What You SHOULD Know About Plateaus

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I have had this post bouncing around in my head since last week, and if I don’t get it out I’m gonna go crazy. Occasionally at work (the prison), I am assigned to construction watch. This is great for me  because it means babysitting two non-inmate maintenance guys = I can catch up on reading!!! I print out some Alan Aragon Research Reviews, grab a highlighter and get paid to educate myself. Love it.

I will admit that sometimes slogging through the detailed research stuff is tough for me. Slowly but surely I am getting a better grasp of it all without having a formal education in it, and sometimes its plain tedious. But it’s worth it.  Besides the research reviews themselves, Alan has a section called The Lay Press, which is more article style stuff. Gives my poor brain a rest hahaha. This one was from a recent 2012 issue and was titled “Fructose gets acquitted again, moderation wins, and weight loss secrets revealed.” JUST the kind of title people like.  The part that stuck in my head was a bit about plateaus, and what Alan called the “Anatomy of Progress”.

Everyone has a hard time with plateaus. It means something has stopped. Whether it’s in lifting or dieting for fat or weight loss. This is almost always viewed as something negative. People freak out, lose faith, lose motivation, binge, cry, panic. Whatever. Let’s see if the following excerpt gives you a different view of plateaus. Keep it in mind when something isn’t budging. It’s not always measure of failure, but of success, and THAT attitude can make all the difference in getting beyond it.

“The public needs to realize that achieving significant weight loss is a monumentally challenging , mind-numbing, daily grind. It’s not a stroll through the park where you’re faithful to an “off limits” food list, and look like a superhero by the time you click your heels and get home to Kansas. People have to realize that caloric deficits gradually diminish as weight is loss (which means progress WILL slow down) – THIS IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! Dieters need to know that the short-term goals of weight loss programs are to run into weight loss plateaus as necessary to hit that “final” weight loss plateau (which would be your ideal maintenance weight!). Weight loss is a nonlinear descent that involves necessary periods of equilibrium (just staying there!). Here’s what so very few dieters know: progress phases are supposed to get progressively shorter while plateau phases get progressively longer. This is actually a good thing because it means that the relative permanence of the goal is materializing.”

What should you do when you hit a plateau?

 “My advice is to relax. See if you can maintain that weight for another 2-3 weeks. People always forget that maintenance of results is a legitimate goal, even if you aren’t at the ultimate goal YET. Than move on to your next progress stage. Without understanding this “3 steps forward, 1 step back” process dieters “either give up, or seek out the next magic program with an updated good/evil food list that promises to deliver the “real” secrets of weight loss. It’s complete nonsense that’s entirely preventable by having the right perspective and expectations from the start.”

You need plateaus for lasting progress. Lasting progress is the only “real” progress. Look at your next plateau as a sign of the success getting closer, not as a signal of failure. 

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Perspective is everything.

Ok, but the cartoon was a joke.


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    What You SHOULD Know About Plateaus