What if we told you that the average American gains 1 pound every year? And that by not gaining a pound in the year, you’re actually doing well above average?
Most people lose a little bit of weight, hit a plateau, then immediately give up when things aren’t going as quickly as they were before. Most people gain that weight back and then some. This whole phenomenon of quitting when things are going more slowly is a bit like hitting traffic on your way home from work and abandoning your car on the side of the road because you’re not driving as fast as you wanted. Or getting a flat tire and slashing the other three.
Plateaus happen. We know they’re going to happen. In fact, when we plateau, it means we’ve made progress. It’s the perfect time to look back and see how far you’ve come because no human endeavor is linear. Learning a language, a musical instrument or how to write well all takes time, with improvements coming in waves of easy progress, then stagnation, followed by bursts of more progress.
We all hit those unexpected plateaus in our fitness journeys and in our lives. That’s why there is a fine art to riding out a plateau, and it starts by simply enjoying your view.
A Weight Loss Plateau
A weight loss plateau is an ‘in-between’ moment. We’ve all experienced them and it’s easy to become discouraged and say, “What’s the point of doing all this?” We lose our motivation and can easily slide back into our our old routines of making excuses about why we can’t make it to the gym, but hitting a plateau doesn’t mean you’ve failed at all. It’s merely a transition between where you’ve been and where you’re about to go next. It’s a moment to appreciate how far you’ve come, and to take pleasure in the small victories you’ve had. You’re not finished with the climb, but you’re definitely not where you started it.
Taking a Break from the Climb
Let’s stick with the mountainous terrain plateau for this analogy, as it is very applicable. If you were to scale an extremely tall mountain, you may not do it all in a day. Perhaps you would map out your route, planning to camp out on the flatter, plateaued areas during the evenings to rest.
You cannot do anything lengthy, precise and wonderful without some rest. If the mountain analogy doesn’t do it for you, let’s picture an elite athlete for a moment. Let’s go with Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers. Following Super Bowl XLV, Rodgers hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy above his head. We saw a great quarterback taking home the title. What we didn’t see were the years he put in learning behind Brett Favre. We didn’t see the 5 a.m. practices or the games that were below freezing.
Life’s plateaus are just that, they are breaks or reprieves from your grinding. They are moments of silence in life, where the waves are no longer crashing. Where you’re not super high up, yet not very low down. You get to choose if you continue to climb or you head back down. Never forget: Not every moment can be glamorous or action packed, though that’s what we are taught to believe.
Though we use social media occasionally, it may be the culprit in this case. We see everyone’s peaks and believe that everyone around us is in the best shape, happier than ever, travels everywhere and has the perfect life — it’s the modern day white picket fence syndrome. Unfortunately, all we see when we visit social media is the best, hand-picked moments. We see the award ceremonies and weddings. We see the graduation and the birth of a child.
But what’s missing from that snippet in time is just that — the time it took to get there.
All Good Things Take Time
It may be a cliche, but it’s ever so true: All of the best things in life take time. Giving another person or thing our time is the most valuable gift we can give. Don’t forget the reason why you started the climb. Maybe it was to be there for your children whenever they grow up and they have children of their own, or maybe it’s something else. Hang on to that fire that caused you to start.
There will always be obstacles on the path, but there are alway friends to help you along the climb as well. Embrace them and the struggles along the way. It makes the journey so much greater.
Remember, you’re not alone. Everyone experiences the plateaus in life. What we don’t see on social media is the years of work that went into getting that promotion or the late-night walks and never-ending talks that came before that wedding invitation.
All we see is the climax. What isn’t pictured is the best part: the climb. The moments that aren’t amped up, that aren’t all smiles. They are the in-between times, when we are standing on a plateau and real life happens. So, spend less time focusing on the photo finish, and start to insert yourself back into the climb, back into real time.
If you’ve hit a plateau in your own journey and you’re ready to continue the climb, we want to help and be there by your side as you go. Give us a call or come visit us, and let’s get off the plateau together!