Apparently I’m the only one

12 October, 2010 Off By Renée

Well. I’m sure I’m not, but when asking certain things out to the twittersphere, I didn’t get much feedback from other heath and weight loss bloggers about plateaus.

I had a great chat with Samantha and exchanged a couple of emails with Debra. I know that Bitch Cakes had a very long plateau herself and she has two blog posts on the subject from her weekly meetings. Plateaus as “we” know them though, usually don’t last as long as 6 months or more. Mine is now going on 10 months and I think about it every day, what the reasons could be that I’m sticking at this same weight.

Everyone is different. Every body requires certain things. Sometimes we are on a plateau because we are not really doing 100% in the food and/or exercise department. Sometimes we are on a plateau because of our age; a twenty-two year-olds experience will most likely be much different than this forty-two year-olds experience. Sometimes we are on a plateau because we don’t eat enough or we need to “shake things up” a little bit. Only the person themselves know whether they are really doing everything possible to lose weight in a healthy manner.

Because that’s the thing, right? I can tell you that I’m doing everything the “right” way. But am I really? Could I be doing it in the “wrong” way? Or is there something else going on? Is it medical? Mental? Physical?

We hear whining and complaining constantly. “I don’t know why I can’t lose weight” you’ll read and then followed by “Oops, a pizza just fell in my mouth”. I’m not criticizing those people. Everyone has their own responsibility. I try really hard not to complain about non-existent weight loss when I know I’ve had a weekend filled with booze, food, dessert (I never eat dessert) and late-night stop off at the Indian takeaway. I expect to NOT lose weight in these situations. I expect the scale to say “Oh hello one added kilo!” That’s normal. No one can expect to do whatever the hell they want and still lose weight.

It’s the weeks on end that I am careful. Meticulous. Weighing, measuring, and exercising. Even pre-planning my wine for the weekend. Making shopping lists and food plans. It’s those weeks that it’s especially maddening to see the scale pretty much stay the same. It’s maddening to know that you are losing sleep (literally) to make sure that you are on plan to become the healthiest you that you can be.

I know my weak areas. 1) Dinner is most likely to be a bit too much food. I am still trying to figure out how to cope with this and how to improve. 2) I do not get enough sleep. Period. 3) I like to have a drink or three during the weekend (I generally am under or right at the recommended max 7 units a week).

My dietitian mentioned it and I now am nearly convinced that I am producing too much cortisol. I don’t sleep enough, which increases the levels of cortisol over time, which gives a person a hungry signal more often. You all have read me raving like a loon over the fact that I am so hungry at times? Well, this is most likely the reason. I do not know how to solve this except to pretty much find a new job in the town or at least near where I live (since commuting is apparently also something which can increase cortisol levels, and I commute more than 20 hours a week). Getting a new job is not that easy. Not probably in the country that you, dear reader, live in and not where I live either. And certainly not for someone who finds it less stressful to work in an international environment than in an all Dutch-environment (and where I live it’s not super international –those jobs are all in the West). But now I start to digress…

I’m on a plateau. And I feel very alone in it. I feel like there is no one out there who can understand what I’m going through. No one who can understand just how frustrating it is to hear day after day another person out there in the cybersphere who has another couple of pounds down for the week. I have said it over and over; I know the number on the scale is not the be all and end all of being healthy. I know there are other factors. How do I feel in my clothes? How do I feel about my running progress? How do I feel when I look in the mirror? How do I feel in my head? I measure my success by these things and more. I feel good. I’ve lost weight. I am more confident, but I’m sorry, it’s not enough. I am still overweight and I do not want to be! I can not get my head around what MORE I can possibly do to actually lose weight. I am still at least 22 pounds over the “normal” BMI category. 22 pounds. That’s too much! I can’t even say “oh I’m struggling with the last 10 pounds.” No. it’s 10 KILOS. That is too much. I received some tips about different exercises I can do that would be good for me, but I just don’t know when I could do make time for them. Excuses. I know. I’ve got to get some acceptance here so that I can move on from it. I feel like dropping off for a while so I don’t have to watch everyone else succeed around me. Only thing is, I like seeing my fellow bloggers succeed. I like supporting them. It just feels like there is no one who can relate to me, that I’m truly alone in this.

So have you ever been on a plateau, a long one, for more than six months? What did you do to break it? What were the circumstances and did you change anything drastically to start losing weight again?