Weight loss is hard. Far harder than packing on the pounds in the first place. It doesn’t really matter what kind of “system” you use to lose weight. If they tell you it will be easy, without you even having to think about it, don’t trust that system. It’s just never that easy.
Plateaus in the weight loss process are also pretty much guaranteed. They can be infinitely more frustrating as you try to figure out how to get that weight going back in the right direction (down!). Now don’t get me wrong. Plateaus are not BAD. They are certainly not moving in a backwards direction. They just mean not really moving anywhere. Still, they can represent a great deal of disappointment when you have truly high hopes for a new system of weight loss.
If you haven’t already guessed, both my husband and I are sitting squarely on a plateau in our Advocare weight program. And we have been for several weeks. I may go up or down a pound or two now and again, but for the most part, have been hovering at the same weight for nigh on three weeks. So perhaps I depended too much on the products to do the work for me. Thus a lot of disappointment when the plateau set in. And the continued disappointment as the plateau seems to be dragging itself on and on.
Granted, there are things I could be doing to try to jump-start the loss again–more exercise, better meal choices at supper time, and so on. Or so I seem to think. Yet I seem to be inconsistent in actually “doing” those things, and perhaps that’s the root of my problem. At this point, I see it as a mental game I have to win before I can get back to winning the physical game (which is actually “losing”–we are talking about weigh loss, after all). Maybe, in the end, it’s nearly ALL mental game. I’m not convinced of that yet, however.
As mentioned in a previous post, I am medically considered morbidly obese. To get back to any semblance of “normal” weight for my height (a mere 5’1″ on a good day), I need to lose half of the weight I started with. And that would only bring me back to the weight I was at when I finished college oh so many years ago (has it really been almost 33 years?). People don’t like to talk about the numbers–I sure don’t. But maybe it’s time to put it out there and REALLY look at it so I can deal with it more realistically. *huge breath* In all, I started out by looking at a weight loss of about 130 pounds! *releases breath* Damn, that was hard to type!! It’s harder to think about. So far, I’ve lost 13 pounds. That’s only 10% of what I want to lose overall. And now I’ve hit this plateau and there I sit.
So I tell myself, “Ten percent! That’s a great start!” My dietician said if I could lose 10% of the weight I needed to lose, I might even get myself out of that pre-diabetic phase (I’m overdue for retesting, but really wanted to wait until I was down a wee bit lower than that just to make sure).
And then the “other” voice chimes in and says, “So what’s the problem? Why did we stop?” And I find myself having these conversations with myself between the disappointed voice and the hopeful voice, and I’m never quite sure at any one moment which one is being more realistic.
(As an aside, yes, I do talk to myself. And yes, I also answer myself. People tell me that’s a sign of being crazy. My response to that is how can it be crazy? If someone talks to you, it’s rude not to answer them!)
Back to the topic: When I look at the amount of time I will have to continue to lose weight to reach my goal, it can get pretty depressing, so I’ve taken to thinking of it (most of the time) in terms of one day at a time, setting little 5-pound goals, and trying to concentrate on just going down with the weight. But deeper inside, there’s that knowledge that this is not a short-term fix. I’m probably looking at 2 years, at least, to get there. And then there’s the thought that even once I’m down to my final goal, it will likely be a struggle to stay there. I’ve done the weight-loss yo-yo before. As so many of us have. And the fear of that happening again also lurks in the dark recesses of my brain. It’s a little easier to keep that at bay right now, because for it to have any real force, I need to be DOWN to that goal. And that’s a long way off at the moment.
Or is it? Plateaus make the yo-yo fear a little more real again, even when it might only be a “little” weight right now. And I think our psychological health probably affects our weight so much more than we ever realize, unless we either seek counseling related to our weight issues or we’re experts in either area. Suffice it to say, I am no expert. But I have enough awareness to be dangerous. I’ve taken many opportunities alone and with my husband to try to analyze where all this extra weight came from in the first place–comfort eating, eating as a distraction or avoidance of dealing with very real issues in my life, self-medication, and so on.
Even identifying some of those things and working to get past them mentally and emotionally doesn’t really seem to help lose the weight as much as the initial issues seemed to help me gain it. And I’m not sure if those kinds of thought processes really help in the long run or if they are necessary to making weight loss really work. I don’t have those answers. I’m just trying to understand myself and do the best I can.
I’m not giving up by any means. I knew this wouldn’t be easy. Coming face to face with the issues that got me to “morbidly obese” in the first place is as ugly as all the pounds I’ve packed on over the years. But it seems like if I don’t do that self-analysis and find a way to heal those inner hurts, I just don’t think any weight loss I manage can be sustained.
So where does that put me today? Still on the plateau.
But maybe, just maybe, this post has helped me to realize some things, even good things, about plateaus. While looking down from a plateau can be challenging–not just the from the height at which you sit, but in trying to figure out a path downward–
there’s an amazing view and perspective to be enjoyed and appreciated as well.
From such a “height”, it should be easy to see where you WANT to go. And once you’ve moved on, you can look back at where you were and know it was all in service to where you are now. If I accept that plateaus are a fact of life when I’m losing weight, then I should be able to accept that they have a purpose. Maybe it’s a sort of “resting” place from which to plan.
I didn’t expect to come to such conclusions. But maybe once I learn to appreciate the plateau, rather than fearing it, it will be easier to get on the move again. Because I sure don’t intend to sit up here forever!