This got the weight loss rolling again over the next six months—65 pounds down (now at 265). It wasn’t a very smooth ride, though. Many weeks, I didn’t lose any weight and I'd even gain a few pounds. Other weeks I'd lose five or more pounds. None of it made much sense to me, since I was doing pretty much the same things all the time.
The first few times the scale stopped moving, I was frustrated and panicky. Thinking, “What’s the use, I’ll always be fat,” led to more emotional eating. But several people (I guess they were being kind) pointed out that my reaction was just a rationalization for overeating. They were right. And overall, I was doing very well. I had lost over 100 pounds in about 15 months. That, along with good lab results and the fact that I was actually feeling better, persuaded me to stay focused on what was going well instead of on the occasional bad numbers on the scale.
But then things really started to get difficult…
My Second Plateau
For the next 6 months, I gained and lost the same five pounds over and over again. For a while, I started a new "diet" every week in a desperate attempt to get the scale moving again. I tried no sugar, low carb, high carb, high protein, food groupings, vegetarian, and even fasting one day per week. I lowered my calorie intake to 1500 and raised it to 2500. I even took diet pills for a couple of weeks. Nothing worked, and I started to feel depressed all over again.
After a little research, I came across the “set-point” theory—the idea that your body has a narrow weight range that it is most comfortable within, and will go to great lengths to stay there. For most of my adult life, I maintained a weight near 265, so maybe that was my set-point. I really didn’t want to stay at that weight though. After more research, I learned that increasing your exercise and daily activity was one way to potentially lower your set-point.
This wasn’t exactly good news. I was doing well with the low to moderate intensity exercise I had been doing, but I still had significant physical limitations and pain that ruled out high-impact activities like running. Plus, I wasn’t a big fan of getting all out of breath and sweaty.
But I was even less a fan of weighing 265 pounds, so I joined a gym and started going every day to do cardio. I hated it at first. I felt like a whale in a pool of minnows, and I thought that whoever came up with the idea of putting mirrors all over the place ought to be shot. But most of the other members were very friendly, and there were even a few my age and in about the same shape as me. I got over the self-consciousness pretty quickly, and it didn’t take long to start seeing some results for my efforts.