When you set out to do something in life, it is enviable that there will be challenges. I’d never had any ambition to be a mountain climber but when I set out to lose weight, it felt like I had a mountain to climb. After reaching my 10% weight loss milestone I got into my stride. Seven months in and I reached the next milestone, 50lbs weight loss. I was presented with a certificate to recognise my achievement, which I framed and proudly displayed at home.
The change in my shape was noticeable and people would comment on it, saying I was looking well. Although I always knew that I was doing this for myself, it was good to hear the positive comments.
I was aware of the change in my general health and wellbeing. I had more energy, less pain in my legs and increased motivation. My doctors were also pleased with my progress after health checks revealed a decrease in my blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
There I was cruising along nicely, when it happened. The road I was travelling on took a turn off course. I didn’t see it coming, there was no signpost or diversion warning. Two weeks after my momentous 50lbs weight loss celebration, I had a 1.5lb gain. This in itself was no major concern, after all, each week cannot be the same, unexpected events happen, occasions, etc when I may have more indulgence foods than I had planned for, or my activity levels may be lower.
It was one step back, but I carried on and was pleased to lose it again the following week, one step forward. Two weeks later my concern level perked up when I registered another 1lb gain. Ummm, this was starting to worry me a bit. It affected my mood, making me feel down which in turn seemed to send a signal to my brain telling me I need to eat something sweet/comforting to make me feel better. I’ve always been an emotional person. I now understand that this has a major influence on my eating habits.
The challenges of this ‘one step forward, one step back’ dance continued for about five weeks. The longer it went on, the more frequent the weight gains came. It was very frustrating, I was stuck in a loop, which I came to learn was called a plateau. This was my first encounter with a plateau, it wouldn’t be my last.
I had to do something to break out of this loop and get back on the right track. So I refocused and thought of some things that would shake up my body a bit because it seemed to have gotten too used to what I was currently doing. I made sure that I was accurately weighing and writing down my food and drink according to the Weight Watchers plan. So I changed a couple of the foods I was eating regularly, e.g. some days switched from cornflakes to shredded wheat. I also added a couple more minutes to my exercise routine. These combined efforts did the trick and shifted me off the plateau and I began seeing more consistent weight losses again.
This was a valuable learning experience for me in how to deal with challenges. I’m not saying that I haven’t ever found myself in that frustrating little dance again but when I did, I knew where I was. One positive thing to come out of that particular period of my journey was my increased appreciation for non-scale victories and when weight loss targets are few and far between, non scale victories are a real cause for celebration.
For more about non scale victories, click here.