Tag Archives: weight loss

Shatter the Plateau

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I want to achieve stability, but not total flatness.  Call me mesa, though, ‘cause I’ve hit a weight loss plateau.  That’s frustrating in itself, but I wonder if it means everything else is stalling, too.  Have I flatlined on toning up?  Is my cholesterol level staying the same instead of dropping?  How do I break the plateau?

I did a little research, and it seems like there are 3 major causes for plateaus:

1.  Not eating enough.  Yeah, I was surprised, too.  However, if you’re not taking in enough calories, then your body may go into starvation mode and try to store everything rather than burn it off.  So those carrots could go straight to your waist if you’re not eating anything else or not eating a balanced diet.

2.  Eating mindlessly.  If you’re dining in front of the television or computer, you may not realize what you’re putting in your mouth, or how much.  A handful of almonds may be a healthy snack, but you may be eating five handfuls if your hand’s in the bag and your eyes are on the TV.

3.  Workout ruts.  If we’re working out on a regular basis, we feel great about ourselves–and we should.  However, the same workout–every day, week to week–makes a more efficient body, meaning you burn fewer calories.  In other words, your body is used to the workout and needs a change.  Mix it up to burn more calories.

So it looks like mindfully eating a balanced diet and mixing up workouts will help break fitness plateaus.  Have you ever hit a plateau?  What did you do to break it?

Random Thought

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I’m in the midst of my weight loss journey.  Some day I will wear a bikini.  It’ll show surgery scars on my stomach, cellulite on my thighs, and boobs that have sagged a bit since my teen years.  But I won’t care, ’cause I literally worked my ass off to get to where I felt okay wearing a bikini, and that’s enough for me.

Twelve Weeks Way-In

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I’m twelve weeks way into my new healthy lifestyle.  The past week feels like a big fail.  I took not one, not two, but three days off from exercising.  Three.  No yoga, no running, no nothing for three days.  On Tuesday, I took the day off because I didn’t feel well.  Okay, I can give myself a pass for that.  On Friday, I skipped morning yoga, then went out after work and didn’t get home until late at night, so I didn’t do anything.  Okay, I could maybe–maybe–give myself a pass for that.  But Saturday?  I slept late, puttered about for a few hours, then hubby and I went out for the rest of the day and got home late.  I could’ve done something in the morning.  I could’ve, at least, done some yoga.  But no, I was a total lazy slob.

The good news is that I didn’t gain any weight, despite my laziness.  Also, when I did get on the treadmill, my pace improved to an average of 11:54 per mile.  And, my mood has been relatively stable.

The bad news is I haven’t lost any weight in two weeks and I’ve hit a plateau.  Weight loss is not my primary goal but, I’ll admit, it’s a goal and a measure of my health.  And, of course, I was lazy.  Remember when I ran 2 miles on the treadmill?  Yep, hasn’t happened again.  Today I made it about 1.85 miles, but I walked it after 1.5.

So, what now?  Time to refocus!  I figure I’ve been at this for almost 3 months now.  I’m in a new season and a new quarter, so why not set some goals for the next quarter?  Here goes:

1.  Try a new activity or sport, and do it at least twice.

2.  Run 2 miles at a time, at least once per week.

3.  Lose 10 pounds.

What are your goals for the next 3 months?

Nine Weeks Way-In

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I don’t know if I’m sensitive to weight issues these days or what, but this past week I got several comments that left me scratching my head.

To start, remember the server who assumed I was going to eat a giant cheeseburger?  Well, I had lunch at that restaurant again, and she made a point of saying hello and introducing herself to me–even though she was neither my waiter nor my server for the day.  Oops, maybe she overheard me try to joke about her fatty assumptions last time, and maybe she felt bad about it.  Maybe it was just coincidence.

By the weekend, I was feeling pretty good about myself.  I hit the two month mark of my new lifestyle, hit (and maintained) a total 15-pound weight loss, and discovered I needed to shop for smaller clothes!  Hubby and I hit the mall.  I’m short (5’2”) and need a short inseam on pants, so I try to shop the petite sections when possible.  I was excited that I’m no longer a size 14/16 (14 on a good day!) and am cruising into 12/14 territory, which means the petite section of a lot of stores is now available to me.  While looking at the suit pants in the petite section of Ann Taylor, the saleswoman sternly reminded me I was in the petite section, as if I’d waddled over there by mistake.  I encountered something similar at Brooks Brothers.  (However, the folks at Banana Republic were friendlier.  I tried on a pair of size 12 jeans there and nearly wet them when they fit!  I even dragged Hubby into the dressing room to see my success.  Okay, I could stand to lose a couple more pounds until they fit perfectly but, d*mnit, I bought them, anyway–I deserved it!)

That night, Hubby and I tried a new hibachi restaurant.  We were seated next to another couple about my age.  The thin wife looked at me after our super-skinny waitress left and said, “I want to eat what she eats–she’s so skinny!”  I polished off the shrimp and veggies on my plate, but only had a few bites each of the rice and noodles.  The wife looked at me again and said, “Wow, you have self-restraint.  I ate everything!”  I didn’t know if this woman was just a chatty Cathy, or if she saw me as something other than a fat slob (which was how I was feeling at Ann Taylor and Brooks Brothers) and more as a kindred spirit who tries to live a healthy lifestyle.  Which would be awesome.

Despite the mixed comments, I’m feeling jazzed about my healthy lifestyle.  Yes, fitting into a pair of size 12 jeans helped, but I’m excited that I’ve hit the two month mark and I’m still going strong.  In fact, on Sunday I jogged around the neighborhood and just.  Felt.  Great.  The sky was bright blue and cloudless, there was a slight breeze, the neighbors were all out and smiling, and I discovered an alley still packed with fragrant flowers despite the cool weather.  I wasn’t straining to breathe as I jogged, and I probably jogged at least a mile, upwards to 1.5 mile.  (Not consecutively, but I jogged most of the 2 miles of my neighborhood trek).

For the first time, I felt powerful in my body.  Ann Taylor and Brooks Brothers?  They can’t take that feeling away from me.

The Wonderful Wizard of Dr. Oz

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The September 12, 2011, issue of Time magazine has a cover story devoted to nutrition.  The featured article is by Dr. Mehmet Oz (yeah, Oprah’s guy).  I recommend you read the article.  It’s a quick, interesting read, and Oz even throws in a few one-liners.  There’s a photo of Dr. Oz’s average daily menu, and I couldn’t help but be a little excited that I eat over half of the same things Oz eats.  Follow the yellow squash road, indeed.

Oz ultimately focuses on the magic word:  balance.  “No one pretends that achieving and maintaining an ideal weight is an easy thing to do, but the list of rules to get you there is nonetheless simple:  Eat in moderation; choose foods that look like they did when they came out of the ground (remember, there are no marshmallow trees); be an omnivore (there are multiple food groups for a reason); and get some exercise.  Human beings are the only species in the world that has figured out how to be in complete control of its own food supply.  The challenge now is to make sure the food doesn’t take control of us.”

Seven Weeks Way-In

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I’m seven weeks way into my new healthy lifestyle.  I’ve lost 12 pounds and I’m officially overweight!  Why am I excited about being overweight?  Because when I started this new lifestyle, my BMI put me in the obese category.  (BMI means “body mass index” and it calculates body fat using your height and weight.)  Less body fat = healthier me = happier me.

I’ve noticed that a few pieces of clothing seem to fit better.  I know it will take more time and pounds to really notice a difference or, miracle of miracles, drop a size or two.  I’m okay with that because I feel better and I’m getting healthier–and that’s what really counts.

Lesson learned, though:  listen to your body!  I told you about how my left knee was acting up over the weekend.  I gave myself 24 hours between workouts and then went for a walk/jog last night.  Not so smart because today my knee aches a bit.  Nothing major, but something I could’ve avoided if I’d just listened to my body and accepted that my body needs a break now and then, even if my mind is saying “run, run, run!”

Last week I aspired to fit more cardio or strength-training into my workouts.  Purely by chance, I happened to stay at a hotel with a fitness room and used their free weights and weight machines.  I used the weights to work my upper body, and my upper body felt good afterwards.  It really just made me want to join a gym even more.  However, the general consensus seems to be that I should wait a little while longer before I join a gym, so I need to figure out a way I can increase my cardio and strength-training at home without any special equipment.  Any suggestions?