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If nothing changes? Nothing changes: Plateaus

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Some of you may have read my previous blog entry, "If nothing changes? Nothing changes.": www.sparkpeople.c
. This is sort of the sister post to that.

This is about denial, as well. It ain't just a river in Egypt, folks. Oftentimes, someone will ask about how to break a plateau. What is a plateau? Well, simply put, it's when you stop losing, but you aren't gaining, either. It's also not something that happens in a week; I'm sorry, but two weeks isn't a plateau. :) Generally, a plateau is something longer than that. Usually something like a month or more.

It's also not a very long time. I've heard people say a few times "I've been on a plateau for a year" or even more. I read one post today that said they'd been on a plateau for three years!

That's not a plateau, my friends. That's maintenance. You're not losing, you're not gaining. If it's been three years, you're just maintaining your weight.

Plateaus happen to all of us. The reasons are varied. For me, my last plateau was caused by overtraining; I was lifting weights three or four days a week, often the same muscle groups, and when I stopped, I started losing again. Some people find they have to shake up their routine.

Sparkpeople has a great series of articles that will help anyone who's struggling with a plateau: www.sparkpeople.c

But what it all comes down to is pretty simple: If you aren't losing weight, you have to CHANGE SOMETHING. If your weight loss stalls for months, or god forbid, years, why not change? What do you have to lose? The weight? Lord, I'd hope so.

Don't play games with semantics. Don't call something a "plateau" when you haven't tried anything new to lose weight. Call it what it is. You're maintaining. This isn't a bad thing, I mean, you're not gaining right? But you have to ask yourself something: do you want to maintain the weight you're at, right now, for the rest of your life?

So if you're stuck, and you haven't tried something new for a while... do. Eat something different. Eat more. Eat less. Workout more. Workout less. Try a new workout. Get out of the gym. Get INTO the gym.

Just don't sit there. An object at rest tends to stay at rest... and if nothing changes, nothing changes. Right?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Love this~! Just what I needed to hear right now
    1932 days ago
    maybe i should have read this before telling you about my august goals in my reply to your reboot blog,lol. emoticon
    1933 days ago
    I've had 4 times in the past 5 months where I had a pause or fluctuation on my weekly weigh in. Almost every time I realized that my sodium intake was much higher for a period than on previous weeks. Once I got back on track, I not only lost the pound or so I had gained, but another pound or so also. So I really do believe it was just a timing and excess sodium that cause me some water retention. There was no real weight gain or plateau.

    I stick pretty much to the same routine all the time also. That is to say, I don't change it up regularly or radically. As I began my journey, I needed conditioning and that was my plan. As I felt able to increase intensity, reps, weights, etc. I did. I am now at a good point and again, my routine is rather fixed, other than increasing in weight as they begin to get easier. So while change is good, it doesn't have to be all that radical, it just has to keep your muscles from just doing repeats all the time. They need more taxing as they get used to the same weight.

    I am also very consistent and accurate with my diet. Even my off days are under or very near my max range. They just may be unbalanced. So combined with consistent exercise and consistent calorie deficit, I know I am doing about the best I can at this time. And I really have NOT had any true plateaus. I am also willing to bet the 90% of the folks thinking they are plateauing really are not. That there are other things going on that are causing them to stall. So stick to the plan, make changes along the way and you should never really plateau. keep the faith.
    1936 days ago
    Great blog and all very true!
    1936 days ago
    I was having that same argument with myself about half an hour ago. So funny! I've been maintaining my weight for about eight months now and was thinking 'does it still count as a plateau if I'm not changing anything? ...Yah... no. This is maintenance.'

    Nice to hear I'm on the same page! Now to just step it up and push through this unintended maintenance. At least I've got practice at it now for when I get to the weight I want to be!
    1936 days ago
    so true! it's a way for people to not take responsibility instead of making some changes..
    1936 days ago
    It drives me nuts when people say that are on a plauteau after not moving for 2 weeks. I THOUGHT I was at the start of my first plateau the other week, and was surprised when the scale went down after a few weeks.

    I'm kind of waiting for it now. I know I am due for one, I haven't had one! Maybe I'll be lucky and avoid it altogether because I change my routine so much?
    1936 days ago
    "Be inefficient."
    "If nothing changes? Nothing changes."
    I *love* how you reminded us NOT to play with semantics, but the issue could also include pragmatics- especially depending on what part of the country/world they/we come from!! emoticon
    1936 days ago
    If it looks like a duck...

    1936 days ago
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