Weekly Weigh-In: The Weight Loss Wednesday Edition

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Weekly Weigh-In

Welcome to the Weekly Weigh-In! First off, my weigh-in results this week: I lost 1.4 lbs. this week! I’m excited to be headed in the right direction again, but I’m still frustrated to be above where I was at the beginning of August. For the record, I did see 133 on the scale on Saturday, which is much closer to where I was, so I know I’m close. I just want to get there already!

The ups and downs that I’ve been experiencing on the scale lately made it easy to decide on the topic I wanted to address this week: the dreaded plateau.

This is the third major time I’ve experienced this in my weight-loss experience. The first time was years ago when I was on Weight Watchers. I’d lost 40 pounds and was doing great. Then, everything stopped. Eventually, I got frustrated, gave up, and gained all the weight back, plus some.

The last time was last summer. I’d lost 60 or 65 pounds fairly easily, then, I leveled off and stayed in the 150’s for six months. Yes, really.

I love what Tina, of Faith, Fun, and Fitness has to say about plateaus:

I think a plateau occurs when ZERO changes happen for an extended period of time – in my opinion, close to a month.

You may not notice a change on the scale but can definitively fit better into your clothes. Not a plateau.

You may only see a half pound loss on the scale each week for a few weeks instead of the pound you were seeing. Not a plateau.

I consider a plateau a lack of progress on all counts – ZERO change even after allowing your body the time to catch up with your efforts and make changes.

I love that last line about allowing your body time to catch up with your efforts and make changes. Our bodies are hardwired to hold on to weight and fat. It’s amazing how quickly your body can adjust to a lower calorie intake and increased physical activity by becoming more efficient – meaning that it doesn’t need to burn as many calories to complete the same activity.

Sometimes, when the weight-loss slows down, we panic and start making lots of changes that may actually make it harder to lose weight, rather than easier. A big panic change is cutting calories. Often that just makes the body go into starvation mode and work harder to hold onto the weight.

I love what Jillian Michaels (The Biggest Loser) says: Just keep doing the right things, making the right choices, and eventually your body has to respond. I think that agrees with the idea of allowing your body time to catch up with your efforts.

Another thing to look at when you think you may be at a plateau is how your clothes are fitting. I talked to a trainer at the Y, who had lost a significant amount of weight, and she told me about a time in her weight-loss journey when she lost a full clothing size without losing a single pound.

While it’s natural to want to see the number on the scale drop, losing weight and getting healthier is much more than just a number on the scale. If you think you’re at a plateau, check your body’s measurements to see if there are other loses going on that you may be overlooking.

Some tips that I have found helpful when trying to get over a slump are:

Increase your calorie intake for a couple of days, then, go back to your regular calorie budget. Even Jillian recommends this. I’m not talking a huge increase – maybe 200 or so extra calories. That would mean an extra healthy snack during the day – or a reasonable indulgence.

Change up your workout routine. A weight-loss slump is often an indicator that you’ve gotten comfortable in your workout routine and it’s time to rev it up a bit. This could meaning increasing your intensity or alternating your routine. If you’ve mostly been walking for cardio, try some intervals of running instead. If you’ve been doing zumba, try a spin class. If you’ve been doing workout videos, dust off your bike and go for a ride.

Log your food intake. Study after study has shown that we tend to overestimate our activity level and underestimate our food intake. Just a hundred extra calories a day (a serving of cottage cheese and a slice of toast) can slow down your weight-loss efforts. I’ve discovered that I have to track my calories…which {ahem} may be the cause of my current slump.

I think Tina offers some great choices for overcoming plateaus, as well.

What are some of the most effective strategies that you’ve found to break through weight-loss plateaus?

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