Overcoming a Weight-loss Plateau
Are you struggling to overcome a weight-loss plateau? Me too! Losing the first 50 pounds feels easy compared to this! I started losing weight in November of 2011, and plateaued on the scale about a year ago. Then I started getting really active, and changed my body composition, shedding inches, but no real changes at the scale. Read about my transformation and history here, if you want more background.
I have been so pleased and proud of this transformation. From an overweight, out of shape, unhappy woman, to a fit and sassy one! The weight that my body has naturally settled at seems to be one that my body is happy with, and one that I am too, honestly. As an adult, this is the “smallest” I’ve ever been, as far as clothing sizes go, and yet the scale has always sort of fallen here when I have worked hard to get back in shape.
I want to drop 14 pounds by spring so that I can compete in the USAPL Raw Nationals in the 72 kg weight class (158 lbs). As opposed to the 84kg, or 185 lb class. Since I am halfway between both at 172#, I choose to go down to be more competitive. I need to be there by the beginning of spring so that I can complete my entire training cycle at my competition weight. Nationals is mid July in Denver.
The challenge comes down to three things: 1) I have to do things differently, 2) I have to realize it is possible, 3) I have to commit and be consistent.
Do things differently
If I want to lose 14 pounds, I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing and expect different results. I eat very healthy 80% of the time, if not more. I eat good quality foods. I moderate my portions. Basically, I eat well to support my body and have successfully maintained a 50lb weight loss for the last year. While I would like to just eat intuitively and watch the scale change, this isn’t going to happen consistently. (I’ve been more or less trying for the last year and it hasn’t worked!) I am going to have to keep a log of what I eat, and count calories.
I am an engineer, and thus a scientist and mathematician tangentially. Weight loss is about science and math.Understand how your body works, and have a daily calorie deficit. It’s not rocket science. It’s basic science. I don’t need to waste hundred of dollars on supplements to help me reach my goals. I already train hard. Now I just need to be more controlled in the kitchen, and this means counting calories.
Second thing I need to do differently, or add, is SOME short high intensity interval cardio sessions. Since I started training heavy again for my last competition, I cut back on all my cardio. I more or less did this because of time constraints, but in addition, my left knee started bothering me, and it is very painful to run. This saddens me because I love to run, and was logging 15-20 miles a week running barefoot on the beach here in Puerto Rico. Transversally, I am not and will never be a cardio-bunny. However, 2-3 days of high intensity cardio will benefit my weight loss goals.
What do you need to do differently?
Realize it is possible
I don’t know if you picked up on the language in the second paragraph, but I have somewhat of a mental block when it comes to believing it is possible for me to lose more weight. “This is the smallest I’ve ever been…” “My body likes this weight, and has settled here…” In addition, the underlying messages to these explicit statements imply, “I’ve never been thin.” “I am not genetically gifted to be thin.” “Maybe I should just be content with where I am.” Plus the normal messages like, “Do I really want to make these sacrifices?” “Life is short, enjoy…” etc. And the sport specific favorites: ”You are a powerlifter, and powerlifters need lots of food to be strong.” “Powerlifters don’t do cardio.”
All of these messages are on a repeat cycle in my head daily. I have to break free from these messages. I have to allow myself to have a growth (as opposed to fixed) mindset when it comes to my body. Want to know more about fixed/growth mindset – read Carol Dweck – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
The last week, I’ve researched hiring a diet coach. Seriously, Meagan? I’m just being lazy. All a diet coach is going to do is tell me what I already know, and make me do what I have been avoiding. When I decide to do a figure competition, hiring a coach might be worth it to get that lean, but until then, like I’ve already said, it’s math and science. To lose weight: know your body, and have a calorie deficit. It is scientifically and genetically possible for me to weigh 158 pounds. It will be a challenge, but when have I not loved a challenge?
What messages do you need to shake to change your mindset?
Commitment and Consistency
At the end of the day, I can talk about doing things differently, and changing my mindset until I am blue in the face, but unless I commit and consistently work towards the goal, nothing is going to change. I’ve half-heartedly started down this road a dozen times over the last year, but I never really committed. I always had in the back of my head that I can compete at any weight, which is true! However, I have set my goal on the 72kg class, and it is going to take commitment, daily consistency, and sacrifices to get there. I can do it, and I know it will be worth it.
1) Count Calories: I am using MyFitnessPal to do this. My username is meaganpollock if you want to join me on the journey!
2) HIIT: I will be adding in 30 minutes of high intensity interval training 2-3 days a week.
3) Mindset: Weight Loss = math + science. You can do it. Get over the other stuff.
4) Commit: No turning back. I want 72 kg, so I am going to go get it.
5) Be consistent: Keep training, Track foods, Count calories, Don’t give up.
Good luck to you as you overcome your weight loss plateau. Keep me posted on what works for you!