The plateau isn’t just a river in Egypt.
That’s how that phrase goes right?
The plateau might be the most well known geological metaphor in fitness.
And we hate that metaphor.
We hate that things were going so smooth, we were losing weight, we were getting stronger, our clothes were fitting better, we were feeling super awesome and confident, we were feeling steadfast and determined.
Then everything came to a screeching halt.
It sucks. Everything was going so well.
Now we begin to question our methods. Because we are inquisitive and adventurous, we start exploring different fitness strategies. This can be a great thing. However, the plateau makes us impatient. This means we bounce around from method to method too quickly. We don’t give each one an honest try.
It’s frustrating, especially when we compare this plateau period to how quickly progress was happening before.
The plateau is actually a good thing.
Maybe even a great thing. In fact, the end goal is to plateau.
The enemy of all dieters is the yoyo and the instability that brings. The plateau is the opposite of this.
It might feel like stagnation. And there’s no denying the frustration.
That shit is valid.
That said, the plateau can be necessary.
People plateau for different reasons. Sometimes it’s because they hit that “10 lbs to go!” mark where the game gets a little trickier. Sometimes it’s because work got insane so they don’t have as much time or energy to devote to fat loss. These are the most common reasons I encounter in my Online Coaching Groups. However, I’m sure there are many more.
Either way the plateau IS progress.
Weight loss isn’t actually the problem. We are actually really fucking good at weight loss. We just aren’t good at weight maintenance.
So if we can hold our position without yoyoing, that’s YUGE.
When we plateau, we’re solidifying our new, healthy habits rather than reverting to old ones. Each day we continue to fortify a foundation that will make it easier to build habits that will help us move past this plateau.
Progress doesn’t always look like forward movement. When we drive somewhere, rarely can we drive along the hypotenuse to get there. Pythagoras Motherfucker! Told you that shit would be useful one day!
I know it’s frustrating. Immensely so.
And saying just to be patient is pretty nebulous advice. So I’ll give some actionable advice you can implement today.
Either way, remember to have the courage to be patient. This isn’t a “quick fix” or a replacement for patience. It’s a recommendation in concordance with patience.
Change your focus. Work towards different goals for a time.
If you’ve been focusing on weight loss, focus on strength, or learning a skill or a sport etc. Rather than doing the different things with the same focus and same mentality, try focusing on something different that has overlap with your original goal.
An example of this is the goal of learning a chin-up. While not explicitly dependent on weight loss, losing weight will certainly make getting that first chin-up easier.
The point is, shake things up a bit.
REALLY focus on something different for a while. Often times the “fix” for the plateau happens without us even realizing it.
Life’s funny that way.
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