Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hitting That Plateau

I think we all do it. At some point in a diet, you hit a certain weight and stay there, and stay there, and stay there. It's infuriating when it happens. You get so annoyed with seeing that same number pop up on the scale day after day. You wonder what you're doing wrong. You wonder how you've miscalculated. You wonder if your scale is wrong, or if the cat is readjusting the settings every night! Happily, none of this is true. You aren't doing anything wrong, (that is, if you're sticking to your calories.) I don't know why it happens, I only know that it does and it happened to me, too.

The first month I started calorie counting, the weight really came off. I lost 8-pounds the first 30-days. I was ecstatic! And, by the way, don't let anyone discourage you by saying, "it's only water weight." Yeah, and your point is? I don't care if it's only water weight, it's still weight! Does anyone assume it's water weight when you're putting on the pounds?? If that's the case, someone could simply say, "Well, I weigh 200 pounds but 15 pounds of that is water weight, you know, so I'm really only 185 pounds." Weight is weight and what matters is whether you can button that skirt or favorite pair of jeans. Having said that, my first 8 pounds probably was a good deal of water, and that's why the second month my body completely put on the breaks. I went for the next 3-weeks without losing an ounce. Some mornings, in fact, I even registered a half to a full pound gained! What in the world was going on, I wondered?

I was admittedly, very discouraged. I came close to chucking it all in and believing that apparently I was just never going to lose the weight I wanted. But it didn't make any sense to me. I knew that if I ate fewer calories, it had to be making a difference. So in spite of what I was seeing each morning, I stayed with it. Determined to see it through. It got to be a challenge, a tug of war between me and the bathroom scale. Every morning I would hop on it only to be confronted with that same number glaring up at me. I knew there was no way I should be so stuck but there it was. So I would hop off the scale and say, "Fine. You want to play that game? Let's see who can outlast who!" (Or is it whom?) Anyway... I made a decision that if I never lost another pound, I was going to stick with the calories I had determined were the right number for me. Remember I had been to the calorie counter website and knew what was supposed to be the amount that would have me losing weight. Other websites and books on calorie counting had given me similar numbers. I knew unless something really strange was going on in my body, that eventually something had to give.

Then one morning, like a drain clog that finally breaks free, I was down one whole pound. Eureka! The dam had finally broken. The next week I lost another full pound. I had won the stalemate!

After that, the weight continued dropping off a pound or two a week. I didn't really plateau again but I know that I could have if my body had decided it wanted to. My message here is don't be discouraged if you get stuck on one particular number on the scale for awhile. I was upset because I wasn't aware it could happen. I'm here to tell you that you don't have to be upset if it happens to you because it appears to be a normal way of things. The important thing is to stick with it. Don't let it control you. Want a new you badly enough to fight for it. We fight for other things we really want. Don't give up on yourself. Respect yourself enough to know that you are worth doing what's right and healthy. The benefits are endless.

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