This week's topic at Weight Watchers was all about plateaus. I opened my meeting with a flip that said , "Are you stuck?" and this cartoon:
The cartoon made me smile which is why I used it but it is also all to often true for those of us who have an ongoing war with our weight. I hope I offered the members in the group that evening some things to evaluate when (not if) they hit a plateau (because they will) and I hope they understand it is normal to feel angry and frustrated. What I really wanted to tell them was the positive side of a plateau but I stuck to the lesson plan.
Here is what I wanted them to know; want you to know! If you are waging a war with your weight and you are losing weight even if it is an ounce at a time you are a winner. Visualize yourself standing at the base of a very tall mountain with your weight loss goal represented by the top of the mountain. Your weight loss becomes the climb up the mountain. Sometimes the climb is relatively easy and you get higher on the mountain quickly. Sometimes the climb is very slow because the mountain is so steep but you continue inch by inch, tenth of a pound by tenth of a pound until one day you have made significant progress up that mountain. You look back and are surprised by how much progress you have made, how far up the side of the mountain you are, you look up and the goal doesn't seem so unattainable any longer and you are excited!! You might even do the happy dance and even take a longer look in the mirror and if you are brave enough, you might even look at yourself in that same mirror naked! You climb on towards the mountain top and then suddenly and often without warning your climb and your weight loss comes to a halt. Day after day you try and sometimes you gain a bit on the mountain and other times you slip backwards. You become frustrated, angry and maybe even feel like a failure; once again you "can't do it. Many quit at this point, discouraged and beaten by the mountain and the weight loss still needed to get to the top. You find yourself standing on the dreaded plateau, a level place of no weight loss week after week.
What if you chose to look at that plateau differently? Consider this; you have accomplished a lot, you are thinner and stronger. You feel better about yourself than you have in a long time. You move easier and climbing a flight of stairs does not cause you to become out of breath. You have climbed part of that mountain, successfully. You have put your body through a lot and now it is simply asking you for, or telling you, that it needs a rest, a chance to gather the energy and resources to get to the top. Doesn't that sound better? If you have stick with your weight loss plan, evaluate what you have been doing, and perhaps even get back to the basics that worked so well when you first began you will see the weight come off and you will continue up the mountain eventually standing at the top successful and at goal. You have a choice. Are you going to continue the climb understanding the plateau is simply a resting, regathering, reflecting place or are you going to turn around and go down the mountain you worked so hard to climb? The choice is yours!
During my 15 year war with my weight I had many plateaus and I can assure you I was frustrated and on occasion screaming mad but I continued (often grumbling under my breath) knowing I was worth the effort.
The view from the top of the mountain is breathtaking! I hope to see you there someday soon! Look for me: I will be the one with my hand outstretched ready to help you if you start to slip.
“At any given moment YOU have the power to say this is NOT how the story is going to end!” -unknown-