Flat Tire…..might as well get rid of the car. Would anyone ever utter this statement? Probably not. Yet any time someone hits a plateau or sticking point in their “diet” or current “plan” they want to give in, give up and throw in the towel.
This kind of mindset sabotages our opportunity for lasting success . For one, true weight loss is not linear. Being spammed on the daily with 12 week transformations has made us think that if your weight loss is not an instant and epic success then you are on the wrong road.
Ever google the former contestants that were on the Biggest Loser? More often than not they have all gained their weight back plus more. Epic and instant success often results in a bigger flounder down the road.
The second issue is that people often expect maximum results for minimal commitment. You have to ask yourself are you really following the plan set before you? Sometimes the answer is yes, meaning you might need to tweak the plan. But other times if you are really being honest with yourself you will realize you are only half heartedly following the plan. You can not expect spectacular results without consistency. Consistency does not count as one out of seven days but rather six out of seven days. This is why I preach slow and steady change. It is often difficulty for people to remain committed and consistent when they change everything at once.
Real weight loss often looks like the Rocky mountains filled with peaks and valleys. It is only over time that the general trend (aka weight) should be sloping down like a bunny hill that kids sled down.
How do you even know if you have hit a plateau? Weights fluctuate on the daily. This can be due to the time of day you ate, inflammation from working out, drinking alcohol, increased salt intake, hydration status, monthly cycle for women. I could go on and on as to why your daily weight has changed
You should never take your daily weight at face value. You should be tracking your weekly average. If your weekly average is trending down you are making progress. Keep on the path.
What if you do this and your weekly average is the same? are you stuck? Should you give in and quit? If the scale is your only marker of success you may be tempted to throw in the towel or do something drastic at this point.
Here is the thing. The scale only tells a small part of the story. How does your clothes fit? Are they getting looser? I have a client whose weight has barely changed but she has had to get new clothes and her bra size changed by 4 sizes. Should she give up the path that she is on? Hells to the No. She is making progress.
Fat weighs less than muscle but muscle takes up less space. This is why when my clients come in despair about the scale that I often send them packing to try on a item of their choice that has been tight in the past.
Measurements and pictures are also another way to track progress and success.
How is your fitness? Can you run more than you could a month ago? Lift more? This is progress too!
Then there are the intangibles. These are the things that make your life better on the daily. In the end we all want to look a certain way in order to live our best lives. These intangibles are the tools to do that.
They include things such as mood, energy, restful sleep and motivation. Basically, how much do you love yourself and your life. These are the major benefits of changing habits. They are rarely thought of as progress but they are the crux to being to do more and live more.
So after taking this all into account, if you really feel that you are at a sticking point then what should you do next? Should you make major moves to get yourself “unstuck”. First off, I do not consider it’s a plateau unless you have been “stuck” for over two weeks.
And then and only then can we look at making changes. When you do this, do not revamp the whole program. What if you only need to make a small change to get the ball rolling again. Maybe you need to work on your stress, increase some water, or sleep a little longer.
Most people take this opportunity of being “stuck” to take an epic slash to their calories. This will not only make you miserable, it will tempt your consistency and may not even be necessary.
When I work with clients I look at the whole picture (sleep, stress, activity, etc) and try everything else before we change calories.
I am all about making the smallest change to see results because plateaus are inevitable and will happen more than once. If you use all of your tools on the first plateau you will be stuck for good later on.
Instead make a the smallest change needed to keep the ball rolling. This can be hard to do on your own. It is hard to see the forest through the trees. This is why I advocate for hiring a coach. They remind us to be patient, to be consistent and to show us that we are actually making the progress we desire.
If you are looking for someone to hold you accountable and make the small consistent changes for lasting success contact me at at Theresa.Worley@icloud.com