Welcome It, Defeat It and Toss It Aside

The Plateau.

That moment when the massive changes have stopped happening, when the weight stops falling off. It’s when you start to lose motivation, when you’re mind starts to try and trick you into giving up. It’s the moment when your doubt creeps in and tells you all the hard work and dedication aren’t working anymore.

Girls and boys that Plateau is lying to you. Bold faced lies, right to the sweat dripping off your determined face.

I feel like I have been in a plateau for a month or so.

It has affected my fitness life, blogging life, mom-ing life. All my lives.

I have not stayed true to eating a balanced healthy diet to compensate my constant movement. I have had a few diet sodas, a few flavored Starbucks and like all the Halloween candy. I mean all of it.

Damn you Halloween! I always feel like Halloween is the start of “cheat season.” Everyone is constantly bringing in sweet treats, donuts, and high fat dips and snacks.

Did you know the average American gains 5-10 pounds of fat during the holiday season? That’s a lot for a 10-12 week time period.

I hate the plateau. It always seems like it sets in right about when life gets hard and busy. It is heavy and suffocating, like an elephant of doubt sitting on your chest. Or when your kid sees you sitting quietly on the floor and jumps on your relaxed tummy, forcing all the air out and almost making you vomit. No, not you, never happened? Oh, what perfect angels you must have.

Mine started creeping in about the time I had my procedure in October. I stopped seeing an impact, stopped caring about what I was putting in my body. I started thinking, “Man, nothing is really changing, maybe I should take a break. Why am I not sore anymore?”

Luckily, I had already built a habit of working out. My body was still craving the movement. It would be aching after sitting at a desk for 8 hours and need that release. Thank the Lord for that. Had it not been for that, I might have given up.

I having been subconsciously begging for any reason not to keep going on with my healthy routine, to keep blogging and expressing myself, to be an engaged and dedicated mother and wife. It would be so much easier to just stop and do nothing, feel nothing, be nothing.

And, it is getting cold. All I have longed for is being under blankets with a whiskey and apple cider or a hot toddy. And maybe a Kit Kat, or a few fun sized Snickers. Oh, and tortilla chips…honey can you bring down the tortilla chips? I’m wrapped up in this blanket in front of the fire; I simply can’t move until May.

And then, as I finished up yesterday’s workout, I saw myself naked in the bathroom mirror. I took a beat and really looked. I flexed and took pictures (after I put a sports bra and tank back on.) I turned my body side to side, inspecting the changes I had clearly missed were happening over the last month and a half. This was a new body, not the shlub I had been lugging around with me for the past year.

Y’all, my back was getting ripped! I was seeing muscles that had not existed before.

My abdominals were coming out to play. All of them, the rectus abdominis, the external oblique, the transverse abdominals (I’ve been studying for my certification a lot lately, can you tell.) I have not seen these friends for a very long time. I thought my children had consumed them for their own personal growth all those years ago.

And, holy Toledo, am I wearing my PJ pants from pre-baby? I had not even noticed how loose they were.

How refreshing it was to see these non-scale victories. Why hadn’t I noticed this?

How could I have become so apathetic to the changes that were happening? I almost let my motivation completely slip away. And during the holiday season, no less. That could have been dangerous!

We have all heard that it takes time and commitment to reconstruct our bodies, whatever that looks like for us. That does not mean we absorb and retain that information.  It does not mean we take it to heart and live by it.

We live in a society that tells us we have to bounce back after growing and pushing out a tiny gooey human. We are also told that we should just take this, eat that, use this supplement, take this appetite suppressant or pay this much for this packaged program to finally be viewed as acceptable by the human population.

Guess what, none of that works in the long term. Cleanses, supplements, diets, magic pills, food aversion and all the other things that promise quick results are not for maintaining a fit and healthy body long term. It is not useful or conducive to your long term goals.

But, oh man, do we keep hoping it will.

Taking something, not eating this or drinking a fit tea are simply just easier than putting in the time and effort of long term maintenance.

The results I am seeing as my wakeup call out of a plateau are because I kept going. My loss of body fat content and newly developed muscles are not because I drank a protein shake (mostly because I ran out 4 months ago and simply replaced it with 2 boiled eggs-much cheaper) or diligently took my supplements.

My results are because I showed up 6 days a week, put in the effort and tried my best every week to eat a balanced, clean and healthy diet. I did not cut out carbs, or only eat raw or a Keto diet. I just ate clean, whole grain foods balanced out with vegetables and my favorite proteins.

I even ate French bread a couple of times. I also indulged in a few pieces of cake here and there. When I went out to eat, I ordered things off the menu that were healthier and cleaner (think, cilantro-lime chicken and ahi tuna poke).

I forced myself to work out even if I went out to a decadent dinner with out-of-town friends. I laced up my sneakers and got to work even if it was 8 o’clock at night and I didn’t feel like it. I sweat long and hard, even when all I wanted to do was curl up with a snack and watch Ozark with the bae.

I kept pushing when my legs and arms felt like they were going to give out. I went and purchased heavier weights when the ones I owned weren’t challenging me anymore. I left swat filled body outlines on my carpet every time I finished a workout.

I showed up for myself every day. Every. Damn. Day. (Except for Sunday. On Sundays I recovered.)

I did it for my husband and kids, who deserved to have me around and capable for as long as possible. I did it for my daughters, who will emulate my habits and I, for one, would like those habits to push them forward in life, not hinder them. I did it for my mom and MIL, who are supporting me and having their own struggles with being healthy.

But, most importantly, I did it for myself. I deserve a healthy and happy life. I deserve to feel strong and confident. I deserve to have the energy to rough house with my girls and run outside with them. I deserve to live my best life.

That plateau tried to take all that away from me. And I know it will do it again in the future. It will creep into my life when I am struggling and try to zap all my motivation. It will come again and again and again.

The Plateau is a reminder that we are human. That we will stumble and fall, and we will fail. The plateau is a testament to how strong we are and how bad we want it. The plateau wants us to give up. It is the doubt we all have inside that this is even worth it. It’s the negative talk we have when things get hard. It’s the flight in our fight-or-flight mode.

The Plateau is our breaking point. And it doesn’t have to be about your work out, or healthy lifestyle. You can plateau in anything.

I will not be broken. I will not fall victim to the plateau, and neither will you. We can beat our plateaus. We can rise above them, out run them, out lift them.

I am smarter, stronger, better than I was 3 months ago. I will not forget that. I will keep fighting to be smarter, stronger and better in the next three months.

And when the next Plateau comes sneaking up on me, you better believe I’ll be ready. I’ve never been a quitter, and I won’t start now. The Plateau is a weak thing, and it can only make you stronger. So welcome it, defeat it and toss it aside. No one and nothing can hold you back.

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