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April 18, 2007

Progress and Plateau

I know some of my blog entries lean toward providing information to those that are interested in weight loss but some are just self indulgent ramblings about myself. This is probably going to be the latter.

Well...I'm still making progress but I'm hitting a block. About 3 weeks ago I reached a new low weight of 239 pounds. This was big news for me as it broke the 240 pound barrier that had been haunting me. Then it was an absolute stand still. I couldn't seems to get past 239. And before that 240 was taking me forever to break.

I had to admit it...I hit a plateau...

For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, a plateau (in weight loss terms) is what happens when the body adjusts to what you have been doing and creates a sort of balance. So what worked before, doesn't work so well anymore. The technical term for this is biological homeostasis...commonly referred to as a plateau.

This is one of the worst things that can happen to a diet plan. It is incredibly frustrating to be going along at a good clip and then SMACK! You just feel like you are banging your head against a wall. It really is enough of a blow to your motivation to cause you to go off your diet plan...you know those Skittles are looking pretty good right about now...

<-----Skittles, Skittle, Bite Size Candies!!
I do everything right...but I can't seem to get my weight loss to kick into high gear again. Sure...I'm still losing weight...but I'm having to fight for every pound...and it has slowed down to a crawl.

I didn't really think about it until a few days ago when I was reviewing my exercise log. I keep a log of my weight and I saw that in the last six weeks I really haven't changed much.

So I'm faced with the task of figuring out how to break a plateau. After exhaustive research into the subject (a 10 minute search on Google) I found that that the best way to get this pig off the ground is to make some changes...any changes...well...any SMART changes.

The thing with the plateau is that is that it is your body adjusting and adapting to the changes you've made. Once it fully adapts to the change, it stabilizes.

Here is an example...

Let's say I start lifting weights because I want bigger biceps. So I do 'standing curls' once or twice a week. Eventually, my body will grow more muscle tissue to adapt to the new strain. But after a while my biceps will stop growing. So I increase the amount of weight I'm lifting. But I still don't see the same gains as I did when I started. That's because my arms are now accustom to that exercise. So I have to switch to a different exercise the targets the same muscle group....something that my body isn't used to doing...forcing it to adapt again and make me stronger.

The same basic principle applies to the body as a whole. Once my system gets used to what I'm doing, I get less and less of a benefit from doing just the same old thing.

There are lots of things you can do to shake up your routine. Here's what I plan on trying over the next couple of weeks...

1. Increase the amount of food I eat. This is a hard pill to swallow. I have to EAT to lose weight. Sounds so wrong...what sort of idiotic nonsense is this? No really! Over the last 6 months I've put on some additional muscle mass. But I haven't recalculated how many calories I should be consuming everyday.

2. Drink a protein shake before bed time. I used to do this but I stopped for some reason and I never resumed it. Props to Patrick for reminding me...and explaining that it should be a slow protein...I didn't know that before.

3. Replace one of my cardio days with swimming. I never liked doing 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. It gets boring. So I'm just going to use elliptical for my weight lifting days. I like to get about 10 minutes of cardio after lifting weights to pump up my heart rate and burn some extra calories. So on Tuesday I'll start swimming.

This should be enough to shake things up a bit. I'll let you know how it goes.

Web Site Progress

The web site is still being changed. I like the new look but it is slow going getting everything moved over the way I want it. Some of you have expressed concern about my weight loss chart saying that it isn't getting updated as regularly as I was doing before.

Well, there are three reasons for this...

1. I'm on a plateau...so my weight isn't really changing that much. No real reason to update the chart that often.

2. The changes to the web site make it harder for me to swap out the chart. I'm working on this.



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