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Dieting plateau I'm going to beat you!

Updated on February 10, 2011
Longing for a Latte
Longing for a Latte
Doesn't look too bad! Baby spinach, egg and tomato
Doesn't look too bad! Baby spinach, egg and tomato
Natural yoghurt with chunks of ham
Natural yoghurt with chunks of ham
Celery tomato and apple
Celery tomato and apple
Cottage cheese, egg and grated carrot was actually much more appetising and deliceous than it looks.
Cottage cheese, egg and grated carrot was actually much more appetising and deliceous than it looks.
This was just fantastic. Steak with mixed salad a little galiano melon, tomato and a touch of balsamic,oil cream.
This was just fantastic. Steak with mixed salad a little galiano melon, tomato and a touch of balsamic,oil cream.
Mixed berries on skewers
Mixed berries on skewers
Weekend part platter to share with others who are not dieting. You just have to be careful to pick out the preplanned meal. We had chicken grilled bits in addition.
Weekend part platter to share with others who are not dieting. You just have to be careful to pick out the preplanned meal. We had chicken grilled bits in addition.
The weekend treat incorporated into my diet but can be changed out with something else which equals the calorie count.
The weekend treat incorporated into my diet but can be changed out with something else which equals the calorie count.
Grilled chicken breast and mixed salad with balsamic sauce ( 1 tblsp )
Grilled chicken breast and mixed salad with balsamic sauce ( 1 tblsp )

I promise myself to get through this and win.

At the end of this hub i am going to give you my diet plan day by day and my honest results on how i feel and cope. If it works for me then it is a miracle in the making.

Here's to the AISLA BEGONE PLATEAU DIET...................

I just can’t understand why it is so difficult for me to lose weight. I have done this successfully before why is it so hard now? But I think I have the solution. Join me in my venture over the next couple of weeks?

I don’t want to start any fad diet and crash down by simply starving myself as I know that the result would be to go up again shortly after the goal weight was achieved. Recently I have been on a very healthy eating and exercise plan.( Failed at Christmas though, too many temptations ……….well I’m human )

As normal, I am starting off very enthusiastically, you see I am so fed up with the scales staying pretty much the same week after week. Initially I lost three kilos after Christmas and I knew a big majority of this was fluid but since then nothing is happening. Something is going wrong. I have been so good and not cheating. I have been on a calorie counting diet.

How does this diet that i am supposedly on work? Well, I count the calories and record everything I eat. The theory is that if I stick to a certain amount of calories each day it doesn’t matter if I waver off a little at the weekends because my overall weekly calorie intake would still be within the overall limits. I only have to be honest with myself and weigh everything exactly. That sounds easy doesn’t it?

If I exercise the calories are calculated and I can also regain these calories to eat . ( Mmmmmm ) Well I’m not stupid and it doesn’t take a mathematician or genius to know that if you burn more energy than you take in then you will go down in weight. It is that simple, they say….or is it?

Well why am I not going down? They call it a plateau! Well I’m fedup with the plateau effect my BMI tells me that I need to go down 3 points to be in a healthy zone and I really want to get there.

I am running for an hour four times a week with tempo’s long runs slow runs etc etc, but I know that if I eat the equivalent of every calorie I burn on running my weight will go up and not down. How do I know this? I’ve tried of course. So that theory is right out of the window. Must be something else I am doing wrong and I am quite sure I don’t sleep walk to the fridge at night.

Maybe the theory wasn’t quite as simple as it sounded. A couple of years ago I went on a diet and started running for the first time ever. The weight ran off, it was great. So why not now?

Just before anyone closes the page here and says " Icould never do this i can't run" Yes you can. Or you can walk that is good enough. When i started running i wobbled for 10 steps and coughed for 20, my knees ached , my back ached and i thought i was going to die. But all of these symptoms were better than heading for the consequences diabetes type 2 could present to me in the future. I needed to do this for me, i needed to succeed then just like i need to succeed now.

I didn’t and I don’t want to give up saying things like, “ well it’s my age” My metabolism has slowed down. I don’t believe that. I believe that there must be another logical explanation for this to happen.

Therefore I am just about to start on another venture to see if I can get that excess unwanted weight off and you are more than welcome to join me or follow updates on my efforts.

First of all I will start by telling you what I think I have been doing wrong and what I intend to do to test out this theory.

First of all I don’t think that the eating plan I have is wrong for me I just think that I have been applying it wrong to get the best results.( Starving in the day and stuffing yourself in the evening isn't at all smart )

When I wrote down everything I was eating it looked like I was on the healthiest diet ever known to man, and it probably was but I wasn’t noting when I was eating and training.

The diet

This consisted of 1100 calories per day regardless of whether it came from chocolate, crisps or meat. This was quite a tough set as it would allow me to lose 1 kilo per week.

If I found this too difficult I could increase the calorie intake to 1860 to be able to maintain my weight without going up in weight.

As I ran for an hour four times each week I could compensate with allowing myself a total of around 500 calories for each run which gave me 2000 extra for the weekend!! And I took full advantage of that one.

Surprise, surprise, shock and horror when the scales would have increased every Monday morning. So I changed my weigh in day to Fridays, smart girl don’t you think?

Sometimes if I was lucky, had run my long run on Thursday and stopped eating by seven o’clock in the evening I would be back to my plateau weight. Neither would I have gone up in weight or down. Week in and week out I was staying the same.

After two months of this I had to admit to myself that there is a lot more to proper dieting than this. I took a long hard look at what I was doing.

There was no stability in my eating habits. I would skip breakfast and even sometimes lunch too. Before I went running I would pour down a carton of orange juice for quick energy but I knew that the run would be tough. I blamed that on the low weekly calorie intake. I convinced myself that it was not harmful to hop over essential meals.

My body was on a “go slow” just like a fire smouldring on damp leaves . Try admitting that to yourself, it’s not easy. After all I was sticking to the weekly calorie allowance. I had heard of plateaus and how these suddenly gave way allowing you to drop the weight eventually.

I thought because i ran so much that my weight would stay naturally at a comfortable level. It seems that the body has an incredible ability to get used to this and in a way expects it of you. Sneaking in extra food, cakes, drinks ice and whatever will always over rule your sensible healthy routine. If you want to stay fit and health girl you need to put in an effort. There is no getting round this ( That was my little pep talk to me )

Just look at my other hubs for example i have even looked into perimenopause as a good reason for the "go slow" and maybe it contributes to a certain degree but deep in my heart i know that the plateau is my comfort zone and i am getting off.

To be honest, I knew I was going about it all wrong, I just didn’t want to stare the truth in the face. I enjoyed saving my daily calories until the end of the day and stuff them all in after a long run. Where better was there to consume these well earned calories but in the arm of the sofa? Wel that is going to stop. As of today I am continuing the diet but I am going to go about it completely differently.

I have decided to use a calorie control diet which maps out your food day by day for 13 days.

This diet was disapproved because of the high protein content and the low carbs. So i have modified it quite a bit including the nutrients that i believe my body will benefit from on a daily basis.

The only way for me not to cheat here is by sharing it with you daily. Then giving feedback on my daily results.

The only thing i won't do each day is weigh myself. I don't want the scales to become either my best friend or my enemy. I will therefore only weigh in as before on Friday mornings.

First day of new diet with plan and food.

Breakfast: 2 Slices of toast with a cup of black coffee and one tsp of sugar. 80 cal.

Lunch: Two boiled eggs, 90g spinach and tomatoes 60g ( no salt ) 329 cal.

Dinner: One large steak 200g, mixed salad and olive oil dressing with lemon. 690 cal.

Protein consumed: 65.7 grams

Carbs 15.7 grams

Fats 52.1 grams

Fibre 5.8 grams

Fruit 3.3 grams

water 2 liters

Exercise: One hour slow run 8km per hour.

The difference is that I will cut out salt as I have eaten foods that are too salty. I didn’t check labels on breakfast cereal packets ( the days I ate breakfast ) I am certain this had a huge influence on my body retaining fluid. However, I do know the importance for salt in the body to work properly and I am writing a hub at the moment on this subject.

I will also eat at regular time intervals and observe my energy levels.

I would also like to observe if my training benefits more from this. All aches and pains will be recorded over the next month.

No matter what happens I will only stay on this diet for one month regardless of the results. After this time I will return to 1500 calories and continue the diet at a slower rate of loss.

My goal weight is to go down 10 kilos in total and maintain that weight.

Will check in tomorrow grumpy or not. This is the only way to do it.

First day over and done with!!

That wasn't quite as bad as i thought it would be. I definately had much more energy for training than usual. Drinking 2 liters of water throughout the day without adding salt to my steak had some consequences, if you know what i mean.

I had my last meal finished by seven o'clock in the evening. It was only then that i realized just how bad i was for picking in the evenings. It was torture. Normally i have a big bowl of mixed nuts lying on the table. ( I read somewhere that this is exceptionally good for the cholesterol ) I am not sure yet if that has maybe been the culprit causing the plateau...........maybe it wasn't a plateau afterall, maybe just maybe i have been picking a leeeetle tooo much and often and tricking myself.

I really missed the 3 or 4 cups of tea in the evening and that little glass of red wine that is also meant to be good for you!

I tried to think how i managed to get all of this evening stuff into my body and still stay within the diet calorie limits. Well i know exactly how and that meant fasting for most of the day. Now that is just not smart or healthy. It is amazing how i can really convince myself. If i want a healthy life with healthy bones and blood i need to drastically change.

That is stopping though and i really feel that i can master this new structure.

I must admit i did have a little bit of a headache at the end of the day but i slept really well and woke up as fresh as a daisy.

Day 2 Plan

Pre Breakfast: 1 large glass of boiling water and half a lemon.

Breakfast: One cup of strong black coffee with 1 tsp sugar. 25 cals

2 small slices of toast with ginger marmalade ( spread very thin ) 100cals

Lunch: Ham/Gammon salad with 150grams of meat and a tub of natural yoghurt. 325 cals

Dinner: 1 beef steak with mixed salad. Olive oil and lemon dressing. 690cals.

1 Apple as a treat 25 cals

2 liters of water throughout the day.

Calories consumed : Kick start means too few but necessary.1013

Protein consumed: 117.5 grams

Carbs 45.4 grams

Fats 41.8 grams

Fibre 8.3 grams

Fruit 4.3 grams

water 2 liters

Exercise: 40 minute tempo run. with 5 x intervals of 11km per hour ( Approx for 2 mins each time ) The rest is at a comfortable speed. Calories burned 400

Day 2 over

That was a little easier than day one, but i still hate those long evenings without little snacks. It is easy to find other things to do but filling a void with glasses of hot lemon water will take some getting used to.

I must say though i really enjoy the feeling of having lots more energy during the day witht he largerthan usual lunches.

It is not my imagination and i know it is only fluid loss but my clothes feel like they fit better already. This gives me encouragement to tackle this for yet another 24 hours.

Today will be harder though as the lunch gets even bigger and the evening meal is quite sparse. I thought about delaying the lunch until later, but hey that is typical me and a reflection of what i used to do wrong. After all this is what i'm testing out isn't it?

If i change my eating habits and eat mostly in daylight hours i should get off of the plateau......It is working, it is working, it is working.............just keep reminding yourself.

Day 3

Pre breakfast: 1 large glass of boiling water with fresh cut lemon

Breakfast: Black coffee with 1 tsp of sugar and 2 slices of toast and ginger marmalade

Lunch: Ham 250grams, 2 boiled eggs, large mixed green salad with dressing ( oil balsamic and lemon )

Snack: Apple

Dinner: Boiled celery, tomato and apple ( Thats it! )

Evening: Banana

Calories consumed : Kick start means too few but necessary. 996

Protein consumed: 87.9 grams

Carbs 59.5 grams

Fats 35.0 grams

Fibre 14.6 grams

Fruit 10.3 grams

water 2 liters

Exercise: 40 minutes steady run on comfortable speed. ( Can talk while running ) 20 minutes cycle on steady speed. Calories burned 415


I had so much energy yesterday that my training hour was fun. The lunch was really tasty but i have started to notice that lemons and greens are not tasting quite as good as normal and i am getting a kind of metal taste in my mouth.

Then the evening meal, it looked gorgeous and it started out well but i couldn't get through it. I tried to force myself but it was like force feeding. After my training i was hungry but 7 sticks of boiled celery. Uuuuugh! and the after effect on my stomach rumbles were only left to be desired. Hmm hmm.

In the evening i had a banana and this worked wonders, iam sure my body must have been crying out for potassium. From now on when i am allowed a fruit, bananas are in and apples out!.

I was grumpy as hell by the time i went to bed but slept like a log. Woke up this morning feeling great and really really refreshed. I do believe this is working some good. I don't feel hungry and no bad tastes.

Tomorrow morning will be my first weigh in so i am looking forward to that and if i am still on the plateau i will scream. But i feel positive that something is happening. Lets get through today then and keep positive.

Day 4

Pre breakfast : Large glass boiling water with lemon

Breakfast: Black coffee with sugar and 1 slice of thick rug bread toast 50grams

Lunch: Half a liter of orange juice without sugar and 1 large carton of natural yoghurt

Dinner: 1 boiled egg, 1 large grated carrot, 1 carton of cottage cheese and small fillet of cod.

Calories consumed : Kick start means too few but necessary.996

Protein consumed: 70.9 grams

Carbs 97.4 grams

Fats 22.9 grams

Fibre 5.6 grams

Fruit 7.3 grams

water 2 liters

Day four is over and i am feeling more and more that i can do this. Tomorow morning is my first weigh in and that will tell if this diet is a good one for me or not.

I was really not looking forward to the cottage cheesie carrot thing but that was surprisingly delicious and filling.

Can't stand the boiling water with lemon any more so i use a dash of bottled lemon concentrate and that is so much better.

It was lovely weather today so i went into town and just walked around. This is my rest day from running so the walk satisfied the exercise part of this diet.

Day 5

Pre breakfast: Boiling water with lemon concentrate

Breakfast: Black coffee with sugar

Lunch: Cooked cod cutlet with green salad and a dot of butter

Dinner: Large entrecote steak with mixed salad and dressing

Friday night treat: 2 glasses of red wine with low sugar content ( 2g per liter ) My favourite had a shocking 11.0 so i have cut that one out at the moment.

Fruit skewers: Rasberries, Blueberries, strawberries and galliano melon. Dip with creme fraische and vanilla ( 2 tblsp )

2 liters water.

Calories: 1100

Protein consumed: 80.7 grams

Carbs 27.7 grams

Fats 11.6 grams

Fibre 0.7 grams

Fruit 2.2 grams

Alcohol 63g

water 2 liters

50 minutes tempo running ca. 450 cal burned.

This was a strange feeling allowing myself to have some wine. I almost felt guilty but it was lovely to relax with the glass of beautiful red Italian wine. Two and a half glasses was enough to satisfy but shocking to see that this was equivalent to 39% of my daily calorie intake and an equivalent of 63 grams. So bad that i am going to do the same tonight again!!!

Anyway thats a choice you have to make. It was easier though when i stepped a sneaky on the scales this morning just to see if the consequences were worth bothering about, but i surprisingly had gone down a tiny little bit. However, i wouldn't like to see the consequences if i did this every day.

Day 6

Pre breakfast: Hot water with fresh lime

Breakfast: 1.5 slices of Gourmet bread toasted 52g 160 calories

Double black expresso with sugar 15 calories

Lunch: Carrot grated with boiled egg and lemon 110 calories

Dinner: Chicken breast without skin and 3 slices of boiled gammon 200grams 250 calories

Snack : Mixed berries and banana

Evening weekend treat! 2.5 glasses of red wine calories: 630 Wow!?!

Total daily Calories: 1248

Protein consumed: 54.2 grams

Carbs 77.1 grams

Fats 20.3 grams

Fibre 3.8 grams

Fruit 3.2 grams

Alcohol 63g

water 2 liters

I actually went over on the amount of daily calories allowed on my diet today and with no exercise on the plan i couldn't reclaim anything. This didn't bother me too much as i knew beforehand that this would happen. Putting your plan up in advance allows you to take everything into consideration. I could have gone for a half hour run and that would have kept me out of the red zone but i chose not to as rest days are just as important.

Knowing beforehand that i would include extra fruit and wine into the day just made it all more acceptable. I also knew in advance that i would need to consume over 1800 calories before i would gain weight.

So i thoroughly enjoyed my evening and had a very clear conscience.

Went to bed at 2am and didn't sneak any extra snacks or booze on the way. Did take a huge glass of water and lime though.

DAY 7:

Breakfast: 1 slice of toast, 2 cups of black coffee with sugar ( 1/2 tsp ) calories 58 and 91

Lunch : ( Failed to notice horror of horror that this is a fasting day!!! lunch )

Snack: Large Banana ( Took 2 as i was on a long run today) calories 460

Dinner: Chicken breast, no salt or skin and mixed salad with 1tblsp of balsamic cream dressing. calories 450

Total daily Calories: 1106

Protein consumed: 95.4 grams

Carbs: 161.1 grams

Fats: 12.1 grams

Fibre: 11.6 grams

Fruit: 10.8 grams

Alcoho: 0g

water: 2 liters

Today was hard, wakening up with a real hunger. The diet was meant to be a kind of fasting day and i failed that one. Fasting? What on earth? I can assure i was calling it something else that started with an "F" and it wasn't fasting.

I suppose it was meant to be some kind of detox to pay back for the increased level of weekend calories. Well i failed miserably. I just had to have a slice of toast an extra coffee and a banana. That wasn't too bad now was it?

Today was my long slow run day which meant 70 minutes of running at a relatively slow pace. That went well until i thought i was going to faint. Another banana to the rescue and i felt fine.

Bananas are great for instant energy but not so great on calorie counting diets. As the 2 i ate today were very large it cost me over 400 calories but i just wouln't have survived without them. I have to take into consideration health value too. If you don't eat enough vitamins and minerals, especially when you are getting older you really run the risk of diseases like osteoperosis and that surely isn't worth the risk to me. I might take longer to get to my goal weight but i will get there in one piece, hopefully.

Well it's getting late and i feel really good again. I said that i wouldn.t weigh myself more than once a week and only on Fridays. Well i want to take that one back and do the weight thing twice a week. The reason for this being that i started the initial diet on a Monday and tomorrow will be completion of the first week.

As i can only stay on this plan for a maximum of 13 days i will complete it next weekend. After that i will end this hub and start a new one which will last until i reach my goal.

Day 8:

Pre breakfast: Boiling water with a dash of fresh lemon

Breakfast: Coffee with sugar

Lunch: 2 slices of toast on brown bread with banana

Dinner: 300gram of boiled cod and a large mixed salad and my favourite balsamic cream dressing

Snack: 2 satsumas, 1 Apple and 50g of green grapes

Total daily Calories: 960

Protein consumed: 93.2 grams

Carbs: 97.2 grams

Fats: 9.4 grams

Fibre: 15.0 grams

Fruit: 15.9 grams

Alcoho: 0g

water: 2 liters

Ran 40 minutes recovery speed. ( Noticed slightly tired and sore thigh muscles )

Report. This was a strange day i was both hungry and not.

I loved the banana on toast for lunch as i really am beginning to feel the effect of a low carb diet. I miss bread and spaghetti. My dinner started off well but i soon found out that fish without sauce and dollops of salt just isn't the same. When you are put on the spot like this you start to see your bad points and i really mean bad points. I am eating way too much salt in my normal diet and this is something i will reduce once i reach my goal weight.

I do prefer water to drink instead of the habit i had formed which was drinking pepsi max with every meal. I don't really need that and will more than likely keep to water. I love starting the day with boiling water with freshly squeezed lemon or lime. This habit has been adopted.

As for sneaking in a few almonds last night i just needed that and i don't have a bad conscience. I will weigh the equivalent later and add it to my results yesterday.( Don't want to cheat now do we? )

All in all i can see a diffference already. I tried my old blue jeans on today and even got the zip up. Just need them to look good and hug in the right places. Well at least it is a start and gives loads of motivation.

Day 9

Pre breakfast: Hot water with lemon

Breakfast: Only coffee with tsp sugar

Lunch: 120g of ham/gammon and 1 carton of plain bio yoghurt

Dinner: Steak 200grams and mixed salad

Evening: Fresh fruit

Still have to work out the nutritional value!

Today was really good but when it got late i began to feel really like snacking. This was really tough so i found some almonds which had no salt and ate a handful!! They were fantastic never ever thought much of them before.

Then the guilt set many calories do i need to add on here? So i worked it out. I had scoffed in nearly 200 calories. That wasn't too bad in itself and i am sure i will tolerate that as long as i don't overdo it. However, i now know why i plateaued before Christmas. Having a nut and dried fruit bowl lying around is a stupid idea. It is so easy to walk past and take a handful now and then. If you add up 150 here and 200 there you ill soon see how quickly you are on overdrive. Yes! This diet is teaching me alot. 2 days to go. Was unsure if i should continue to 13 days as you can choose either 11 or 13. I feel that the weight is dropping and although that is good i don't want to do this too fast. I want to keep healthy as well as slimmer.

Day 10

Pre breakfast:  Hot lemon and water

Breakfast: Black coffee with sugar

Lunch: 2 boiled eggs, tomato and 1 fruit

Dinner: Steak and salad ( same as yesterday)

Still to add the nutritional value!!

I should have had the celery dish for dinner but after a long training session i felt that i needed something just a bit more substantial. So i made another steak.

I wasn't quite so hungry tonight as i was last night but a little, i really feel now that my body is working from meal to meal. I do feel better though and i am loving the hot water drinks. My skin feels good and i have no signs of dehydration. During the day when i am working i definately feel that my levels of concentration are up and that can only be positive.

I am guessing that my training which is always around 6 or 7 in the evening helps make me tired as i sleep well but it is also pushing me a little when requiring extra calories for energy.

When i go onto a maintenance diet it won't be to maintain my weight but to continue to drop at a slower rate. I will increase the nutritional value to around 1400 calories each day to compensate for the training.  I am hoping to reach my goal by Easter.


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Amazing hub, looking forward to come back and fascinted by your posts. Thank you.

      Ron from

    • Aisla profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Norway

      Thank you it makes it much easier to eat when you make it a little prettier!! Have to get used to not adding salt though, but it gets easier each day. Looking forward to tomorrow when i do the last weigh in before going onto maintenance. I promise to photograph those as well.

    • The Farmers Wife profile image

      The Farmers Wife 

      10 years ago from Turkey

      The food in the photos all looks delicious :-) Really want to read the article in full but have a step class in 20 mins! Will come back later :-)

    • Aisla profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Norway

      This was a really good comment marisa and one worth taking note of.

      When i continue the maintenance diet this could be a good starting point as running will be a natural part of my diet and the season for races will have started.

      I will look more into this and make more comments on it later.

      If anyone else has any input here we would be glad for the discussion and personal experiences.

      PS: Who told you i sneaked a couple of nuts yesterday?!?! I did too......

    • Marisa Wright profile image

      Kate Swanson 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      Aisla,sounds like you've worked out one of your mistakes before - just because a snack is good for you, doesn't mean it's calorie-free! Nuts can be fattening because it's easy to eat them in handfuls. Same with orange juice - a big glass can easily be 200 calories, even if it's sugar-free.

      However I see another huge mistake. The whole idea of exercising, then adding back the calories you've "spent", is asking for failure. It's impossible to say for sure how many calories you've spent on any activity - so much depends on your metabolism, your state of health and your level of effort. It varies a lot from person to person, the guidelines you see are only an estimate.

      If you calculate your run as being worth 400 calories and you only spent 200, you're going to be out by 200 calories. Do that for a week and you're out by 1400 calories! Instead, set yourself a safe calories limit of 1500 calories, and don't add or subtract anything for exercise or lack of it. Trust me, that will work much better.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Wow Aisla, what an interesting article. I admire your attention to detail and your persistence in sorting out the problem but it certainly sounds as though you "have cracked the code". I look forward to reading more about your journey.


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