Friday, May 16, 2014
Plateaus. You know what those are. Those flat places where nothing seems to be happening. There are all kind of plateaus: Sometimes they are a speed bump--you just can't break a 10-minute mile pace on your runs or you can't quite move up into that next bike speed classification or you're having trouble moving to a 15 lb. dumb bell from 12.5 lbs. But the plateau that is probably most annoying and most talked about is the weight loss plateau.
You've been tracking your food, staying away from sweets, getting in more exercise or exercising at a higher intensity and for weeks on end the scale refuses to budge. This is where so many just throw in the towel and say the heck with it. I know how frustrating they are. I've been there many times, and I'm just now learning to appreciate them.
The last two weekends I've been cycling and in search of some big hills or small mountains to climb to test my mettle and improve my fitness. I've never been a good climber, but I'm determined to get stronger and to learn to love the challenge. I slowly climbed the hills, sometimes so slowly I was afraid I'd fall over, and many times, just when I thought I'd have to unclip and walk the bike, I'd come to a plateau so small or short it was hardly visible. But as soon as I reached it, my tired legs would get a brief rest. Sometimes for as little as 3 or 4 pedal strokes and sometimes for longer periods. But those brief respites were just enough that I could gather my strength for the next push up the hill. Every time I came to one of these plateaus, I would be so relieved. If it wasn't for the plateaus, I would not have made it up the hill/mountain without walking.
And then I had one of those a-ha moments. Plateaus are a good thing! No matter what type of plateau, our bodies have been going through many changes as we work to lose weight, run or cycle faster or further, lift heavier weights, etc. All of it creates a little wear and tear. The plateaus are there to give our bodies a chance to rest, to become adjusted to the new us, and to store some energy for the next push. The plateaus give us time to look back at where we've been and re-assess where we're going and how we're going to get there.
I'm going to embrace my next plateau instead of complaining and worrying about it. I'm going to use that time to evaluate my progress, figure out what works best, and to rest up 'cause there is always another hill or mountain to conquer in the journey to being fitter and healthier.
Can you embrace your next plateau?