So I've been stuck at this weight for about a month now. That's officially a plateau--not a hiccup, not a hitch, a full-on stall. I've read other "help, I'm stuck!" posts for inspiration, I've read over the "slow loser" posts, I've internalized the messages in the "depressed and discouraged" threads. I figured that would be enough; I don't much like to post "wah, help me!" posts on these boards and I really hate feeling as though I lack the resolve to weather plateaus and cravings and such with serenity.
I've considered what it might take to lose more and the answers I've come up with are: A) drop my calories down from 1500 to 1200; B) try something other than calorie counting; or C) up my exercise to a "Biggest Loser" degree of fanaticism. And this makes me angry, because I...well, bluntly, I do not want to do any of these things.
They are not sustainable for me, and sustainability is something that I have considered paramount for the past six months. Sustainability has kept me 100% on my plan for the entire stretch. Crazy crash diets are what I've done before and what has never worked for me in the long term.
I've been saying in other posts that I feel so good that it wouldn't matter if I never lost another pound. In one sense that's true. I feel good. I look good. My life has already changed for the better, and drastically so.
In another sense, it matters to me very very much if I'm truly stuck at 192-193 while eating 1500 calories or fewer per day despite what every calorie calculator I've seen tells me. It's really making me question what a slimmer body is worth to me if it means looking at mealtimes with about as much enthusiasm as I feel for gassing up my car or spending hours doing exercise that leaves me too spent to enjoy my slimmer body.
It's making me frustrated. Actually, it's making me downright angry. Why is it that it took me years to get to 232 pounds despite eating 3000+ calories a day, yet I have stalled out at a weight that is still technically obese at half that? How could such a drop not make more of a difference?
The past two weeks, I've tried cutting down to an average of 1300 calories per week to see if that would do the trick. Nope. Not a twitch of a digit on my scale. So apparently 1300 calories--which is low enough to make me irritable and weepy over insignificant things--is still too high. I don't have much farther I can drop at this point because even at 1300 calories a day, I've been getting some episodes of dizziness and palm-sweats before eating.
I know I sound a bit like a grouchy petulant child who has been told that her bedtime is going to have to move up an hour now that school has started. I know I need to drop my calories lower. Forgive me, I just want to stamp my foot and say, "But I don't WANNA!" because I just don't see right now how I'll be able to pare away still more of my already pared-down diet without feeling deprived.
I haven't felt starved and I haven't felt deprived of one of the fundamental pleasures of life so far, but it is not working for me any more. Are my choices truly to cut to an unsustainable level and consume my butter-less, cheese-less, cheerless "fuel" mechanically or to remain the size I am? I mean, I'm much happier at 192/193 than I was at 232, but...I had vain, silly hopes of at least reaching "overweight" status, y'know? :mad:
It feels strange to say that I am at a breaking point with my weight loss, yet know that I'm not going to "break" and binge. I won't gain my weight back; I'm too happy about swimming and yoga and energy and no heartburn and feeling terrific. However, I am finding myself wanting to "break" in a different way and give myself a rest from food for a few days to see if that helps. But I know that's stupidity; bodies need food, and if I think 1000 calories is unsustainable, 0 is a **** of a lot LESS sustainable.
Ugh, sorry about the rambling and the anger and the frustration. This has been building up for weeks. Thank you for letting me vent. I'll try not to let it happen for another six months. Yecch, going to go take a shower and wash off the stench of weakness and whininess now. :p
05-29-2011, 05:12 AM
I don't think you're whining, not at all. And even if you were, I certainly wouldn't blame you. You're handling this WAY better than I would be. Just today I had a little pity party for myself because the scale has been up all week due to some changes I've made in my exercise. I gain water, and I suddenly turn into a whiny little b*tch.
Since at your height and weight you should be losing an average of 2 lbs per week at 1500 calories if you are moderately active, I'm going to ask you all the things I'm sure you've already thought of. Are you measuring your food or weighing it? Have you been taking your measurements, and if so, are you still losing inches? Are you perhaps exercising too much, and if so, have you tried giving your body a rest for a week? Has TOM been regular? Have your bm's been regular? Are you getting enough water and enough fiber every day? Are you getting enough sleep?
I, personally, don't think you need to drop your calories, especially not if it would make you miserable to do so and/or would be unsustainable. And I don't think you need to exercise like a madwoman, either. If none of the things I mentioned above are issues, then my best suggestion would be to look at your sodium and macronutrient breakdown. For instance, if you're eating high carb, try cutting down the carbs some and upping your protein and good fats. A calorie is a calorie, but people respond differently to different macronutrient ratios.
I am sincerely sorry that you are having to deal with this. No matter how much resolve you have, it is incredibly frustrating to feel like you're doing all the "right" things in a sustainable way and yet your body just won't cooperate. I really feel for you, and I hope this plateau will be just a small bump in the rearview mirror shortly. :hug:
05-29-2011, 07:25 AM
It sounds super-frustrating! It's so annoying when you do all the right things but nothing happens. It always makes me feel like a toddler; I want to yell that it's not fair.
I don't think you should drop your calories more if if makes you feel ill; that's not going to be sustainable, as you say, and it could make you ill. Have you considered trying calorie cycling, or even a diet break? It sounds like you're upset with food right now, and as you can't stop it, it might be worth stopping paying attention/counting for two weeks. Not binging, just... not counting. You'll probably put on a few pounds, but it might be the shake-up in routine your body needs.
Or you could try a different workout routine - not massively intensifying, just trying different things. Do you lift weights/do resistance training? or maybe a spinning class? Or I've tried a hula-hooping class, it was a lot of fun and good exercise.
Try shaking things up before you put yourself on a terribly strict regime. :)
05-29-2011, 07:49 AM
I am so sorry you are going through this. I know all about it and I have felt that anger and shed those tears more often than I care to admit. For whatever (genetic/environmental/pychological) reasons, we are stuck fighting a daily battle that a large portion of the population just doesn't get. When I feel like that, I do try to think about the poor populations in the world who could only dream of our problem, but that only goes so far. Mostly, I just feel your pain.
Regarding your current situation, after one month, it's still possible that you are losing weight, but it just isn't showing on the scale. Where are you in your cycle? Maybe that's hiding a few pounds. Has the weather gotten hot recently where you live? Some folks retain more water in hot weather (Make sure you are drinking enough water!). Have your food choices been a little saltier lately?
Some folks have found that they can break through plateaus by switching things up without restricting calories further or increasing activity.
Maybe you could try a different mix of carbs/protein/fat. Maybe try switching from three meals to several mini meals or vice versa. I know you've found activities you like, but maybe you could try something different for a while? Whatever changes that you can think of that might work for you. Even if the change(s) don't have any effect on weight loss, I find a switch helpful once in a while just to keep things fresh.
Good luck... you are in the toughest part of the weight loss effort and despite your frustration, you have a great attitude and you will ultimately succeed in reaching your goals!
05-29-2011, 08:37 AM
OK, 1st of all, I feel.Your.PAIN. Plateaus are THE WORST! ugh. :hug:
now then...Who says you have to drop your calorie intake to 1200? Or 1300? Try 1400-1450. A small drop. Cut out a piece of cheese or something.
Or.... Your weight loss has been smooth sailing until now. JohnP has mentioned something several times that I have found quite interesting... TAKE A DIET BREAK. A couple weeks, maybe a month. Then jump back into it the way you've been doing.
Other than that & the advice from the posters above, all I can say is HANG IN THERE! Because the end results ARE worth it!
05-29-2011, 08:59 AM
I'd suggest you change your nutrient ratios before you drop the calories lower. Increase your protein, lower your carbs. See what happens! Since it seems as though your are "maintaining" now, it can't hurt to try something different.
05-29-2011, 09:14 AM
Seriously: raise your calories to 1800 for a while. I think your body is in serious starvation mode atm. BUT make sure those extra 300 calories are pure "good" calories. Veggies/fruit or lean protein would do the trick. Do NOT for any reason eat more junk or it will fail.
05-29-2011, 09:19 AM
Omg! I [U]just[U] broke my 4 wk long plateau last week! It's soooo hard. I agree with beach patrol on taking a diet break. I took one for 1 week, where I didnt count cals but just mindfully ate enough to satisfy without stuffing myself. I made sure to still consume my veggies/fruit (tmi: can't "go" w/o them!), and made sure to still exercise. I was able to lose 1lb during my break and then 2lbs the next wk, back on my diet. Please don't get discouraged. You're doing sooo great.
If you're looking for new workouts, try tae bo (it's fun!). There's also a new zumba series out right now. I was looking on ebay yesterday, and a few sellers are selling them by separate dvds for around $20 which is much more affordable than the $90+s&h for the whole set! I've never done zumba b4, but it looks like so much fun that i'll probably go the ebay route soon! Hope some of this helps!
05-29-2011, 09:38 AM
I don't have any better advice than what has been mentioned - but I just wanted to send hugs and let you know that you are in no way whining! I would feel exactly the same, right down to the foot stamp. I hope you're able to break through this using one of the other methods besides dropping your calories, because I truly think you shouldn't have to. Not to say that at some point you might not need to, but not yet.
05-29-2011, 10:21 AM
I was just talking to a friend who lost a lot of weight and has maintained the loss for 4+ years about this yesterday. I was saying that I stay really motivated as long as I am seeing the scale drop, but I am worried about what I will do when I hit a plateau. She told me that what worked for her when she hit a plateau for a long time was to actually up her calories a bit. For a week, she would eat 100-200 more calories than normal. She said it allowed her a bit of a "break" and somehow tricks your body. The next week she ate her normal calories and the scale would move. Might be worth a try.
ETA: I don't think you are whining at all BTW. It sucks when we are working hard and not getting the results we want. I have to commend you for sticking with it.
05-29-2011, 10:23 AM
Oh hun, I understand how hard weight loss is-it's ultimately why I've been put off by my weight loss so many times in the past. The feeling of 'I am working so hard, why aren't I losing??' is absolutely frustrating. I do feel however that your cals seem so low! Maybe try calorie cycling? If I've gone a few weeks without any loss, I put my calories way up to 1800 and then down to 1300, then to 1400 and then up again to 1700 and 1400, and well, you get the idea. I've had two stalls, and this has taken me out both times. I just got out of an almost month long stall, and I understand how horribly frustrating it is. :( But, keep your chin up because you have done amazingly! You will get past this. You will.
05-29-2011, 01:05 PM
I don't have any advice that the others here haven't wisely suggested.
I just want to add my support and a :hug:.
Keep at it. Keep at it. Keep at it. :yes:
05-29-2011, 01:22 PM
Nola, I think you've been given good advice and I have nothing to add to that, but I wanted to mention 2 things:
First, I so enjoy your posts. You're obviously very literate and a terrific writer to boot. You're one of the few people I've encountered who understands the use of a semi-colon -- a true rarity, so I hope you will always continue to post about whatever you wish!
Second, I feel your pain, sister. I've been hovering at my same weight for over a month despite doing everything to mess with my plan: Increase calories, decrease calories, change type of calories, increase exercise, decrease exercise, change type of exercise... and every combination contemplated therein. No joy. I know it will happen. I just have to wait it out. And I know it's awful, but sometimes I find it helpful to remember that people who starved to death didn't worry about plateaus. They knew that sooner or later, the caloric deficit would kill them. So I should STFU and be grateful I have the problems I have! (And sometimes, thinking like this doesn't help at all, so of course please feel free to disregard!!)
Best to you, and hugs! - Rae
05-29-2011, 01:44 PM
As with the others, I feel your pain . . . all I know is everyone's body reacts differently. I hit a little plateau in my 180's for about 5-6 weeks and was in the 170's for only 3 1/2 weeks and until 2 weeks ago I've been STUCK in the 160s for over two months. I was losing inches, but that DA*N scale would not budge!! UGH and OH NO . . . I think for ME, when I hit a plateau I just need to keep on track and wait it out. Keep doing what works for me and then the scale FINALLY MOVES. :D Some people change exercise workouts, some increase or decrease calories . . . find what works for you and know that sooner or later, preferably sooner, the scale will move.
BUT for NO reason give up, you can't fail unless you give up. look how far you've come and if all else fails let me know and I'll let you borrow my sledge hammer :rofl:
05-29-2011, 02:30 PM
I'm going to second (3rd?4th? somethingth?) the suggestion to take a diet break. Either a break from counting, or continue counting but aim for a higher calorie goal - 1800, or even 2000 - for a week or two. Even if it doesn't jump start your weight loss when you go back to counting, I think it would give you the mental break that it sounds like you need more than anything else. Just don't freak out when you see the scale move up, because it probably will a bit.
05-29-2011, 03:08 PM
I pretty much agree with the other posters, I just came in to give you an e-hug :hug:
Just don't give up. Try low carb, try juicing, try vegan, try south beach, try vlcd, I'd recommend you even look up good "jump-start" diets just to zap your body back into action, just don't give up. If your weight has you in a funk, giving up won't change anything. You'll give in, eat what you want, only to eventually decide you want to lose weight again, and be in the same place you are now.
-been there, done that.
05-29-2011, 03:50 PM
First off :hug:
I've finally, finally, FINALLY broken almost a 3 month plateau! :eek:
I lost a ton of inches in the process but this week I've been sick so I haven't been able to workout at all (I was doing heavy lifting before) and my eating has been eh (not like out of control but I haven't felt like cooking so probably more calories than usual). Yeah, so this morning though my scale finally dropped to 189lb. I was beyond thrilled. I think my body just need a break and hopefully now it gets back into the swing of things.
Why not try for one week eating at maitence + more soothing exercises (swimming, yoga etc) just to shake things up a little? Anyways, at the end of the day as long as you stay on your weight loss path THAT's what matters not the scale. Oh, and DO check your measurements!!! I've started keeping track of those during this period.
05-29-2011, 04:07 PM
Hugs :( hang in there ....
05-29-2011, 05:40 PM
Thank you all SO much. It means a great deal to me that I'm not alone in this miserable frustration, nor in feeling at a loss as to how to fix it.
I've gotten some phenomenal advice here; I think that a week-long break (NOT a week-long binge, haha!) from counting/monitoring/hand-wringing is what I'll try. A week of following the same dietary guidelines I've been following, but without pulling out the food scale or the bathroom scale sounds like something I can do. I'll even keep track of when the week begins so I don't let it turn into a longer stretch: "Oops, has it been a month and a half already? My, time flies!" :D
It also sounds like a gentler, kinder thing to do to myself than what I was thinking about last night, which was fasting for a few days. Seeing denial of food as a form of self-punishment for the "sin" of failing to lose weight quickly enough to suit me is emphatically unhealthy. The fact that it was starting to seem appealing to me is appalling to me. If I could successfully punish myself thin, I'd have been slim for a while.
It has definitely gotten warmer here--in New Orleans, summer has arrived already--and one thing I have slacked off with slightly is my water consumption. Thanks for reminding me that it's even more important when the weather gets warm.
SO! I've written it on my dry-erase board, my calendar, and a Post-It on my computer: "Diet Break Ends June 5!" Until then, no counting, no weighing of food or of myself, no going overboard, just taking my first real break since I started. Even if it doesn't break the plateau, I think it'll restore my ability to deal with it with equanimity instead of *****iness and tears.
My poor husband; he has suffered so over the last week. He'll be happy to hear of the Big Break. :)
Thanks again, folks. I could never have imagined how important the support, advice, and expertise I find here is to success. Love y'all! :hug:
05-29-2011, 05:45 PM
I read somewhere that when your body reaches an exceptable weight for itself thats when you stop losing weight! even if you want to lose more it seems to get stuck and be happy where it is. And the suggestion i read for this was to change your exercise routine slightly.
05-29-2011, 05:59 PM
Nola, I'm SO glad you're breathing easier today. I think the diet and scale break is a great idea, and I hope it has you feeling more relaxed at the end of the week. Keep in mind that keeping the exercise light-ish for the week could also help in resetting your body. Good luck, and I can't wait to hear how things go for you. :)
05-29-2011, 06:53 PM
Good for you! I don't think it's a bad thing to do maintenance every once and awhile either. After all, it's good practice for when you do finally get to your goal weight. I remember that there was someone on here for awhile (I hope she stuck around but I can't remember her username!) and she used to diet for 3 weeks and eat maintenance calories for the 4th week. It seemed to work well for her and I remember she was losing consistently.