Plateaus

I sometimes wonder where I would be if I had not decided to walk through the door to Slimming World back in April. I think things would probably be very different.

I think that I would still have been losing weight (I can be quite determined at times) but that I would also have ended up doing it in a very unhealthy way. I’d probably have starved myself and retrodden old behaviours of binge and purge – all the time treating myself in isolation with scorn and anger. However every Saturday I get reminded how important it is to be kind to myself. In each meeting I attend I try to normalise my (sometimes less than positive) feelings about how I’m doing as I listen to how other people have managed during the week – and crucially how they feel about it.

Today, surrounded by lots of familiar, friendly faces (and some newcomers) the whole group faced the music together with Angie after the carnage of Christmas.

It transpired that the room didn’t do too badly after all. It had collectively gained around 90lbs and had also managed to lose about 20 at the same time. We were approximately five stone heavier as a room than we had been before – but we were all there, with a sense of solidarity – ready to start again.

Tales of Baileys and wine consumption were rife among the ladies as we sat chatting. Everyone it seemed had fully enjoyed their downtime with family or friends, and most had indulged in the traditional festive excesses. They were all philosophical though – and many were back after several weeks absence to draw a line under things and get back on track.

Honestly I find anyone that can step on the scales after some time away and start again massively inspiring. It does me so much good to talk to everyone there and hear what they have to say, because it pulls me back into reality when I’m often wrestling with an internally distorted view of my own success or failure.

This week I’ve had one word running through my head, relating to my gain last week – and the fear that I would do it again.

The word is ‘plateau‘.

Dieters will know this word well. It’s heinous. ‘I’ve plateaued‘ is probably the thing I fear saying the most at the moment.

For skinny minnies out there – this is the point in every weight loss journey where your body suddenly just says ‘Screw you. I’m holding onto this fat. It took me ages to make and I don’t wanna let it go.’

I’ve faced periods like this in the past and they can be unbearable.

I suppose I’m afraid of this because I know that as time goes on I worry that I’m still not properly dealing with the fact that I eat more than other people. I still really really struggle with portion sizes and these have been yo-yo’ing between acceptable and not acceptable ever since I started losing weight.

Yesterday for instance at midday I made a large chilli. It had paprika, chilli powder, cumin, a stock cube, minced beef, a can of baked beans (I ran out of kidney beans), a can of chick peas, a small can of sweetcorn, a can of tomatoes, half a tube of tomato purée, an orange pepper, a large onion, a large courgette and 3 cloves of garlic.

I didn’t have it with rice as I try to limit carbs – but over the course of a couple of hours I ate all of it. I felt quite annoyed that I’d consumed the whole lot and stood in the kitchen afterwards at 4pm looking at the nutritional info on the cans and packaging in the recycling bags – trying to work out how badly I’d shafted myself.

I calculated that the whole lot of it came in at around 1500 kcal. I didn’t eat anything else before or afterwards as I felt full until bedtime.

So far I haven’t really focused on calorific values – but if I want to carry on losing weight I would be a fool to continue ignoring them. After some Googling this week it seems that (given that an ‘average’ man allegedly needs 2500 kcal a day) if I ate 2000 kcal every day then I would supposedly lose 1lb per week.

I’m not sure I completely agree with this – but let’s (for the sake of argument) take this to be a ‘fact’.

Although Slimming World simplifies a lot of dietary choices by labelling certain foods ‘speed’ and ‘free’ (meaning these have far less impact than a ‘synned’ or processed food) this can also mean that it’s easy to convince yourself that any such things can be consumed with impunity.

I’m very guilty of this, and have to constantly check my behaviour in this regard.

This week I lost 2.5lbs – thanks in no small part to this attitude regarding my food intake. I was also lucky enough to get slimmer of the month.

As nice as the above is – this means (as my losses appear to be slowing down) that I think I’m going to struggle to meet my self imposed goal of getting to 10st off by the end of January. In the back of my head I’m annoyed about that.

This sounds utterly ridiculous when I read it back – but it’s honestly how I feel. I know I shouldn’t think like this.

I’m really good at looking at the positives with friends and their problems or issues but I’m also amazingly adept at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory when it comes to myself.

It’s that word though…

Plateau‘.

It’s like it has a physical form and it’s standing in the background, just out of sight, watching me and waiting to pounce – and I have to be continually on my guard.

However – as I said to one of the ladies in group today (who brought her lovely cute little pooch Arnie in and made me melt like a snowman in summer) it’s not all about numbers. It’s also about non-scale victories, and I have to keep reminding myself of those all the time.

For me it means relatively stupid things like being able to cross my legs again. It means being able to go up and down the stairs without feeling like I’m dying. It means being able to walk into town for a coffee instead of wasting petrol and paying for parking.

More importantly it means not having limbs amputated because my diabetes is out of control.

So far I’m still pursuing my hope of becoming medication free – and (since I’m trying to be sensible about things) I’m testing my levels every day and making sure they don’t rise. As of the 27th of December I’m now taking one Metformin tablet a day in the morning (I started on four a day and one Glimepiride) and my levels are so far staying stable (they should be between 4 and 7).

  • 27th Dec – 5.2 (midday)
  • 28th Dec – 6.1 (10am)
  • 29th Dec – 6.2 (9am)
  • 30th Dec – 5.4 (11.30am)
  • 31st Dec – 5.6 (12.30pm)

From what I’ve read about Metformin (such as here for instance) this is a fast acting medication that doesn’t rely on a ‘build up’ effect in the body – meaning that what I’m likely to see from changing my dosage is a relatively real time result in my sugar levels.

Even so I’m in this for the long haul so I’m going to have one a day until the end of January and see how it goes. If my levels start to go up in the meantime then I’ll go back to two a day.

So internet – despite my silly feelings related to my loss – this is my non-scale victory for the week, and it’s something that I realise as I type (because what you’re reading is actually a form of ongoing therapy for me where I come to terms with how I feel) I’m immensely proud of.

So – operation ten stone is underway. I’ve crossed the nine stone boundary and have 11.5lbs to go. Hopefully when I get there I can try to also be MEDICATION FREE.

This makes me smile.

Actually today has already been a good day. Forget plateaus. It’s just fear talking. Not reality.

(Sips coffee and takes a photo)

starbucks

Davey


15 thoughts on “Plateaus

  1. Two things. First: this time of year is no time to be a slave to trends f you ask me, so I would write off this couple of weeks as anomalous no matter how much you feel that you aren’t doing much different to what that led to continual losses. Going forward, I’m convinced you’ll start losing consistently again as you keep to your now-surely-ingrained habits of the preceding months? Second thing: that photo of you disturbed me as I was worried what that pair of hands were doing on top of your head?? Inserting coffee beans manually into your brain? I know you like your coffee but… Anyway, Happy New Year mate, you’ve had an “interesting” one and I am sure that all the positive elements will continue into 2017 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am not sure if the losses really are related to a plateau. When you are losing weight over a longer period of time it just slows down a bit. You do not loose as much as you did first, but it doesn’t mean you have to plateau. 🙂 Just keep going and I am pretty sure that you will keep losing weight. It is a matter of simply burning more than you eat.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh boy, this post could have been written by me! I too dread the plateau and had some experience of it when I was successful with Slimming World back in 2012. I lost 7 stone in under a year (eating HUGE portions I might add) and the only time I maintained and couldn’t explain it, it was because Syns Online got a Syn value wrong. At the time I didn’t know this, I thought it was because I was getting close to target, but it completely derailed me.

    It’s so hard to know what is fact and what is fiction in the weight loss game because there’s so much conflicting information, and so much bias. But one thing I do believe is that calories in vs calories out may be essentially true, but there’s a helluva lot more to it than that. I’ve done the calculations before, and what I lose has always been more than it should be (DISCLAIMER: I’m actually not that good at maths now I come to think of it…)

    Anyway, sorry for the rambling, these are the thoughts that popped into my head after reading your post! Happy New Year to you, and I look forward to reading more about your NSV’s in 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Haley!

      The one thing I love about writing down all the nonsense in my head is that it’s almost universally not unique and there’s a huge comfort in knowing that your own failings and neuroses are in fact not what they seem.

      They’re just things lots of people feel and we’re all just trying to do our best to get along in life feeling a bit fragile.

      I hope you have a great 2017 too!
      X

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Stick with it Davey. You book entries are amazing!!
    I put on four pounds Christmas week, and lost 4 and a half the following week!
    Plateaus are a pain in the backside (I have a whole mountain range of them in my past dieting life), but turn it round and concentrate on your body shape, treat yourself to something new, even if it’s only new underwear! You may not be losing pounds, but I bet you’re losing inches.
    I’m going to have a bit of a tut from my group leader tonight as I know I’ve gained again this week, but I’ve been told not to lose any weight until the end of the month as it’ll muck up the radiographer’s measurement figures for my therapy! If I can stay within a pound or two of my weight before Christmas that should be sufficient and good practice for maintaining my target when I eventually get there.
    Note: do you cook your meals from scratch? Helps with the syns etc as you control what’s going into your dishes.
    Catch up with soon. take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there 🤗
      Sounds like your treatment and diet needs may be a little more complex than mine! Thankfully I only have to focus on going in one direction!

      Everything is indeed cooked from scratch. Apart from occasional things like ham and bacon or a can of beans almost everything I eat now is not processed and prepared from scratch.

      Although I’m not a nazi about this I try to steer clear of fakeaways and treats as my view is that it’s these kinds of things that caused my problems in the first place and I’d rather educate my taste buds to crave different foods.

      My syns (wherever possible) are either not used or used on foods that appear within my cooking (I might use olive oil instead of fry light for instance).

      However – I also like the occasional sweet thing and keep low cal drinking chocolate powder to hand so that I can make a quark based pudding with fruit.

      So far the exercise and lack of processed food and refined carbohydrates are having a massive effect on my diabetes and I’m down from 1 Glimepyride and 4 Metformin per day (which barely held my levels in check) to only one Metformin which I’m going to try doing without altogether at the end of Jan.

      My blood sugar is now in a non-diabetic range – so yay for exercise and good eating habits!!

      Like

      1. This is wonderful Davey! You must be so pleased, and it’s well deserved. It’s not easy to lose ‘the old weight’ (mine goes back forty years to my late teens/early twenties) or ditch bad eating practices/habits, but I have to confess with SW I’ve learned to get my ratios/balance right, and don’t feel guilty for having a couple of biscuits or a bar of chocolate out of my syn allowance. I went too mad on fruit to fill me up, so I’m working on that now by not having a fruit salad, but just one piece at a time.
        I can really set myself to losing that final half stone at the end of January once my treatment’s over and hopefully things won’t get out of control between now and then (she says drinking yet another bottle of water and munching on an apple)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. hahaha – apples are my new cornish pasties! Thank goodness I’ve always liked fresh food. If I hadn’t this re-education would be even harder!!!

        good on you for the changes – you can definitely do this!

        WE can definitely do this!

        Like

      3. Do you like crumbles? I make a crumble topping for my apples/pears/gooseberries with porridge oats and either muesli or granola cereal (they have a syn value I’m afraid), and do it in the microwave. Instead of porridge, you can use crushed up gingernuts (2 and a half syns each). It makes a change and you don’t need fat, flour or sugar. Nice topped with quark.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I personally like the meringue nest desserts (Eton Mess according to the book) but sometimes crush up one meringue and one gingernut for my crunchy bits. With only 5 syns (quark and the fruit being free) it satisfies my sweet tooth.

        Liked by 1 person

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