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Old 05-07-2005, 02:05 PM   #1
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Default Stuck in a plateau and giving up

I started my diet at the start of this year, weighing in at 165 lbs. I have since lost 30 lbs and am currently 135 lbs. But I've hit a plateau and have found myself eating more and exercising less. I've yo-yo dieted my entire life and have never been lighter than 135 lbs. (I must have gained and lost the same 30 lbs. about 5+ over the course of my dieting career!! ) At 5' 2", I could stand to lose another 30 lbs. but just can't seem to budge the scale! Any advice on what I should do differently? When I'm not discouraged, I try to do 70 minutes of cardio a day, and strength train 2-3 times a week. I eat a healthy breakfast (grape nut cereal w/ soy milk or yogurt) and lunch (turkey sandwich), but have found myself binging lately during dinner. I need help!!!
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Old 05-07-2005, 02:27 PM   #2
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I've hit a couple of plateaus as well and know how frustrating they are. What has gotten me through them and kept me moving was, first of all, knowing that it would pass eventually. Secondly, and probably most important, was knowing that even if I never lost another ounce I was still better off than when I started. So, yes, I want to reach my goal weight of 135 (I'm 5'2" as well, by the way) but the bottom line is that I'd rather be stuck forever at 157 than make my way back to 214. And the only way to keep that from happening is to keep exercising and continue to watch what I eat.

I also find that it helps to mix up my routine - diet and exercise. Sometimes it has gotten the scales moving in the right direction again, sometimes not. Either way I find myself more motivated because I'm not bored with it all. During a plateau I dread eating the same things, doing the same exercies, only to still not see the scale budge. At least with a new routine I can have the attitude that even if my weight doesn't change I am satisfied with having tried new things.

Finally, if you haven't already, have your measurements and/or body fat ratio taken. This is always helpful in showing results that the scale just can't measure. I think it is a good idea to do from the beginning of a program but absolutely critical during the final stages of one. The more fit you become the less accurate the number on the scale is going to be in terms of progress.

Please don't give up yet! Good luck.
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:58 PM   #3
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Hi Purplebanana,
I was stuck on that plateau for about 3 years. What finally broke it was 100% compliance on the food plan, and flipping the amount of time spent on weights vs. cardio. They only way the scale (and pants-o-meter) budged for me once I got to about 135, was eating 5 small meals a day, NEVER cheating (ok....once in a while), lifting heavy 5 days per week (different body part each day) and doing about 1/2 hour cardio 3-4 times a week. Once I did that, another 11 pounds came off fairly quickly. I'm 5'3" and currently wearing a very loose size 4 or tight size 2 (I still don't believe that!). Lots of muscle instead of fat is a wonderful thing!

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Old 05-07-2005, 10:49 PM   #4
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hey Purplebanana, you're actually AT my goal weight haha and I too have been experiencing the same problem you have .. this plateu has gotten me so down I've been eating muffins and cookies again *yikes* but these ladies have given you some awesome advice that I will be taking as well ... on plan starting right NOW!
thanks jawsmom and Mel
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Old 05-08-2005, 05:27 AM   #5
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Don't give up! My weightloss usually goes; lose 14lbs, in about 2 months, plateau for 10 months, lose 14lbs, plateau, lose 14lbs plateau! You get the picture! So don't give up! It will come off when it's ready! Just keep doing what you're doing and try mixing it up, and try to get all your water! Water is my friend, it's recently shifting my plateau even when I'm eating pizza and chips

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Old 05-08-2005, 09:18 AM   #6
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Actually, the closer you get to goal, the less you can get away with those pizza and chips They really hold the water, too, and will make you feel horrible if you aren't used to eating that way. I find that dipping into candy, ice cream, or chips, adds about 3 pounds which despite the math, takes about a week and a half of perfect eating for my body to "let go of". I don't intend to live my life without ever having a treat, but the effects sure make me think about whether mindless munching is worth it. I'd much rather save those treats for good food on real occasions

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Old 05-08-2005, 11:19 AM   #7
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I agree Mel. I have found, too, that with the last 25 pounds I am trying to lose, that I have to work my rear end off with the weights and cardio...and I have to not only watch my calories-but cut out the junk almost entirely.
I have to really watch the special occasions now too-and really only indulge on very special ones-like my birthday and Christmas.

purplebanana-at 5'2" I think you really have to think about whether or not 105 pounds is an "ideal" weight for you, and whether it is attainable. Like Mel stated-she is a size 2/4 at 128 pounds, and only an inch taller than you. I wouldn't get so hung up on the scale. If you are exercising properly, and really challenging yourself during your exercise-you should see progress over time in the way clothes fit, and in your measurements.
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Old 05-08-2005, 11:55 AM   #8
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Aphil, I couldn't agree more. 105 pounds is very low for someone 5'2". I have more LEAN body mass than that! BTW, I'm 124 pounds, 128 was my goal. Those 4 pounds made the difference between the size fours and the very loose size fours and twos.

At 105 pounds, your lean body mass is probably going to be in the 90-95 pound range. That's pretty tiny, and not enough muscle to maintain healthy bones. How old are you? Another factor to consider is if you have been overweight for any length of time, depending on your age and skin condition, you may find that at 105, you don't have enough muscle or fat volume to fill your skin. You don't necessarily want the fat volume , it's definitely a trade-off, but 105 does seem pretty low!
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Old 05-08-2005, 01:16 PM   #9
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Thanks for the posts/replies everyone!! I appreciate it. I wish I could reply as quickly as everyone. Well, I recently turned 24 and have been struggling with my weight my entire life. I don't know if 105 lbs seems too low for me at 5'2". All the BMI calculators I've used and weight charts out there say I should be between that and 125 lbs or so!! I should stop reading these diet articles. They all tell me different things and a lot of times they contradict each other. (i.e. it doesn't matter what time of day you eat, longer easy workouts v. shorter intense workouts, lifting heavier weights v. lighter weights with more reps, etc...you get the point!!!)
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Old 05-09-2005, 12:24 PM   #10
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BMI is CRAP. BMI is just another way to define "ideal weight range" and it doesn't even take into account age, gender, or frame like most of the doctors' charts do! The ONLY reliable way to tell if you are at a good weight is to have your body composition tested. This will tell you how much lean mass you have relative to fat. If your fat % is in the 18% to 25% range, that's considered healthy. Some women can get below that and still be healthy.

Even if you still feel discouraged, don't give up. Plateaus happen, and it can take a long time to break through them, as Mel said. Instead of seeing this as a black/white issue -- you're either "dieting" or you "give up" -- see it as a continuum. Change your vocabulary. OK, so let's say you're weary of the constant struggle of working to lose weight, you're tired of those numbers staying stuck. That's OK, it happens to a lot of people. Instead of talking about giving up, though, talk about maintaining. If you give up, sooner or later you're going to regain the weight. However, if you switch from "weight loss mode" to "maintenance mode" you'll still keep your healthy habits, you won't regain the lost weight, and you'll be in a prime position to re-enter weight loss mode when you feel refreshed and re-energized, ready to tackle things again.

The way we talk to ourselves is very powerful, so take care with the words you use. Your mindset is your greatest ally, or your greatest enemy, it's up to you.
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Old 05-10-2005, 12:50 AM   #11
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Thanks for that funniegrrl. It makes a lot of sense...and I am SO glad to hear that BMI is crap!! Haha. Where would one go to get a body composition test? How much does it cost? I have to admit my mentality about dieting and the way I talk to myself about how I look can be changed. I guess I shouldn't be so hard on myself, but it's hard not to when you've always been the "fat" one and when your own mother reminds you constantly that when she was my age (prior to having children) she was a petite 98 lbs. Arghhh! So frustrating I tell ya. Anyway, it's late I need sleep so I can get up early for my workout tomorrow. I redeemed myself today for working out for 70 minutes after a couch-potatoe-like-weekend...!
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Old 05-10-2005, 08:17 AM   #12
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Purplebanana, I know exactly what you mean about your mother! For years my mom has been telling me "when I was your age, I was 120 lbs, and I'm two inches taller than you!" I'm like, that's great Mom, but now you're overweight too, and you raised me on junk food!

Hang in there, the plateau will end someday! BTW, the BMI range means that if you have a very small frame (usually measured by the width of your elbow or something) then the bottom weight (I guess 105 in this case) is the bare minimum weight to be healthy. Also, if you have a large frame, then the top of the range is the maximum. Shooting for the middle of the BMI range is probably the best (though like others said, body composition is more telling).
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Old 05-10-2005, 10:43 AM   #13
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I hit two plateaus. What worked both times was to change my exercise and counting my calories.

If I was predominately running, I would change to bicycling and ellipticals, do aerobics on some days, added more weights, etc. In addition, I started not just eating right, but watching calories a bit and played with them. I eat about 5 or 6 smaller meals a day rather than 3 main meals. So if I had ate a lot one day and needed to stay within the calorie range I was shooting for, I had to plan my later meals around that and opt for foods extremely low in calories. I would decrease my calories and try it for about a week. If I still didn't have a loss, I'd reduce them a little more. Finally I broke the plateau and started losing again.
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Old 05-10-2005, 09:35 PM   #14
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Paperclippy: You know exactly how I feel! Thank goodness someone out there has a crazy mother. I'm not alone. Hahahaha...jk I've decided that even if it takes the rest of 2005 to just lose 5 lbs, it'll be worth it. *Sigh* The hours I'll be putting into my elliptical machine! Makes me wanna curl up on the couch with a bag of chips. But no! That's what got me in this predicament in the first place!! Must stay strong...

Almostheaven: I am already counting calories and I definitely try not to eat under 1200 calories a day. The problem is I'm diligent Monday - Thursday. But once Friday hits, it's all over. I eat a lot and work out considerably less! I'm beginning to loathe weekends as much as I do dieting. Haha So, how long did each of your plateau's last? Weren't you discouraged when the scale didn't move? I can't seem to get over my disappointment after weeks of exercise and not seeing the scale nudge a bit! But you've done amazing on your weight loss, so thanks for the advice and you're an inspiration!!!
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Old 05-10-2005, 09:56 PM   #15
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Purple,
If you want the weight to go and stay off, you have to stop thinking about "dieting". Maintenance doesn't look much different from how you live when you lose weight.

Quote:
The problem is I'm diligent Monday - Thursday. But once Friday hits, it's all over. I eat a lot and work out considerably less! I'm beginning to loathe weekends as much as I do dieting.


You need to change that mindset, and your plateau will be gone and you'll have no trouble maintaining at your goal weight. As long as you loathe the way you are living, it's not going to work in the long run. I'd really suggest you take some time and read Ann Fletcher's Thin for Life, or go to the Maintenance forum and read the 10 discussion threads that we had about the book earlier this year. Meg gave a great synopsis of each chapter, then a lot of us at or near goal weight posted about our experiences on whatever the chapter topic was. It was really surprising to me how closely most successful losers and maintainers experiences mirrored each others. And keeping it off is what's really important.

As you said, even if it takes the rest of 2005 to lose another 5 pounds, it's worth it. But you need to learn a way to live without loathing it

Mel
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Falling down is not failure....Failure is staying down.
Save the Earth, it's the only planet with chocolate and wine.

It isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.

9 years at or under goal weight! Working Maintenance Everyday
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