How to avoid the plateau
Well this is one I couldn’t avoid using a FitBit tracker image for. I spoofed this one, for full disclosure, this isn’t my accurate scale right now. But I did, at one point in the past, sit on a plateau of not losing the weight I wanted to lose, even after losing 70lbs in the months before.
September 2015 I weighed 340lbs and had a 54in waist. By January, I was 277 and 48in. But I had gone from consistently losing the same amount every week to dropping slowly. Yes, it was winter in Ohio, and yes, holidays and travel did me in a bit, but I wanted to keep losing, and I wasn’t seeing the same results I was weeks before. I had to take action if I wanted to follow my goals and rewards structure.
The first thing I did was reevaluate my diet. I had, after all, set my calories per three day period based on my weighing 340lbs. I was currently now in the 270s, so my caloric needs were entirely different than they were months before. I used my calorie calculator again, and readjusted what I was eating based on the new amount.
The second, and most important, is I changed my workout routine by joining a gym, and getting a personal trainer.
I had hesitated jumping straight into a personal trainer because I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest that much time or money in something I’d failed at every time before. Gym memberships can be terribly written to suck you into huge cancellation fees, and, knowing that I wasn’t good at this whole weight loss thing when I started in September, I wanted to build some confidence and momentum before making that swap.
Anytime Fitness was the gym in Marietta that made the most sense to me. They had a set membership fee, locations everywhere and anytime access, and the personal training I was looking for. I signed up for twice a week for three months to start.
This is part of the insane result of my trainer’s hard work. I went from 277lbs, 35% body fat and a 48in waist to 230, 15% body fat and a 38in waist. That plateau was gone. Changing up your workout, adding someone to keep you accountable, and increasing your heart rate per minute for a longer period does wonders.
Your personal trainer will also be able to target the areas you feel most insecure about, add full body workouts, and target the muscle groups that burn calories the most. After leg day, I average 30% more weight loss than I do on any other workout day. Seriously, you can peg the valleys on my line graph as leg days.
Building muscle, while it will increase or maintain that number on your scale, will shrink you. Muscle takes up less space than fat, burns more calories almost exponentially, and allows you to work out longer, and harder. The key to that chart isn’t there: I went from a 48 waist to a 38 in three months.
I’ll talk in a later post about what it takes to keep motivated to go to personal training, and changes to your diet on the days you’re really killing yourself in the gym, but the biggest and most effective tool is seeing yourself shrink and feeling new muscles you’ve never had before. I may not ever actually love going to the gym, but I love the results my personal trainer helps me see in myself.