In August, 2007, I began my weight loss program. I weighed 296 pounds of pure, unadulterated fat (can we say Jabba the Hutt??). In November, I weighed 254 pounds, with 15 of that in muscle. In December...254lbs. In January....254lbs. In February....254lbs. What is going on here!!!! I am killing myself with these exercises and this diet, but I'm still at the same weight!!! I'm losing inches, but I'm not losing pounds. I am no longer a fitness nut. I QUIT!!!!!
Has this ever happened to you? Well, this is what happened to me and no, I did not quit. Instead, I did some research, because I knew something was going on; I just didn't know what it was. Somewhere out there someone HAD to have gone through this same thing. The first question was to know what it was called. So, I went "college" on myself and picked the word Plateau. I was right. The attached article goes into more detail, but I'll give you the nuts and bolts of it right now.
Here's what happened: When I started to exercise, I naturally weighed a lot more, so there was more mass to move, thus more calories to burn. As I continued to lose the weight, my body had less mass to move, thus less calories were burned. My body eventually became used to my exercise routine and knew how many calories to burn for the workout. You see, I did not alter my workout; I did the same thing every day. Thus, my body did not have to extend itself. Here's an example of what I am talking about: Let's say you start jogging. The first day you huff and puff and eventually you reach the 1 mile goal. Fast-forward 2 weeks. Do you still huff and puff after 1 mile?? Probably not. Your body has gotten used to the run and has adapted to it. Now, do you just stop after running that 1 mile, or do you stretch it to 2 miles? My guess is that you will stretch it. The same scenario is applicable to strength training. You need to continue to challenge your body in order to continue to lose the weight.
What I needed to do is to trick my body. Give it the unexpected. So, I took a week off and researched different ways of doing my exercises. I needed to maintain the exercise routine, but not the routine exercises.
After the week off, I began again. However, this time I did different exercises and in a different order. I don't do them in the same way every day, like I used to. I mix it up. This way my body does not know what to expect. It can't get lulled into a routine. It doesn't know how much energy it will need to complete the exercise routine.
Guess what?? IT WORKS!!! The pounds are once again starting to come off. I am also a lot happier, because each day my workout is different. I like that.
In a nutshell, here is what I did:
- Take a week off
- Come up with new exercises or a different way of doing the old ones
- Change-up the routine. Don't do it the same way each day.
- Do both strength training and cardio