June 28, 2011

Plateau

At the risk of sounding vain, I'm going to make a bold statement: I'm seriously in love with my legs.


They're amazing. These things carried me at my biggest - across the stage at my Masters program commencement ceremony, down the streets of Paris more than once - and now, slightly less burdened, they support me across finish lines. They curve with muscle definition in an amazingly sexy way, chiseled out by hour after hour of work on the elliptical machine and mile after mile of running on the treadmills and lakeshore paths. There's an odd tan line from my running pants and some trouble areas still on the inner thigh, but really, that's so trivial.

I was laying in bed the other morning doing one of my morning rituals: I always flex the muscles in my legs and feel them. It started by chance one morning maybe six months ago, and I was amazed that I could feel muscles at all. So now every day, I check them out. And the other morning, I could feel something new popping up - a new curve on my outer upper thigh. It was incredibly exciting, and I was quite happy.

Until I started my other morning ritual ... the one where I shed every stitch of clothing on my body and step on the scale.

For the past few weeks, the scale has fluctuated within the same three or four pounds. The lowest I've seen is one day last week at 196, but most days (and my official weigh-ins) have been 198-199. I'm not letting it ruin my mood these days - I can feel that my body is changing, going through something new; I know I'm eating well and staying active, so I can't possibly be upset. Frustrated, yes. But not upset.

I know I've been eating more lately - but not excessively, and not junk. I set 1200-1300 as a calorie goal daily, but lately I find myself needing more - like 1400-1500. I know the difference between a mindless craving and true hunger - and when I get a headache and my stomach is grumbling and my fifth 32-oz. bottle of water doesn't make it all stop, I need to feed myself. So I have some fruit or pick at veggies from the fridge, and it goes away. Too much of even a good thing can be a bad thing, I know. But again, it hasn't felt excessive - just enough to make the growling noises stop.

I haven't had a real plateau in eleven months - I've had weeks with small losses, but I usually come back in a big way the next week. In the beginning, the pounds melted off - 4-6 pound losses every week! - and they eventually slowed to smaller losses. The weeks where I lost less were always understandable - I knew I ate too much and/or didn't exercise enough, and the results of my weigh-ins reflected that. So to have the scale refusing to budge beyond one or two pounds these days despite hitting the gym hard and running like a fiend? Frustrating.

I'm going to just ride this out - I know it can't last forever - but the hard part is just making sure I harness my frustration. It's okay to not be happy about slow/halted loss - but it's NOT okay to use it as an excuse to eat garbage. As long as the scale isn't moving down, let's make sure it moves at all - up, up, and away! No way. I know I'm still working hard and the numbers will fall again - and I know *something* is happening even if the scale isn't reflecting it. My shirts are all too big and I'm running faster, just to name a few changes.

And the legs - don't forget the legs!


What about you? Have you ever experienced a plateau? How long does one typically last for you? How do you push through it?

20 comments:

Ann said...

Love the leg post!!! and girl, i've been at a plateau for months - although mine is more related to emotional eating. You're doing great!!

Tammy said...

You have every right to feel proud of your legs. Sorry to hear about the plateau, but I'll bet it doesn't last too long. You're continuing to eat healthy foods and exercising. That the winning combo. Since I am still stuck at the starting gate, I haven't yet experienced a plateau. I need to figure out how to get this stalled car moving.

Your clothes are bigger, you're running faster and you have the right mental attitude. Keep strong Mary, the scale will move for you.

Ms. Scooter Butt said...

I appreciate this post so much. You show us physically how this all paid off. I like the shadow play on your leg photo. Interested in what the tattoo is. I have not been in the diet game (on this level) for long, so I have no idea of plateaus. And the "I am too big to exercise" excuse I use is not doing my body any good. I use my arms a lot and have noticed with even my near 40 lb loss that I feel some things changing.

Corryn said...

It's not vain to love and appreciate your body! :o)

Also, those muscles you've been admiring? They're probably the exact reason the scale isn't moving much. So happy for you.

Misty said...

I love that you take time to appreciate your body that is developing when you wake up each morning

Scrumpy said...

Great post!

Hoping to be more in the blogging world and looking forward to following your progress.

Hyla said...

My legs are my greatest assets right now as well!

You look nowhere near 196, you look much smaller!

Kelty said...

I love this post! I had a similar feeling about my legs lately...noticing muscles that didn't seem to exist before! It's awesome to start loving parts of ourselves! And that second photo is a great one btw!

I've never had a plateau, but I've also never done the same thing for more than a month in a row. I tend to mix up my activity a lot.

Waisting Time said...

Leg envy! I've been on many a plateau before. On thing that seems to work for me is to vary my eating/calories over a few days or a week to confuse my body. Like... eat less one day and more the next.

Amanda said...

I admit, I've never been able to lose more than about 1 to 1.5 lbs a week. I'm just a really slow loser, but I'm pretty steady about it as well. Maybe as you get closer to goal, you're just going to lose at a slower weight, and that will help you at maintenance when you get there?

Amy said...

I LOVE that last picture - it's amazing!!

Having a part of your body that you just love is so important. Mine is my bum... what can I say it's always nice, no matter my weight! haha

Munchberry said...

I'm not going to tell you how long I have plateaued or what I did to try to get over it because it might depress you... or me to write it. Eventually it will pass. Until then can I suggest raising your legs in the air as you lay in bed and then having a look? I did a lot of sports in high school and college. I have a picture somewhere around here that my roommate took of me with my legs up (smirk~with my feet holding a beer). I loved that picture! My legs were absolutely at their peak of chiselyness. Not an ounce of fat, just skin over muscle. What? Where am I? Oh sorry, I drifted off into dreamland there. Anyway, try it with the legs up. All excess skin and whatnots fall to the back. Snap a picture while they are up there!

Congrats on the lovely pegs. So many ways to show them off.

Leanne said...

You really are my hero . . . I wish I lived in the city (I would MAKE MYSELF go out and run with you. ok - you could run, and I would walk. But eventually I would be able to run with you.) BE PROUD of those legs!! Someday I'll be proud of mine, too. Someday.

PS_Iloveyou said...

You are doing so great! I agree with the other commenter that you're probably gaining muscle and thus not moving the scale much. But Yay for too big clothes and NLV (new leg love hehehe)



I have no advice to give for plateaus, sorry, but I can tell you I'm cheering for you!

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

I still remember putting my hand on my thigh and realizing I could feel the muscle under there! Congratulations to you.

I went through a lot of plateaus - the longest was a couple of weeks. You have a great attitude!

Maia said...

I'm right there with you in my new found pride in my legs! I never thought I would see the day that I look in the mirror and think my legs look good! I love to flex my calves to see the muscle definition and I love to see the thigh muscle definition that is beginning to form. They are my go to NSV for me as well :)

Finding Calgon said...

as you get closer to your healthy weight, it takes your body a bit longer to shed... but what does happen is muscle definition. so even though you 're not losing like you "once" were,,, you are gaining definition like never before.... and even though you feel like you're not losing,, your clothes will still be getting smaller because you are getting "ripped" baby... ha ha..... I love your blog....

cindie

Jen said...

Plateaus can be good to learn lessons like accept yourself as you are (because you are beautiful just the way you are) and enjoy the journey (what if today was all you had?).

Keep trying. Never give up! :) It does get easier.

Marla said...

We should all love our legs as much as you do. They do so much for us without us every thinking twice about it.

I'm recently off a plateau. I told a WW leader on Tuesday that I honestly think it was my body saying, hey, I need a break. No matter how frustrated I was, I refused to give up. And the last two weigh ins have been very successful.

CarolineC said...

Woohoo! Your legs look so hot! I say who cares about plateaus? Just keep living the healthy lifestyle, go through phases of maybe not losing as quickly, but living right. It's FOREVER anyway. Even while you are losing weight your life is happening right in front of you. You gotta live it! You are doing awesome.