My Plateau Life - Wanna Join Me?


#1

There is a poem by Antonio Machado that has a stanza that reads:

" Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures."

All of us tend to equate plateaus with failure. There are lots of posts about plateaus here. The over riding theme is: Ack!!! I’m in a plateau! What am I doing wrong? How can I fix this? How am I screwing this up?

Maybe we need to allow that plateaus are not, in fact, any sort of failure, but, instead are an indication that we are doing everything right. Perhaps plateaus can be the honey that the “bees” inside of us are working hard to to make from our old failures.

It’s not easy to think of them that way, but I am trying my best to do so because I’ve been here many, many times.

My weight loss journey is never an actual journey. Instead, it is a meander from plateau to plateau. I have been a life-long dieter and have done every diet in the book. It is always the same. I lose a lot right off the bat, and then everything slows or stops. Most of my life, I have doubled-down at these points and pounded my body with restrictions and over exercising until it has no choice but to move to the next plateau. OK. That worked. I would only be at a plateau for, maybe, a week. However, every time I’ve done this, I’ve paid for it. The lower my weight got, the harder it was to stick to the diet until I reached the “goal weight”. Then, I’d have to eat again. Then, I was so stressed out by dieting that I would gain all the weight back, usually within 1-2 years. I have never been able to maintain.

I started Keto late last spring on the advise of a Dr. I am a 59 year old woman, 5’9" tall and, at that time, weighed about 240 lbs. I felt like crap. I was having sciatica, knee pain and a lot of other aches and pains. I had no energy. I felt that I would never lose weight again. I was out of menopause, but menopause did a real number on me and I felt hopeless about that as well. I am totally against statins, but a different Dr. had recommended that I start on them because my cholesterol was nearly 300 (My entire life - and I was a professional athlete for decades and very fit - my cholesterol had been around 220, so I wasn’t worried about it until it got near 300). I really didn’t want to do that, so when my PT Dr. suggested I try Keto, I decided to go for it. I found the app Carb Manager and decided to give it a go. I had the usual weird adjustment period, but after that, I found Keto to be so easy. I started to lose weight. I lost weight FAST.

I started tracking my weight on June 14th of 2020 and on that day I weighed 236.6. I think that was a couple of weeks after starting Keto because I just couldn’t face the scale. I’m pretty sure I was well over 240 at the Drs. office.

On July 28th, I was 220.4. I had lost 16 pounds in about 6 weeks. It was very easy. Then I hit my first real plateau: 220. This has always been a big plateau for me and I knew it was there. Instead of doing my usual forcing, though, I decided to just keep on doing what I was doing and to not change anything. I decided that, if you had told me in May that I would be 20 pounds lighter by my birthday (August 3), would be THRILLED! I decided to BE thrilled. I decided to be happy with my body and my health. I looked better. I felt better. My aches and pains were lessening. I had more energy. I was sleeping better. AND eating Keto was becoming, not only easy, but desirable. I wanted to eat the food I was eating! I didn’t want to eat carbs. I wasn’t having food cravings. I was feeling good about it all.

You know what happened? I didn’t really plateau at 220 at all! There was a definite slow-down in my weight loss, but I expected that. Slowly, my weight continued to consistently drop. In the first 6 weeks of Keto, I was averaging 2.6 lbs/ week. I knew that couldn’t last. While I CAN drop weight at that rate for a long period of time, it takes way too much out of me and has led to my failures in keeping the weight off. I knew that I didn’t put the weight on at that rate - I put the weight on over a period of a year or two. I know that losing too fast, ultimately doesn’t work. Knowing this, I, again, decided to just keep doing what I was doing, to trust my body and to enjoy not weighing 240.

Slow down it did. From 7/28 to 9/21, I lost only 8 pounds. That is a rate of about 1 pound per week. This realization started to feed into my dieting psychosis !BUT! I knew that 1 pound per week was a more desirable weight loss rate, if I wanted to keep the weight off long term. I also was really starting to get more fit and build muscle. I am a mesomorphic body type, so I build heavy muscle and lots of it. Since muscle weighs more than fat, I knew that I was moving in the right direction. Also, I was down a full size in JEANS and had to buy new jeans a size smaller which fit perfectly. I decide to focus, again, on these things, and not to worry about how fast I was losing. Again, if you had told me in May that I would be down nearly 30 pounds by the fall, I would be thrilled. I decided to BE thrilled and to just keep doing what I was doing.

THEN I hit a real plateau. 209. I hit 209 right around 10/ 9. I stayed there for 11 weeks. Some days I would be 209. Some days I would be 211. Regardless, the scale didn’t move, substantially, for 79 days. You know what I decided? Screw it. I was doing everything right. I was eating in a way that had worked for me for months. I wasn’t hungry. I had no cravings. I didn’t break the diet out of frustration. I just continued to eat as I was eating. I continued to work out and get stronger. I continued to feel better. I stopped weighing myself more than 1x week. I actually went 10 days without getting on the scale. I felt good. I felt happy. I just decided to let me body do whatever it was going to do. Finally, on 12/28, I got on the scale and it read 205.2. I knew that I had finally broken that plateau.

My goal weight right now is 175. I have dieted enough to know that, from that point on (209), instead of “losing weight”, I would, essentially, be going from plateau to plateau. This is the way that my body works. In diets past, I would punish it for this by restricting and over-exercising. I will not do that this time. I am living in trust that my body will lose the weight in whatever manner it needs to do so. This morning I weighed 197.2. I am at another plateau. Since 12/28, I have lost only 8 pounds. It has taken me 77 days to lose 8 pounds. That’s 0.7/ lbs per week. I have weighed the exact same weight for 10 days now. You know what? That’s absolutely fine. I have changed nothing, except that I am getting fitter and able to do more. My new jeans are loose, and, pretty soon, I’ll have to buy the next size down. When I get there, I get there. I have, basically, 22 more pounds to go to get to my goal. What if I only lose 1/2 lb per week from now on? That’s fine! That means that I’ll be at my goal weight by the beginning of next year! How fantastic would that be??? Before I started on Keto, I had accepted that I would be fat for the rest of my life. I had accepted that I would no longer feel good, that I would no longer have energy, that I would never again feel powerful, that I would never again be pain free. I don’t accept that anymore. My body will do what it is going to do and at the rate at which it is going to do it. If I just keep doing what I am doing and have faith, the rest will come.

Even though the scale isn’t moving very quickly, I can see the changes that my body is working. My thighs, when I started on Keto, were total mush. They’re now really strong and I can feel the hard muscle that has been developed. I can see how my body is tightening up the skin that is loose from losing the weight. Even through weeks of not having the scale move, I can see it working to tighten up my skin and lean out my “problem areas”. I have not been measuring because I am lazy, but I don’t need a measuring tape to see how things are changing, even if the scale is not. For the first time in my life, I’m letting my body lead the way, and forcing my mind to shut-the-hell-up-already. I’m not letting my mind take over and run roughshod over my body. My mind needs to mind it’s own business, and trust the process. THIS is the real work. Not the dieting. Not the weight loss. Not the scale. The work is in the mind.

So, that’s my plateau life. It doesn’t consist of tweaking my food, or upping my exercise. It consists of relaxing my mind and accepting everything with gratitude.

" Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures."


Reached a plateau
(Edith) #2

Wonderful testimonial!


(Bacon by any other name would taste just as great.) #3

We often get so caught up in people’s frustration that they’re not losing, that we forget to remind them that they’re not gaining, either. Thanks for the healthy perspective on the issue. :smile: :+1:


(Edith) #4

And… that lots of good things are going on under the skin that just can’t be seen but are still important.


(Rebecca ) #5

Thank you for your inspiring testimony! I am traveling the same path.


(Hyperbole- best thing in the universe!) #6

This is beautiful!


(Pete A) #7

This is a great share, thank you!