Week 4 doesn’t look very different from week 3. In dieting terms, that means that I may have hit a plateau. It’s hard to know for sure because I get the sense that I may be gaining muscle as well. Either way, I need to do something to get things moving again.
I’ve done quite a bit of reading about plateaus and techniques that seem to work for busting them, and the most common advice I see is:
- Exercise more. I considered this, but I’m already in the gym for an hour per day, 5 days per week. I’ve finally reached the point where I’ve made peace with my gym time (and I actually have been enjoying it) so I don’t want to push that further unless I absolutely have to.
- Cut carbs further. Considering that my Ketostix show that I’ve been in dark-purple ketosis for around 5 weeks, cutting carbs further doesn’t seem to be a realistic solution for me.
- Do a brief carb-up. The science behind this is that after a certain amount of time of burning fat, your body’s leptin levels decrease, and that causes fat loss to stop as the body tries to preserve the status quo. My gut (no pun intended) tells me that this is the issue I’m facing, so I’m going to experiment with this route.
My plateau-busting experiment will go like this:
- I’ll do a 24-hour high-calorie carb-up consisting of items like pizza, pasta, sandwiches, maybe a brownie or two… you know, pure torture.
- After 24 hours (which will end tonight), I will immediately switch back to my low-carb program.
- My exercise plan will remain the same during this experiment.
Based on my research, I expect to see my weight begin to drop again. 16 hours or so into my the carb-up, I’m remembering what it’s like to feel bloated from carbs and sugar, and I can’t wait to get back to eating more reasonably. It’s great validation to me that I can notice the difference between eating low-carb and high-carb, and how much better I feel on my regular program.
If my plateau-bust is successful, I will consider doing one of these carb-ups every few weeks (or even every week if all goes well). If not, I’ll come back to this issue with more information and decide what to try next.
Regardless of the road bumps, I know that my clothes are fitting better and that people are starting to notice the difference and commenting on it. I need to remember that this 12-week challenge is an experiment, and feel comfortable adjusting my course as I go along in order to keep making progress.
See you in week 5!