Plateau Frustration Fading
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I've been Sparking for about 11 months now and for the past 2 months, have not lost any more weight. I was proud to finally reach 70 pounds lost by the end of last year, but I've been struggling since.
Last week, I decided that I needed a vacation. I deliberately decided to take a whole week off of exercise and although I still tracked my calories, I wasn't militant about staying within my calorie range. I just relaxed and let myself do whatever I wanted.
Of course I gained back 2 pounds, but I told myself before that vacation week that it was OK if I gained. Oddly enough, I wasn't upset to see those 2 pounds come back. Partly because I set appropriate expectations, partly because I really did take a full vacation from healthy living and weight loss, and partly because I realized I needed a break and it's ok.
The world hasn't come to an end because I gained back 2 pounds. I lost 70, these recent 2 will be easy to shave back off. What's more important is that I just relaxed and stopped beating myself up about a pause in my weight loss process. I'm not quitting, I have never intended to quit- I just finally decided to stop being so cutthroat and unforgiving with myself.
My new mantra, which I'm trying to repeat multiple times a day, is:
JUST BECAUSE IT ISN'T PERFECT, DOESN'T MEAN IT'S CRAP
I will confess that it was harder to get back to the gym and get on my trusty elliptical after a week vacation, that it was even physically a bit more difficult to do the same incline and resistance settings, but it was nice to be sweating again. It was even nice to be sweating more than usual since I'm coming to see that sweat is proof of my hard work.
I've also got a renewed interest and motivation to re-introduce strength training into my routine (Which I've pretty much ignored the past 3 months) and I'm starting to toy with jogging on a treadmill too. Since I could only do a minute at most a couple weeks ago, I saw that this could be another challenge to take on which will also shake up my routine.
I guess the main things I learned were that it's OK to hit a plateau. It's OK to not lose for a while, or even gain back a bit- it's a natural part of the process thanks to our bodies learning and getting more efficient. I'm done feeling guilty about it, I'm done feeling ashamed or embarrassed because I don't have a number bigger than 70 to report.
I don't think I would have seen any of this so clearly without just taking a time out. I've noticed a bunch of us Sparkers talking about this fitness journey as a job, even a career. Well, every employer gives everyone at least a week vacation to use every year right? It makes sense that with every big endeavor in your life, you are entitled to a little time off.
And in my situation, I came back from my vacation refreshed, with a new perspective, a renewed dedication.