Friday, June 17, 2011

Breaking a Plateau

When you hit what seems like a dead end or brick wall, what do you do?  Do you throw up your hands, turn around and go back the other way in disgust?  OR….do you grit your teeth, bear down and find a way to get through to the other side? While, overcoming the “brick wall” is not an easy task, it can be done. It boils down to your POA (plan of action), your state of mind and your desire. 

Five months into my journey last year, I hit what appeared to me as a brick wall. It was a cursed plateau that threatened to nix out all of my hard work. For two months, I didn’t lose a single pound. I lost a few inches off my waist line, my legs, arms, neck (LOL)…but the weight was NOT coming off! I stepped on that scale four times (twice each month) only to get off with disappointment and frustration. You’ve been there too, right? 
The word plateau alone sends a twinge of frustration and pain through my heart, as I am sure it does yours as well. In the beginning, the weight seems to fall off with ease. You get the motivation and fire to press on as you see the number on the scales get smaller and smaller with each weigh in. The fact is, however, as time passes, the less weight you have to lose; the harder it becomes to get it off. 
The last 15-20lbs have been most challenging for me, in fact. What has helped me in the past is to switch up my routine, making sure to do cardio and weights at least 3 times a week for 30-45 minutes at a moderate pace. In addition to that, I began to run on the treadmill twice a week, picked up the pace in my walks and increased the distance of them as well. I also incorporated dancing (around the house for fun, DVDs like Latin Fusion, etc.), Yoga and Pilates.   If what you are doing is not working, why continue to do it?  Switch it up!

Something else to consider is, and this is critical, what exactly are you are eating. When I went through the first month of my plateau, I was truly in denial. I couldn’t face the fact that I’d become a little lose in terms of what I allowed myself to consume. Holidays, parties, and just giving in outside of my designated “cheat day”…that will do it to you. 

So, ask yourself the following questions:
·         Are you eating clean?
·         Are you tracking and monitoring the quality of what you consume?
·         Are you tracking and monitoring the quantity and caloric value of what you consume?
·         What is your activity level?
·         What is your typical regime and the consistency thereof?
·         Have you set realistic goals and have you been tracking your progress?

 If you are eating well, and switching up your routine, it could simply be that your body has adjusted to your regime and nutrition and therefore, is no longer responsive. Basically, your metabolism needs to be revved up yet again. You might need to trick your body by lowering your calorie intake one day, and raising it another, etc. This is defined as calorie shifting, or zigzagging.  

Nutrition experts and dieticians advise that the caloric intake for the average man between the ages of 20-59 should be 2500 calories per day. For the average woman between the ages of 20-59, the daily calorie consumption should be at 2000. When cutting calories to lose weight, you typically don’t want to do more than 500 less per day. For example, when I began my lifestyle evolution, I cut my daily calorie intake down to 1500. (It is not recommended for anyone to go lower than 1200 per day…DO NOT do that to yourself or you will be sabotaged!) Using the method of zigzagging, or calorie shifting, to break the plateau, I would take in 1500 calories one day, 1800 the next, 1500 the next, 2000 the next…you get the idea; I would “zigzag” back and forth. 

Though calorie shifting is NOT the final answer, it should help you get your body back on track with losing weight. Keep in mind, is important that you track what you are doing and measure your progress while experimenting with this. Again, relying on this method alone is NOT recommended. It is also about the QUALITY of your food intake and your activity.  Lay off of the bad, white carbs, cut way down on the sugar and alcohol. Lose the foods low in nutritional value and fill your plate up with lots of green and colorful options. Eat plenty of fruit (but watch the sugar), fish, chicken and whole grain, whole wheat foods. Your daily intake should also include plenty of fiber, protein and no less than 64 ounces of water EVERYDAY.  

Okay…so what are your questions? I hope this post helps you in some way and I encourage you to research the wide world of resources available to you for more detail. I am not the expert here…just someone that has gone through this and has a good understanding of how to conquer it. Feel free to check out a few of the links below. 

Don’t just stand in front of that brick wall or slam your head against it…don’t turn away from it either. Educate yourself and overcome it! Stay healthy, stay focused, be happy and get fit for life…from the inside out!

Make IT Work!!!

(Kia ©2011)
Calorie Count (info and challenges of others…powerful site): (good tools):

***Excellent tools for tracking your intake/activity on the go: What’s on Your Plate (iPhone), Calorie Count (Blackberry and iPhone), Lose It (iPhone), Calorie Counter (BlackBerry)


  1. Keep up the great work Kia! This journal is so important, not only for you but for all of us who are trying to accomplish similar goals..xoxo

  2. Thanks Desi! I truly appreciate your support! Can always count on you girl! I hope those reading will be inspired and encouraged as well. Stay blessed! Cheers to us living!