I have hit the worst plateau since I started losing weight. I have been hovering around 195 for two weeks (the lowest I have been is 194 and the highest is 197 - weighing in most mornings at 195 or 196). It has been incredibly frustrating. The scale nearly paid the ultimate price this morning, I gave it a swift kick when it delivered the news - stuck at 196.3. Gah! But ultimately, I decided not to kill the messenger and to instead review my records to try to determine where the problem lies.
I found two things that I will be changing over the next couple of weeks. First, I have been fighting with a sore throat and sinus issues, so I have been skipping several of my Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning water aerobics classes. Now, I am not going to overdo it if I am really sick, that would be counter productive and swimming / doing water aerobics with a sinus problem would probably be a bad idea. That said, I am starting to feel better and I think that until my sinus issue is completely resolved, I will start to wake up in the morning and do something - either my Wii Zumba or I'll go to the gym and do the elliptical for half an hour or so. I quite prefer my Water Aerobics, but I cannot get out of the habit of morning exercise - and I've been letting it slide over the past couple of weeks because I haven't felt 100%. That will stop starting tomorrow morning.
The second problem I noticed is that I have been snacking more than usual. This is a really bad habit waiting to happen, and I need to stop it before it gets way worse and I start to actually gain weight - so far I've been maintaining, but this is a good way to backslide. Now, having snacks throughout the day is a good thing. Unfortunately, my snacking has devolved into grazing over the past month or so - I have been allowing for it in my calorie count - but I am pretty sure I have been underestimating it. I have developed a bad habit of grabbing a handful of Cheerios (which are fairly low in calories - but even so - several handfuls a day will add up to trouble.) I will get hungry and for whatever reason Cheerios feel substantial to and will satisfy a craving. So, I am going to address this problem in two ways: (1) I will allow myself a cup of Cheerios as a snack each day (I can divide this up into 2 small snacks - this is about 100 calories total) but no more than a cup - and I will measure it out - no more grabbing a handful at a time. and (2) I will make sure that I have a mid-afternoon snack of fruit or veggies - this will help so that I am not so incredibly hungry right before dinner (which is when I am most prone to this grazing behavior). This starts today, my husband and I went shopping today and made sure to buy a lot of snack-friendly fruit and vegetables.
Finally, this experience is another good example of why it has been so essential for me to have a partner in my efforts and a support system. My husband and I are losing weight together, and he pointed out that he had a similar issue (at the same weight, nonetheless) and that he realized that he had added a particular snack to his diet - he took it out and broke through the plateau. He also noticed my grazing and pointed out that I may be eating more than I realized. He also encouraged me (as did my sisters when I went to them to express my frustration) - and pointed out how far I have come - both in how I look and - more importantly - in how I am feeling. This is all really important, and has been incredibly helpful for me.
I'll see if these changes help. If not - I'll have to revisit my records again in a couple of weeks and see if there is something else I may need to adjust.