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Fighting the plateau

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Old 07-08-2011, 04:51 PM   #1
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Default Fighting the plateau

I've been sticking to my diet pretty well (which has lost me 25 lbs. so far), and I've been strenuously exercising at least 5x/wk, also. And I weight right now exactly what I weighed 12 days ago. Up a pound, down a pound, up a pound, down a pound.... When I stepped on the scale this morning and saw that I had gained the same lost pound back again, I thought I was going to scream.

So I'm having to make some modifications to try and shake something up. I'm dropping my allowed calories/day by 100. I'll just have to be really careful to pace my eating and leave myself enough at night, which is my weak time. I'm also going to try and eat more protein while avoiding big carb counts in what I eat (high-fat stuff I already stay away from).

I'm also going to have to exercise 7x/wk - at least until I get out of this plateau. That means riding the bike when I'm tired, or going out to exercise when I'd just rather not. I don't enjoy less food and exercising more, but I enjoy this plateau even less.

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Old 07-08-2011, 05:02 PM   #2
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12 days isn't a plateau. Frustrating? Yes. But, a plateau is more like 4 - 6 weeks.
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:05 PM   #3
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I agree. I am just coming out of a month-long plateau. I finally saw the scale move today! Patience and persistence -- that's what it takes. Try not to get discouraged. It happens to a lot of us.
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:46 PM   #4
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I have a plateau every few pounds that I lose, or so it seems like. Keep going, you'll drop the weight. -hugs-
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Old 07-08-2011, 05:59 PM   #5
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I guess my plateaus are measured differently from others. I saw my wife on her diet lose ~ 3 lbs./week, every week, for four months. She never, ever didn't go a week without losing at least 2 lbs. So 12 days for me and zero weight loss is what I call a plateau. But it's ok, I know that plateaus are inexplicable. I am, however, going to drop my calories the next few days and see what happens. Then I'll go back to normal and see if that does the trick. I forget sometimes that if I workout hard for two hours, then go home and sleep for two, it kind of defeats the purpose of exercise and weight loss to begin with.
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:04 PM   #6
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Alot of plateaus IMO are hormonal, not metabolic. Weight loss and gain are not just about calories in and out, there are also other forces at work. Calorie restriction can lower your T3 and leptin levels, and when those are abnormally low it will make it difficult to budge the scale until your body regulates those issues. In a normal healthy person that will happen on it's own, usually in a few weeks. But who wants to wait for that?

This is why cheat days or temporarily raising calories works for so many people to break a stall. Try taking a day or two off your diet calorie level to boost hormone levels. Specifically, eat fattening foods. Just be careful not to go overboard on the sodium/carbs as that will make you show a gain (unless that doesn't bother you, it's just water and would go away quickly). Foods high in fat will boost your leptin levels, and the jump in calories will boost T3.

And personally I think the break can be pretty friggin enjoyable anyway

Best of luck!
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:44 PM   #7
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I have been exercising intensely 4 days a week for 5 hours and have not lost more than 1 lb! I'm struggling and getting uninspired to work out.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:00 PM   #8
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I have just come off a 9 month plateau! Talk about frustration! But the more I read about it and searched out possible issues, I finally understood that after losing half my excess weight, my body simply needed a rest and reset. I went to a ketogenic level in carbs, upped my fats and I am losing again.
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #9
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Hi dragonlady1978,

Thank you, i have experinced same things but did not know the reasoning. R u a diatician? U know, when my weight increases because of water retention, I drink more water and then the weight comes down
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Old 07-09-2011, 03:31 PM   #10
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You ppl seem to be so knowladgeable, what si ketogenic level? and what happens when u increase fat?
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:28 PM   #11
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Nope sorry, not a dietician just a nerd with personal hormonal battles and alot of time on my hands.
Dietary fat doesn't make you fat. All the science points to high carb being responsible for most overweight issues.

Leptin is a hormone that keeps cravings down and tells your body to burn fat. It is thought that the amount of leptin your body actually utilizes can be damaged by something called leptin resistance, which is very similar to insulin resistance.

Eating a high carbohydrate/high fructose diet causes the signal between leptin and the fat cells in your body to be ignored because simple carbs and fructose cause unnaturally high spikes. Spike high consistently, and your body will begin to ignore those signals from leptin - cravings increase and metabolism slows because your body can't use the leptin it needs. Insulin resistance works in much the same way (insulin is yet another hormone that affects weight loss because it is responsible for directing the carbs and fat you eat to be either burned for fuel or stored as fat).

Increasing your fats if/when your are leptin (or insulin) resistant can increase your body's sensitivity again-which basically means that it boosts your body's usable level of leptin (it is technically DECREASING in numbers but boosted in effect because it is no longer being ignored/unproductive). It's a complicated process that would require even more than this novel to fully explain lol, but it's something to consider if you're stalling for seemingly no reason

A ketogenic level of carbs just means lowering carb intake to put your body into ketosis, which happens when your body does not have enough glycogen to burn as fuel so instead it draws on fat stores. In a nutshell it's how low carb diets work.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:35 PM   #12
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Discouraged again.

When you really curb your eating and exercise regularly (including when you don't feel like it), you expect results. Not just in dieting, but with anything. My weight loss is now moving at a snail's pace. I weigh now what I weighed 12 days ago - with a low daily calorie count (and I write down everything) and every-day hard exercising.

I had been losing weight on 1800/day calories several months ago, but it was real slow going. I decided to drop to 1600/day and then I started steadily losing. I stalled again recently, so as an experiment I dropped to 1500/day and began exercising daily (not just 3x a week) to see what would happen. The result? I haven't lost anything in 12 days time. Yes, I've fluctuated up and down a pound or two in that time, but I weigh now what I weighed 12 days ago, which is maddening. And discouraging. Especially considering the lengths to which I'm going right now to lose.

Considering how long I've been at this weight, I don't think it's water-weight. It would have evened out by now. I'm thinking I may be under-counting my calories somewhere. But if I'm doing it now, I was doing it while at 1600/day, too. 1500/day is my bottom limit, I think, before I start thinking of nothing but food all day long and wanting to eat my arm off, which might result in the dam bursting and me going to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet and gorging until I'm flat on my back. I think at this point I'm going to have to bite the bullet and do a 2x/day bike ride (my stationary bike in the house). It's pretty intense and I'm soaked after a 30-min. bike ride (I also mix in tennis with this). I'll have to get up an hour earlier than I do now to get an extra one in, then do another after I get home from work which I do now. Between those and 1500-cal./day, I find it hard to believe that my body wouldn't release the weight. At some point there's going to be a daily calorie deficit. I think I'm at the tipping point right now.

And to think - I used to maintain a firm hard body in my twenties for free.
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Old 07-13-2011, 04:54 PM   #13
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This is going to sound weird but maybe you should try increasing your calories for a while. If you are doing all that exercise, its a possibility that your body is not getting all the food it needs hence the stall.

Another thing for you to consider - are you measuring your food with a food scale? When I hit a major plateau I bought a food scale so that I could monitor more carefully. Turns out I was underestimating my calories all along. I do not know how much you weigh and you height but the smaller you get, the less calories you might have to eat in order to lose. Note I said might as this may not be the case with you.

Hang in there!
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:16 PM   #14
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Stick to your plan and be patient. Your body is not a machine that will cooperatively lose weight week after week like clockwork.

Most people have periods of a week or two or three where they don't see any loss, or where they bounce up 1, down 1, over and over again. Most people have to go through this. The trick is to set your expectations so that this does not feel discouraging to you. It's just how the process goes.

Yes, it would be lovely if we never had to go 12 days without seeing a loss. For the vast majority of us, though, it's not like that. Wait it out. Stick to your plan, stick to what's been working so far, and wait it out.

I know it sounds corny, but you didn't gain the weight in a couple of weeks - you aren't going to lose it in a couple of weeks either. Just be a little more patient.

It's taken me 23 months to lose 92 pounds - that averages to a little less than a pound a week, and believe me I had more 12-day or longer "plateaus" in there than I can count.
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:38 PM   #15
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The type of discouragement you feel about this is the main reason that I refuse to weigh myself. I agree with others that the body is not like a machine and will not usually lose like clockwork. I understand that most people want to use the scale to measure their diet success (in other words, I'm an oddity); however, perhaps you could just take longer periods between weigh-ins (once a month, for example). That way, you'll just keep doing what works (eating right and exercising) rather than becoming so frustrated you might derail your success by being too tough on yourself.
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