Shake It Up, Baby


Oh, this damn plateau. This is a classic– after 3 or 4 weeks of enjoying steady weight loss on a diet, the needle on the scale refuses to budge. A dietary plateau, I’ve learned, can last from a few days to a few months. A few months!

So I thought I’d better do a little reading to see if there was some reasonable advice, or at least some continuity of theory.  Certainly you have to tread lightly in the world of internet weight loss, and take much of it with a grain of salt.  One personal trainer in Slidell, LA  advised stricter dieting (which almost everyone else disagrees on–one even suggests a brief lay-off from training and diet) consume more protein powder (yuck) and recommended a woman my size should  drink “at least 140 ounces of water a day.”

There were some common themes though, most based on the irrefutable fact that we are a very adaptive beast. It takes a few weeks for your body to say “Oh she wants us to do that, okay” and your body becomes much more efficient at achieving the short-term goal. That’s why at the beginning when you huff and puff through 15 minutes on the treadmill, you will see some results. A month or two later when you can breeze through a 45 minute workout, well– you’re more efficient and as a result you’re losing less weight. Or no weight at all.

Most fitness professionals suggested that you shake up your metabolism, both by “zig-zagging” (yes, that’s an official weight-loss professional term) your calories, varying rates of consumption each day but still getting approximately the same total each week. So you might eat 1400 on Tuesday and 1700 on Wednesday and 2100 on Thursday.  Another means to get the metabolic furnace burning again was to vary your exercise routine. It was astonishing how many  “weight-loss professionals” gave the most dull advice. “If you’re doing cardio, add strength-training. If you’re doing strength-training, add cardio.”  My goodness, no wonder people hate exercise, it’s so boring.

There were some gems amongst the dreck, though. For instance, vary your work on the treadmill, by pushing yourself for just a few minutes  to walk much faster or on a steep incline. After you’ve powered through that, just return to your regular pace.  Do this three or four times and you give yourself a  little metabolic rush each time.  Someone else suggested adding entirely different kinds of activities three times a week to your workout. Go cycling, or paddling, or swimming. Play tennis, or softball or basketball. Show dogs. This sounds like a lot more fun than just adding strength training.

Sadly, because I have an enormous project coming up in the next ten days, I have to delay implementing that plan (Have More Fun) but it is coming. Thinking about that project I am reminded that I was dismayed to learn that stress plays a leading role in fluid retention. Retained fluid is extra weight. Well, dandy. So we should all learn to relax and be happy. Get up and dance.

I’ll leave you with this.

Target number still stubbornly 63. Steps walked 5232.  Consumed yogurt with granola, one ounce mozzarella cheese, Chicken and Prosciutto Tortellonis (with a little olive oil and a bit of parmesan cheese) cup of watermelon, half cup of grape tomatoes, half cup of cottage cheese, half a cup of grilled shrimp, with avocado in a small flour tortilla. 6 Cadbury mini eggs.


3 thoughts on “Shake It Up, Baby

  1. I guess you don’t just want to lose weight. You also don’t wont to get back the pounds. So, my advice is to just life a healthy lifestyle. Life in a way you think you can live for a long time and don’t take those expensive diet-products.
    It is normal, that you lose more weight in the beginning, because that’s just water. Now your body has to lose fat and that is much more harder. If it takes some time remember that it (probably) also took you some time to gain these extra-pounds. 😉

  2. You are right about interval training. The evidence consistently supports its effectiveness. The plateaus are tough to withstand but I remind myself it’s better to stand still than to go backwards. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It is that damn ‘Set Point’ – the cause for plateaus – your body has decided the weight you are is the weight you should be and is working hard to keep it there.

    You can totally kick its ass…

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