Weight Loss Support - 12-Week Plateau

View Full Version : 12-Week Plateau

12-08-2011, 10:38 PM
I've only plateaued once before, and that time I responded by going on informal Aktins and eating nothing but meat and cheese for a month. I lost 4 lbs, then gained 8, then fell off the wagon completely.

I plateaued around mid-September. My weight started bouncing around the same 3 lbs. I'm a calorie-counter who doesn't eat starches. I was doing 1200 cal a day, which has worked for me in the past. However, I'm older now and bodies change.

After 6 weeks in the plateau zone, I figured I'd better change things up. I started doing kettlebells twice a week with an RKC trainer - fun, I love it, so glad I did it. I also started walking 10-15 miles at a time once a week (the only time I can do that). I'm working on getting into weight training and I plan to do it 3x a week once I get started. I also do yoga 1-2x a week. Written out, it sounds like I'm really active, but when I'm not working out, I'm sitting, so it's not really a lot of activity in the scheme of things.

About 10 days ago, I upped my calories to 1350 on rest days and 1500 on training days. I think that years of yoyo dieting at 800-1200 calories a day has messed me up and I need to give my body something to work with. I plan to continue to raise the calories in small increments to see what happens, especially once I get serious about weight training.

This week, I started paying attention to macros. I upped my protein a LOT, which is hard because I'm used to eating mainly veggies (a necessity for a 1200-cal diet). Now I'm trying the Leigh Peele thing and trying to think of my food in grams instead of calories - although I'm still struggling with that and am not meeting the carb numbers.

Lastly, I'd gotten lazy about weighing and measuring. I weighed my main meals -- but not every little nibble or taste. I fixed that.

Not all of these changes were made at once, but it's been 6 weeks since I started them. Two days ago, my weight on the scale fell 1.5 lbs below the lowest of the plateau weight. It stayed there another day and today there was another small drop. I will be completely NOT SURPRISED if I bounce back into the plateau zone tomorrow. But hopefully, the number on the scale indicates that something I'm doing is working. Hopefully, because if what I'm doing now doesn't work, I'm about out of ideas.

I am trying to focus on NSVs. They exist. I've lost about 1.5" from my waist, my jeans are a little baggy in the thighs and seat, and I'm definitely stronger and fitter from the exercise. When I poke my arm, thigh, or sides, my finger hits some hard stuff beneath the blubber. Still - the scale matters to me. I really want it to plummet. NSVs are wonderful, but they're slow and I still have about 40 lbs of fat to lose.

That's my plateau story. I've read a lot of other plateau stories here that helped me stay motivated during previous mini-plateaus, so I thought I'd share mine in hopes someone else might find it helpful.

I'm open to hearing anyone's thoughts.

12-09-2011, 02:22 AM
Have you tried praying about it?

Just kidding. It seems like you are super aware and edcuated with regard to what you are doing to lose. I hope, for your sake, that it was simply a matter of needing to eat a few more calories a day and I hope your recent loss sticks.

I know I will probably plateau many times before I even reach 148. Our bodies really cling to the pounds as we start moving down, it seems around the "50 lbs til goal weight". I think it is then time to re-evaluate your goal weight to determine if it is best for you.

I've read a lot on the internet about cortisol and how it effects people who have been in a major calorie deficit [while exercising] for a long period of time. It makes it quite hard to lose. I can't speak about this because it is not my specialty (I think JohnP has read up on this topic).

I can speak from a psychological point of view - something will need to change for you or you will throw in the towel again. Continued effort and no results for a long period of time almost always leaves one extremely frustrated and unhappy (in all circumstances). I think you need to "back away" a bit and stop observing yourself so closely. You are doing everything correctly - you can rest assured, but you cannot command your body to lose.

I assume that you are losing fat, but it is not a large enough amount to really impact the scale (I'm not sure if you knew this, but the everyday scales most of us own can never achieve the accuracy we want - it is even difficult for it to accurately measure a 2 - 5lbs. difference! It is really not going to accurately read the small losses. I learned this fact from my physics/mechanically minded German engineer boyfriend!). So, maybe you are really losing 1/4 lb. a week, for example.

12-09-2011, 09:01 AM
Losing motivation is a big concern. I can stay on plan a long time, but as everyone here knows, staying on plan takes a lot of focus. If nothing else, this plateau is practice for maintenance.

A big thing on my mind me right now is that link somebody posted to the woman's story on nerd fitness. Body recomposition is a good goal, and I know it's happening - I can see it and feel it. Also, I'm heavily involved with a sport and I have a sports goal for this summer. That is immensely helpful; when I'm sweating to death in kettlebell, I don't think about burning calories, I think about developing explosive power.

All that said, your remarks about inaccurate scales is much appreciated! It's amazing how some ideas are so deeply ingrained in our minds. I know that body recomposition is my goal, not a number on the scale, but I still want to see that scale move (downward, of course).

Oh, and I haven't prayed, but I've cursed a lot. A LOT!

12-11-2011, 03:31 AM
I do like thinking of a plateau as practice for maintenance - I mean, when we are in maintenance, we also won't be rewarded on the scale for any of our hard work. I suppose we should learn to get used to the scale not moving.