Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Escape the 150s! (Or any plateau really)

I've had quite a few people ask me what I did differently to get out of the 150s, after spending a solid 9 months in that decade. A LONG 9 months! And as you know, 6 months right around the 150 mark, dipping below to 149 for a day or two as a tease and then jumping back up again. I can't guarantee what I'm doing is the best or easiest or most efficient way to go about it, but all I know is that I've lost 3 lbs in 2 weeks and the scale hasn't jumped more than half a pound in one day. No more swings of 2-3 lbs in the span of a few days. So... onto what I did and what you can do!

1. New workout routine: I was running 4-5 times a week and I had one 30 minute training session where I did strength/circuit training each Tuesday. After my last 5K of the season, I switched to a circuit training-based routine. I still run, but maybe 2 times a week. The other days I do my Chalean Extreme circuit training workouts and I have my personal training session still, where I told my trainer I want to focus on strength. Given my weight and height, more strength and circuit training at this stage is definitely key. I can burn more fat by building up some muscle and I still get some cardio in for fat burning too. That together has helped increase my metabolism, I believe.

2. Stopped eating fast food: Convenience is dangerous. I didn't want to take the time to pack a lunch and buy the stuff for it. So I'd go to the cafeteria at work, Chick Fil A, Subway, etc. And in theory I was making the healthiest choices possible at these places. But it's just completely different than a fresh homemade lunch. And SOOO much less sodium!!! I went from 2500-3000mg of sodium a day to just 1500 on average. Low sodium lunch meat, less frozen foods, etc. Now I have a sandwich, fruit, and yogurt for lunch and it's delicious. I don't miss fast food one bit. And once a week, I let myself have a treat and I'll get Wegmans with my boyfriend.

3. Started getting more protein, especially at dinner. This is a more controversial choice, but I have been drinking protein smoothies for dinner every night for the most part. I make my own with fresh ingredients tho, none of the premade sugar laden protein shakes. It's 1 scoop of protein powder, soy milk, Trop50 juice, 0% fat greek yogurt, and frozen fruit. Delicious and filling. I've also started eating better snacks. My food diary is public if anyone is curious about my specific eating habits.

4. Make smarter choices when dining out. I stopped drinking 3-4 beers at once. I stopped ordering terribly unhealthy food when I go to a restaurant because it's there. I have one beer, 2 at most, and I pick a healthy dish. Fresh grilled fish, grilled chicken, a salad (after making sure it's not a surprise 1000 calories salad). It is worth the 10 minutes to scour the menu and check MFP for available nutrition info to pick a better meal, than just ordering something unhealthy. That's the biggest contributor in not swinging 2-3 pounds after a bad day.

My chart from the last 3 weeks is that big drop at the end. It's been a quick drop into the 140s and then a slower gradual decline. All that I've changed isn't making me lose several pounds a week, but at my weight, I'm happy with a pound a week on average. As long as that line keeps trending down, I know it's working.

I have my business trip and vacation for the next week and a half, and that will be the biggest test of keeping up these changes in a difficult environment. Having to eat out, having to squeeze workouts around 12 hour work days potentially. It will definitely be a challenge, but I really want to stick with it. I don't want to erase the progress that is 6 months in the making! So, help me stay accountable, yell at me on my wall to make good choices, and hopefully when I come home to my scale on July 5th, I won't cry when I see the number. 

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