Weight loss plateaus: how to cope with them and how to break them

Hey folks

Today is all about that dreaded ‘P word‘ in this world of weight loss… plateaus. Our pounds are coming off, we’re celebrating change and then bam! Weight loss slows down or just stops. Your weight might even fluctuate over a range of figures on the scales and you may feel like you’ll never get out of it. Last week, I blogged about all the reasons not to give up but today I’m focusing on my approach to not getting frustrated when weight loss slows down and my thoughts about how to break them.

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What is a plateau?

According to Weight Watchers, it’s when metabolism slows down or halts your weight loss so that despite eating the same number of calories as you were, the scales aren’t really budging over a few weeks. This can be as a result of losing lean muscle tissue or physiological changes. But a plateau can also happen if you’re perhaps not quite focusing on your intake and exercise as much as before.

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So, how do I break a plateau?

First advice from me is to check whether you’re counting all those calories. It’s so easy for a biscuit or an extra spoonful of sugar in your tea to add up here and there. Portions might be getting bigger again or perhaps emotional eating is creeping in. So, take stock. One thing I’ve done before is to take photos of everything I’m eating because I’ve had days (this is pre-weight loss) when I realised at night how much I’d consumed. There were times when I couldn’t remember eating something! At that point, I didn’t have the motivation to do anything about it but it made me ‘food aware’. Other options are to write everything down or use a calorie app to track your food.

Second, if you really are sticking to good food choices, beware that you may be taking in the right number of calories for your starting weight but perhaps you need fewer now. So, use an online calorie calculator to check how many calories you need for your current weight.

Third, you’ll find a host of advice online about things you can do to raise your metabolism, from eating spicy food to calorie cycling (when you alternate between high and low numbers). From having a cheat meal to covering yourself in cling film so that you sweat away! Two consistent pieces of advice I’ve come across though are drinking lots of water and increasing your activity levels so that you’re burning calories and therefore increasing your lean muscle again. This might include high intensity workouts, going for long walks or parking at the space furthest away from the store…anything to get you moving more than you were!

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But I need a break from losing weight

And that’s okay. You see, we all need a break sometimes and it may be that you need to take out some time where maintaining is the right thing for your body and your mind. Celebrate your journey so far! Think of how far you’ve come and, when you’re ready to refocus, you can carry on from where you got to. Weight loss isn’t a race. There’s rarely a set time by which you need to have reached a certain figure. Be kind to yourself ❤

And you know, those pounds will shift at some point. Perhaps not this week, perhaps not next week, but they’ll come off. Hold onto the hope. And if you do lose a pound, remember my recent post, it’s never ‘just’ a pound!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone, and I’ll be back on Monday with my next weigh-in

Love Erika xx

Are you peeing enough?!

Hey guys

Well, never did I think I’d post with this as a title but today’s short blog is about losing weight and popping to the bathroom. You see, it’s so easy to find that you’re dehydrated without realising. I’ve heard it from a few places that the point of feeling thirsty means you’re already dehydrated so, as I rarely get thirsty, I thought I’d be okay. But no!

Last night, I jumped onto my flashy scales that I posted about the other day and it showed me that my body water percentage is extremely low. And, with my weight loss stalling recently despite making good food choices, this makes sense. If I’m dehydrated, my body is going to hold onto any fluid I am taking in. And if I’m dehydrated, I’m less likely to go to the bathroom for any reason…and, well, yes, this results in constipation too! No wonder why I’ve felt incredibly sluggish this week and the scales haven’t been showing any new figures.

So, folks, drink! Not only does water fill you up and make it less likely you’ll turn to the cookie jar but it’s good for getting your body working properly. So, time to drink lots and see if I can get the scales by my next weigh in on Monday.

Have a great weekend, everyone

Love Erika xx

Week 24 weigh-in: shiny new scales have arrived :)

Hey folks

So, I’ve decided to treat myself to some shiny, sparkly, all-knowing bathroom scales…and, to be honest, my initial excitement has turned into a mix of curiosity and fear!

Why am I curious? These scales tell me more than just my weight. Up until now, I’ve been using the Weight Watchers Precision Glass Scales which have been fabulous. I could jump on and off several times yet see the same figure on there, giving me confidence about their accuracy. These were £15 here in the UK (just under $20 USD).

But I’m getting curious about other stats too because the weight-loss app I use automatically calculates my body fat based on my weight so I’ve upgraded to the Weight Watchers Ultimate Precision Body Analyser Scale. A bit of a fancy name, eh! As well as body fat, these scales show me my body water, bone percentage and show me my BMI too. These were £30 (just under $40 USD).

So, here’s where the fear comes in. I’m curious about what figures are going to pop up on the display but what if they tell me that I’m heavier than I’ve been recording? What if they tell me that I’ve much further to go on my weight loss journey? You know, the best thing is just to get on and really embrace the adage “Face the fear and do it anyway“. So, that’s what I’ll do when the scales come out of quarantine on Wednesday (as all our parcels automatically get put aside right now). I’ll let you know next Monday but I’ll jump on both scales to see if they’re coming up with the same figure. For now, here’s my weekly report card….

What’s Erika done well this week?

  • I’ve lost 1lb. Weight loss has really slowed down recently so every lb feels like even more of a victory!
  • I’ve signed up to do a 10K run at the end of the month

What could Erika improve on?

  • I’ve been slacking on the exercise side this week so I’m going to make sure that I get off that sofa in the coming days
  • I also need to take in more fluid….as in all fluid. So, time to grab the water bottle

Erika’s next target(s):

  • celebrate holding the London Marathon medal that should be on its way soon!
  • 1 more lb until I can have a helicopter lesson
  • 3 more lbs until I’ve lost 100 lbs in total and my BMI is under 35

And finally, I thought I’d share with you what my app is currently showing. Can you see how close I am to 100 lbs? Soooo close! Come on, Erika. You can do this!! As I point out time-to-time, this shows the 21 lbs I lost prior to starting to blog which is why my overall aim is to lose 171 lbs and not ‘just’ the 150 lbs of my blog title. Wow. A rather big figure when I write it down!!

I’ll be back Thursday/Friday but hope you have a super week

Love Erika xx

Recordable weight loss since blogging:Still to lose:Current weight:BMI:
76 lbs74 lbs232 lbs35.3
Plus 21 lbs lost prior to blogging

What does the figure on the scale mean to you?

Hey folks

I was watching a hospital-based documentary last night when an elderly woman was talking about how her daughter ‘ballooned’ to 18 stone……and it was like a wave shame came over me because 18 stone (which is how weight is often talked about in the UK) is equivalent to 252 lbs. At my last weigh-in on Monday, my weight was 256 lbs……so I felt like a rather sad balloon. But then it struck me how we can think about weight very differently.

So, I just wanted to brainstorm the different ways that my current weight (256 lbs) could be thought of (with my view in bold):

  • Wow. I hope I’m never THAT big
  • Someone who’s 256 lbs clearly has no discipline and probably isn’t very reliable
  • I hope someone who’s 256 lbs is okay. I wonder if s/he eats to bring comfort
  • I remember when I was 256 lbs. I can’t believe that I’m now this lesser weight. That took hard work
  • When I was 256 lbs, I didn’t think about what I was eating and I felt free but I now find myself continuously thinking about food and rather obsessed about not gaining it back.
  • I’m 256 lbs and I hate where I am. I’m ashamed. I’m going to be here forever
  • I’m 256 lbs but it’s because nobody supports me. It’s other people’s fault
  • I’m 256 lbs but I don’t even think about my weight. I’m just ‘me’
  • I’m 256 lbs and I love my curvy body
  • I’m 256 lbs and I’m so proud of how I’ve got here
  • I’m 256 lbs but just passing by as my weight journey is continuing downwards
  • I’m 256 lbs. This is my starting point and I’ve a long way to go but I’ve got this
  • Wow! 256 lbs is my goal weight! I can’t imagine ever being that small. I’d be positively skinny!
  • I don’t think I’ll ever get down to 256 lbs. I’m stuck here at this weight

No doubt, there’s a whole myriad of other perspectives but I think this goes to show that our perception of the figure on the scales can vary hugely and it’s all about mental attitude…and where we are ourselves. I’ll admit that I wish my weight loss journey hadn’t started at such a high point because I’d be much further along by now but I’ve already gone through the 320s, 310s, 300s, 290s, 280s, 270s, 260s and I’ll be under 250 before I know it.

I’ll be back on Monday. Not sure if I’m going to lose weight this week but my body is changing right SO MUCH now! My back fat is disappearing, my legs are getting more toned, I’m moving quicker/more easily and clothes are getting loose….I’m loving it!

Have a great weekend

Love Erika xx

How often should I weigh myself?

This is something that I’ve been asking myself and have seen that others question this too. I just thought it might be helpful to think aloud in case it helps you to reflect what works best because, at the end of the day, it’s finding a way that works for YOU!

Let’s look briefly at weighing daily versus once a week (or less frequently).

Pros of daily weighing

  • It can help to get our ‘head in the game’! If we’re potentially people who have days where healthy eating doesn’t happen, seeing the figure on the scales can be a helpful way to start the day
  • If our weight is going down fairly quickly (which may happen more at the beginning of our weight loss journey), it gives us more celebratory days mid-week to enjoy
  • It can give us the daily reminder about how far we’ve come

Cons of daily weighing

  • This is a VERY important con but our weight fluctuates, especially us women! I was reading a blog where someone weighed herself every hour during the course of the day and, by the time she reached her last weigh-in 12 hours after the first, she’d ‘put on’ 6lbs! Now, this isn’t a real increase because she will have had to eat 6 x 3,500 calories in that time. But our weight goes up and down through what we eat, drink, sweat, etc.
  • For some of us, seeing an undesirable figure (including an unchanged figure) on the scales can be very demotivating and could set up us to feel pretty rubbish, even before leaving the house. This is never good for self-esteem.
  • Weighing once a day could create a rather unhealthy obsession and relationship with the scales. This is even more the case if we jump on them several times a day.

Pros of weighing no more than once a week

  • It helps us to see the longer term trajectory and not be swayed by minor increases or decreases each day
  • It helps us to not spend every day worrying about the figure on the scale. It’s just something that happens once a week so we can spend our mental energy focusing on other things

Cons of weighing no more than once a week

  • To be honest, I’m having difficulties thinking of any cons! I guess the one that comes to mind is that without the daily reminder for some of us, the determination to watch the diet and exercise could slip….and those extra midweek calories then add up, leading to disappointing results on weigh-in day

So, what I am doing?

So, reading through the above, I can see why weighing weekly sounds like absolutely the best way to go but, whilst I started doing it this way, I decided to move to daily more recently. I couldn’t have done it years ago because it would probably have become an obsession but I think I’m now strong enough mentally to not have the scales dictate how I’m feeling about myself. I know that not every day is going to bring a ‘wahoo’ moment and I’m okay with that. But I personally find that just getting on the scales reminds me to be good, make healthy choices and burn away the fat through sensible exercise. The scales are my friend, not my enemy.

So, my conclusion? There’s no right or wrong answer! Do what suits YOU best in a way that keeps your body healthy but, very importantly, keeps your mind healthy too!

What do you do? I’d love to know! You might be someone who’s ditched the scales altogether. Whatever you do, I’d love to hear

Love Erika xx

Week 7 weigh-in: claiming two scale victories today!

Hey folks

I love my scalesright now!

Sometimes, we can tell that we’ve lost a bit of weight by the way our clothes feel, the way we move more easily or because we just feel ‘different’. People might start to notice although this typically happens after we see the first signs. But, of course, the figures on those scary scales can tell us too. I have to admit that I’ve become a bit obsessed with the scales this week as I’ve been weighing myself more than once a day but more about that in a moment.

First, I can’t wait to share with you my two scale victories after losing 4lbs this week.

  • I’m under 20 stone! As I blogged about recently, us Brits often talk about our weight in terms of ‘stones’ where 1 stone is equivalent to 14lbs. So, at 19 stone 11, I’m now in the teens. I can’t tell you how good that feels!
  • I’ve lost more than 10% of my recordable weight loss. Now, although I’ve lost 31lbs so far, this is only in the past 7 weeks since I started blogging. However, I estimate I’d probably lost about 21lbs before I was brave enough to get on the scales judging by inch loss. When someone’s very overweight or obese, the initial guidance is usually aiming for 10% weight loss to help with blood pressure, etc. so I’m super pleased.

But I feel as if I need to scale back on the weighing (no pun intended!). The scales seem to have a power where they can almost dictate whether this is going to be a good or bad day so I’m making this commitment here and now that I won’t weigh myself again until next Monday. There are going to be weeks where I might lose a single pound, not lose weight or even gain temporarily due to water retention but my eyes must be on the long term goal to create a healthy relationship with my scales.

Next time

Later this week, I’m going to blog about my battle with anorexic behaviour 9 years ago. In fact, I was going to blog about it last week but the scales were teetering on that 20 stone precipice for a couple of days and I was holding off so that I could share that victory with you. But look out for my next blog on Thursday/Friday as I think it’s important that I don’t slip back into that obsessive way of thinking which, even being very overweight, can still be extremely dangerous.

And, yes, I’m still doing Couch to 5K. I’m doing week 2 run 2 tomorrow and I’m loving it. Get me….I’m running!!!!!!

Anyway, have a super week, everyone

Love Erika xx

Total weight lost:Still to lose:Current weight: BMI:
33 lbs117 lbs275 lbs41.8

Week 5 weigh-in: Anyone else dance like no one’s watching?!

Feeling the beat!

If none of my family is around and music comes on the radio or TV that gets my feet moving, there’s nothing better than jumping up, dancing around my living room without a single care in the world and knowing that calories are being burned. Can I dance? No, not really! But it does the power of good for mood and, as the weight comes off, I’ve far more energy to do this. After being on crutches for 5 days and my leg feeling so much better, I’m going to introduce dancing into my daily workout and that’s got me thinking. Which are the top songs that you like to dance to? I’m going to compile my top 10 songs for dancing and I’ll share these with you later this week.

Today’s result on the scales

On Thursday, I shared with you that I did a sneaky mid-week weigh in and was SO pleased to have lost 3lbs in 3 days! And today, the scales are exactly the same as then. However, whilst part of me is a tad bit disappointed, I must tell myself two things:

  • 3lbs is still great and in fact more than the 1-2lbs suggested. I think the weight’s currently coming off quicker as I have so much to lose. So, be kind to yourself, Erika!
  • I’m experiencing water retention with my period now due. And girls, this is where it’s important that we try to not let ourselves be affected by our monthly cycles. Try to fight any cravings, keep an eye on those calories and still do some exercise because once that water retention goes, those pounds are going to fall away!

Setting my June target

Rather than set a weight loss target (I know I’m focused on the pounds dropping anyway), my target is to drink water and unsweetened black tea every day. I drink way too much Diet Coke – I almost live on it – but let’s see if I can improve what I choose to drink for the whole month.

Love Erika xx

Total weight lost:Still to lose:Current weight: BMI:
33 lbs117 lbs275 lbs41.8

Week 3 weigh-in: I was brave!

Well, it’s Monday and that means it’s time to share with you the results of standing on the scales this morning: I’ve lost 5lbs this week! Yay! Now that I’m 290lbs, I’m just 3lbs away from my previously known heaviest weight of 287lbs and I guess I feel as if I’m heading back into familiar territory, if that makes sense. There’s something wonderfully comforting about that.

But my even bigger news to tell you is that I got on the scales ON MY OWN! As you know, I’ve been hauling a chair onto the scales with me as I’d been too scared to see my ‘real weight’ and, suspecting the chair was about 28lbs, it gave me a rough idea of how much I actually weighed. However, on Saturday night, I was almost tying myself in knots researching the chair online, desperate to find a website that would give me its exact weight. I mean, what if the chair weighed 21lbs and therefore I was 7lbs heavier than I thought I was? It was like I couldn’t switch off and so, recognising that I needed to stop the obsessive thoughts, I knew I had to be brave, get on the scales alone and ‘just’ deal with it. So, I got on to find that the chair really is 28lbs! Yes, it was a relief that I’d estimated the chair correctly but you know, it was more of a relief that I could now deal with my new lifestyle in a less complicated way.

Hopefully I can lose 3lbs soon and reach that first big goal but I’ve also been thinking about the activities I’d love to do that have a weight limit, such as going on a zip wire or having a helicopter flying lesson. Just knowing that I CAN do these activities will be amazing but more about that next time!

Have a good week, everyone

Love Erika xx

Total weight lost:Still to lose:Current weight: BMI:
33 lbs117 lbs275 lbs41.8

Time to confess my starting weight…

…in a moment! Yes, I am openly procrastinating typing the weight that showed up on the scales a week ago. If you read my first post, you’ll see that I actually got on the scales holding a huge chair to artificially inflate the reading and to make it all a little bit less real! That might sound jolly weird but my mind is a strange place, you know! But, knowing roughly what the chair weighs, I’ve got a good idea what my weight is.

With this being just my second post, I thought I’d share the topic of some upcoming posts so that you can keep an eye out if they might be of interest:

  • making the decision to lose weight
  • starting to exercise when you’re puffed out just walking up a flight of stairs
  • avoiding getting trapped by a history of bulimia and anorexia
  • looking at whether my life hold clues about why I’ve never had a good relationship with food
  • overcoming the weight loss speed bumps
  • looking to the future with things I’d like to do when fit

…and much more. As I said before, I’ll be really open with you as I’m not pretending that this is going to be a walk in the park. There are going to be sticking points, I’m sure, but hopefully I’ll learn lots about myself in how I tackle the challenging times.

Okay folks. Time to give a figure……..me AND the chair together showed up as 336lbs (which is roughly 152kg). And breathe, Erika! There it is. I’ve told you. At some point, I’m sure I’ll be brave enough to jump on the scales all alone but, for now, however I do the weighing thing, at least I’ve got the ball rolling and that figure is only going to go down!

Have a good weekend

Love Erika xx