Apr 23, 2010
Weight loss is a tricky balancing act that doesn't take kindly to swinging too much in any direction...even if the direction seems healthy.
I'm always reminded of this fact whenever progress slows down to a halt and I'm left holding the bag of vegetables wondering what the fudge happened.
When my weight loss stalled for 2 weeks, I initially defaulted to "automatic health-patrol pilot" and went through the motions I always go through: thinking about cutting down (or cutting out) some foods or stepping up physical activity. Inevitably, whenever I follow my default-setting "get -out-of-this-rut" advice handed down to me from decades of crash diets, it only seems to prolong the problem instead of eliminating it.
The night before this plateau broke, I gritted my teeth and made the risky decision to eat a little more than usual (but well within my range) and to step back from cardio, opting instead for calisthenics such as simple push-ups, stretches, and bends for about 8 -10 minutes. The next morning, the weight began to drop once more.
Fitness expert Covert Bailey once said of someone in a similar situation, "When I finally stopped pushing myself so hard, I started to get fit." Words to the wise.
Time and again there is endless medical research dating back to the first and second World Wars that proves that the body views certain situations as triggers to slow metabolism, retain calories and water, and burn muscle tissue as an alternative fuel to preserve FAT stores. My personal experience can back a lot of that research up.
1) CUTTING SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF CALORIES is an immediate red alert for the body to poise it's hand over the "reduce metabolism" dial. Just as whenever we lose a job, we spend less money to make our resources stretch, the body shuts down the "bank" if there aren't enough calories coming in to replace most of the ones going out. If the body is also feeling stressed or hungry as a result of the calorie cut, constipation can also set in. Not really a bonus.
2) HEAVY EXERCISE OR LOTS OF CARDIO can put the body in a panic if there isn't enough "down time" to balance it out. It's like washing a shirt every day without even wearing it. The color fades, and the fabric gets stressed. So does the body if it is worked to its limits more often than it is allowed to relax. What will happen more often than not is that the body will try to "ration" its energy by burning muscle first, and fat only as a last resort. DEFINITELY a bad thing to happen.
3) NOT GETTING ENOUGH WATER & SLEEP is comparable to driving a car constantly, only stopping to fill the tank halfway before driving again. The body's "engine" overheats, starts to stall, and wears out much more quickly. Some bodily processes, such as immune system activity and healing, only work the night shift when your body is closed for the evening. If you've still got lights on at 3am, the overnight crew can't do its job, and you end up feeling only half charged or barely alive the next day.
I have insomnia as it is, and a partner who seems to wake up fully only after midnight. I know that a lot of things improve when I sleep a full night, but it is difficult as anything. Naps in the daytime don't seem to count.
All this information was as much to remind MYSELF as anything, since my mind seems, on a whim, to deny its former knowledge whenever it seems more convenient to act perplexed. Gemini. Nuff said.