I weigh myself daily and log my weight on a chart on Wednesdays.
For the past 5 weeks, I have logged in between 181 & 182.
I seem to have reached a plateau.
Gut reaction: This sucks.
I want to scrunch my face into an angry scowl, stomp my feet and scream, “This isn’t fair!!!”
I want to be in the 170’s already!!! (Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.)
So what’s a woman with a goal to do? Especially when I just want to say, “F@ck it.”
Here are the steps I’m taking to help me move toward my weight loss goals.
1. Re-assess the Situation
My automated pattern is to think: “I’ve been stuck here for weeks.”
It has been helpful to check in on the accuracy of that statement.
Looking deeper, the past 5 weeks have included about 6 special events such as the Fourth of July (when family visited), a funeral (which took me out of town for several days), a monthly lunch gathering of local coaches, and a family reunion (which took me out of town again for a few days).
My weight went up and down all throughout those weeks. It actually wasn’t stuck at all. It was responding to my choices and actions every day, like it always does.
During this timeframe when my weight went up a couple pounds, I’ve resisted the urge to say “F@ck it” and start eating with abandon. (This isn’t always the choice I make.)
Had I gone with the “F@ck it” urge, my weight would most definitely be higher than it is today.
Therefore, my new assessment is that, given the events of the past 5 weeks, my current weight does not mean “I’m stuck” or that “I’m a failure”. This weight means:
I’m making progress.
2. Stop thinking “I should be there by now.”
In this case “there” is being in the 170’s.
In reality, all of these weights feel pretty much the same in my body: 178, 182, 188.
The difference comes in when I introduce expectations and deadlines to my weight loss process. Everything changes emotionally based on how I’m perceiving the weight and the process via my mind.
Which brings me back to the thought: “I should be there by now.”
My mind. That’s who.
And my mind is causing me to feel frustrated, annoyed and dejected.
On the other hand, my body is simply showing me that I should not be in the 170’s now because I’m 181.4.
I should weigh the exact amount that I weigh (in any given moment).
I will get there when I get there.
When I get there, I’ll know I should be there – because I am.
3. Ask yourself “Does this change anything?”
Here’s what is true:
- I like the progress I’m making.
- I’m exercising more than before.
- My body is getting stronger.
- I’ve lost about 25 pounds so far.
- I’m eating way more fruits and vegetables than before (and almost no added sugar, flour and processed foods).
- I prefer being on this “plateau” to being 5-7 pounds heavier like I might be if I hadn’t been aware during the past 5 weeks (and followed my plan to the degree that I did).
- I prefer how my body feels now as compared to when I overeat and create reflux-type symptoms and indigestion.
So back to the question…”Does this plateau change anything?”
- Should I stop exercising?
- Should I stop meditating?
- Should I stop excluding sugar, flour and processed foods?
- Should I stop journaling my food?
- Should I stop any of the other healthy choices I’m making?
The answer is no.
4. Ask yourself “What can I learn from this ‘plateau’?”
- What information can I gather?
- What can I learn from this data?
Here’s what I’ve learned from this ‘plateau’ data:
- What I’ve been doing in the past 5 weeks has resulted in a relatively stable Wednesday weigh-in weight.
- Deciding that I can eat whatever I want during “special occasions,” usually results in weight gain (and that’s always fun).
- Proceeding with this mindset will delay or prevent me from reaching my goal.
- If I don’t want this delay, I will need to make different choices.
- Life is constantly handing me “special occasions,” and I’d like to find a more satisfying approach to “special occasions”.
Two weeks ago when I went out of town for a family reunion, I weighed myself daily. This showed me my true day-to-day trajectory.
This kept things real and pragmatic, rather than having me indulge in magical thinking such as this:
- “Maybe I’ll be having so much fun during this family reunion, that I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight.” (Don’t judge. Tell me you’ve thought wacky stuff like this, too.)
Anyhoo, weighing myself daily resulted in a 0.2 pound loss after 4 days out of town during a family reunion!!! That is a raging success. (See what I mean about #1 Re-assess the Situation).
If left to my mind’s own devices, I would have said, “I’m not going to watch what I eat. Instead, I’m going to enjoy myself” (as if the two were mutually exclusive).
I said “no” to the M&M’s and “yes” to enjoying my visit with family. Win-win.