Anyone who has embarked upon a journey to lose weight has encountered the dreaded plateau. That dreaded place where, regardless of how well you eat, how well you sleep, and how much exercise you get, your weight stalls at a certain weight (and in some cases, inexplicably goes up!). How do you stay motivated through it?
I consider all the other factors involved with getting healthy and put the goal of losing weight to the back of my mind. There are many measures of good health including blood test results, flexibility, mobility, fitness, clothing fit, and clarity of mind, to name a few. When I am on a plateau, I think about these things and when I do, it makes me realize that I’ve come a long way, that my health is better now than it has been in over 20 years, and that just because the scale isn’t moving, it doesn’t mean that changes aren’t happening in my body. They are.
I’ve discussed in previous posts that for me, I either lose size or weight; very rarely do I lose both at the same time. Now that my weight is approaching my final destination, I find that the weight is coming off more slowly and that my size is reducing equally as slowly. This is okay, as the amount of weight I have to lose is much less now, and while the number of pounds I have left to lose may be small, the rate at which I’m losing weight is still pretty consistent when taken as a percentage of the whole. Where losing 20 lbs in the first month was a great weight loss rate, now that I’m 100 lbs less, losing 5.8 lbs in a month is still pretty darned good. Considering I have less than 25 lbs left to lose, I’m okay with this. Would I like a faster rate of weight loss? Sure! But I want to do this in a healthy manner, and so far, my body has been doing a great job of adjusting to the new weight.
I’ve been asked many times if I have a lot of extra skin now that I’ve lost all this weight. I have a little bit in some places, but not nearly as much as I thought I would, honestly. I have seen photos online of people who have lost large amounts of weight and I was afraid of the spare skin problem, but frankly, it hasn’t really been an issue for me. For one, I have only lost 100 lbs, and also, it was over 10 months’ time. Most people with lots of spare skin have lost over 100 lbs and typically in a shorter period of time.
Plateaus are never fun when you’re trying to make progress, but by looking at the bigger picture, you can find aspects of your health to motivate you. As long as you’re eating good foods, eating the right amounts, getting solid sleep and getting some exercise, your plateau will end.
If a plateau persists after a few weeks, perhaps take a look at the inputs and see if something needs adjusting. Maybe portions sizes crept up, or sleep amount has declined. Maybe that dinner treat that has a lot of fruit in it is the culprit. Remember, fitness and weight loss are like a formula. Sometimes to get the result we’re looking for after a plateau, we have to adjust the variables in the formula. I’ve had to do this a few times with the amount of food I was eating and quickly saw the results I was looking for. Also, once I added some physical activity into the mix, I was able to jump right off that plateau and back into progress territory.