Plateaus and Progress
Monday, March 03, 2014
Sounds like a contradicting title, right? Well, it is, but it is also true that there is a lot of progress during plateaus.
I've been on a plateau again recently. I quickly lost my Christmas weight and got stuck right where I was stuck from October - December: 189. Actually, then I was at least able to get it down to 187. Now, I usually don't mind plateaus in my weight. I view them as times where I am able to learn to maintain before switching more things up and working extra hard to break that plateau. Learning to maintain is very important. If I can stay at 189, that's better than letting that number sneak up to 200. But lately, I've been kind of down about it, so when I had a suddenly unexpected long weekend (almost a week off school!), I decided it was the perfect time to refocus, conquer my gluttonous ways, and begin exercising more.
Every day I've been drinking lots of water, eating only if my stomach is growling (I was beginning to forget what it was like to actually be hungry!), working out, and staying active. That usually does the trick within a few day, but this time it didn't. Or so I thought. I've weighed myself faithfully every morning: 189.8, 189.4, 189.2, 189.4. The numbers were hardly changing! Then on the off chance, later one day, I went to take my measurements, and they were great!
This morning I officially logged my measurements (I always make sure to do it first thing in the morning before I eat or drink anything; consistency helps me see results). I may have not lost weight in numbers the past few day, but my body did lose several inches! Just from a little over a week ago (I don't usually measure that often unless I've seen change), my waist lost 0.75 inches, my thigh lost 0.25 inches, and my upper arm lost 0.25 inches! After I logged these, I love looking at the graphs (making sure to change the start date back to my beginning). I often forget how far I've come!
Was my waist really 50 inches? Was my thigh really 30 inches? I couldn't fathom these numbers, so I got out my tape measure again, set it to my starting numbers and watched it as it fell around me. Was I really that big? Did that much empty space between the tape measure and my belly used to be filled? It was unbelievable. Now wonder why some people continue to comment about my weight loss (one thing I'm still learning how to deal with); I truly have lost a lot of inches and probably look different to them!
Some months gets frustrating because I plateau with weight. Often I plateau with measurements (there's been half a year without change). Then, suddenly things will start to change. I just need to remember: my body isn't magic. It takes time and consistency to change. Also, strength training really helps the measurements. Recently I started Tae Bo, which very intentionally uses my muscles and does cardio. I love this combination! Your body won't change without using those muscles.
When was the last time you stopped to see how far you've come from the beginning? Not just with the graphs, but also with life. Remember when I had trouble walking a very small incline to class with my backpack? Now I walk a huge hill to and from school everyday! Remember when I couldn't run without coughing and lung issues? Now my lungs have adjusted, and I even trained for a half marathon! Remember when I ate five desserts in the school cafeteria? Now the thoughts make me sick (although, those were really good cookies). Stop look back, and enjoy the view. Think about progress you have made. Delight when others comment on your progress (this is hard for me). If you are just starting out, track consistently, so that you can go back and enjoy the view.
Starting Weight: 250
Current Weight: 189.4
Goal Weight: 145
Starting Waist: 50 inches
Current Waist: 42.5 inches
Starting Hips: 52 inches
Current Hips: 46.25 inches
Starting Thigh: 30 inches
Current Thigh: 26 inches
Starting Upper Arm: 15.5 inches
Current Upper Arm: 13 inches
Starting Pants Size: 18 or 20
Current Pants Size: 14 or 16
Goal Pants Size: 10 or 12
Starting Shirt Size: 1X or XL (occasionally)
Current Shirt Size: L
Goal Shirt Size: M
Even when I think I'm in a plateau, my body is still working. It's changing. I may see it or not see it, but it is still changing. I just need to stick with it. Look how far I've come. I still a ways to go, but seeing the change makes me stick with it. Slow and steady wins the race! Never give up, and always do things intentionally, even if that's gaining weight over Christmas. We can do it, and we will!