Monday, July 20, 2009

On a Diet Plateau, No One Can Hear You Scream (in Frustration)

Lake Mileage: 5+k
MP3 Player: Podrunner, "First Day to 5k", Week 4
Currently Reading: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Jane Austen/Seth Grahame-Smith)

Sorry for the unexpectedly long hiatus! I'm tempted to just say that I've been distracted by the summer course I'm teaching this month - in other words, to lie. But the real reason, to be totally honest, is that I found myself stuck at a plateau when I weighed myself on July 10th - no weight loss in 10 days, despite continuing the exercise streak and sticking more-or-less faithfully to the diet. I was at a plateau, and I just did not want to talk about it.

It's not that I'm new to plateaus. I've been on enough diets to know that they inevitably happen at certain places in the weight loss process, whenever my body gets nervous enough about the ongoing loss of stored fat reserves that it demands a full-scale internal investigation and freezes my progress. But plateaus are always dispiriting nevertheless, especially because I'm always half-afraid that this will be the weight at which the entire diet effort grinds to a final screeching halt before the numbers on the scale start creeping upward again. So I didn't much feel like posting about no progess whatsoever, though I know this makes me a bad weight-loss blogger indeed! On the other hand, though, I did actually post the July 10th weight on this page and on the graph, so at least I didn't conceal it - but I didn't want to discuss it, either.

Furthermore, I wasn't really making no progress. I did keep up the exercise plan, which is why I'm on Day 88 of the streak today - less than two weeks until I hit Day 100, which will certainly be a record for me since I was 20-something. And each week I've advanced to the next level of Podrunner's interval mixes moving me toward running an entire 5k loop again, so my fitness was improving even if my weight wasn't.

And sure enough, as at least half my mind knew (just not the half I was listening to, typically for me), that discouraging plateau was going to lead into a sudden burst of weight loss, almost like free fall when you go sky-diving. Today the scale gave me the very welcome news that I've lost 10.5 pounds since July 10th, bringing myself down to 238 lbs. - as I've said before, not exactly svelte, even still "obese" according to the BMI calculators, but compared to the 280.5 on the day I started the diet back in February or the 284 that was my worst weight for 2009, it's a great improvement. It even feels within striking distance of the 50-pound mark, having started at the low/mid 280's and broken through to the 230's, though admittedly not yet by a lot. And I had to dig into the closet again for smaller pants, which is always one of dieting's biggest satisfactions.

I suppose I could wind up here with a cliche or two about the value of perseverance - and they'd be cliches because they're true, since weight loss really is all about perseverance over the long haul. But I already know that, even when I get discouraged. Next time I hit a plateau, though, I hope I won't avoid posting.

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