Monday, July 13

The Weighting Game

OK, after almost 10 months of watching the scale, I once again am stuck. Sure, we could blame horror-moans, cheating, Twinkies, the Cracker Barrel, or a host of other things. But we won’t. I’m not even going to whine! (Well, maybe a little, but I will be subtle about it.) Today, we are going to explore 2 very different takes on plateaus, and how we can overcome them.

First we are going to look at the magical numbers of 4, 5, and 6. Your numbers might be different than mine, but everyone has 3 numbers. No, this isn’t numerology (sorry, John Travolta). These 3 numbers represent a place on the scale that my body hits and wants to stay. Yup, as if my period isn’t enough, I have yet another cycle to endure. The Weight Cycle.

I have no science or medical opinion to back me up on this whatsoever. And I’m not going to claim that I know everything about it. I’m just a 3rd party telling you what I have observed in my own diet life, and I bet you good money (or a lovely Crème Brule) that you have experienced it too. Here is what happens:

I hit 215. I spend the next 3 weeks to a month bouncing up and down between 214 and 216. I finally move past it, and I drop the next 9 pounds in 2 weeks. Then I hit 205. I do the same thing, moving between 204 and 206, struggling for almost a month, and dropping another 9 pounds in 2 weeks. I did the same thing at 195, exact same cycle, and now I am doing it again with 184-186. I saw 184.0 twice this month, then watched it billow back up to 186 point whatever.

I have a couple of choices here. First of all, this is what my body does. Although it is rather frustrating and annoying, I can embrace that my body loses about 10 pounds in 6 weeks. Then I go through the cycle all over again. I write about being stuck when I can’t take it anymore, and about that time I move into the next 10 pounds. I always attributed it to the blog, and that there was some type of mental release that happened and I broke through the plateau.

After a quick conversation from a weight loss guru today (she is a leader of a particular group, but I won’t name which cause this dieter doesn’t play favorites till I get some cash)(but this gal is fantastic!!!) I realized that I go through this every time I hit the numbers of 4, 5 and 6. Honest to goodness, gals, I experienced such a crazy sense of release about it! Maybe these plateaus aren’t due to my own inadequacies as a dieter. This is just another part of the dieting period we talked about a few weeks ago. And as long as I realize that’s what it is, I’ll be ok. I don't have to beat myself up or only eat broccoli for a week to overcome it. I need to ride the natural wave that my body goes through, and wait excitedly for the next 6 weeks to begin!

OK, there’s the first observation of plateaus. Completely rational and biologically sound, proven by the nature of the blogs that I write. (Seriously, feel free to look back and check the dates. It was freaky how I was diet cycling and didn’t even know it!) Now we move into the next phase of getting stuck, and I bet that we can all relate to this one too.

It’s about getting too comfortable. Here’s how it works:

You lose a bunch of weight, and although you aren’t close to your goal, people begin to notice. They tell you how great you look, and you feel fantastic. You feel so good, in fact, that one day of cheating won’t kill you. After all, you have looked in the mirror, and you DO look pretty great! And even after that day of cheating, looking in the mirror doesn’t seem to show any difference, so another day of cheating is just fine. Before you know it, a week of cheating has passed and 5 pounds is back. Well, you will work on it next week, right? But before you do, there are just a few more foods you want to indulge in… can I get an amen?

This is a really tricky place to be, and I admit that I am right there. With 52 pounds gone (yeah, I was only at 186 today. Stupid dieting cycle!), I look a lot different. People notice that something is different, and are amazed and proud that I have shrunk. Which is great! I thrive on the accolades of my family, friends, and random strangers who say “Are you the big butt girl I read about?” I love it!!! But that’s exactly the problem, because looking like I do now makes me feel great. What is tough is remembering that I still have more to go, and need to keep pushing. You can’t get comfortable with where you are.

Now, before you all come at me with pitch forks and torches, let me say something here. It is important to ACCEPT yourself, regardless of where you are. You need to find peace with your life, and if you don’t have that peace let me know. I’ll tell you how I got it. Yet there is a huge difference between acceptance and complacency. Acceptance says “I am here, and it’s ok for now.” Complacency says “I am here, and I’m ok with staying here forever.”

When we get full of all the complements and kudos, feeling comfortable and/or complacent isn’t much of a stretch. I often wondered how some people who lost a good amount of weight put it back on before they finished the weight loss journey. I think this is the reason.

So how do we fight that feeling of “this is good enough” that throws us in a tailspin? It is impossible to control what comes out of other people’s mouths, and you certainly appreciate those compliments that keep you going. On the other hand, you don’t want to smash every kind word into bits, or beat yourself up about not being at goal yet. Where is the balance between continued action and comfort?

It is found in the simple act of acceptance. This is who you are today. Yes, it feels really good to be here, but tomorrow, you will be in a new place. It won’t be like today, because you can keep trying for bigger (or smaller) and better things for your life. You aren’t the same person you were when you were 16, right? (I say thank heavens I’m different!) So why should you think that where you are today is the only place you’ll ever want to be? Even when you do hit your goal, there will be doors opened up to you that were once closed. Life is always changing, because we are always changing. Our Creator planned it that way.

I recently wrote a song about my own weight loss journey, and I think the 2nd verse expresses what I mean quite poetically. It says, “I accept enough to say that this is who I am, and I’m brave enough to say it’s time for a change. Even when I fall it forces me to stop and stretch my legs.” I like that part. It gives my moments of failure purpose, and when I can give them purpose and meaning, they aren’t failures at all!

I hope that you all have enjoyed exploring these plateau pains with me, and I hope that they help in your own journey. I love getting all this mess out in the open and hashing things out with you. It really does help me- more than you all probably realize- and your faithful reading keeps me trucking toward me goal and reaching for the 48 pounds I have yet to go.

So don’t be surprised if you see me in public and say “Hey, you’re looking good” if I reply like this: “Thanks! I feel great. But just you wait till you see me 6 months from now. You’ll really be surprised at how much I’ve changed then!”

The only comfortable thing I’ll be wearing for the next 6 months are my yoga pants.


Jenny - IUSON said...

Great Blog Charlie...I think every person who has ever tried to lose weight can relate to these plateaus. You know that I started my weight loss journey a few weeks ago, and I am stuck teetering between just a few pounds right where I started. It is so frustrating especially when I'm just starting out and really need to see some results. All this hard work and nothing! I'm trying to keep focused and not give up, but it sure is hard. I think that the real vision here should be, are we making the effort to be healthy with good food choices and physical exercise. If we are, then isn't that what we are striving for; not the numbers on the scale??? We all want to see a certain weight pop up which will make us feel as if we have accomplished something, but I don't want that to be the case with my journey. I want to be healthy, and whatever weight God has decided that Is "my weight" then that's where I will be and be happy with it. If we continue with our healthy lifestyle, then we are bound to lose weight and continue to firm up. Just my thoughts on getting through these ruts.

As far as getting comfortable...boy is that true! Again, if we continue to make this dieting a lifestyle change where 95% of the time, for the rest of our lives, we make healthy choices and keep active isn't that all we can expect from ourselves?? Now pushing for that and not falling back into the old habits of indulging is the hard part. I think that staying healthy in this day in age is only achieved by the grace of God. I know I can't do this on my own; I've tried many times and continue to fail. So this time it's me and God all the way baby!! When I start to feel down or get the need for comfort food, I turn to God and get online to see what Charlie has to say :-) Keep up the good work Girl; you are helping so many of us on our journey & we hope to be an inspiration and support for you too as we walk together to become healthier women.

Charlie's Mom said...

Very well said (as usual)! Plateaus are like a splinter in your finger that you can't quite reach to remove, VERY IRRITATING! My next big challenge is ahead as I prepare for and then return to the classroom. I tend to eat when under stress and there is plenty of that at school. I have broken the Starbucks habit at home and I pray that I will continue to do so at school. I am trying to make every calorie filled with nutrition instead of junk food. When I get discouraged, I remind myself that I no longer have feelings of indigestion that I used to get when I ate foods high in fats. That in itself is worth striving for! I now tell myself that I will not eat anything from the same place where I fill up my car. It sure has curbed my impulse buying at the gas station! :) Keep on writing and we'll keep reading!!!!!
Love you bunches!

Karen said...

Oh Charlie! How freakin true ESPECIALLY on the "comfortable" stage!
I had lost 20 lbs & everyone was like ohhh lala & I was like Ya I know right, then bang 4 months go by! 4! I was exercising 3 days a week, not breaking a sweat, not W.T anymore cause I am not a fan... but still pissed off why I wasn't losing anymore!
I met a PT online who has been working with me online & I am now almost @ my 30 lbs lost! He showed me that I wasn't pushing anymore even though I knew it.

I now realize that any plateau I will encounter is just my body saying ya ok we got it we're good now & I have to push back again! So thanks again for the stories keep em up your adoring fans LOVE IT! :)

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