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Reaching a plateau

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Reaching a plateau

Postby saffy » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:44 am

My ideal weight range is 58-72 kg approximately. From highs of up to around 110kg over the last few years I have twice managed to get back to around 87kg and for some reason that's where it seems to stop.

What actually causes a plateau and what if any methods have people tried to push through them? Or do I just keep doing what I'm doing and hope the weight eventually starts to drop again? Or do i take it as a sign that my body has reached equilibrium with my current energy in/energy out ratio, and I need to eat even less and exercise even more?

This is the most frustrating part as I start to lose motivation to exercise and eat well if I'm not seeign results.
saffy
 
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby Blitz » Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:53 pm

There are two sorts of plateaus. One is natural and the other is man-made.

The natural plateau can last for a few days or weeks. That is where the body is doing its "thing". Various things can be happening. Fluid can be retained because of natural cycles for example: periods, unwellness or something is still sitting in plumbing (eating right or drinking lots of water will sort this out). Another natural cause is that the body is responding to new conditions that you have given it. Increased exercise can be producing muscle. Muscle weights more than fat. So although your scales show the same number - you are actually leaner and healthier. The good news is that muscles burns more calories. Short term frustration on the scales means long term success on the waist. You may find it a good idea to keep track of various body measurements to keep you motivated when the scales don't show you the entire picture. Sometimes it may be the case that your body just needs to catch its breathe for a bit because of all the changes you have rort upon it. None of these causes are long term. If it seems to be then we are likely talking about the other sort of plateau...man-made.

Man-made plateaus are caused by one of two things...not exercising and eating right. If you are not losing (or maintaining) weight long term then one of these two variables (or a keen mix of both) need attention.

As you get fit you have to work your body harder to get it to move that extra fat. When I started I was carrying an extra 87kg on me. Just moving was exercise! :shock: Just daily living was consuming huge amounts of calories. When I started exercising just walking 10 minutes would build up a sweat - now 10 minutes isn't even a warm up. Tough hard exercise is required now to get me sweating and burning those calories at a good rate. I do 90 minutes on a exercise bike burning about 1,500 calories to keep me at a steady weight (and yep...I sweat buckets - much to my wife's horror!). You may find that exercising smarter will help you. Routine is the enemy of successful weight loss exercise. Your body will anticipate what you are doing and will regulate itself for efficiency. We don't want that...we are trying to burn off fat. So you have to keep your body guessing. One day regular speed and length, next day - go harder and longer, and the day after ease right back to a little less than your regular day.

With increase exercise what usually happens (especially when you get to the pointy end of weight loss) is that without realising it we have increased our food consumption. We are literally feeding extra to our body to make up for the extra exercise. We tend to increase snacks and potion size. A careful food diary will uncover quickly where it is going wrong (that is if you are disciplined enough...I never was good at keeping a food diary). Decide what you are going to eat before hand...and don't listen to your body when it wants extra...tell it to go eat that fat! :shock: :lol:

That's the basics covered. Hope this is helpful.
Kim
Was: 153.7kg
Lost: 87kg
Now: keeping it off for life!
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby saffy » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:41 am

Thanks so much, I will take this on board. Especially about the measurements. I think I need to get a diary and keep a written log of my progress - weight, measurements, food eaten, and exercise completed. AT the very least I might be able to discern some patterns and regulate my intake and activities. And I probably need to set some definite goals. Right now I'm just hoping to lose as much weight as possible and look toned and healthy before I go on my US holiday in November, but it's hard to track progress with no clear targets.

I think I also need to do some more weight training. I do plenty of cardio at the gym but very little in weights other than the weight machines. It's a small gym at my workplace and while there is a reasonable amount of equipment, it's not like a regular gym with trainers to show us what to do. So I'm going to do some research on weight training and also get my son to come with me and show me next time he visits. I don't have access to a regular gym, but he does and he does a lot of training.

I'm trying to get into the mindset of 'if I slip up and eat more than I should I will have to work harder at the gym', rather than, 'I worked hard at the gym so I can afford to eat more'. I can see that a lot of the effort I'm going to have to put in is mental.
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby Blitz » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:08 pm

The weight training will help you greatly. You may find that at first you will seem not to be losing much but hang in there...that's just those heavy muscles getting developed to power you through some tremendous losses! 8) I wish I could have done weight training when I was losing my weight - it would have made things happen a lot quicker. Unfortunately I had a huge belly hernia that made lifting weights very dangerous for me so I stuck to more harmless exercise.

Keeping a diary is a really good idea. It keeps you accountable and helps you to see patterns in your results. I used a notebook in which I wrote my weight in every day (one page for each month). I would put down my weight, how much I lost or gained for that day and maybe note something special about the day (ie went to restaurant, did extra swimming, was sick etc). On each page I would record my weekly losses and total progressive loss. In the front of the book I listed different target weights and when I reached these goals I would tick them off and record the date I reached them. Targets like mid-point (110.2kg - 43.5kg loss - reached on 20/5/11), each 10% of weight lost, each 10kgs of weight lost, factions of weight (1/3, 1/2, 2/3) off,
weight off in 25lb lots....basically a whole stack of mini goals to keep my nose pointed to victory. Looking back in "my weight loss book" encouraged me and strengthened me during my journey and today is a great source of pride of a job well done.

Kim
Was: 153.7kg
Lost: 87kg
Now: keeping it off for life!
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby saffy » Sun Aug 25, 2013 11:06 am

Thanks again. I started the diary but had too much information in it and after two days I forgot about it. I think I'll do what you've done, one page to a month. Then I might see results happening.

The weight training isn't budging my weight but it's obviously doing something because my clothes are getting looser and looser. I'm going to have to start with the tape measure to see what I've achieved.
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby Blitz » Wed Aug 28, 2013 6:08 pm

The numbers tell there own story. Keep it simple - and you will be able to keep it up. Note only essentials ie weight, loss/gain/same, weekly number and sometimes a major event ("sick"/"went out for dinner"/"extra hr exercise" etc). Looking back I wished I had kept a more detailed diary - but that would have taken more dedication and discipline than I had (or have).

Kim
Was: 153.7kg
Lost: 87kg
Now: keeping it off for life!
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby saffy » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:50 am

I was looking back at this tonight and realising how far I've come in the last 5 or 6 weeks.

From being stuck at 87 kg, I ramped up the exercise and my weight fell to 81 kg. There it stayed for weeks. Suddenly, it's started falling again - yesterday at the gym I weighed myself and I was 79kg!

It's been my goal for some time to bring my weight under 80kg. It's been hard though. I still tend to snack too much, especially at work on night shifts. But what has made the big difference to breaking through the latest plateau is exercise, both cardio and weight training.

On the treadmill at the gym at my work I do an hour of walking at 4 mph (it's a US made machine) and from using the incline between 0 and 4, I moved up to 4 to 7. I now go between 4 and 15 (the highest incline). I go up 0.5 every 20 seconds and come back down every 30 seconds. This also gets my heart rate pumping as I found I was getting so fit my heart rate would rarely even reach 130. On the new regime, which I've done several times in the last few days, it's reached peaks of up to 160 bpm and an average of about 140 bpm over the workout - which includes an extra 5 minute cool-down cycle at 3.2 mph and 0 degrees incline.

As well I do several different exercises using weight machines, as well as some free weight exercises. I haven't yet progressed above 5 kg per hand in free weights but on some of the weight machines I'm up to 40 kg. I've noticed I'm toning up nicely without bulking up, an important factor for me as I've always had solid arms.

Another thing my son put me onto was the 30 day squat challenge. You can Google this. You start day 1 with 50 squats and work up to 250 on day 30, with a rest day every 4th day. I think I'm up to day 19 or 20; yesterday I had to do 160 squats. it sounds daunting but you can do them in sets. I have started dividing the total by 5 and doing them between reps of my free weight or machine weight arm exercises.

I guess I'm doing up to about 2 1/2 hours training a day which not everyone has time for. Most of this is at the gym but I do some of my free weight exercises at home, usually while cooking dinner. Thankfully I don't have small children although I do work full time. But the gym work is done in my own time, even though the gym is located on my work complex.

I do try to mix up my workouts a bit, sometimes doing the treadmill work first and sometimes doing the weights first - or first and last. it depends how I'm feeling. I'm also struggling with hormonal issues, having just recommenced taking the pill to regularise my cycle before an upcoming overseas trip. Since starting it I've found my appetite is harder to control, and I'm sure my thighs have beefed up! Even before starting the squat challenge. But if I'm right, I only have to put up with it a couple more months, then I can go off the pill again and there will be no more excuses!

I read in another post someone was on the lite n easy 1200 calorie diet. I've actually considered doing that for a week or so just to get my head around portion sizes. What i do know is, I'm going to have to start working as hard on controlling my appetite as I do exercising, if I'm to continue to lose weight and keep it off.

I hope if anyone is reading this, some of what I've done has given you ideas to help with your own weight loss. Better go, I think I need to go for a walk for an hour or so - it's nearly 4am and ideal for me to do this at work as there is no sun and I'm quite sun-sensitive - hence why I spend so much time on a treadmill and not walking outside.
saffy
 
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby admin » Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:34 pm

Thanks for sharing Saffy.Thats why it is great to document your journey....we tend to forget where our starting point.
Cheers
Sharrelle
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby Blitz » Mon Sep 23, 2013 5:36 pm

With all that training you are building lots of muscle which has been masking your weight loss. In those "plateaus" you having been changing your body without realizing it. Now the results are coming home to roost! Weighing yourself doesn't tell the whole story...run a tape measure over yourself every other week or try some of your old clothes to discover that your body is taking on a new shape! 8)

With all that training I wouldn't want to reduce your calorie intake too much. You have to fuel the exercise and muscle build with something. The big danger for you will be increased appetite. Just watch yourself carefully in case you increase what you are eating now. Your metabolism is kicking up...keep it lean without being too mean! :D

Glory in your success...and use it to spur yourself to greater victories. Good work!

Kim
Was: 153.7kg
Lost: 87kg
Now: keeping it off for life!
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby CronicBadger » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:42 pm

One helpful activity I have found to combat a plateau is "calorie counting". It's more of a mental/emotional thing, but seems to work for me.

As long as I know for certain that I am eating less kilojoules than my body needs, then I can be certain that my body will eventually give up its stranglehold, just like an overstretched elastic band.
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Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby Blitz » Fri Feb 20, 2015 11:40 pm

A good suggestion Marc.
I know that when my weight wasn't shifting that the culprit was usually a blow out in my snacking and that a conscious pull back on the intake would soon have the weight loss happening again.

Kim
Was: 153.7kg
Lost: 87kg
Now: keeping it off for life!
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Blitz
 
Posts: 3337
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:05 pm
Location: Perth WA

Re: Reaching a plateau

Postby Divalicious » Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:06 am

CronicBadger wrote:As long as I know for certain that I am eating less kilojoules than my body needs, then I can be certain that my body will eventually give up its stranglehold, just like an overstretched elastic band.

Yep it's a sure way of moving this along! A deficit between what goes in and what goes out will always help to bring the numbers down on the scales! :wink:
Keep up the good work CB!! :D
136.0kg - Heaviest weight (1/1/12)
126.6kg - Starting weight (1/1/13)
60.0kg - Goal weight
63.3kg - Current weight


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