Five Saturday mornings. For Five Saturday mornings the same freakin’ number has stared back at me from my bathroom scale, mocking me. It never ceases to amaze me how an inanimate object can have such profound effect on a person’s emotions.
I know, I know, I shouldn’t give it that power. It’s just a number. At least it's not going up. Remember how far I’ve come. Yadda, yadda, yadda. No matter how prepared I feel I am, or how much preamble I give myself about how it shouldn’t bother me, it still does.
Plateaus are major suckage. Period.
You see, I’ve been doing everything right. Keeping my calories where they should be, regular cardio and strength training, no carbs after 3 p.m. But short of lopping off a limb (which I have not entirely ruled out) I can’t seem to get the needle to move. I’ve also heard every kind of advice. Eat less. Eat more. Take this supplement. Drink this shake. More protein. Less protein. Increase your workouts. Decrease your workouts. Wait ‘til the full moon, run naked through the streets and howl at anyone you see. I’ve tried everything (well, except for that last one…but we’ll see what happens this Saturday morning).
There is no clear-cut answer for why plateaus occur. As Weight Watchers puts it, “While plateaus are an almost inevitable response to losing weight, the physiological reasons for why they occur [are] not well understood.” But there are different theories that make sense.
For instance, as you lose weight, you burn fewer calories (seems unfair, doesn’t it?), so you may need to cut more to keep losing. In my case I really can’t imagine living happily on less than 1,500 calories a day, so if this is the reason I’m stuck, girl, I’m staying stuck.
There are all sorts of theories that piss me off, too. Like, are you consuming more calories without admitting it? NO! Perhaps you need to exercise more! NO! Isn’t every day enough for you? I do not need to stand here and take these accusations!
Okay, I’ve calmed down now.
But I found the explanation that made the most sense to me on caloriecount.com. “A weight loss plateau happens when (around) 10 percent of initial body weight is lost. Many clinical studies have confirmed the phenomenon. Through a series of changes in the hormones that regulate energy balance, the body adapts to the downward spiral of declining weight by taking a break. Most people reach a plateau after losing weight for about 6 months or so, but people who insist on losing more quickly reach a plateau quicker too…Embrace the plateau. A weight loss plateau is normal and good…”