Mental Health Monday: Dealing With a Weight-Loss Plateau


It’s been almost three months since I started this diet. (See “Counting Calories” from August 31.) The good news? I’ve lost 12 pounds. And I’m learning things about myself every day as I continue this 1000-calorie discipline I’ve chosen.

The not-as-good news? I’ve hit a weight-loss plateau. Without going over my calorie budget more than one or two days (and then only 200 calories over) I can’t seem to keep those pounds coming off. Thankfully, I haven’t let it send me into a serious funk, which always leads to binge eating or drinking. But I’m ready to see those scales move again.

So today I did a little research, and the article I found most helpful was “Getting Past a Weight-Loss Plateau” from Mayo Clinic. It seems that I’m burning muscle along with fat… muscle that keeps my metabolism going. What do they recommend?

To lose more weight, you need to either increase your physical activity or decrease the calories you eat. Using the same approach that worked initially may maintain your weight loss, but it won’t lead to more weight loss.

Not what I wanted to hear. The article went on to say that they don’t recommend going lower than 1200 calories, which is what I’m actually eating, since I subtract 200 calories for every 20 minutes I spend on the elliptical machine. Here’s what Mayo says about that:

Rev up your workout. Increase the amount of time you exercise by 15 to 30 minutes and possibly the intensity of your exercise to burn more calories. Adding exercises such as weightlifting to increase your muscle mass will help you burn more calories.

So, as I’m approaching the 3-month mark in my diet, my plan is to work out on the elliptical for 40 minutes/day rather than 20. Just long enough to watch a one-hour TV show without commercials. I see a Law & Order SVU marathon coming on!

turkey going to beachOnly problem is we’re headed to the beach for Thanksgiving… no elliptical machine in our condo. So my alternate plan is to walk for one hour/day on the beach. And enjoy fresh seafood instead of cornbread dressing and desserts. It helps that I’m not cooking all my favorite dishes this year. Have a great week everyone!

2 thoughts on “Mental Health Monday: Dealing With a Weight-Loss Plateau”

  1. Congratulations on your weight loss! I have heard that weight lost slowly but consistently is more likely to stay off than weight lost quickly. You are doing well!
    Sometimes I think plateaus also have something to do with age and metabolism. Once I hit the age of 30, it was really hard for me to lose weight. I’m a little overweight for my height, but right now I am at peace with my body.

  2. Besides doing longer workouts, you could try adding in interval training. I’ve read in numerous places that varying the intensity during the workout helps rev up the metabolism/fat burning mechanism. So, on the elliptical, instead of keeping a steady pace throughout your workout, you could increase your pace and heart rate for a couple of minutes, than go back to your more normal pace to recover, repeating the cycle several times during the workout. I realize there may be medical/physical reasons not to try this, so check with a doctor before trying it if you think there could be an issue. I think I recall that you have a medical professional in residence! 😉

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