April 28, 2011
On no, it’s here! I knew it would happen; it always does. Those of you who have ever dieted have met the dreaded plateau. I’m stuck at 180 pounds! All of my good dietary habits and exercise have ceased working. Not really! While I’m not losing weight, I’m still getting healthier. If my only focus was the scale, I would get discouraged, frustrated and even depressed. People who are discouraged, frustrated and depressed eat! Their success becomes failure.
What the scale records is not important. What is important is getting healthier. Plateaus are a naturally occurring process. According to Mayo Clinic’s website, “A plateau occurs because your metabolism — the process of burning calories for energy — slows as you lose lean tissue (muscle). When you lose weight, you lose both fat and lean tissue. (The notion that overweight people have a slower metabolism is a myth. In general, the higher a person’s weight, the higher the body’s metabolic rate.) Your weight-loss efforts result in a new equilibrium with your now slower metabolism. This means that in order to lose more weight, you need to increase activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked initially will maintain your weight loss, but it won’t lead to more weight loss.”
Overcoming a plateau requires fine tuning your weight loss strategy. The other day I wrote about “Chicken Steps”. To overcome my plateau, I will slowly increase my exercise routine and slowly decrease my daily intake of food. Radical changes are not necessary. I am actually pleased to have reached this plateau. It means I have been successful on the first leg of my trip back to good health.
The next time you reach a plateau recognize that it is a sign of success. Recalculate your body’s caloric needs based on your new weight. Always work at refining your exercise routine. If you take small continuous “Chicken Steps” in the direction you want to go, you’ll make it safely to the other side of the road.