Friday, March 11, 2011

Take that plateau!!!

Dear Old Me,

I got my weight moving again! Praise Jebus. My advice to you today is that you shouldn’t be too concerned when you hit a plateau for the simple fact that weight loss ultimately comes down to one simple rule. To lose weight (unless you have a medical condition, which, by the way, you don’t) you must burn more energy that you consume! The only way to push past a plateau is to reduce your food intake (which is already pretty sparse) and/or increase your energy output (i.e. exercise). I haven’t been diligent about journaling my food intake. Truthfully, I haven’t really done it at all for the last couple of months and maybe I need to refocus on that aspect a little closer as I get closer to my goal weight. It’s good to revisit your food plan from time to time to avoid boredom or falling into bad habits. But the fact of the matter is that it is sooooo not fun and in fact, I hate it.

While playing Game On* I have gotten very used to the foods that I can and cannot eat. I have done my due diligence in figuring out what works and does not work calorie-wise. I really don’t even look at the calories on most of the food I eat. The only exception to that is my daily “100 calories of whatever”.  I pay VERY close attention to those calories. Very, very close attention. Sometimes I can taste every single one.

My weight loss has always followed the same pattern. I will lose, lose, lose and my weight will drop 10 or so lbs over a month to six weeks. Then I plateau for a week or so, I sometimes always gain some back and then it starts moving again. After losing 140+ lbs and having gone through at least one plateau for every ten lbs lost you would think I would learn to not freak out. But I always, always do. It is hard to not be frustrated. It is hard to trust the simple science that is truly the basis for this roller coaster that I am on.

About 48 hours into a “no weight loss” period of time I begin to panic. I start freaking out that I am still fat or that I will never be as thin as I want or worse yet that I will gain all the weight back. For the longest time (like, my entire life) I have always focused solely on food to lose weight. Always believing that it was simply less food=weight loss. Sometimes it has worked (for example when I initially started losing weight in May 2009 and lost my first 70 lbs) and sometimes it didn’t (every other time I have ever tried to lose weight). Looking back at all of my past failed attempts I can see now that I would hit that first plateau and then I would not have the will power or whatever I needed to stick to my food plan until the scale started moving again. All of my focus would be on food and what I could and could NOT eat. I would obsess about the forbidden, give in and the inevitable weight gain would happen. All of the weight, whatever the amount is that had been lost, would return along with a few of its friends. I didn't have anything else to fall back on. The only other part to the equation to fall back on is exercise... I didn't have exercise to fall back on.

I give full credit to the game for giving me the missing piece to the puzzle. It has given me all the tools to have the power to push past the plateaus. Seriously, I am not sure I could have done it without the support from my friends and family and the structure of the game. Back in June 2010 when I started playing I was at one of those plateaus. I had been there for several months actually. By no small miracle I had managed to maintain the 70 lb loss that I had mustered up to that point by food control alone. But I could feel it slipping away… and then along came the game with all of its awesomeness. It forced me to focus on more than just food. It put the focus on my overall health.

I stopped being all consumed and obsessed with food and started focusing on healthy habits and doing whatever I could to work out for 20 minutes a day.Up to that point I had never really exercised. Like ever. It is so not my thing. Or it was so not my thing. In junior high I used to actually forge notes from my doctor or mom (sorry Ma!) that I had some kind of random something-or-another physical (sometimes even psychological) ailment that made it impossible for me to do the “fun run” (which was probably barely a one mile run around the outer perimeter of the school property, so paltry compared to what I do now). The teacher never said a word about the fact that I had “that time of the month” every single Friday for the entire semester. I managed to get through all of my high school career without having to do a single "fun run". The game forced me to find creative ways to workout. After all, I had committed to doing 20 minutes every day. I began looking for new ways to work out, desperate to find something I could just tolerate. 

That’s when I went to my first Zumba class. I will not go into how much I love Zumba at this juncture because I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on… and you get the point. There will be other Zumba related posts for sure. The important thing is that I found an exercise that I could stand to do for more than two seconds. The game made me HAVE to do it. Now I want to do it and I want to do it as much I can, for as long as I can. 

This change in attitude has allowed me to power through this plateau with very little thought or additional effort. I have spent all my time enjoying my workouts and totally forgot that I was even worried at all. I am not worried about whether I will lose or gain. I don't obsess about how I will inevitably fail and be fat forever. I am having too much fun to care about failure. And do you want to know what happened? I woke up this morning to a drop of 5 lbs! Wahoo! I like how this feels. I like knowing that I am in control and that I am able to enjoy myself while being healthy. It feels pretty darn good. 

I seriously can’t wait for my next plateau so I can kick its ass too.

Until next time,

The New You

*If you are wondering about Game On. It is the “diet” plan I have been using the last 7 months or so. I am sure I will post more about it later entries for those of you that I have not been indoctrinated into my cult yet. If you want more now, just let me know. I love sharing the game with anyone and everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I love the line, "I forgot I was even worried."

    You do realize you are writing a book, don't you? I honestly think this needs to be published at some point. Your writing is quality and your enthusiasm and courage are so inspiring.