Since the end of May, I’ve been stuck. I’ve openly shared, and been secretly embarrassed by, the struggle I’ve been having to bust through the plateau I hit when I lost my first fifty pounds. When you’re as big as me and you’ve been successful recently…why doesn’t the weight just fall off?
I understand the logic behind plateaus, that your body settles into new patterns and metabolic rates. I understand there are crazy hormonal things going on that are seriously affecting me. I understand but don’t appreciate my own weaknesses in trying to deal with all this. Especially more recently. But I do not understand how all of this can go on for five. Freaking. Months.
This is Manda Kay Makes It. Not Manda Kay starts to make it but then gets stuck so she sits around eating cake and watching Friends reruns.
I spoke with my doctor about all of this last month. She had no real answers or advice, other than this is totally normal–not at all comforting to hear. I immediately turned around and booked an appointment with a dietitian, thinking there has to be something I can do to move past this. Or if nothing else, hearing “plateau” from a qualified professional would at least lessen the blow. Maybe.
I sat in Becky’s office so full of anxiety, so nervous yet hopeful. After deciding that I basically want to be Becky when I grow up–fit and pretty with an awesome job–we discussed my background, my current habits and reviewed my food journal. Every time she asked a question or offered a suggestion, it was something I was already doing:
Do you drink enough water?
Over a gallon per day.
How often do you eat out? What do you get when you do?
Rarely. Fish or salad.
Do you have a support system in place?
All bases covered: I’ve got my amazing readers, my family and friends, and the wonderful MFP community.
Though we made a few tweaks (upping my fat intake and tweaking my calories slightly), I am, apparently, doing everything I should be doing to be successful. It’s just up to my body and mind to catch up.
As reassuring as it was to hear that, it was also so incredibly disappointing. I wanted her to find some flashing red warning sign of what I’ve been doing wrong. And I shared as much with her. Then Becky shared this nugget:
“You need to win the war in your head and remember how far you’ve come. You’ve lost an incredible amount of weight and despite what’s been happening for the past five months, you’ve maintained it.”
She’s right. We all know how easy it is to get sucked into that negative head space. You think about how far you have to go, what you haven’t done yet, all the things you can’t do because of your weight, feel guilty when you don’t work out or slip up with your diet. You become caught up in the instruction and opinion of others. There always seems to be something else you should be doing to succeed.
I’ve had this jumble of thoughts floating in my head for the past few months, getting caught up in Twitter, what other bloggers are doing, the latest super food I need to eat or workout I need to do. I listen too much to the voices of others, inviting them into my fragile mind space, allowing them to confuse and annoy me to the point where I want to shut off all communication with the outside world (hence the lack of blog, MFP, and Twitter updates). But when Becky said what she said, it all clicked for me.
When you allow yourself to be surrounded by the noise of others, it becomes incredibly difficult to see the forest for the trees.
Focus on you. Focus on the positive.
Remember where you came from and where you are now. Be proud. Always.
I left my appointment feeling completely rejuvinated. I am doing what I need to to be successful. I have set myself up wonderfully for a life-long change. But I need to stop worrying about others–their opinions, advice, successes, and failure. I need to get out of my head, plan the work and work the plan, then trust the process.