[Off topic—if this isn't what you want to read about here, please skip this, and give me a couple of hours to write something new. Blogs are like the weather in Vermont...always changing. If you don't like what you find, just wait a bit. —Ed.]
Weight loss isn't my topic, but people have asked and I know lots of people are struggling with the same thing I am.
I'm down from 273 in early-ish 2013 to 228 as of this morning. That's where I am.
My weight loss was orderly for the best part of a year, with a target of one pound per week.
Then I got sick in January 2014. At that time I'd made it to about 238, and in less than five days I lost another 16 pounds due to the illness. But then, upon recovering, I started to eat again to make up for the rapid weight loss, and rebounded back to 235.
And there I stayed, give or take three or four pounds, all...the...way...through 2014. (If you read frustration into that, you've got that right.)
I just can't seem to shake this impasse. I'm exercising every day now, when I'm at home at least, and eating sensibly, but it's like my body just wants to hang on to this current weight for dear life. Nothing seems to work.
It's called a "plateau," and it's bitter, bitter, bitter. I have deep respect for people who have managed to overcome this phenomenon. It was hard enough losing the first 40–45 lbs., and those pounds have stayed off since early 2014, but getting any further—?
Did you ever overcome a plateau during a large-scale weight loss effort? If so, how did you do it? My goal is to lose another 30 lbs. and end up below 200, and I'm not going to stop trying until I get there. I don't want to carry excess weight into old age. I just don't. I want to live life to the fullest, and that doesn't leave any place for the ennui, lethargy, inactivity, lack of body awareness, negative health effects, and lack of mental focus that are all part of the package with obesity.
(By the way, the best "starting" weight loss strategy of the dozen I experimented with is to limit the number of hours during the day in which you eat. The clock starts when you take your first bite or sip of anything in the morning (except water), and then you stop eating—completely (except water)!—twelve hours later, or ten hours later, or eight hours later. Within that window, you should of course try to eat sensibly and on a schedule, but just limiting your eating window goes a long way toward triggering weight loss. If you're obese and haven't started weight loss, try it out.)
[I'd love comments, but please, don't tell me what to do—I'd like to hear what you did. Great stuff about the 5DS R coming up. Stay tuned. And if you don't like these OT sidetracks, my apologies.]
(Thanks to Marek)
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Jorge: "I dropped 100 lbs. between 3/1 2008 and 7/21/2009 (my daughter's wedding date). It was hard. But I kept the end goal in mind. I hit many obstacles and plateaus. The way I personally beat it was to fast. I'd have breakfast and lunch, skip dinner and nothing else to eat except herbal tea until breakfast the next morning. 'Usually' that did the trick to get my body kick-started. And yes it is safe to fast one day a week or so."
Geoff Wittig: "There are two traditional methods of getting past a plateau in a weight loss program; the first is a two-day fast, which will force a quick drop in weight that can get you past the discouragement that leads to a return of self-defeating habits. The other is to up your exercise program significantly. If you're doing 20 minutes of cardio before light weights, work up to 30 minutes instead. That will also generally break the impasse, but obviously requires a commitment and you have to avoid injuring yourself if you go too fast. I did that and got a fibular stress fracture about 15 years back. Major bummer. I did better using a smart-phone app to track my calories and progress. Its graphical display of the zig-zag progress of weight loss made me more tolerant of the occasional plateau because I could see that it was sure to be temporary."
Joe: "First of all I think what works is different for every body.What works long term is to change your attitude and psychology toward food. I went from 205 lbs to 160 with a plateau at 180. Exercise alone won't do it. Diet alone won't do it. You have to try different strategies to see what works. That means what works long term—clearly you will lose weight by starving but it won't work for long!
"I cut back on portion size. Little sugar and no added sugar in diet. No soda, fruit juice or cakes, cookies, etc. If you like pasta it must be accompanied with fiber and lots of it. Vegetables and fruit. Red meat: I don't eat it, but some can't live without it. I do like chicken and fish. Remember portion size counts.
"Lots of books and 'experts' but you must find what works for you by experimentation. And remember it you slip up a day it won't matter, just get back to good eating the next day."
Speed (partial comment): "From the Mayo Clinic...'Getting past a weight-loss plateau.'"
Gary: "I'm in the same boat and have been many times before.
"Left to its own devices my weight slowly climbs to about 238 lbs. (that's 17 big fat British stones!). I start to do something about it and it quickly falls to 210 lbs. (15 stone), but getting down to my target of 196 lbs. (14 stone) is really tough.
"I think the problem is lying and cheating! In other words from 238lbs to 210lbs I mostly play with a straight bat. But during that time I'm slowly accumulating a repertoire of artful and cunning practises. Most notably, instead of weighing ingredients, I estimate, and surprise, surprise I'm a generous estimator! Then there are the tiny little extras that just aren't worth recording on the diet sheet...which then become bigger and more frequent extras.
"After a few depressing weeks of stuckness I usually do the right thing and start recording absolutely everything I eat, at which point I discover it's way more than I was eating a few months before. I revert back to the original programme, feel hungry for a few days, then nature takes its course and I march down to the target weight.
"One other point, I was surprised to learn just how many fewer calories you need as your weight drops, I forget the details but maintaining my starting weight compared to maintaining my target weight is something like a 200 calorie difference. And you don't have to look far in the modern world to find 200 calories!
Mike replies: Very funny but probably very accurate. I think the "generous estimator" problem is part of my problem too. Thanks Gary.
Nikhil Ramkarran: "I think you'll find that a dozen people will have 14 different ideas as to how to fix weight loss issues. The key in evaluating everyone's experiences seems to be to look at not what works, but what didn't work. Very few people can truly account for all the factors that led to their success, whereas failure is usually easier to assess. Push come to shove, apparently there is an upside to the weight loss plateau :-) "