Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The long-term benefit of a plateau

Someone asked me today how I managed to survive the two months of plateau I went through. It made me think back to that time and how frustrating it was. In hindsight, I can see now that it was exactly what I needed.

It taught me so many valuable lessons that any frustrations I had were as temporary as the plateau itself. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. Here's why:

  • I learned to eat better. Yes, I'd lost weight up till that point but was I truly eating healthy? I wasn't really. One of the things that came out of the plateau is that I now eat a lot better now. I consistently meet the 8 Healthy Guidelines. What's more, I truly believe in them and not just go through the motions because "Weight Watchers says so." In fact, I enjoy eating healthy food MORE than I enjoy eating junk food.
  • I have more tenacity. I knew the exercise was likely behind the plateau. I battled with myself. The good voice said that it was better to be fit. The bad voice said that I'd lose more weight if I stopped exercising. I battled the bad voice for weeks but didn't give in. I'd be darned if I was going to give up on losing weight and I'd be darned if I was going to give up on exercise. So I buckled down and just did it. The bad voice was wrong. I'm in the best shape of my life.
  • I got in touch with my accomplishments. With the scale not moving, I had to look elsewhere for motivation. I looked inwards and reflected on what I had achieved to date. I had a nice long time to really think about that and know that if I gave up, it was a poor way to reward all the sweat and tears I had previously gone through. I also started writing down good things I did during the day so that any poor choices I made would seem insignificant to the pile of good ones. I really learned to look at the big picture.
  • Relax and have fun. I learned to become patient, accepting, and more relaxed about the process. Even now when I gain or lose a tich, I say "meh" and keep going.
Plateaus are never easy. But they're not all that bad. Look at the lasting benefits I received with mine.

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