I have a long way to go to get back to goal and maintenance, but at least it still isn't going up, right?
Plateaus were the topic of discussion this week at my Weight Watcher's meeting. A plateau is a stabilization in your weight where you are neither losing nor gaining weight over a period of a month.
As frustrating as a plateau can be look at it this way--you aren't gaining any weight!
If you are in weight-loss mode and have reached a plateau a couple of things might be happening.
- You are getting too relaxed in your 1) portion control--weighing and measuring, 2) tracking--you've stopped writing down everything you put in your mouth, 3) you've reached a weight that your body was stable at for a long time, or, 4) your metabolism has adjusted to the amount of exercise and nourishment your body is receiving.
Plateaus can be a good thing.
Look at it this way: Plateaus are a way of practicing how to maintain your weight when you reach your goal.
Yes, I'm sorry, but you still have to be careful with your food choices AFTER you reach your goal weight. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the occasional splurge.
This last week I ate a couple of pieces of pizza. The key here is that it happened one time during a seven day period, not three or four times. You have to keep in mind that you have to keep making good choices when you are eating.
Shaking up a plateau
So what do you do if you manage to reach a plateau and want to shake it up to continue your weight loss.
You have to go back to basics
- portion control--start weighing and measuring again. Somewhere along the way you started 'eyeballing' the size of your portions and have let them grow.
- if you do nothing more than making a point of getting your healthy guideline boxes marked, you are well on your way to breaking out of your plateau. Eating the right quantities of fruit/veggies, FF milk products, healthy oil, whole grains and lean proteins will put you on the right track.
- Write EVERYTHING down that goes into your mouth. If you ate a lump of brown sugar to satisfy a sweet craving, figure out how big it was, calculate the points, and write it down. If it embarrasses you to write something stupid down, so much the better! Don't eat it then. :-)
- AND don't forget to drink your water! This doesn't mean diet drinks, this means water! Yes, you can count the diet drinks toward your daily H2O, BUT you have to remember that your body thinks it's getting a sugary product and will treat it accordingly by releasing insulin into your system. Not something you want if your body doesn't have something to process.
- Change up your exercise. Try a class at the gym. Take a different walking path. Whatever you do differently, it will charge your batteries again.
- Stay away from processed foods. Stick to foods in their natural state as much as possible. There's a reason you can't eat just one potato chip. Flavorists (food chemists) design the processed products to make you want to eat more of them. If you can, just don't have processed foods in your house.
And that's a basic list of going back to basics.
If you've had the same problem I have had with gaining weight over the long winter hibernation, try these suggestions out and let me know how they work for you!