Getting some activity points...doing burpees in a dress during the Throwdown.

Busting through a plateau

Note: If you’re uncomfortable with TMI, this might not be the post for you.

Getting some activity points...doing burpees in a dress during the Throwdown.
Getting some activity points...doing burpees in a dress during the Throwdown.

So, this last week, I think I busted through a plateau.

I’m not gonna lie…I’ve been extremely scared the last few months. Historically with my weight loss, I’d go on a diet, lose 20 pounds, hit a plateau, stop dieting, gain it all back plus more.

Over the last year and a half, I’d been lucky enough to not really hit any major plateaus. I have noticed that my weight loss has severely slowed down, beginning probably in June 2011, and then even more around October 2011. I’d continue to lose, but show very small negative numbers at the scale.

But then the holidays hit, and I was continually bombarded with cookies (this was the real culprit), egg nog, refined sugars and carbohydrates, eating out at decadent happy hours, and lots of drinking. And, since it was quite cold outside, I had the excuse to essentially sit back and relax. Or at least work out at less than 100 percent on most days.

Then the numbers started fluctuating. The first week back, I attributed it to it being my birthday week. Then I actually avoided weigh-in for several weeks just to get my holiday gains under control. The entire time, I’m thinking, Just another week…I’ll be back in Albany and everything will be okay.

And then, all of a sudden, I was back in Albany, and everything still wasn’t okay.

Here’s the TMI part. This is what I was seeing at weigh-ins:

December 22: Up 1.2#
December 29–January 5: No weigh-in
January 12: Up 1.6#
January 19: Down 0.2#
January 26: Down 0.6#
February 2: Up 1#
February 9: Down 1#

I’m not sure if this is technically considered a plateau, but that is surely what it felt like. And it was extremely frustrating, because by December 15, I was 1.2# from my 75# ring. To be so close to something and then be pushed so far away from that goal is something that is extremely difficult to deal with.

It’s been exactly nine weeks since I first noticed a problem arising. I’ve been determined to not let it stop me, but each time I saw a gain or an extremely small loss at the scale, I have to say that I was very, very discouraged. I sought out lengthy counseling sessions with Jennifer (my friend/WW leader), Dean (one of my favorite coaches), Katie (a fellow WW person who can definitely relate), and Dr. B (why the hell not?!). Everyone said pretty much the same thing: Just keep on going. Don’t quit. You’ve come too far.

At the time, I was grateful for the support, but the responses did little to console me. I felt like I was eating fine and not going nuts with exercise (which is something I want to continue…I want to be at a point where I feel like I can go in and WOD regularly and not die or gain weight if I don’t do doubles…I feel like exercising that much is not a good pace for me to be on). And yet, I still wasn’t satisfied with my results.

Each week I saw an unfavorable number, I felt like I was moving deeper and deeper into a nasty slump of depression, and I was dangerously close to throwing it all away.

This week was WEEK NINE of the horror.

And I’m happy to say that—finally—I lost an amount to even it all out.

I’m down 2.6#, which is a huge number, catapulting me back to a 74.4# total weight loss, putting me within range of that 75# ring again.

A few things for me to remember: Even though this loss puts me at an average loss of 0.1# per week since this little “incident,” it does put me 0.6# closer to that ring than I was before the plateau. I can deal with that.

I’ve learned a few things about myself, too. About what works and doesn’t.

First, I thought that sugar was the culprit. And perhaps that is partially true. For a while, I was sinfully eating my little hot-fudge brownie sundaes every night. Granted, I had budgeted points for them, but who really needs a hot-fudge sundae every night? Exactly.

So, I finally found the fortitude to finish the ice cream and not buy any more of it. I thought this would solve my problem.

It didn’t.

I froze my bacon so I wouldn’t eat it every day. I thought this would solve my problem.

It didn’t.

I replaced my nightly ice cream with nightly (enormous bowls of) popcorn. I thought this would definitely solve my problem.

It didn’t.

I finally worked myself back up to a normal-ish routine at Crossfit. I thought this would solve my problem.

It was definitely a step in the right direction. Activity is extremely crucial in the success of my weight loss. But like I already mentioned, there is only so much intensity I can take in a workout routine, and there’s only so much time I have to exercise, and it really cannot rule my life. In order to live in the real world, I need to be able to exercise four or five times a week, not go nuts, and be okay with it. My body doesn’t like this, I think. While I’m rarely doing doubles or triples anymore, I currently still need to be on a schedule that resembles 3-1-2-1. On Throwdown Saturday, all classes were canceled, I wasn’t competing, and I did NOT want to go for a run. What did I do? Thirty burpees in a dress, of course! I’m trying to get activity in wherever I can.

I stayed a little bit hungry. I thought this would solve my problem.

And this week, it kind of worked. Granted, I’m not starving myself, and I’m getting in my good-health guidelines. I just remember something a Portland WW leader said in a meeting once: It’s okay to be a little bit hungry. I think this was part of my problem. Over break, I got used to being satiated and full at all hours of the day. And I carried that behavior back to Albany with me. Truly, I forgot what it was to be a little bit hungry. Often, I was either full or ANGRYHUNGRY. Neither is really good, to be honest. The past week, I made sure I was well-fed, and I made sure I was never ANGRYHUNGRY, but allowed myself to feel slight pangs once in a while, allowed myself to snack often to stave off ANGRYHUNGRY, and did not eat late at night, like I had in the recent past.

And it worked this week. Will it work next week?

My goal for this next week is to make sure that this plateau is actually busted. My goal is to eat out less and to not eat late or right before I go to bed. It’s not good on my body or my digestive track. I’m also going to drink more water.

In any case, I feel really good about finally seeing a “good” number at the scale and being that much closer to my 75# ring (only 50 more pounds to go!). It makes me feel happy for continuing to push through and not give up when times got tough.

So my advice to you—if you’re in a plateau. Just keep going. You can do it. It sounds trite, but it’s true. Have faith. Believe.


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Exuberant photographer, artist, writer, designer, wannabe chef, and Crossfitter.

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