I have a confession to make.
I haven’t lost a single pound in over three weeks.
Yes, that’s right – I’m considering myself a blogger about weight loss… But one that isn’t losing any weight.
It’d be very, very easy to get disillusioned at this point – after all, I’m logging at least 9 hours a week at the gym, plus yoga at home, and I eat almost comically well. Honestly, most nutritionists would be proud of my daily eats – especially now I’m gluten-free. But the dreaded plateau has a magical ability to ruin diets, fitness and sanity – it’s a silent killer. It’s matter, apparently, over mind.
Now I’ve had to call in an independent(ish) adjudicator to make sure I’m right (by which I mean my fabulous housemate) – she’s thoroughly investigated the matter, and yes, my body is definitely changing. But still, the scales refuse to move.
Fortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened. This will be my 4th looooooooooong plateau, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Each time, I’ve just about reached the point where I’m going to snap and eat a cookie, and then – right as my hand is in the proverbial jar – suddenly, I’m down 6lbs. In a day. Apparently.
This is ridiculous too – and I refuse to believe the sudden drops in weight are realistic as much as I believe that I’ve not lost any weight in three weeks. As I’ve said before, the scales are EVIL. Don’t fall for their mind games.
Just because the numbers on the scales aren’t going down, you can’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re not losing fat. If you’re exercising, you’re probably gaining muscle, especially if you’re working hard at resistance training and the like. And if you’re gaining muscle, you’ll be looking stronger, leaner, and more toned – even if, like me, you’ve still got a pretty long way to go.
Or, if you’re like me (by which I mean, if you’re a girl) you’ve got all sorts of hormone cycles to contend with, which can mean water retention, bloating, and so on – so one week a month you can fully expect to plateau, or even gain a couple of pounds. Don’t beat yourself up about it. It’s Mother Nature (and she’s a bitch sometimes.)
Plus, I don’t believe it’s possible to guarantee 100% what your body is going to do inside on any given day. You can do everything right, or run a 10k, or only eat a lettuce leaf, whatever – and there’s still a chance that you’ll wake up the next day, hop on the scales, and have gained a pound. It’s not fair, but it’s life, and unfortunately, it can mess you up – especially when you’re on the long, hard road to fitness.
Your body is a ridiculously efficient machine, but not always in the way you need it to be. Starve it, and it’ll cling to its fat reserves and retain them; exercise it, and you’ll gain muscle and retain water; change your diet, and your metabolism will adjust itself accordingly. That’s why this is such hard work – but it’s also why you should stick to it.
I know, I know – this doesn’t help when you’re staring down at your toes wondering why you shouldn’t just go and eat a bacon sandwich and sack it off, because you’re still not skinny. But it’s important to remember two things about the bigger picture beyond the scales – firstly, that the scales don’t give you a full reflection of what’s going on in your body, and secondly (and most importantly)…
Aren’t you better off now?
Aren’t your insides reaping the benefit of a high quality diet?
Don’t your muscles feel better for getting exercise?
Aren’t you getting fitter and more capable of doing what you need to do?
Aren’t you happier?
Because if you’re not happier, you’re probably doing it wrong. Eat clean, workout right, and the rest will come together in time – and the scales will become a thing of the past. This shouldn’t be about being thin, as much as that’s a motivator for a lot of people. This is about being the best possible version of you – it’s about fitness, and health, and life.
Isn’t that more important than a number on the scale?