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How we think about plateaus, stalls and mini-stalls

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Old 09-08-2011, 09:32 AM   #1
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Default How we think about plateaus, stalls and mini-stalls

I've noticed that we get a good few posts where people say "help, I'm on a plateau, how do I get off it?" and get told, "nah, that's normal, it's not a plateau for ages yet". Official versions of what constitutes a plateau seem to be 6 weeks or similar.

Of course, even when we know what a real plateau is, that doesn't mean we can't be dismayed if the scale isn't moving for a couple of weeks. So I'm curious about:

1) What length of time do you consider to constitute a stall or plateau?
2) When the scale isn't moving, how long does it take before you start feeling different about it (e.g. when you start grumbling)?
3) How long does it take before you start changing your behaviour, whether it's for the better (e.g. more exercise) or worse (e.g. abandoning the diet in despair)?

My answers:

1) Er, I'll bow to the wisdom of the forum and go with 6 weeks or whatever seems to be widely agreed. I'm a first-time dieter and quite new at that, and I haven't experienced anything major in this way yet,
2) 10-14 days. There may be quiet mutterings at the scale in the morning.
3) Hasn't been needed yet, and being small and unable to exercise, I don't really have the options of increasing exercise or decreasing calories. I'd probably go for more salads, that sort of thing. (Thankfully the scale dropped 1.6lb this morning after nearly a fortnight of being stubbornly unmoving, to my relief.)
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:51 AM   #2
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This does seem to pop up all the time.

1) What length of time do you consider to constitute a stall or plateau? I've seen 4 weeks batted around too. I like that number better.
2) When the scale isn't moving, how long does it take before you start feeling different about it (e.g. when you start grumbling)? A week and a half maybe? But I don't have a rock solid plan that I stick to all the time. Usually if the scale isn't moving, I can point to why. But the flip side of this is that I'm sometimes too hard on myself. Occasionally I'll look back through what I've been doing and realize that while it wasn't perfect, I should still have lost some weight.
3) How long does it take before you start changing your behaviour, whether it's for the better (e.g. more exercise) or worse (e.g. abandoning the diet in despair)? I guess I don't really have an answer for this. After 2 months of slow loss I changed what I was doing (for the better), but only for 2 weeks. It worked though. I guess should consider it more often.
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:55 AM   #3
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I have not hit a technical plateau yet but if I went 6 weeks without a change in the scale I would be VERY discouraged.
If my scale does not move down after 10-14 days I am ready to heave it out the window. This has happened to me where I have stalled for about three weeks and I was getting very discouraged. I am in a stall pattern now, and am doing my best to stay on plan and stay away from the scale for a little while.
If I do not lose within 10-14 days I am ready to change things up a bit. Fewer calories and increasing the exercise.
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:55 AM   #4
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1) What length of time do you consider to constitute a stall or plateau?
Any amount time over a week with no weight dropping. I fully expect to stall now that I hit 155 as the pattern seems to be that I stall for 9 or 10 days after dropping five pounds.

2) When the scale isn't moving, how long does it take before you start feeling different about it (e.g. when you start grumbling)?
When I hit the 9 or 10 day mark at the same weight. I know from recording my weight daily that I tend to stall here and there, but once I get to 9 or 10 days I do start worrying that I'm stuck there. However I've made myself promise that I won't start "freaking out" (for lack of a better term) until I hit two weeks at the same weight.

3) How long does it take before you start changing your behaviour, whether it's for the better (e.g. more exercise) or worse (e.g. abandoning the diet in despair)?

I start exploring my behavior once I've hit one week without any losses (have I been counting everything? Could I exercise more?). Past that I do start getting a bit stricter with my calorie counts by going to the lower end of my range for a few days.

Last edited by sontaikle : 09-08-2011 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:25 AM   #5
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According to Jillian Michaels, there is no such thing as a "plateau." You are either eating the amount you are supposed to eat and exercising how much you should in order to see a difference or you are not. Also, a "plateau" should not only be measured by the number on the scale. If you lift weights, exercise often, you have to take into consideration that you are building muscle. You may be losing inches all around but that is not shown on the scale. It took me a while to figure this out and believe it and think about that rather than the number on the scale when it doesn't go down, or even when it goes up a little (even though I definitely know it's hard to change your mindset).
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Old 09-08-2011, 11:36 AM   #6
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1. Yeah, probably 4-6 weeks.

2. Depends. Is it TOM? Have I been eating salty food? Have I been going to the bathroom regularly? Am I ill? Have I been losing inches? Have I been lifting more than ususual lately? I weight daily and have a pretty good idea of my daily fluctuations, I'm also a slow loser so I'm pretty used to losing about 2lb/month. It takes a lot to freak me out at this point.

3. I guess see 2. I had a major plateau while back (maybe about 2 months?). There were some medical issues that probably contributed to it AND I was losing inches. I came here for support and questions but in the end I didn't change anything and just stuck to my plan. Eventually the weight started coming off again. I don't really have that set of a plan and I don't calorie count so I worry more about changing my plan when I'm really hungry all of a sudden. I'm also always trying to push myself more in the gym (in terms of weights not in the amount of time spent there) so that's the norm for me.

ETA: I used to be more affected by my slow losing/plateaus but I've learned to accept over time that that is just what I experience and as long as I'm not gaining that that's a victory in and of itself.
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