The Plateau

No one who’s trying to lose weight and get healthy wants to hear this word:


I hate that word.  Just hearing it makes me think of disappointment and failure.  Every time I’ve ever hit a plateau in my weight loss efforts, I’ve given up.  I’d used everything I had just to get as far as the plateau and then…nutt’in.  I fizzled.  Within a week, I was buying pizza rolls and Twinkies because I “just needed a break”.  Mmhmm.  “I just need a little break” was code for quitting.

Well, I’ve hit a plateau.  My weight loss has been grinding away slowly as of late, a fact that is sometimes worrisome.  I don’t want to think about the almighty plateau but it’s out there…stalking me.  It’s only a matter of time before it catches up to me.  And it has.

The scale has been stuck at 339 for a week.  I’ve made little efforts here and there to change up my menu and get myself unstuck.  No dice.  I’ve increased my workouts.  No dice.  Last night, I had two slices of pizza with a friend.  No.  Dice.  The scale didn’t even budge UP.  This is some plateau!

I was thinking to myself this morning about this plateau and how significant this will be for me…another test to gauge whether I am truly embracing change in my life.  I went on my first diet when I was 13 years old – so I’ve been dieting a long, long time.  Every time I’ve hit the almighty plateau, I’ve failed.  The lack of forward motion has done me in.   I get impatient, I get frustrated, I get lost…and it’s over.

As I was recalling my million failures from before, my first thought was…I’m different now.  I don’t have that urge to throw in the towel and walk away.  I’m not angry at myself or the process.  I’m not sure where it’s coming from right now, but there’s a quiet calm about me that is taking charge of all those old urges and saying “Don’t…move…”  I’m moving about in a very slow, deliberate way so that I don’t take a misstep.  For the first time ever, I feel like I’m not going to let myself fail.  I have real faith that I’m going to stick it out far longer than this plateau.

I also thought about all of you this morning.  All of you who read my blog and have plateaus of your own to deal with.  My arrival on this plateau has left me with the most unexpected feeling:  pride.  I am fill with pride because I know this isn’t going to shake me.  I’m going to get past the plateau for the first time ever.  And so I give you my plan of attack:

Change up my menu choices with more greens and more fruit.  Start logging food again to make sure I’m eating enough calories. (Believe it or not, sometimes this fat girl forgets to eat!)

Increase my exercise to 5 days this week.  Treadmill for 30 mins in the morning.  Resistance training with 10 lb. weights every night.

64 oz of water every day before 4 pm.

This is my plan of attack.  I’m going to give it 2 weeks and see what happens.  If I’m still stuck, I’ll keep changing things up until I get it right.

I’m sure y’all know how frustrating plateaus can be.  I hate them.  And I felt I needed to give myself a little edge here.  An extra line of defense against frustration.  So I created a creed for those of us who have reached the almighty plateau and I want to share it with you tonight.  So here it is…when you feel your resolve slipping, repeat this:


Don’t give up. I have no intention of doing anything but standing here, digging in my heels, and repeating that creed as long as it takes.

I will be a pillar of bad-ass calm. 🙂  I got this.

Big hugs to all my Hot Mess brothers and sisters out there who are on the plateau.

Love you!

14 thoughts on “The Plateau

  1. I completely needed this today! Two days ago I put on 2 lbs and I have been fighting them since. I know 2 lbs may not sound like much, but too me it equaled failure. As well as I went to try on clothes and the size I thought I was in was too tight to fit in. So I am trying desperately to hang onto my Sanity and to not throw my hands up in the air and say screw it give my a box of girl scout cookies and a container of peanut butter lol. A good friend told me that while I may not be in the size I thought I should be I am still not in the size I started in and that in itself is a victory. Certainly trying to continue thinking that way. Sending you fat blasting thoughts and many thanks for sharing all the good and the bad, and the nearly daily encouragement.

    1. Diana, I hate trying on clothes for that very same reason!! 

      Girl, you stick with it…don’t quit!  Don’t let those pissy little 2 pounds control you.  Keep on moving forward.  Toss your chin up and say “Screw it, let’s GO!  Onward!!!”

      Thank you for the fat blasting thoughts, my Hot Mess sister!  🙂

    1. LOL  Christy, are you trying to give me MORE t-shirts to design?  LOL  🙂

  2. Just wanted to let you know I love your blog and that you are doing awesome! I lost 90 pounds about 3 years ago and everything you write I’ve felt. You really sound like you have it figured out. Just keep making the right choices and your body has no choice but to respond … eventually; not usually at the speed we would prefer but it will respond.

    As far as the plateau – think about this … maybe your body is doing some internal remodeling. Good things are happening on the inside in response to all of your hard work! It’s just not showing up on the scale!

    1. Jenifer – thank you so much!  I agree with you that my body is doing some fun internal stuff right now.  In fact, I just said on my Facebook fan page this morning that my skin looks so much better now than it did 5 months ago when I started.  It’s clear, pink, and bright!  It was grayish yellow and very dull.  I looked sick. 

      I’m just grateful to still have the resolve to stick with this and see it through…because as I move across this plateau, I can’t help thinking back to all my failed attempts over the years…and I know what happens if I give up.

      Not gonna happen this time.  🙂

  3. I love the creed!  I’m going to take the “calm” and “breathe” words to heart and make those my motto because the times that I’m anxious are when I’m susceptible to throwing my hands up…I feel overwhelmed that I’ve come so far but still have so far to go.  Breathing is good – and not reacting with my emotions!!!!  I do have a question though, and I am NOT questioning your resolve, process, etc – it’s truly an information-gathering question on my part:  I’ve read some things (and even WW seems to support it with their “flex” points), that if you are on a plateau you should indulge in ONE very high calorie meal per week (like have anything you’ve been denying yourself) and then immediately go back on your plan.  Do you (or anyone else here can chime in) support that theory or think that’s just a recipe to slide back into unhealthy eating habits??  Also, in logging your calories, are you following the calories that MFP suggests you eat to lose 1.5lbs per week, 2lbs per week?  Are you or will you eat exercise calories as you increase activity?   I cannot believe that after losing 80lbs I am STILL asking these questions!!!!!  My gosh, it can be so frustrating.  Okay, there go the emotions again…I’m calm and breathing…  🙂  Love you, girl.  Every success you share feels like a win for the team – for me!

    1. Hi Monica!  That’s a very good question…and here’s my answer:  yes and no.  🙂  It solely depends on the individual.  Something that works for one person won’t necessarily work for another person.  There are some suggestions I can just dive into and see what happens, but others I have to approach VERY cautiously.

      My advice to everyone on the idea of indulging in a high calories meal, then jumping right back on the plan is…I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole if I was within the first 3 – 4 months of my new habit.  No way.  Any time I’ve done that in the past, it’s opened the flood gates and I’ve fallen flat on my ass.  I would not encourage someone who is within the first few months of changing to do something like this – ESPECIALLY if they’re an emotional eater like me.

      I’m not sure if anyone else can relate to this, but there’s a tiny little voice inside me that I try to pay extra attention to – and during my first few months of this, that voice would have been saying “Yeah! Indulge!!  It’ll be soooooo great!  Let’s eat something!  C’mon!!”  Attached to that voice would be a little thrill…not unlike the yummy feeling I get when I see Robert Downey Jr.  🙂   I used to just flop over, lay down, and indulge in whatever…telling myself that it was just once and that I would be right back on my plan tomorrow.  That never happened…because I got an emotional thrill out of eating whatever it was…and that was the beginning of the end.  Again.

      That voice is still there.  When hubby suggests “Let’s go get buffalo wings, babe…” and that voice pipes in and says “Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!” I smell trouble.  I no longer bend to it’s will.  Now I explain to the hubby that my inner food demons just got a cheap thrill from thinking about some unplanned buffalo wings.  I tell him I’d love to go…but let me plan for those calories in my day – so how about Saturday?  🙂  That way, hubby gets wings…and so do I…but I’m being responsible about my calories and I’m not giving in to that spoiled brat food demon that lives in my head and wants me to eff up all the time. 

      The idea of a high calorie meal knocking someone off a plateau or keeping the metabolism humm’in along seems logical to me – I just think that emotional eaters like me have to be VERY careful with it.  Very careful. 

      Bottom line, I’m a big fan of “do what works for you” because you’re the only one who matters in this scenario.

      As for your other questions, I do not eat the extra calories that I earn from exercising.  I let ’em burn.  🙂  And I manually adjust my settings on My Fitness Pal because I am resolved not to trust any one resource when it comes to determining my required food intake, etc.  I know I will eventually get to a point where I have to tighten up the 1200 – 1400 calories a day window I give myself…but I don’t see me dipping lower than 1200 calories a day, as I’m not sure that’s healthy.  As I get closer to my goal weight, I will likely increase my exercise a lot more…because you can always be more active, but you have to EAT.  🙂

      Hopefully I answered all your questions?  I’m a little wordy.  🙂  That’s the bloggy girl talk’in!

      1. That DOES help.  Honestly, I think indulging in the high calorie days has been doing for me exactly what you describe- that high, giddy feeling – and I’ve been totally stuck as a result.  I’m COMPLETELY an emotional eater.  I do lose 3-4lbs when I go back on plan but its generally what I’ve gained from the high calorie meal so that’s not making a lot of sense, is it (yet I keep doing it)? I’m going to do just what you described:  log everything, drink lots of water, exercise daily with an off day and give it 2 GOOD weeks and see what happens.  NO changes until the 2 weeks is up.  I’m sticking right around 1290-1340 calories/day but not using exercise cals.  My birthday is Aug 24 and I really, really, really would like to be down 15lbs by then.  Takin’ the bull by the horns!  Thanks, always, for the encouragement.  Breathing!!!

      2. You are right! You don’t want to dip much below 1200 calories per day or your body will think it is starving and will get very stingy with its fat/calories and not let any of them go for fear that it might not be seeing many calories in its future. Your plan sounds spot on–changing up your eating and incoroporating some strength training is a great idea.

  4. Love it!  It is so strange to know, “it’s different this time.”  Now when I plateau, I’m not very happy but I’m so … in control.  What happened to us that made us so strong??

    1. Katie, I think that it’s what I’ve always hated to hear back when I wasn’t ready to hear it:  we just GET IT now.  I used to hate when people would tell me that they “just get it” because I obviously wasn’t getting it…and I so desperately wanted to!

      I do GET it now.  Sounds like you do too!  I think it’s just that mental shift that everyone has to go through in order to get past this huge wall…and I’m trying my best to leave a trail of bread crumbs for others to follow.  (Low carb bread crumbs, of course!)

  5. So proud of you!  Attitude is everything and yours in awesome!  You can and will do this. You are gonna kick ass and take names later!!!  Keep up the awesome job !!  I have faith in you!

  6. Plateau is such a pretty little word – kind of Frenchy.  It is your body saying ” oh, now I get it – I see what you are doing – I need a little rest to try to adjust to all the changes.”  Then you kick it into high and put that Frenchy word where the sun don’t shine.  You have got this thing by the horns (little Texas humor) and there is no stopping you!!  I want to meet you some day – your humor and grasp of the essential mastering of the emotions needed for weight loss success is amazing.  You will kick this thing in the butt and never have to do it again.  You are the QUEEN OF THE WORLD!! 

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