, but that just isn't how it works most of the time, and there's nothing we can do to change that. You just have to exercise your patience muscle along with all the other muscles you exercise. That's been the biggest lesson for me in this process.

04-09-2011, 07:34 PM
Thanks to everyone who shared their personal stories!

gerly1 - that's great! I've been cutting back on my red meat too, although that's more for other health reasons but I'm hoping it could help with this plateau too. ;)

bgpnstj - welcome to the board! I've found 3FC to be a great place to get motivation. :D I also try and watch the Biggest Loser and Heavy for extra motivation. Stick around and I'm sure you'll get some great ideas on how to continue your journey.

Txalupa - I've been thinking a bit about IF because at nighttime I'm also starving. As is I've been trying to eat lighter during the day so I have more calories available at night but I'm someone who if I don't get in a good breakfast, I'm starving!

geoblewis - Thanks for sharing your story! I'm starting to think I might have to go down a similar road. I've had cysts before and am trying to get an ultrasound set up soon to check if I still have any. I've done low carb before and it worked well but that was years ago and I wasn't able to stick to it very well.

JohnP, carter, and Hopeful8- my plateau has been going on almost 6 weeks now. 6 weeks ago I had a miscarriage and a D&C so I wasn't able to work out the first two weeks afterwards. As horrible as that experience was, I had two days of having an one ice cream shake each day and then pretty much went back on plan after that (intuitive eating+whole foods).

We had a move during those first two weeks following and after that move I now have free access to a great gym and pools and have really, really increased my exercise from when I was pregnant (and even before I got pregnant). Like I said before, I work out almost every day (normally only have 1-2 days off a week). Starting this Monday I started counting calories too to see if that would have an affect and have been staying at 1800 calories. I may try and drop that lower starting next Monday if I'm still not able to lose anything. We don't eat out at all so I know the exact measurements (as much as possible without a scale) of everything I'm eating.

Immediately after my miscarriage I lost a pound but I have a feeling that was just water weight. The scale basically has been fluctuating between 191-192 this whole time. I have lost some inches but then again I went from pregnant to not pregnant recently so that's not a huge surprise but my muscles have become noticeably more defined too so that's part of it also. I also feel like somewhat swollen, especially at night, but I'm not sure how much that's contributing.

For some other health reasons I'm working on cutting back on coffee, red meat, and cheese. I still have them but to a lesser extant than before.

04-19-2011, 08:24 AM
hello, everyone. I'm new here. :) :)

I lost five pounds in one week on The Perfect 10 diet, but I have been at a plateau since last Thursday. I am going to try to up my exercising a bit today, but I read through the posts and there is some great advice here... :) Thanks!

04-19-2011, 10:41 AM
OK, I have a question, since someone mentioned it earlier in the thread -- what exactly is intermittent fasting? I've never thought of fasting as something that was beneficial, so I'm curious.

04-19-2011, 11:07 AM
I’m just dropping by to give you all props for hanging in there during your plateaus! I know I haven’t technically had one (longest for me was 2 weeks without a loss) but considering the frustrations I felt during that time, I can’t even imagine what something longer would do to me.

It helps me reading these posts because I know the closer I get to my goal the more likely I am to see a true plateau!

Kudos to you all! :)

04-19-2011, 11:35 AM
In my almost four week of diet now I had one week without weight loss. I didn't eat even a calorie above scedule, I excersized daily and the same as before etc. During that week my bodyshape changed amazingly though. My butt lifted and my bulging tummy got flatter.

So the scale looked the same, but my body looked quite different.

I guess it was like a miniplateau :D I excersize a lot so perhaps the muscle gain isn't helping the scale number. But I do care more what I look like than what I weigh.

I don't expect to reach the finish line like for another 12 months so I'm cool about my rather steady 50 grams a day loss.

04-19-2011, 01:47 PM
Thank you Carter... I was thinking the same way and you put it into words

yoyo mama
04-21-2011, 01:31 AM
I like the idea of cycling to overcome a plateau. It just makes sense if you think about your body adjusting it's metabolism to a certain amount calories each day. If you keep it changing, your metabolism will stay higher and your weight loss will continue. Here's a link I found for the Wendie Plan which is an unofficial cycling for the Weight Watcher plan. It seems like the theory could be used for any diet thought. Wendie Plan (http://wendie-plan.com)

04-21-2011, 08:18 PM
I only weigh about one time per month. I know that in my previous "dieting" adventures the lack of movement on the scale would make it so hard to stay motivated.

Now, I am trying to treat this as a long-term lifestyle change. I figure the scale will take care of itself and my weight will come down over a long time. I don't even own a scale - I go to my doctor's office and use theirs.

I know my body is good at keeping weight on and so last month I started a monthly measurement chart. I plan to measure every month to document progress. I sure wish I had started that right a way.

Hang in there everyone!

04-21-2011, 08:32 PM
I don't know about physical plateaus, but here's how I steel myself emotionally to deal with them: I have to put the time on the stall into perspective.

I'm 25 - I've lived about 1,300 weeks. And for most of them, I have eaten whatever I wanted and done whatever I wanted... and the consequences of those choices have led me here. Yes, it sucks that I have lost 0 pounds in 1 or 2 weeks... but in the grand scheme of things, two weeks is such a small period of time. Heck, if I'm trying to have a rockin bod for life, two months is nothing. As long as I haven't gained any fat, it's better than before.

Mind you, I have to tell myself that 3-5 times a day.