Saturday, October 22, 2016

Plateaus in weight maintenance 2016, don't go back to the old ways, embrace the plateau- you get what you get

Weight Maintenance, many say, is more important than weight loss. I find very few talk about how weight maintenance is about different long range and short term strategies.

I'm talking weight plateaus. Over a range of acceptable weights.  Not one goal weight, but a range. I find my weight plateaus are only good for 3-6 months, then I may have to adjust or tinker a bit to keep my normal weight.

Nobody told me I'd have to do that. Whoa!?

1. Weight ranges vs a goal weight ( I still have a goal weight, but keeping a range is key 115-125) and minding my plateau weights.

2. Staying food sober, yes I'm a Food Addict in 5+ years of recovery. It's a disease I manage every  meal.

Weight maintenance, for me, is about the daily choices, that evolve into the weekly and monthly outcomes. Both scale and non-scale. Both. BOTH. How easy would it be to return to the Food Addiction via lies I told myself about intuitive eating? I needed an abstainer plan. How easy would weight gain be by not hopping on the scale? See my gainer graph below. Easy.

So EZ to pop off a long plateau without my abstinence based food template. My body has no other choice to save itself. Even with a solid abstainer food template,over the past 1 year, I gained somewhere between 5,7 or even 8 pounds . And yes, daily weighing. Frustrating, yet regain is common for many reasons in long term weight maintenance.

Recently, I've lost 3-5 pounds (going from 125's to 121's)  and I'm headed to the next plateau (119) maybe? I feel better in the 119's, so I'm shooting for that. I get what I get. I do not throw a fit.

If you are approaching weight maintenance or returning to it, be sure to have a look at your plateaus and get a good idea of what you can do to maintain within a range. Check with your doctor, too for screening for diabetes, bone loss, and other disease states.

Weight plateaus are pretty normal. Embrace it. Use the stable weight to practice habits & behaviors.
Use plateaus to pivot to the next lower plateau, or maintain the plateau weight lower.
Use plateaus to make decisions within a few months of what is and is not working.
Use plateaus to sharpen your abstainer skills, cooking at home skills, medication changes, exercise adjustments.
Use plateaus to protect your body organs from further diseases of obesity.

For me: Hormonal ( post menopause), glucose management, possible change in thyroid meds, change in sleep amount, changes in food total amounts, changes in activity. And, there will be more root causes if you are managing other disease states.

All questions I had to ask myself: Was I eating low enough carbs, high enough carbs, low enough protein, high enough protein, low enough total intake, high enough total intake. Meal timing, IF, carb cycling. Enough gym time, too much? It could drive you batty, if you let it.

Ugh....But time was on my side, so I experimented around, and didn't go back into the food addiction. I could have easily said, forget this, I'm high on the scale anyway I might as well eat XYZ binge foods, who will know?  I would know, Food Addiction is a disease that keeps you from your given gifts. The brain space taken up by addiction keeps us from our jobs, families, pets and communities.

Studies estimate that 40% of this obese population have food addiction. Using the right tool(s) is essential. Going back to food addiction was not an option for me. Staying on a plateau IS a great option, IMO. Since I know that food addiction could come back in a second, I  kept my basic LCHF food template and abstainer mind and tinkered.

SO many variables.

 I have started to reverse the gain, but it took 9-10 months to figure out an effective for me tool (time restricted eating window).

I think its our bloggy friend Jan (from Low Carb Diabetic) who has said that  trying plans often resulted in weight loss in the first few months, but would the weight just come back several months down the road?

1. Is the change sustainable?
2. Can I find a plateau for 3-6 months at a time?

 I have a weight plateaus in maintenance, loss and weight gain.  (mine are 116, 119, 121, 125, 131, 139, 142, 148, 152, 161, 176, 181, and finally 187. It looks like I may have even topped out at 192 before I took action.

So doing the work to stay on a plateau is super key. Otherwise, weight gain after loss is just no fun. I've yo-yo'ed for about 40 years.

Weight gain graph, moderating all foods 2007 to 2011

Notice how my plateaus jump higher as I go up the scale. My poor body had no choice but to take the carbs & sugar and store them to protect my eyes, heart, liver, kidneys, and extremities. My hormonal system was just doing what it could to protect my body. Amazing and wonderful in a way.

I'm not binge eating, I'm not using the temporary or long term gain to eat Paleo or LCHF junk food. My food addiction is safely into long term remission. I'm not on the edge of relapse or lapse or having binge urges.

I am inside my acceptable range. After a lot of work. LOTS of work.

What's working now:

1. The best prevention I have to to stick with my normal food template and my routine. My body will choose between the 125, 121 plateau and the 119 plateau. Although, I'll be shooting to stay solid at 119, if I can choose. I'm short and small boned. 5'1".

2. Prepare my mind for the next 3-6 months.

3. Staying food sober
Embracing the plateau June 2016, keeping 63 pounds off, Hawaii

What didn't work in the past:

1. Eating all the things and lying to myself about York Peppermint patties, M&M's and Skinny Cows being OK because they were in my WW points range. Nope, ALL the nopes.

2.  I did not look at my progress over time to make changes that would stick.

3. I was deep, so deep into letting "The Disease" -aka- Food Addiction rule my life and health. Scale up? Might as well eat whatever "my body told me to eat". Of course it was junk. The disease leads itself to lies to stay alive. False fixes ruled me.

March 2011, my desk, just before becoming food sober
I got really frosting high that day.

I'll bet I'm not alone on long term maintainers using plateaus to keep their health- weight and disease states in check.  Comment below how you use plateau's to your advantage. As hard as it is. I know how much work it takes.


  1. I lost 75 lbs and then got stuck--right as menopause happened. I'm disappointed that I didn't lose 30 or 40 pounds more but NOTHING budges it (I've tried literally everything). I call this the longest "plateau" in history. However, for the last 5 years I've maintained that weight, give or take 5 lbs--by following my template. When I reach 6 lbs over that low weight I go into "Defcon 3" mode and really tighten up my diet--I just get sloppy sometimes. Usually it's carb creep that is the culprit--I somehow convince myself that higher carbs are OK when I KNOW they are not and never will be.

    Like I said, I'd love to weigh less, but I'm thrilled to have maintained the 75 (ish) pound weight loss for so long (I consider this success). My health is 1000% better, I feel younger than I did 20 years ago and I can certainly do more now than before. I look forward to my occasional planned indulgences (my birthday is coming up and that means I get ONE slice of cake--YAY!)but don't care about what I can't have because I love what I CAN have. I'm always trying creative ways to enjoy my way of life and I use social media (podcasts, blogs like yours, FaceBook) to keep me interested and motivated--and accountable. Over the years I've grown my healthy habits--added in meditation and exercise, tweaked my diet for healthier and sustainable whole foods and dumped some of the questionable foods I used to think were OK.

    What I love most about this is that I am controlling what's happening instead of letting it control me. Karen, that's your superpower and I've learned a lot from you!

    1. Congrats on your weight loss and maintenance. Maintaining seems to be a bigger challenge than the weight loss to me.

    2. Jan, I remember you telling me that nothing was budging your weight. On the other hand, maintaining 75 lost is more than most are able to do. But I understand the frustration.

      There has got to be some metabolic thing occurring that is l,ess common ,that is hooked into a biological system. There were complex things that Dr. Westman talked about at Low Carb USA ( I still need to blog about this)- about a separate system that fat cells use to maintain their hold.

      He basically said it was a 2 step process for initial weight loss, then the second step, the breaking free of the entire endocrinology system that the fat cells produced in the body that was way more tricky... I could so relate to that. So much.

      Anyhoo, I took some notes during the lecture, so I'll get to that post sooner rather than later.

      YES!!! I see in my blog reading travels without the Defcon 3 activities, that maintainers quickly become gainers. Glad you've got a solid procedure. I didn't understand how very much my obesity wants to come back. It was so easy for me years 0-3, then it became much harder.

      YES!!! controlling what happens. Truth. And I love the food template, too, so tasty. It helps me to know there are other maintainers out there, Jan. I usually am positive, but the old food addiction voice is out there, and anytime I hear it, I think about you, Vickie, and the other long timers. I know I'm not alone.

      More good blog posts in my head, Jan. Kudos to you and Eddie for your low carb message in the UK.I've been watching the Tim Noakes trial in SA with great interest. Glad that Nina and Zoe, and Caryn could testify on his behalf. Getting well shouldn't be this hard. But it IS. That makes what you and I have done even better. :)

  2. I lost my weight at age 49 right as menopause was setting in. I have been maintaining most of the weight loss for over 4 years now. I am very interested in hearing about how other women have lost and maintained their weight in this phase of their life.

    I have just started trying to document my journey if anyone is interested.

    1. HI Donna! Yeah! The first thing I did when I got to weight maintenance- aka off Medifast and the Paleo transition was go though menopause- age 48. It was tough then, but now, I understand that both the going through menopause coupled with getting my food addiction under control (learning the abstaining foods) went hand in hand for what I was seeking- weight control and to walk away from the food seeking.

      Sigh, never easy. :) Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  3. I have tried all methods but not able to lose weight. I will definitely try your methods. Thanks for sharing the post. It’s truly amazing.