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The plateau - again - is there any hope?

(25 Posts)
AuntieStella Fri 29-Jan-16 14:48:04

I've been overweight to a varying degree since having the DC.

I have a tier 1 target (healthy weight, tier 2 is the somewhat more distant pre-DC aspirational weight).

If my weight creeps up, I can reduce it without to much difficulty, until the dreaded plateau, which is stubbornly 6lbs above tier 1.

And having started reducing in December, not ruining it over Christmas (mild creep up), and then reducing again at the start of January, I've managed to keep going but have I lost anything in the last 3 weeks? None, zilch. And it's at that same old 6lbs over mark where I have stuck so many times before.

Why does this happen? If I persist, will I suddenly have a big drop week? Do I have to get stricter and hope that will restart the 1-2lbs a week loss?

(right now tempted to think 'sod it' and have cheese and wine tonight)

AuntieStella Sat 30-Jan-16 11:07:42


Posted yesterday with unspoken 'magical thinking' that somehow talking about it would make a difference.

But stubbornly stuck this morning. It feels more like a barrier than a plateau right now.

calzone Sat 30-Jan-16 19:48:44

I'm the same......I was 0.5lbs off my 3 stone at Xmas......cannot get back to frustrating.

AuntieStella Sun 31-Jan-16 10:33:43

I try to not get obsessive, and weigh myself only once a week. But I've weighed myself both days this weekend (to be sure) and definitely continuing stuck.

It just seems so unfair that if I have a dietary error (even just one day) I can almost guarantee a couple of pounds will come racing back.

But that nothing has shifted over the last 3 weeks when I expected at least a small reduction. I've cut out the more relaxed intake days (usually 2 a week) but still not helping.

MrAliBongo Sun 31-Jan-16 12:38:48

I sort of feel like plateaux are often largely about perception, and expectation. You probably want to punch me now. But I have these arbitrary barriers in my head, whether it's the lowest weight I've got to in the last however many years, or whether it's the next stone down, and it feels like I'm hovering just above it FOREVER, even if I'm not. And it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, because you think "Fuck this. Show me the cheese and wine." And then of course you don't get below that barrier.

I don't know about you, but my weight loss just does go in fits and starts... Recently I've lost 1lb, 1lb, 3lb, 2lb, 0lb. Bit disappointing this week, but half a stone in five weeks is pretty respectable. Three weeks no loss is demoralising, and I'd certainly be scrutinising my diet and exercise, but it might just be part of the noise.

How are you measuring your food intake? What are you reducing (cals, carbs...?) Do you weigh/measure or estimate portions, and might they have drifted? Have you recalculated your allowances and exercise expenditure as you've lost weight, or might you be overestimating your energy usage?

AuntieStella Sun 31-Jan-16 13:38:35

Well, it's been 0lbs, 0lbs and 0lbs!

I'm not going to punch you about arbitrary barriers, but ask if you can explain any more about what you mean. It's not perception (as I see it) as I am definitely stuck, but did you mean something else by it?

Expectation is that weight loss will continue at about 1-2lbs per week.

I'm going about it on the 'eating less and moving about more' approach. I am pretty sure that intake has not drifted upwards. I really don't want to get into weighing (because it makes me think about food far too much, and that is just not right for me). I was wondering about adding one or two very low intake days per week.

We're due to go away over half term, which is approaching fast, and I had hoped to be at my first level target weight by then. It just doesn't seem possible now.

I'm having less cheese and wine, BTW. I was aiming to drink wine no more than 3 days per week, but have now taken that down to two.

ooosaidooo Sun 31-Jan-16 15:05:54

Perhaps your eating needs a bit of a re-vamp? I started out by eating less and moving more but I massively underestimated how much less I needed to eat.

I used to obsess about food in the past and follow crazy diets, weighing actually helped and has let me to gradually cut down my portion sizes. My pasta and rice portions (even once I had started eating less) were massive in comparison to what I actually needed.

Are you following my fitness pal or similar?

calzone Sun 31-Jan-16 15:25:16

I'm going to try carb alternatives Mon-Wed.

Cauliflower rice

And 2 litres water a day. To get my weightloss going again.

AuntieStella Sun 31-Jan-16 15:40:13

No, not following anything.

But what's it actually like doing them? I don't want to be weighing, measuring and inputting all the time as I absolutely do not want it to have such a prominent place across the whole of my day every day. And I rather assumed that was what they were all about.

And I was losing pretty steadily until about 3 weeks ago, and my habits really haven't changed in that time. I do seem to remember something about the relationship between weight and basal metabolic rate, so do I just need to eat even less?

I think this week will be make or break on whether I can keep going or just throw in the towel. I can certainly reduce portion sizes further. I think maybe I am sitting on an arbitrary fence, because there is a thought that I just get it moving again (even by drastic short term methods) in order for smooth continuation. Does that even make sense?

I think what I need most are ways to keep my spirits up, without involving any spirits being drunk!

AuntieStella Sun 31-Jan-16 17:11:31

Sorry, I've realised how much I seem to be saying 'no' to everything and that's a bit stronger than what I'm thinking.

Because I know I'll have to do something (even if the only options are ones I have to be carried kicking and screaming towards) unless the tales of weeks of mysterious stalling followed by at least a few days of equally mysterious losses start rolling in.

ooosaidooo Sun 31-Jan-16 21:49:36

But what's it actually like doing them? Easy, you have an app on your phone. You just need to make sure you don't get sucked into buying all the branded food and crappy sweet bars.

I don't want to be weighing, measuring and inputting all the time The thing is (IME anyway) weighing, at least until you get used to eating what you body actually needs (which can come as a bit of a shock frankly), gets results.

I absolutely do not want it to have such a prominent place across the whole of my day every day This bit is tricky, but any big project or challenge will take up least for a while. I wanted to lose 4 stone, so quite a big deal IMO, gradually though it has taken up less and less space in my day but to begin with I did have to set time aside while I got used to cooking different food and researching recipes etc.

In fairness I was also dragged kicking and screaming cajoled into going to a weight loss group. It made life a lot easier tbh as there was a system to follow which I used to monitor my portion size. 2-4lbs has come off every week apart from over Christmas, just the last few lbs to go.

I would say it's been worth the time researching what to eat (and weighing it) as I've picked up habits that will be with me for life now.

HortonWho Mon 01-Feb-16 00:55:22

Don't kill me, but if you're stuck, then it's one of two things. Possibility one - you don't have a calorie deficit. You're eating more than you think you are and exercise isn't burning as much calories as you hope it is. It sucks. possibility two - you're gaining muscle and burning fat. The second one is pretty easy to see as your body shape will be changing and inches will be coming off.

Kelsoooo Mon 01-Feb-16 01:03:36

MFP doesn't require too much prominence.

Type your food in, click search, weigh it and input it.

Also, there is a really good background community going on there. I've recently started running thanks to it. Me and a fellow MFPer had a competition with each other....which led to me running 10k in total this week, just to win. When three weeks ago I'd have not done that.

If tyou really don't want to go down the food route, then up your exercise regime....

One little thing I've done, which probably annoys the hell out of my husband it, fidget. So I'm never sat totally still when watching T.V. I'm jiggling my foot, knitting, getting up to make drinks every half hour or so. Anything to increase my movements, less time sitting still and more time burning.

MrAliBongo Mon 01-Feb-16 08:48:54

Re: arbitrary (mental) barriers... You (or I!) pick a weight to fixate on, which has no more or less physiological significance than any other, but it has some psychological significance to you. Maybe you have the kid-before-Christmas mentality that it feels like forever getting there, even if it isn't. Maybe you have a defeatist "it'll never happen" mentality, which makes itself true. Maybe it's a bit of both. Maybe neither. I hear that you've had three consecutive weigh-ins at the same weight, but these are statistics of small numbers. It's probable that there's a pattern, but by no means certain.

As it happens, and judging by some of the other things you've said, I'd guess you are just eating an amount to maintain your current weight. If you were heavier, you lose some, if you were lighter, you'd gain it. So, yes, if you want to lose more, you probably need to eat less. Even if you don't want to get into the habit of weighing and logging everything, I suggest you do it for a week - just eat as normal, but weigh/measure and track everything you eat and drink, and find out what your calorie intake really is in comparison to your current TDEE. Try to be as honest as possible, and go for a typical week's food. If you wanted to extend the experiment, you could do one more week, this time aiming for a particular calorie limit, just to note the differences in portion sizes etc. Then carry on as before, but perhaps with some of the modifications you identified in the second week.

I partly agree with Horton, but I think it's very unlikely that you're consistently gaining muscle to balance out any significant loss of fat. Unless you're a 20 year old man, doing serious weight-training and eating whole chickens every day, it takes serious time (or steroids) to gain muscle.

AuntieStella Mon 01-Feb-16 10:05:29

I'm pretty damned sure I'm not gaining muscle!

Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement.

I was feeling a bit flat over the weekend. But agree that what I've been eating must be the 'maintain' regime. And so this week needs to be monitored and/or reduced.

HortonWho Wed 03-Feb-16 00:30:29

The other sad fact is that if you've been losing/gaining/losing/gaining all your life, you probably need to be eating about 300 cals less to maintain than someone who has been the same weight naturally and never dieted. Lots of science and research online about how muscles are changed...or your insulin levels might be high? Stored fat stays in your fat cells because insulin doesn't lower enough? Better explained here

AuntieStella Wed 03-Feb-16 07:23:02

Thanks, that's an interesting read.

AuntieStella Mon 08-Feb-16 17:55:29

I'm posting again to thank you all, as you kept me going through a flat plateau.

According to a weigh-in today, I lost about 2.5lbs in the last 8 days, so I hope I can keep this on track. But I'll only feel securely under the plateau if I can knock off another 1-2lbs this week.

I've been checking calories on some items, and adjusting. I've been very low calorie during the day, then ordinary family meal in the evening, but looking carefully at portion size.

Half term may well be the next problem time!

MrAliBongo Tue 09-Feb-16 18:09:18

Good to hear you're making progress, OP, even if you're not quite ready to stake your house on it!

I thought about this thread the other day, when I weighed in at 11stone 1lb for the third week running. hmm Naturally it's disappointing, but I'm not doing anything wrong enough to deserve it, so I'm just going to keep going for now and trust that it'll get shifting again.

AuntieStella Sun 21-Feb-16 09:48:09

Well, progress stalled over half term (as I expected, we've been away) but I remain slightly under the previous plateau.

A fair amount of that will be the booze, so that's out this week totally!

The heartening words on here have really helped me stick with it. And am hoping that it'll get me going downwards again this week.

MrAli how are you getting on?

AuntieStella Sat 27-Feb-16 09:14:25

I'm still going downwards, and have lost the effects of half term (mainly booze) in a week. Feeling good!

So again thanks to those here who kept me with it when I was close to giving up.

(I'm not weighing everything, but am checking more than I did)

Koreana Sat 27-Feb-16 11:21:09

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

creampie Sat 27-Feb-16 15:28:51

This is a good article about plateaus

AuntieStella Mon 04-Apr-16 09:29:18

I'm just popping back with an update. Because I stuck with it, and am now at my tier 1 target (BMI 24.8 so officially no longer overweight) and hope to keep heading downwards to my pre-DC weight.

Posters on this thread really helped. Because having people who answer posts about being stuck really did ward off the 'sod it' moments. So my thanks flowers

Despite my resistance, I started using MFP and yes it has helped. And I joined the 'lose a stone' chat thread in this topic.

And possibly the best bit is fitting back comfortably in clothes that used to dig in (or be impossible to get in).

CoperCabana Mon 04-Apr-16 09:34:01

I have reached a plateau, so placemarking to read later as am heading out now.

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