Apparently I’m the only one

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?

27 thoughts on “Apparently I’m the only one

  1. You are not the only one :) I started doing yoga when I plateaued and I found that the different activity really helped to push things along. I didn’t come off the plateau straight away but it did shake things up in my body enough to get things moving after about a month. I also found that yoga was great for reducing my appetite (which is typically voracious). Then I tried Bikram yoga and well that is very intense but I found it really helped me relax. Then the weight started to come off more regularly. Also – you are a runner so you might find that something like yoga may really compliment the running routine :)

    Love your blog by the way!!

    1. Thanks Emilie. I have to say I tried Yoga, once.. In 1993! hahahaha! I guess at the time I just thought “what a load of …” but then again I was 24 years old then and not a very patient person. Plus I thought I remembered something about breathing in through one nostril and out the other. I may have completely skewed that memory. When I can figure out my schedule (soon) I will at least look into it again. You’re not the first person to suggest it to me, that’s for sure.

  2. Well, no, I haven’t had a plateau like that mostly because I haven’t been that person to be steadily committed to the diet plan this year. So, I don’t know. And I don’t want to be annoying with some quip about “hey! That means you’ll be GREAT at maintenance! or something.

    But, I will say yes, it stinks. I can’t even imagine how frustrating it must be for you to be working so hard at something and not getting the result you want. Truthfully, I admire your perserverance. 10 months? I’m not sure I have that kind of stick-to-it-iveness.

    I hope you find some answers with this post that will help you out.

    1. Thanks Sue. And actually I probably will be great at maintenance ;-) It does stink. I thought I was ok with it “most days” but actually it pretty much pisses me off every day.

  3. I don’t how I missed the whole deal on twitter … I SO would have told you that you’re not the only one … but wouldn’t have been able to give any insights as to how to overcome the hell of it all.
    I’ve been bouncing around 185lbs (within 5 pounds UP but never down — that would be too hopeful) since August …….
    I blame mine on my general suckiness at getting things done and getting things right. Even when I think I’m on track and the calories in vs calories out nonsense seems to indicate that I’m kicking ass and taking names … when it comes right down to it I’m still bouncing around that damn 185.

    1. Karen have you also considered your sleeping patterns may be one of the causes? You are always moving, burning calories, keeping up your fitness, maybe there’s something else? How’s your food?

  4. I’m stopping by from the US. I can’t say I’ve been on a plateau for longer than 6 months because I just joined WW in 6/10. However, I can tell you that I STRUGGLED to lose weight for the first 4 months. While other women, my age and my weight were dropping 2 – 4 lbs/wk, sometimes I lost nothing or sometimes I lost .4 lbs. This went on for 4 months and I could not believe I’d made all these positive lifestyle changes and was having virtually no success (certainly not by my yardstick for what my success needed to be). I kept talking to those at my WW location as well as to those on some WW boards that I belong to. Some said to eat all my weekly points, some added to also dip into my activity points, and my WW center told me to eat more protein.

    I knew that if I attempted a low carb version of WW I would for sure lose weight but I also knew that that was NOT something that I could maintain for life. I even went to see my regular doctor AND my endocrinologist to figure out what might be going on (and the verdict was nothing…I’m healthy, go figure).

    So, I reduced MY situation to the lowest common denominator and that was that it must be that the calories associated with the number of points assigned to me were too high for ME to lose weight. My daily points = about 1450 calories and I felt that I needed to be closer to 1200 daily calories. So, I cut my points to roughly equal that and guess what? I FINALLY started to lose weight (in fact I posted my largest one week loss, 3.6 lbs, last week). And, it has sucked trying to adjust to 250 less calories/day, but it also has worked and that is just what I needed to stay motivated.

    Good luck, it is hard and it sucks.

    232 highest


    1. sorry to hear that you struggled as well. that’s the thing. Weight Watchers does work for people who work the program, most of the time. Then you have the anomaly’s like us. 10 years ago it worked for me. 10 years ago I was not a runner, I got plenty of sleep and I had a 25 minute bike ride to the office. Things are different now and my body’s different (apparently). My WW leader told me the last time I saw her to eat MORE. She was probably right, but I’ve all but stopped the program (I haven’t cancelled my subscription yet) so I don’t know for sure. Kudos to you for sticking to it and trying to find what worked for you. And Kudos to you for counting calories! That would drive me more mad than the bloody plateau!

  5. I can’t imagine. period. I would be crazy and have given up yet again in that situation I think. So I admire your resolve, would miss you if you go and promise never to tweet about losing weight at my weekly weigh in. Really, I won’t :)

    1. don’t be silly :) I love to hear how things are going with you. your maintenance has been fabulous! I think you probably were just as determined as I am so maybe you wouldn’t have given up!

  6. You are not alone. I’ve been on this plateau myself. Every now and then I get a loss but usually gain it back within a few weeks. I’ve been losing the same three to five pounds since January. It sucks. I tried upping my exercise, nothing. I tried playing with my points. Nothing. I had a good loss this week, 3.6. But, I had gained three over the previous two weeks. So, my net loss over three weeks? .6 Barely half a pound. And it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve been doing WW for two and a half years. The first 50 pounds came off in 6 months. The last 25 have taken two years. And I still have about 30 to go. So. I know how you feel. It sucks. But you’re stronger. And you are still taking care of your body. And that’s what’s important. I’ve found that I need to be okay with where I am right now, while I keep chugging along. I need to focus on the progress I’ve made, how much stronger I am, how much more energy I have and how healthy I have become. I have to accept and be happy with my body as it is, and every .6 that comes off, it’s gotta be the icing on the cake. I love your honesty, and I would miss you if you were gone. Keep up the fight, and know that there are those of us who are fighting right along with you.

    1. wow Deb, I really had no idea that you were in the same boat as me! So do you know what is holding you back? Age? stress? busy-ness? Lack of sleep? You have a lot on your plate sometimes, maybe that’s affecting you too.

      thank you so much for posting. I’m so glad you really do KNOW what I’m experiencing right now as well!!

  7. You’re definitely not alone. After I’ve changed my eating in August I lost about 2 kg quickly but now I’m on a plateau again. If I eat well all week I’ve lost 0.1 kg or nothing. Result is that I start eating more wrong things because: what’s the point. I’m not losing.

    I have no idea how to break through the plateau. I always say to myself that one day my body will get tired of this weight and will start losing again.

    What I have learned over the years is not to look at other people. Some lose weight faster than others and I’m the slow loser.

    1. it is frustrating. and I really try not to compare. some days it just doesn’t work though. it’s a slippery slope to think what does it matter, but I do unfortunately know that feeling and eating the “wrong” things happens on occasion too.

  8. I haven’t been on a plateau for more than a few weeks, or when I was sidelined with an injury for about a month but I can so understand your frustration. I’m sorry this is so hard for you!

    I guess maybe I can put things into perspective for you, you’re only 20lbs from your normal BMI. I’m a hundred and probably won’t ever see my normal BMI because I have such a large frame.

    A change in activity, doing more weightlifting and strength training as opposed to cardio or running helped the weight come off quicker for me. Are you weighing and measuring your food? You could be over eating and just not realizing it.

    While being sidelined with my injury and eating right I still was flip flopping between losing .2 and gaining it back or losing a pound and gaining it back and it was so hard to see everyone be successful around me. I was jealous. But, I’ve learned that I like being a cheerleader and I like helping other people feel good about themselves, if I don’t at that particular moment.

    I hope things change for you!

    1. Hey Jenn. Sorry it took me a while to respond. Thanks so much for your comment. The perspective helps, but I do think actually I won’t be in a “normal” BMI when I reach my own personal goal weight of 70KG. I guess to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to weigh less than 70, but “normal” is 68. I’m going with what feels good. I would like to actually get all of those different ways of measuring out of my head and just feel good at that weight. Does that make sense? So no matter what your goal is, if it’s above “normal” it won’t matter, because it’s what feels good to you, right?

      Normally I weigh and measure most of my food. During the day I think it’s a non issue as most of those meals/snacks are planned out. It’s dinner where I am probably overeating, yes. Thing is, it hasn’t mattered if I weighed/measured/tracked diligently, or have gone with intuitive servings and stopping when full. I am not losing weight, period. I was definitely overeating while I was running so much because I also believe you need to fuel your body when it asks you to AND you need to fuel it with good, healthy, sound, added-value items that will benefit you. So when I was extremely hungry, I was still reaching for proteins or a banana, or yoghurt, or nuts, or fruit or veg… not like I was just eating junk.

      For the most part I too enjoy being a cheerleader. I also know that it’s not about the number. I see so much success in other areas now. My self-confidence. My mood. My running. How my clothes fit. How tall I’m walking. Some days I just feel more negative about it.

      Again, thank you for your comment and the support!!

  9. Well, I’m not a weight loss blogger, but they’re certainly something that I encounter regularly. Of course in my case, they’re of my own design. I’m absolutely terrible at sticking to a diet/exercise plan.

  10. hey

    you aren’t the only one! i’m on weight watchers & i have had one that lasted almost a year. just when i was about to give up it budged a bit.

    i’m not sure about the truth of the following, but these are my impressions from my experience.

    1) if you plot your entire wight loss journey, it gets harder the more you lose. i think that’s because as you are getting lighter the amount of food you need decreases, and consequently the amount you burn by equivalent exercise drops. but it just gets a wee bit harder, not impossible :-)

    2) sometimes i’ll have a super sinful week but not be punished on the scales straight away. and sometimes i have been the goodest girl ever and yet i see nothing on the scales. i think for me there’s about a weeks lag in the effects of my diet and exercise

    3) finally what shook me out of my plateau was to revamp my exercise routine and my diet. i think for me it works like shampoo: every few months whatever i am using stops being so effective and i need to change. i play with the time of the exercise, the cardio-weights break up or the actual exercises i do

    Good Luck

  11. Aww. I’m so sorry to hear how frustrated you are. It sucks feeling as though you’re not in control of the situation. I wish I had some advice, or rather some better advice because all I can offer is “hey, have you ever tried meditation?” It can help you deal with stress, may make up for some of that time you’re not spending sleeping… might be worth a shot.

    I hope someone figures out something which will work for you!

  12. The last time I was in a plateau…I ended up giving up and gaining 70 lbs. So to me, the motivation when going through a plateau is that I know the consequences if I don’t keep trying. I know it’s not really that helpful because it’s a negative experience, but there are a lot of people who go through the plateaus just like you.

  13. Renee… I’m so behind! I can’t wait to meet you either!! Uhm…I should probably start packing… like now…

    i have no words of wisdom as ive been on a self-imposed plateau…=/

    1. I guess that means we won’t just be eating salads and going for a 10K run when we meet up? hahaha!

  14. I’m totally on a plateau, and have been since August of last year, BUT I also have not been fully on track for while. So yeah…um…that pizza just fell into my mouth…. :)

    1. ha! I’m now convinced that a lot of this plateau stuff is the running. it has to be! it’s really not like I eat tons of food!!! that pizza may be falling in MY mouth soon.

  15. Hello again, you know me I have the same story as you, but I have been losing lately with the weight loss patches (I presume it is them helping?!?)

    I was told many times at the gym that doing only cardio exercise and no other form of other exercise won’t help in weight loss over the long term. (I’m still not sure if I agree with this)

    Short term it will help, for example at the beginning of a new diet after being sedentary for a while, this will help kick start the body into weight loss action, but once your healthy self gets used to this exercise the body slows down on fat burning. Plus as you know if you are exercising in over 75% of your max heart rate you are not burning as much fat as you would be if you were working in a lower percentage.

    I was also recommended Yoga if you are doing high impact cardio, yoga is supposed to be a great combination. (I wasn’t able to get into yoga though and it gave me terrible headaches for some reason!?!)

    I suppose everyone is different at the end of the day but perhaps start to try different forms of exercise and see if you see any changes?

    1. when I asked at the gym for a program, I did explain what was going on and what I wanted to achieve. This is exactly why I want to do my whole circuit because I don’t want to do just cardio! I’m certain too now that I need more weight training. As far as fitting yoga in, I’ll have to see. I’m crunched for time as it is. Maybe I can do yoga on the train ;-)

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