TT Thursday : sighs, plateau 3rd week weight loss challenge

TT Thursday : sighs, plateau 3rd week weight loss challenge

HealthyWage pinterest healthy snack board

This week was a frustrating plateau week in my weight loss challenge.  Last week my total weight loss was 6.4 for two weeks so averaged 3.2 pounds per week and this week it’s only 8.3, a net loss of only 1.9 pounds for the week.  Sighs.

Healthy Snacks

Taking my mind off my slow down, I read articles.  Kate M., our HealthyWage coach for the 6% Slimming Challenge, posts daily links to assist.  I really liked this one she posted four days ago, Healthy Snacks, a Pinterest board set up by HealthyWage collecting images/links to some smart snack ideas.

One of my favorites is the snack Kate shared on the board, freezing grapes to make cold bursts of candylike flavor, like tiny popsicles.  That one was #6 from Buzzfeed’s 27 Easy Ways To Eat Healthier.

Easy Watermelon Sorbet

I miss ice cream and sorbets so the freezing grapes gave me an idea.  I froze half a watermelon.  When I pulled it out, it was so hard, I could only scrap my spoon across the top for my first tasting.  Yum!  Just like a watermelon sorbet.  Once it thawed a little, I could dig in.  Totally satisfied my need for icy deliciousness.

Freeze the watermelon.  That’s it. You’re done.

BTW, don’t let it thaw out completely whatever you do.  Once frozen, when dethawed to room temp, the texture goes all wonky. The rind and inside is soft and mushy when completely dethawed. If you don’t want a huge half watermelon taking up your freezer, you can take an ice cream or melon ball scoop and scoop out individual balls to store in bags.  You may have to dethaw it a little to get bigger scoops — but just a little.  Why not scoop before you freeze it?  You can but then the juice will dribble to the bottom of the bag before the scoop finishes freezing so you’ll get some icicles with your scoops.

Diet Myths and Science

Another article Kate M., our HealthyWage coach, referenced was Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity. This is a literature review by a bunch of Ph.D.s and M.D.s comparing studies to myths.  These are just a few they discussed.

Myth number 1: Small sustained changes in energy intake or expenditure will produce large, long-term weight changes.  It used to be believed that if you started walking one mile a day, then over 5 years you will lose 50 pounds.  The problem was the first study was a short-term study and the findings were extrapolated. That means the guys lost x amount of weight in a few weeks, therefore the few weeks loss multiplied by 5 years =50.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.  As you lose or gain weight, it changes how you burn calories.  So walking one mile a day over 5 years, you will lose 10 pounds not 50.

Think about it though.  The first time you walk that mile I bet it takes you 30 minutes.  Over time, you’ll get fitter and also faster.  So you’ll be completing that mile in 15 minutes or less.  You are exercising over less time if you stick to one mile.  So yay! You finished early and you get to go home?  Um, no.  To get the same benefits, you’re going to have to increase how far you walk or increase your intensity by faster walking, biking or running.

Myth number 2: Setting realistic goals for weight loss is important, because otherwise patients will become frustrated and lose less weight.

Be realistic! You’ll stick to it if you’re realistic and achieve more weight loss.  That’s the mantra.  Except they’re wrong.

In one study they divided 180 obese men and women into several groups in a four year study.  The groups were based on their goals from realistic to unrealistically high weight loss goals.  Three of the groups lost about the same amount of weight.  The unrealistically-high-weight-loss-goal group was the only group to lose significantly more than the other groups although they were also less satisfied with their loss.  Failure to meet weight loss expectations did not result to in regaining the weight loss.  Depression was found to be unrelated to weight loss success.

Basically what they are saying is one person says I’ll lose 10 pounds, second person says I’ll lose 50 pounds.  They both weight 200 pounds. The 10-pound-goal person loses 15 pounds and is happy and a year later the 15 pounds is still off. The 50-pound-goal person loses 40 pounds and is unsatisfied but a year later the 40 pounds is still off.  Maybe the 50-pound-goal person did get frustrated and gave up before they reached 50 pounds, but they still lost a lot more than the guy with a low-level goal and they kept it off.

That’s the thing about goals.  It’s good to shoot for the moon.  Sure, you’re unlikely to reach the moon — spaceships being a bit rare these days.  But you’ll reach a lot higher than if you had stayed on the ground because you know you can’t reach the moon.  Maybe you’ll climb a mountain, pilot a plane, go paragliding.  You’ll learn and do things you didn’t know about when you started.  The person on the ground is likely living the same life they always had, without much change. That’s okay too.  And who knows, maybe you’ll win a raffle and board a spaceship.  The future is not ours to see.

I want to lose 100 pounds.  Yeah, I’ve started with 65 pounds — let’s be realistic, money is involved in HealthyWage and I don’t want to lose it.  On the other hand, losing 10 or 20 pounds while easier to do wouldn’t have motivated me much.  So yeah, 8.3 loss is not much compared to my start weight of 252.1.  But I’ve been stuck at 250 for 15 years.    Yes, I range about three pounds up or down from that but the weird thing is my body loves 250 so if I went up or down a few pounds, within a couple days I’d be back to 250.  It’s my setpoint.  So the 8.3 is a beginning.

Remember don’t give up!  Plateau weeks are a good time to reassess. 

Which brings me back to my plateau.  When you’re losing weight, plateau or slow-down weeks happen. It could be anything.  If you’ve been exercising after a long winter of being dormant, a little fat weight may have converted to a little muscle weight.  It happens.  The solution is not to quit exercising.  And yes, some people do stop exercising if they are overly focused on weight loss, rather than also converting to a healthier lifestyle. Just give it a few days, once the little conversion happens, that tiny bit of muscle increase will start to help you with the weight loss because muscle burns more energy than fat.

What changes have I noticed?

The biggest change for me is my back is improving and my stamina has increased.  I had reached a point when I started three weeks ago that I couldn’t stand more than half an hour before my back started aching. I hadn’t realized how much sitting I’d been doing in the last few years.  When I arrived in Tucson, my weight was the same, 250 lbs, but I was in the habit of walking miles including uphill because I lived on a hill.  Oakland had great bus service and I was within half a mile of 4 different buslines.  Sometimes I’d go to the one closest to me but I was just apt to walk to whichever one was a direct line to where I wanted to go to rather than dealing with transferring.  Going anywhere was a combination of bus and walking especially going to San Francisco where parking costs and hard to find.

Tucson is a driving town.  Parking is free and ubiquitous except downtown and at U of A.  It’s too damn hot to wait for a bus once March hits.  I don’t walk any more.  I spent more time at home, mostly in front of the computer.  In eight years, I went from being able to walk three or four hours pretty easily to my back aching after half an hour of just standing.  Initially I attributed that to a bad back and did more sitting/laying.  When I started this, it occurred to me I may have a weak back as opposed to a bad back.  With a bad back, I flung up my hands — that was something that needed to be medically treated, the family has a history of bad backs, yada, yada, yada.  With a weak back, I can help it by improving my stomach muscles to support the back as well as strengthening back muscles.  It’s a proactive paradigm rather than a helpless paradigm.

Three weeks ago when I started, I couldn’t complete a circuit around Park Mall and my back ached and I was breathing heavy by the time I got back to the car.  Now I can complete a circuit fairly easily so I am working on increasing into a second circuit.  More importantly my back doesn’t hurt when I am done.  If I remember my posture, I can stand for more than an hour before my back starts whining.  I hadn’t realized it but I had picked up the habit of slumping and hunching forward while I walked.  I noticed it when I started doing arm exercises and rolling my head while walking.  Those made me realize my balance was off and I made an effort to stand straighter.  The improved posture has helped my back as well — it’s not being curved over, pulled down by slumping, bodyweight and gravity.  It’s hard to remember my posture since it’s not habit yet but I am working on it.  Things like that are improving my back faster than I expected.

The second thing is my bras.  I had bought extenders because without them it felt hard to breathe if I wore a bra.  I had two extenders latched onto each other.  Surprisingly, this week, I no longer needed either.  So I lost inches.  I am rather surprised because I didn’t think  a loss of 8.3 pounds would make that much of a difference.  Inches are a better way to gauge fat loss.  When fat converts to muscle, you may plateau or gain a little weight but you will lose inches when that happens.

I realize now that I forgot to measure myself when I first started so that needs to be rectified.  I couldn’t find my sewing measuring tape so I’m using the flexible metal tape.  It might not be as accurate but it will still give me a baseline.  B=48″. UB=42. W=47.5″.  G=51″.  H=50″. Th=28.25″.  Not happy with those numbers but there they are.  G is gut — I measured where  stomach went out the furthest.  One goal is for the W and G to be the same.  That will mean some of the fat in G will have slid off.  Crossing fingers.

And I thought I’d finish off with

Myth number 7: A bout of sexual activity burns 100 to 300 kcal for each participant.

Using math, they determined ” a man weighing 154 lb (70 kg) would, at 3 METs, expend approximately 3.5 kcal per minute (210 kcal per hour) during a stimulation and orgasm session” which equals the same amount of calories burned walking moderately fast.  The kicker was that they decided that sex only burned 21Kcal because “the average bout of sexual activity lasts about 6 minutes”.  Now look above, that six minutes includes stimulation and orgasm.  Six minutes?  Dude!  You seriously need to read the Kama Sutra or something.  Six minutes!  You ought to be ashamed of yourself.  Oh!  they weren’t measuring sex between two people.  They were measuring …  ok, ok.  Go to it.  Sorry for interrupting.


Healthy Snacks (as of 6/28/18, 43 pins)
Pinterest Board by HealthyWage

27 Easy Ways To Eat Healthier
by  Rachel Sanders and Chris Ritter, BuzzFeed, April 13, 2013

Myths, Presumptions, and Facts about Obesity
by Krista Casazza, Ph.D., R.D., Kevin R. Fontaine, Ph.D., Arne Astrup, M.D., Ph.D., Leann L. Birch, Ph.D., Andrew W. Brown, Ph.D., Michelle M. Bohan Brown, Ph.D., Nefertiti Durant, M.D., M.P.H., Gareth Dutton, Ph.D., E. Michael Foster, Ph.D., Steven B. Heymsfield, M.D., Kerry McIver, M.S., Tapan Mehta, M.S., Nir Menachemi, Ph.D., P.K. Newby, Sc.D., M.P.H., Russell Pate, Ph.D., Barbara J. Rolls, Ph.D., Bisakha Sen, Ph.D., Daniel L. Smith, Jr., Ph.D., Diana M. Thomas, Ph.D., and David B. Allison, Ph.D.
The New England Journal of Medicine, January 31, 2013, pp446-454

Reflections of an Untidy Mind
Ragtag Community

Disclosure:  I went ahead and signed up as a HealthyWage affiliate.  If you join through the links above, I’ll get a commission.  However, they also have a friends link, if you join up by clicking this friends link, it adds a $40 to your HealthyWager award if you complete your goal and $40 to my HealthyWager award if I complete my goal.  Niether of us gets the $40 if either person fails.   I think the $40 is for HealthyWager challenges only and not the other ones like the 6% individual challenge or the team challenge. The HealthyWage affiliate link doesn’t matter if anyone succeeds but there is no benefit for the friend, just for the affiliate no matter what kind of challenge they join. I think joining through the friends link also lets you view your friend on the dashboard: you’ll see their name and what % they’ve lost so far but not the actual weight.  That’s private unless you make it public.



18 Replies to “TT Thursday : sighs, plateau 3rd week weight loss challenge”

  1. Congrats on being able to easily walk the mall, I’m trying to move forward in the water right now and was surprised I could start swimming again after a long set back. Love the simplicity and I bet the taste of the watermelon, have got some green grapes right here and will freeze them and see what happens.

    1. How did the frozen green grapes go? Delicious? It’s cool you’ve started swimming again. I wish I had a pool — not one I have to maintain though. Pools are great in the summer heat.

  2. By taking the stairs and speed walking (plus drinking cinnamon – gets rid of Buddah belly) I went from 225 to 140. Dad also lost 60 lbs doing the same.
    You can and will do it! You have determination and strong inner strength to succeed (runs in the family). I am so proud of you!
    I do say that frozen watermelon, sounds yummy ?.

    1. Thanks for reminding me about Cinnamon. I forgot all about it and I had bought a big jar of it too. Carol says she lost 40 pounds using cinnamon. The watermelon is yummy — tastes just like a sherbert.

  3. Plateau yes, always that crossroads between sticking to it or giving up. Thank you for the information and inspiration!

    1. Yeah, plateaus are a pain but sticking to it. I’m glad that information might be helpful and inspiring for you. Thanks a lot for commenting. I really appreciate it.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It helps knowing other people are making the challenging switch over to a healthier eating style

    1. Thank you for your encouragement. This plateau is really bugging me but I know it’ll end. I’m just a little impatient.

      Hope you have a grand weekend!

  4. The plateau is the body recognising that something is happening – not getting a full intake, so take care, prepare for hibernation, etc.
    You can break the plateau by ensuring a five hour break between meals, no snacks in that time, and only black tea (with a little lemon, of course). It breaks the plateau. Sounds easy, but not. However, once the body becomes accustomed, it adapts, accepts.

    1. I’ve been doing the five hour break between meals — partly because it’s my eating pattern anyways but not the black tea. I drink water or lemon water. I’ll try the black tea. I’ve heard caffeine can speed up your metabolism just a little so that sounds like a good idea to me.

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