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What to do when you hit a plateau

By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 41 Weigh In:

Change this week:  +1 lbs
Change overall:  -60.5 lbs

It’s the dreaded “p-word”… plateau.  And I think it’s time to accept that I’m smack dab in the middle of one. Or, hopefully, near the end of one!

I’ve been gaining and losing the same few pounds for about two months now and I’ve tried to call it to all sorts of things other than  what it actually seems to be. 

Now that I’ve called it by its name and shifted my mindset a little, it’s time to get through it.

Plateaus are so common that a Google search on “weight loss plateaus” yields pages and pages of tips and articles on busting through.  Whether it’s due to our bodies adapting to the changes we’ve made or our motivation slipping a bit due to months of hard tedious work, the first step is accepting that it’s normal.  For me, it’s realizing that I’m not doing anything wrong per se – I’ve just hit an expected bump in the weight loss process.  And the biggest challenge is making sure it doesn’t discourage me so much that I gain weight and undo all my hard work.

Luckily, I’m not alone in this endeavor.  And like I always do, I turned to Laura and Danny to see how they’ve dealt with this particular challenge.

Laura calls the plateau “the Red Baron to my Snoopy!” First, she suggests doing little things to make you happy:  “Indulge in non-food ways and get through it like any other frustrating event!”

More specifically, sometimes it helps to shake things up a little – especially if your plateau has gone on for a couple of weeks.

Laura suggests a two day plan to “mix it up”:

Day One:  Follow your diet, but do something TOTALLY different in the gym – or out of the gym! If you always run, swim. If you always do an aerobics class, go play soccer. If you never lift weights, try it! Just do something totally different that will shake your body up.

Day Two: Pig out – seriously! Eat everything you want and go to McDonalds or whatever else your weakness is. Eat and enjoy it and don’t feel even an ounce of guilt.

Day Three:  Go back to your diet and routine. (And whatever you do, wait a of couple days after the two-day plan to weigh yourself again! It’s best to do it at the beginning of your week.)

Danny’s experience and advice are similar. 

“I think the things that helped me get through a plateau were more mental than physical,” he says.  “I am fortunate to have friends who are in similar situations, so often times I would complain to them. I think allowing myself the freedom to complain, and to acknowledge I was having a tough time, was particularly freeing. It sucked, but it didn’t mean things weren’t working.

I had one particular plateau which lasted about three-four weeks, and I was becoming more and more discouraged.  I treated myself to a few things I wouldn’t normally eat (a cupcake here, a big roast beef sandwich there) and found that my body responded quite positively to that.”

Danny also reminds us that “it’s not a race, it’s a change of lifestyle” so even if you’re not losing weight at the moment, remember that you’re making better choices for yourself and will feel better over the long term.

I’ve got an exciting personal project related to plateaus that I’ll tell you about next week.  In the meantime, it’s back to tracking all my food, spending some extra time in the gym, and reminding myself that I’ll get through this soon!


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