Status, Day 48:
SW: 470 TW: 393.0 TWL: 77.0 lbs Lbs to Goal: 168.0
WooHoo! I lost .2 lbs. Never thought I would say those words. But there they are tumbling out of my mouth and my fingers. I have been stagnant, even gaining some, for so long that anything in a downward direction is good news.
I have been through what is known as a plateau. If you are trying to lose weight, you will too. It is inevitable. Here is what is going on, and why.
First, much of the initial body weight is water. The body holds on to water likes its life depends on it, cause it does. It also needs the excess fluids to dilute the stuff we normally eat, which the body recognizes as toxins. When we start our diet, our body and our kidneys breathe a huge sigh of relief; the excess is water we no longer need. Do the math, if the body is 70% water and you are morbidly obese, like me (I started at 470 lbs. that means I had as much as 329 lbs of water, more if I was retaining any extra. So we fat people have a lot fo water to give up before we even get into the “real weight” i.e. fat.)
Secondly, the body does not like change. In fact most of nature rebels against the thought. It likes things to be smooth and even. It is a state known as homeostasis. A quick example of this in action… Have you ever sat in a tub until your skin “prunes?” that is homeostasis at work. You see, the cells in your body have a certain level of salinity and pH in the moisture they contain; your tub water is at a different level. So, in attempt to make everything the same – homeostasis – the body’s cells begin jettisoning the excess salty fluid in an attempt to create equilibrium between the water surrounding the body and the water inside the body. When the moisture is removed from your skin cells it no longer has enough volume to keep the skin plump and full. The result is that “pruney” look.
Why explain all of this? Because when you go on a diet, the body perceives the change in the amount and kinds of food you are eating. Eventually, it figures out a plan to hold on to as much of everything as it can. In an effort to remain at equilibrium it lowers the thermostat in your body so you can get by with less fuel. In scientific terms it lowers your metabolic rate so you need fewer calories. At this point, your body is actually fighting you. The result is a plateau.
Self inflicted plateaus. Once we reach a significant milestone – even if it is not our ultimate goal – we tend to let our foot of the gas. Track athletes have to be trained to “run through the tape”. Karate practitioners have to be trained to hit beyond their target. We naturally want to let up as we reach a goal. I suspect this has been part of my problem recently ont he journey.
We start to feel confident and we put ourselves in places where temptations are prominent. We start saying things, like, “oh one bite won’t matter.” The problem is, they do matter. This is especially true if our body has already turned down the thermostat.
So what do you do?
- Dance with who brung you. You will get through the plateau, it takes time, diligence, and patience. Just keep reminding yourself of all you have accomplished and keep doing what you have been doing. I have seen plateaus last as long as two to three weeks; I have seen them as short as 3-4 days.
- Shake it up baby, now. Your body wants to take control? Don’t let it. Keep it guessing as to what you are going to do next. Keep it off balance. Lao Tsu would be proud of your efforts to keep the enemy on the defensive. Changing up your volume of water, changing the times of day you exercise or the exercises you are doing, even altering strategies slightly can help you stay interested and your body progressing.
- Water, water, everywhere. Think you’ve had enough? You’re probably dehydrated. The average person needs 8 x 8 oz. glasses of water a day. If you are overweight you need an extra 8 oz. for every 10 pounds you are overweight according to doctors I have spoken with. That can get excessive and tiresome not only drinking but eliminating all that water. A note of caution, it is possible to get water poisoning, so make sure you talk this over with your doc first. Then drink, drink, drink. It seems counter intuitive, but drinking more water actually causes you to retain less.
- The truth, you can’t handle the truth! The truth is, these things just happen. We get so excited to see 2-4 pounds falling off of us each day we start to think it will last forever. It won’t. So keep in mind the initial weight loss is nice, but the only way to make it long-term is to move slowly and allow your body to adapt over time. 1-2 pounds per week is actually pretty fast weight loss. That is almost 104 lbs gone in a year. the problem is we give up a long time before we ever reach that one-year mark, so we never see the 100 lb weight loss. I myself, even though I am excited by the rapid early success, have set an “end date” for my 245 lbs at Oct-Nov of 2013. this is a journey, not a walk in the park.
- To go forward, go backward. This is kinda a last resort for those plateaus that seem impossible to break through. Don’t consider this nuclear option until at least 10 days has passed with no weight loss. If it does, and you have an accountability partner to make sure you get restarted, take a weekend off. Eat some of your old foods, or at least a higher quantity of good foods. This will take your body by surprise, reset the hormones and your metabolism and allow you to sneak attack it when you start back up. the key is to make sure you start back up. Oh and be prepared, you will gain weight most likely but it will come back off fairly quickly once you restart.
Folks if you are just starting out, be aware that plateaus will happen on your journey. Learn to embrace them. I know from my childhood that plateaus are kinda cool. The view from up there is great! Think about this, without plateaus we never could experience the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. For my Ausie and Kiwi readers, The majesty and awe inspired by Uluru is the result of that mystical plateau. In fact, think of it like this, there are tourists who are seeing the plateau you are on and are in awe that you made it that far. Your plateau is someone else’s destination.
So, Juice On; Join the Journey.
make sure you stop by our facebook page at www.facebook.com/myjuicingjourney and “like” us there, then share your tips, secrets, and recipes with others. Also, visit www.jointhereboot.com for detailed instructions on how to begin your own juicing journey…the same one that Phil Staples and Joe Cross made famous and the same one that I am on. You have nothing but weight and bad habits to lose and your life and health to gain. See ya there.