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Old 07-27-2013, 08:43 AM   #1
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Default Does everyone hit a plateau?

I have this fear that I won't be able to lose all the weight I need to lose. I so often hear about people hitting a plateau and the freaks me out. I'm just curious for those of you who have already lost a lot of weight, did you hit a plateau? Or did you just keep losing steadily until you got to goal weight? If you did hit a plateau what did you do to get out of it?
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Old 07-27-2013, 08:51 AM   #2
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I hit a plateau and then I gained about 10 lbs back (in some attempts to change what I was doing to start to continue to lose weight... and then that led to diet fatigue... and now I'm back on track, I hope!).

I am now wondering -- since it happened to me -- whether or not plateaus are really more of a symptom of diet fatigue than anything else.

And if it is diet fatigue, then the answer would be not let your diet fatigue you... but again, I'm just trying to figure that one out, so no advice yet on that area.

But honestly, I wouldn't worry about plateaus yet until you actually reach a plateau. Many people don't -- they do hit goal or they hit a weight that they really love and it's not as low (or as high) as they originally thought.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:24 AM   #3
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I would say it depends on every body individually. Second to that I would say it likely depends on how much weight the person is losing. I have hit more than one plateau over the last number of years I lost from 320 to 220, regained 15 to 235, lost to 207 regained to 220, lost to 202 and most recently regained to 260. I tend to plateau every 20-30 pounds lost no matter how perfect I am following my plan.

Many people have posted many ideas to why people plateau but I tend to think the concept that the body is pausing to sort of reorient itself makes the most sense. In losing a large amount of weight it has made drastic changes and needs a 'break' from losing to take stock and rearrange. I have had fat redistribute during this period as well oddly enough.

To get over it, people have had luck with all sorts of things but I really think that it is mostly the body finishing whatever it is doing in the plateau and getting back to work. I don't remember who said it but I saw in a post once to think of your body like a whiny toddler, it'll do what you want most of the time, but sometimes it just needs a nap(plateau) before it'll listen some more.

One thing I do recommend in general, is mix things up every once in awhile. Try a new exercise, or introduce new foods into your diet, things like that.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:25 AM   #4
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I'm sort of at a plateau right now. I've been at the same weight for a few weeks. It's the second time it's happened since I started losing this week.

What I have done, though, is checked my measurements. The scale's not budging, but the hips are measurably smaller than last month. Which is cool as far as I'm concerned.

So, I'm looking for things that don't show in the scale but show progress. E.g., I'm doing more "running" in the C25k, or I can go a little faster, or whatever. The scale win might not be there, but other things are.

As far as food, I don't consider myself as dieting. I made changes due to elevated blood sugar, and those changes are going to be permanent. So I'm figuring out what I can eat in my new reality, and trying to keep that going the best that I can.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:27 AM   #5
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My weight loss slowed way down this month, but I attributed it to really ramping up my activity level. I think that may often be a reason for plateaus, but the key is to keep going and power through it. It worked for me, after 3 weeks of the scale barely budging, I was 4 pounds down this morning. Now, I don't expect to see 4 pound losses very often, but I do expect to get back to my normal 1-2 pounds a week now that my body has adjusted to the extra activity every week.

I also feared plateaus but for me the key has been developing patience, something I never had before starting this journey.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:36 AM   #6
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I once read and so have always thought that plateaus were a result of your body resetting its weight "set point" (the weight at which your body tends to return naturally), so I don't get too upset about plateaus. If I can move from a set point of 210 to a set point of 197 (two numbers my body has returned to naturally), I figure I am headed in the right direction, so I'll wait out my body's resetting itself and not let it bother me until I start losing again.
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:45 AM   #7
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I don't really believe in the "reorienting" or "resetting" theories. They're vague terms that don't make sense to me from a scientific standpoint. I think we reach plateaus because:

1) we may be inadvertently eating more than we think
2) our caloric needs decrease as we weigh less, so we may need to adjust our intake to maintain the same deficit
3) our metabolism may have slowed down a little while we're in weight loss mode, so we're using calories more efficiently than before
4) random and unpredictable fluctuations in the number on the scale may be masking fat loss for a while.

In 4 decades of yo-yo dieting, I've never experienced any plateaus that can't be explained by "cheating." My results have always been commensurate with my efforts. YMMV, of course.


Last edited by freelancemomma; 07-27-2013 at 10:49 AM.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:14 AM   #8
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I'm not a natural or sufficiently committed maintainer, therefore I've lost between 70 and 100lbs four times now and this is the first effort during which I've hit a bit of a plateau. I've had a few stalls when I've gone off track but until three months ago, the scales have always accurately reflected what I've been putting into my mouth. I never really believed that it was any different for anyone else either.

This time, I had three solid weeks where I was doing everything right while I failed to drop a single ounce. I stuck with my plan and reminded myself of the laws of thermodynamics until I dropped 5lbs overnight. Things have gone back to being fairly linear since.
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:19 AM   #9
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There's been twice where I stalled as I was losing weight and while frustrating (especially since both were around 3 weeks to a month!) I stuck with it and the weight eventually came off.

You must remember that fat loss is what we generally want and it's possible to lose fat without the scale showing it. I know in both cases where I stalled, I lost inches first and then the scale reflected those changes. I likely was holding onto water (and both times I dropped a good five pounds in a short period of time!)

If you stall for around six weeks, then it's a good idea to examine your diet and exercise to see if anything needs adjusting. Anything less than that could just be a temporary stall.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:59 PM   #10
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I hit a plateau when I was eating 500 calories a day x__x it was horrible. I had to over eat to fix it.
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Old 07-27-2013, 05:56 PM   #11
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I've always hit a plateau every time I've lost weight. I would say the cause is more relaxed efforts than "this doesn't work anymore." I just take it as sign that it's time to re-dedicate yourself, or maybe mix up your routine. Don't let fear of the plateau deter you. It may not be fun, but if it happens, you can push through it.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:21 PM   #12
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The last 10p or so are really hard to lose. However, hindsight is 20/20 and I have to say with honesty to everyone here and myself that when I had a scale stall it was because I was eating more than I should have been. At the time it's hard to admit/see but that was the case for me. Again I am only speaking for myself.

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Old 07-27-2013, 10:03 PM   #13
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When I hit plateaus, I research all the possibilities for change. Here is the condensed list to give you options when it occurs to you:

Stalls requiring patience:
- set points are a stable weight from the past.
- fat cells depleted of fat staying alive by refilling with water before dying off
- organ fat being replaced by healthy organ tissue
- loss of inches rather than weight
- fat redistribution to other body parts

Stalls requiring change:
- changed metabolism: more exercise, fewer calories, very low carbs
- increased cortisol: de-stress by separating the problem from your self-worth, sleep more
- check sodium intake levels to see if retaining water
- micro nutrient malnutrition: change foods to vary micro nutrients
- diet homeostasis: 2 day high fiber foods carb up, intermittent eating, calorie cycling up & down, different foods, eliminate particular foods that can cause stalls - nuts, dairy, artificial sweeteners
- exercise homeostasis: am - pm spaced out exercise, vary duration, vary intensity, vary frequency, vary type of exercise, high intensity intermittent training, change % cardio to muscle building,
- fatty liver: lose fat, up omega 3, low carb, more whey protein, more fiber, no sugar, no alcohol, no recreational drugs, limited medicine, few toxins, *less caffeine, less omega 6, (note: fasting can stress the liver as it has to convert so much body material)
- lymphatic system: lymphatic drainage massage, lymphatic dry brushing, compression hosiery, lower sodium, drink lots of water
- thyroid problems: check blood test results

Good Luck
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Old 07-27-2013, 10:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by freelancemomma View Post
1) we may be inadvertently eating more than we think
2) our caloric needs decrease as we weigh less, so we may need to adjust our intake to maintain the same deficit
3) our metabolism may have slowed down a little while we're in weight loss mode, so we're using calories more efficiently than before
4) random and unpredictable fluctuations in the number on the scale may be masking fat loss for a while.
I think everyone reading this thread should read this information several times and if you don't understand it ask questions. In particular number 4 is the pirmary reason for all the "plateau" threads around here. Weight loss and fat loss are not the same thing.

Yes, strange things can happen but 99.9% of the time either you're in a caloric deficit or you're not.
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:38 AM   #15
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I've been stuck on a plateau for about a month now. Yo-yoing back up and down, but all within the same 5 pounds. In my case, I have kicked up my activity, but I also was eating badly so I'm certain that is what has me stalled. I got back on track this week and finally dipped below that 5 pound range so I'm back on track.
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