Welcome to Château d’Plateau

As promised, I’ve taken over today’s blog post regardless of results since Jenny has been writing all of the posts for the last several weeks. And, as you’re about to see, it’s a good thing (for her) that I did:

Jenny: -0.2 lbs
Jason: -0.0 lbs

Jenny’s been kicking some consistent weight-loss booty here lately. She’s done a fantastic job, so before we go any further let’s pause for a second to give her a big hand:

Château d’Plateau
On August 29th I earned myself another 5 lb star for pushing past the 70 lb weight loss mark, and I was focusing in on reaching the milestone of 75 lbs. I was feeling pretty good about myself at the time and we pushed ahead. The following week, I guess I was feeling so good about things that I didn’t bother tracking anything that I ate that week. Not that I was eating like crazy or anything, I just wasn’t actually tracking. It’s an easy habit for me to fall into since my wife is also on Weight Watchers, has fewer points than me, and takes care of all of our meal planning. As long as I don’t do a whole lot of extra snacking then I can pretty safely skip tracking because I know she’s not going to go over her points which means I’ll stay within mine by default.

As you might expect though from not following the plan completely, the next week my weight stayed the same.

The following week I knew that I should have been tracking the whole time, so that’s what I did…for a few days. And then I stopped. Don’t ask me why, I’ve slept plenty of times since then and my memory sucks to begin with. It’s a pretty safe bet that I stopped for the same reasons though, that I don’t really need to track when Jenny’s taking care of things for us. That’s what I tell myself anyway.

Guess who stayed the same on the scale that week, too…

I did a fairly good job of tracking the next week. I missed a couple of days here and there, but for the most part I was tracking everything and my reward was a loss of 2 lbs. That brought my total weight loss up to 72.2 lbs and I was starting to get pretty excited about reaching that 75 lb goal. I had spent the last couple of weeks staying exactly the same on the scale, and I’d had enough of the boring views from the windows of Château d’Plateau and found myself a loss.

The following week (September 26) I scored another 1 lb loss, bringing my total loss to 73.2 lbs, and my current weight down to 270.4 which put me right on the edge of two different milestones at the same time. I was now only 1.8 lbs away from 75 lbs lost, and only half of a pound away from being in the 260’s which I haven’t seen in about thirteen years.

[sarcasm]Oh, how I missed you, Château d’Plateau![end sarcasm]

From there I went back to not tracking for a week. Why would I do such a thing when I know from experience that it doesn’t work? Because I’m a dork, apparently. Sure enough, history repeated itself and my weight stayed the same. I knew that I was close to those goals, and I wasn’t going to let a stupid thing like not tracking slow me down again, so not only did I track every day the following week, I also started going back to the gym and taking the dogs for walks, runs, and play times at the park.

Surely exercise would get me off the plateau, right?

Not this time. After a week of tracking and exercise, my weight stayed the same again. Somewhat discouraged by that result after a week of going to exercise, I continued on with the same plan of tracking and exercise. The exercise I did just fine, but the tracking only lasted for half of the week.

October 10: My weight stayed the same, yet again.

The following week was last week, and things got a little crazy. I wasn’t tracking again for who-knows-why, and then on Wednesday I got a call from our explosives facility saying that the database was filled with duplicated data and they needed me down there right away to fix it. I was already planning to go there this week, but they needed me early so I bought a plane ticket and flew down to Dallas that night. I missed the weigh in last week because of travel and work. I stayed there over the weekend so that I could monitor the database and respond to anything that happened during that time.

Even though I’ve been traveling to this site regularly for almost six years now, I recently changed which town I stay in while I’m there and I’m not as familiar with the restaurants in the area. I got recommendations for where to eat from some of the employees in the area and stuck to those for the most part. The bad news is, none of the places that I ate at are in the Weight Watchers database, so I’d have to make guesses (educated though they might be) which I hate doing. The good news is, I wasn’t there to indulge or to binge, so I made good decisions. Sure, I ate some pizza, but we’re talking a 12″ wood-fired pizza that I ate half of and saved the other half for another meal and I’ve got enough points to eat a large pan-pizza from Pizza Hut by myself, so I’m not worried about a little one.

I was planning on working out while I was there, but I was working about 12 hours every day didn’t feel like working out once I was there. I tracked down the local Weight Watchers meetings intending to go weigh-in, but times just didn’t line up the first few days and after I made the decision not to exercise during the eight-day business trip, I decided I’d just put off the weigh-in until I got back home.

I got home on Wednesday night, so last night of course was our normal weigh-in night. We had an interview with local church leaders to go to, so we agreed that if I did reach my 75 lbs lost mark last night we would stay for the rest of the meeting, but if not we’d just head to Amarillo (~60 miles) for the interview early. As you saw at the top of the post though, I’m on my fifth week in a row staying once again in Château d’Plateau.

Dealing With Plateaus
This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve been on a plateau, or even the first time I’ve blogged about it. I first brought it up in January 2011, again in May 2011, and then again April 2012. My plateau’s aren’t the worst, they usually last a few weeks for me. I work with a guy that was on a plateau for over three months.

Plateaus suck.

Personally, I’d rather see a gain than see that I stayed the same. Every once in a while, sure I can handle staying the same. But for five weeks in a row? No. Screw that, I’d rather have a gain and know that I’m failing than to stall out at 0.0 lbs. I spent three weeks going to the gym every day, and I still stayed the same. Then I spent eight days out of town, eating out for every meal at places I had no clue about in regards to nutrition without doing any exercise at all, and I still stayed the same. It’s incredibly frustrating to see the same number on the scale regardless of how strictly or how loosely I followed the plan.

The specifics of overcoming a plateau can change from one person to the next. What works for me might not work for you, and what works for each of us might not work for the next person. However, the general key to breaking a plateau is that something has to change. There’s usually one or two things that are responsible for your lack of progress. It’s usually something fairly simple, like you need to change up how you’re exercising, you need to start tracking because you haven’t been, or you need to reevaluate your tracking to make sure you haven’t miscalculated one of your favorite snacks/meals or that you haven’t been tracking something that you thought was “free” when in fact it wasn’t.

According to some of the exercise-related resources that I read online, one way to break a plateau in regards to exercising is to start doing things backwards. For example, if you’re used to exercising on an elliptical machine, then try using the same machine but instead of moving your feet forward, try moving them backward. The machine works exactly the same regardless of which direction you push the pedals, but changing it up like that engages different muscles or engages the same muscles but in a different way.

In regards to food, if you find that you often eat the same meals at least once every week then chances are you’ve become a little bit relaxed in your measuring because you’ve gotten so used to seeing the right portions that you think you know what those portions “look” like without measuring them. If you’ve gotten into those habits then you’re really gambling with your weight loss. Most of the time you find that people who stop measuring because they’re used to seeing the right portion end up eating more Points than they thought they were, while people who aren’t measuring but are trying something new have a tendency to under-measure so that they aren’t eating as many Points as they thought they were.

I’m going to read over those old posts of mine myself after publishing this one, and see if maybe I forgot something else that I should try. I’m not about to give up on this weight loss journey, regardless of how frustrating this plateau is. I need to change some things up, and I need to really get my butt back on plan completely instead of playing this half-n-half game that clearly doesn’t work.

The picture above is what was waiting for me in the break room this morning when I went to go fill up my water bottle. Four dozen donuts just sitting there whispering, “We know how you feel, buddy. Come here and let us give you a hug!”

Not today, donuts. Not today.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Top of the 3rd Quarter | The Chubby Couple

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