29 January 2012

The Taming of the Arse - Week 4

Ahh, the dreaded "P" word.  "What word is that?", you might ask.  It's the word that strikes fear into the heart of every person trying to shed a few pounds.  The word that makes grown women cry and large men gnash their teeth in horror.  The "P" word, my dear friends, is plateau.

Yes, I am stalled on a plateau.  For ten days now.  Just sitting static at one number on the scale.  Unmoving.  Immobile.

At first, I was very philosophical about the whole thing.

"Every dieter hits plateaus.  They are inevitable.  No need for alarm," I'd say in a flippant tone with a wave of my hand.

Five days later, "Huh, so I seem to be firmly entrenched in this plateau.  Wow, this is disconcerting.  I sure hope it gives up it's strangle hold on me soon." 

This morning, as I stepped off the scale, I believe my exact words were, "What the f#@k!"

I think I may be getting less zen about the whole thing.

Admittedly, my bad attitude this morning might also be due to the aching in my sad little muscles.  Two days ago, I added some strength training into the mix.  Up until now, I had been doing cardio (treadmill, walks with the dog) and stretching/balance work (yoga). I figured tossing in some weight training might help break the plateau.*

Unfortunately, our weight machine is still in pieces from the move - we hope to have it set back up in the spring.  So, I turned on my XBox and loaded up Yourself!Fitness.  It is one of the first exercise related games that came on to the market (way back in 2004 for the XBox - that's like the stone age for technology by today's standards, but I still like it).  There is a animated instructor, Maya, that leads you through aerobics, strength training and yoga routines. For each workout (which can be 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes long), you choose a main focus:  weight loss, cardio, upper body strength, core body strength, lower body strength or flexibility.  You can also choose to use had weights or a step bench during the sessions.  If you don't want an actual workout, you can spend 20 minutes in the "Meditation Garden" doing yoga.

On Friday I did a 60 minute upper body strength session, followed by a 60 minute core strength workout on Saturday.  Today, I plan on moving as little as possible since I might have overdone it a wee bit.  Okay, so descending a flight of stairs is excruciating and trying to sit down is tortuous, so yeah, I believe I let my enthusiasm get the better of me.  But nothing is irreparably damaged, so hopefully once the pain subsides, my new routine will blast me out of the Plateau Zone (cue eerie music).

How about everybody else?  Still going strong?  Tell me all about it.

* Strength training is excellent for women.  It staves off osteoporosis, which is always a concern as we women age.  Not to mention, studies show that muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells, so increasing the body's muscle mass is always a good idea when you're trying to lose weight.


Ann said...

This arse has plateaued also. My schedule has been upset as I had to be out every night for Family Literacy Week. I got tired, I got cranky, and I ate to keep the energy up. Not good, but not bad. Back to the regular routine this week.

Debbie Cook said...

Measure yourself! With all the exercise, you are probably replacing fat with muscle and while the scale isn't budging, I bet the inches are.

Julie Culshaw said...

I'm sure you have heard that muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are building muscle, you will hit a plateau. Don't give up. We are waiting to see some new lovely clothes to go with your new body.

Sheila said...

Congrats on week four. Week 4 started off good, but by day 3, the whining started and only worked out half the time on day 4 & 5.... However, felt it was better than falling prey to my whining and not doing anything.

Its so easy to pleateau when we repeat the same exercise routine for a period of time. I determine my pleateau when my heart rate monitor reading remains the same throughout two or more weeks. The first two weeks my workout zone was between 50% - 60% intensity and the last two weeks has been at a steady 75%. That tells me I need to change my routine and increase the intensity of my workout. For week 5, my plan is to add weights to my aerobic workout. I will start off with 3 lb. weights and hoping that will lift my workout intensity.

On to week 5... Stay motivated.

Trumbelina said...

I'm just finishing up a round of Chalene Extreme, and have noticed that this time, as well as the last time I did it, the lean muscle I was looking for came right at the end – not to say that I didn't see changes all the way along. The middle 4 weeks, where the program has you lift very heavy weights for a low number of reps typically adds bulk to my legs which are leaned out by the end of the third month. I hate that second month for the bulk, but the shorter work outs are nice. I just have to keep reminding myself that although my pants are tight in the legs, it's all muscle, and soon it will translate into fat loss. (plus, I'm kind-of addicted to the way my arms look now). Keep it up!!

Nicole said...

I also plateaued this week weight wise, but then i did my measurements- and I have finally started losing more inches around my thighs and lower belly. Likely I gained some muscle mass this week making my number seem the same. My clothes though, definitely fit better, looser. Good luck and keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Apparently we Cdns are the only ones saying arse.

Ellen said...

If it makes you feel any better, Weight Watchers doesn't consider it a plateau until it's been 3 or 4 weeks without a weight loss. You could be holding on to fluids for muscle repair which happens after major workouts.

My taming is going ever so slowly. I've finished week 2 of the C25K, so yay for that. Lost a pound (per my Friday weigh in). Total 3 pounds. Then had a wee sugar fest Friday and yesterday to ease the bitterness of my husband taking a fun trip without me.

The Hojnackes said...

I've been at a plateau for two weeks. It is so frustrating. I was eating so healthy and walking every day. I think my problem is my thyroid and vitamin D deficiency. UGH. I'm still trying though (and I get to lay out in the sun every afternoon).

Vicki said...

Lots of good advice there. I have only been at it for 2 weeks and the first week good at .8kg but this week oops back up.4kg! Oh well, I put that down to a very sick daughter and I haven;t been able to leave the house (and not to mention the comfort eating and drinking ;/)

BeaJay said...

It is great that you have added some strength training as muscles burn fat... So I say as I sit here on the lounge doing nothing and adding inches by the day!!! What Deb Cook said is also correct that muscles weigh more than fat. I spent 2 years going to the gym and having a weekly personal training session and built muscles and lost about 20kgs and a LOT of inches. My work circumstances changed and I stopped going and starting eating unhealthily again and have piled it and more back on.

You and Deb (I follow her blog too) have inspired me to act today and join the get real brigade - thanks for giving me the momentum.

PS - I also found that plateaus do end as long as you keep at it and don't let it discourage you!

- Just a little spooky aside - my word verification for this comment is pacti - funny that! I am going to make a pact to get healthy.

pdiddly said...

agree with some of the other comments, muscle weighs more than fat - you are probably losing inches so you should not get disheartened.

I too have done a lot of extra exercise this week, a mix of cardio (bikes) and weight (carrying my fold-up bike, and clip on bag containing my laptop, ipad, work papers, etc etc up and down all the stairs at the various train stations I get on and off at, and I have only lost 1.5lbs this week so I know how you feel.

Keep going it could be worse and you could have put weight on!!!!!!!!!!

Kay said...

Your incentive kicks butt!! I did great on the diet part and okay on the exercise part. The last week has been stressful preparing for a long distance trip for a month. Will be abck inMArch to join in again.

Carol said...

Stop looking at the scales. We lose fat and gain muscle, which weighs more. The true test is in how your clothes fit. Try on something you couldn't get into before. I bet you're doing way, way better than you give yourself credit for! I start a new gym routine this week, so I'm going to be joining you in the aching muscle department.

Jen S said...

Hi Anonymous - you Canadians aren't the only ones who say arse, we Australians are quite familar with this word as well!!

Week 4 saw me with a loss of 300gms ths week - much better than the 100 grams I've lost or the last 2 weeks. All up, i've lost 2.3kg for January. I'm happy with that.
I need to retake my measurements - hopefully they'll say some nice things! That was something Weight Watchers told me about 20 years ago. Another thing I learnt at Weight Watchers was to forgive myself when i lapsed - i became very good at forgiving myself!!

patsijean said...

I agree with Debbie. Also remember that muscle takes up less room but weighs a bit more than fat. You are losing and gaining at the same time. I used to work out with Jane Fonda regularly and boy, the workouts were good. And I was tiny. Now I have here DVDs for old folks. I need to get some weights, as I am using cans of Chili right now. I am sure I will feel it.