adrienne: plateau is a stupid word and i hate it

22 May

The plateau.

The word strikes fear in the hearts of many. I never thought I’d hit it; I thought I’d be different from everyone else and shoot right past it to my skinny little goal of 150 pounds. I was doing so well! I looked so good in my size 12 pants (down from size 24) and I was only going to get better!

And then I hit it.

November 2011. 176 pounds. Every week at weigh in, over and over. 176 pounds. My body was happy with how I was eating and with my exercise level and nothing would change it. I ate differently throughout the day; I changed my exercise routines. Nothing changed it.

You want to talk about a plateau? My Weight Watchers weight loss graph showed a net gain or loss of 0.0 pounds for six straight months.

one big-ass plateau
the tibetan plateau… the biggest plateau on earth… pretty much my plateau

This only added to what amounted to the perfect storm of weight loss failure:

  • My plateau was frustrating, so I started to slack on tracking my food.
  • It was winter, so I stopped running outside and my body went into fat storage mode.
  • Work entered the busy season, eliminating my Tuesday/Thursday gym time in the evenings.
  • I began having severe abdominal pain, a radiating lump in my lower right abdomen, that would be agonizing by the end of a workout. Sometimes it caused me to double over when I walked.
  • I had surgery to figure out the cause of my pain, putting me out of commission for another month. (this is another entry entirely)
  • By this time, it was March of this year and I had gained seven pounds. Another month and I’d gained five more. And here I am today, now 12 pounds over that plateau weight, not exercising a single day of the week, not tracking my food. Overeating, indulging, and feeling terrible about it.

    And I quit Weight Watchers last night because I hadn’t touched the online program since February and I was tired of paying for something I wasn’t using.

    It was daring and scary to cut that lifeline.

    first Google images result for “weight watchers drop out”… ACCURATE!

    There are many stories of women who have gone on “maintenance” on the program (you’re satisfied with your weight or reach your goal so you adjust the plan from weight loss to maintaining a weight) or women who hit the plateau and eventually backslide out of frustration or complacency. That’s what I’ve been doing. I’m doing it consciously and I know the ramifications of my actions. I don’t want to gain the weight back–I’ve noticed how much worse I feel and that my clothes are now ill-fitting. But I’m not doing anything about reverting back to my healthy habits.

    Sometimes people ask me if I find it easier to relax about weight loss since I’ve lost so much. I wouldn’t call it relaxing. It’s easier to be lazy when you know you’ve been almost 100 pounds heavier than you are at the present. But it’s not relaxing at all. I’m anxious and upset and there’s an undercurrent of self-directed anger that I am letting myself undo all my hard work, one pound at a time.

    I feel guilt when I eat again. I haven’t felt that in such a long time.

    There was a great New York Times article on applying quantitative mathematics to the obesity epidemic last week. It was brilliant (I highly recommend you read it) and hit on a lot of the food/weight loss issues I have. But in regard to plateaus, it offered an especially interesting perspective:

    “… there’s a time constant that’s an important factor in weight loss. That’s because if you reduce your caloric intake, after a while, your body reaches equilibrium. It actually takes about three years for a dieter to reach their new “steady state.” Our model predicts that if you eat 100 calories fewer a day, in three years you will, on average, lose 10 pounds — if you don’t cheat.”

    Three years to reach my new steady state. Given that, I never reached my new steady state on Weight Watchers and I’m in a state of flux right now. It wouldn’t take much for me to turn my trend of weight gain downward. I know all isn’t lost at this point and that I could easily start tracking tomorrow, start running or walking a mile per day this weekend, and I’d lose these 12 pounds and hopefully more. I also know that I want to gain muscle, and that muscle gain = weight gain, but muscle gain also helps you burn more fat in the long run.

    I KNOW all of these things.

    I need another moment like that day at the water park, Orlando two years ago, almost to the day. I need inspiration to hit. My upcoming wedding isn’t doing it. The Warrior Dash I’m doing in September isn’t doing it.

    I’m so frustrated. And sad. Because I know what I want but I don’t know what it’s going to take to get there. It’s nothing anyone can provide for me. It has to come from inside, not out.

    What a battle this has become… has always been.

    4 Responses to “adrienne: plateau is a stupid word and i hate it”

    1. Marguerite May 23, 2012 at 5:22 am #

      Love you. xxxx

      • icedteainthebag May 24, 2012 at 10:52 am #

        Thank you, love! I wasn’t really upset, just ranting. :)

    2. Dasha May 23, 2012 at 9:05 am #

      Sweetheart, I’m so sorry that this is so tough for you. I wish I could take a magic wand and wave all the issues away, but damn, I don’t have one of those.

      Just remember, it’s a long term war, not a short battle. Which sucks. A lot.


      • icedteainthebag May 24, 2012 at 10:52 am #

        Augh, it so does suck. I actually read a good article yesterday about the long-term war. Will probably blog about it soonish.

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