‘I started fasting but my body wouldn’t co–operate’
If you want to make Michelle Matangi grimace, mention the ‘P’ word. “I know all about weightloss plateaus,” says Michelle. In 2008, she lost a whopping 42kg – in one year! It wasn’t the first time she’d dropped so much weight so quickly – when she was 23, Michelle lost 30kg in one year on the Atkins diet.
“That first time I went down to my lowest ever weight, of 54kg. Now I realise that’s far too low for my height (168cm), but at the time I thought it was fantastic, even though I was eating no carbs and couldn’t sleep or concentrate.”
When she began eating carbs again her weight shot up to 107kg.
“So in 2008, I started a paleostyle diet and lost 42kg in a year.” Down to 65kg, Michelle still had dreams of getting back to her lowest weight of 54kg. “But I just couldn’t go any lower, no matter what I did. I started fasting and weight training but my body wouldn’t co-operate.”
In fact, Michelle’s weight actually began to creep up to 75kg, where it’s been for the last few years.
“Hitting a plateau made me feel like a failure, particularly because I was so public about my weight loss on my blog. But I’ve since worked with a dietitian who has made me understand the reason I hit plateaus is because I’m not giving my body enough food so it goes into starvation mode and holds onto the weight. I’ve had to realise that my body is most comfortable around the 70kg mark, and that’s what I’m working towards now.”
For Michelle, the only way to power through a plateau is to have a sensible approach to diet and exercise. “That’s what I’m doing now, eating three healthy, wholefood meals a day and going to the gym three times a week.”