I hit quite the plateau in my weight loss. For 3 solid months, I was kicking some serious butt in my weight loss journey. I had managed to drop 23 pounds in that time frame and develop some healthy habits. Not only was working out second nature, but keeping my calories in check was too.
Then I went on vacation. It started out great – I didn’t go crazy with calories just because I was on vacation and I managed to get up and go for a walk in the morning. But then the weather for my entire 11 days off included rain, and lots of it, and getting up and going for a walk outside turned non-existent. While I did let myself go a little with the calories, I stuck to my guns on logging my meals each day. I didn’t break the streak I had on MyFitnessPal (for those of you who don’t use it, it makes note of how many days you’ve logged on in a row) and as I sit here and write this, I’m currently on a 183 day streak!
When I returned from vacation and weighed myself, I was pleasantly surprised to realize I had only gained 2.5 pounds. Not bad for 11 days off with no workouts and not having a strict diet. While no one wants to see that scale go up, I wasn’t disappointed. I was relieved that it was a small increase and felt that it showed that once I do actually hit my goal weight, I will be able to keep myself in check.
I had returned from my vacation on September 7, 2015. Just last week was the first weigh-in that I’ve had that was actually below where I was when I left on vacation! JUST LAST WEEK! That’s 3 months that I stayed within the same 3 pounds and couldn’t push down below that darn number. I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally do it! Such a small accomplishment, but it meant the changes I started making are making a difference.
A few weeks ago, I was getting incredibly frustrated with seeing the same number week after week. I had been close to going below it about 2 months ago, but somehow I just managed to jump around the same 3 pounds and didn’t see the decrease that I needed. With Thanksgiving under my belt, I figured now would be the time to really get my butt into gear.
What was I doing wrong?
The funny thing is, I didn’t treat the last 3 months like a continued vacation. I wasn’t skipping my workouts and I wasn’t eating copious amounts of junk food. I was doing everything that I had been doing before – except now it’s not good enough. Simply put, my body had become used to my new habits.
So what did I need to change?
I read a few articles online and found that I was doing some things that were suggested already – like tracking my meals and getting enough sleep. So that wasn’t helpful. But what I did find that seemed to have made the difference was these two things:
- Dropping my calorie goal 200 calories
- Changing my workout routine
I was already eating 1600 calories so dropping it by 200 meant that I was going to 1400 calories a day. The information I found said that it was a good idea to drop it by 200 as long as it meant it wouldn’t put you below the 1200 calories a day that you need in order for your body to function. At first this drop in calories was HARD. I didn’t think it would be as hard as it would be, but it really was. I was consuming a lot of extra calories and this meant that I had to make some real changes and/or put in some extra tough workouts to keep my new 1400 calorie count in check.
Also, changing my workout routine was a little bit of a challenge too. Not as hard as the calorie change, but it’s never easy to change your routine. The first day I did though, I noticed a huge difference. I was sore again! I was sore for almost 3 days! That soreness was worth it though because it made me realize just how these changes were going to help me see results. I hadn’t been sore in months from my workouts and this was a great thing.
A week after I started those changes was when I saw the scale budge below my pre-vacation weight. These changes had already started paying off! It was almost instant gratification. I’ve since had 2 weigh-ins after my changes and both times showed more loss! So, there seems to be some hope beyond the plateau. 🙂
Update: I’ve since had another weigh-in and am happy to report I’m now down 26.2 pounds! It’s always rewarding to see that scale budge.