Sunday, April 01, 2007

Plateaus: Love 'em or hate 'em?

Last night when I went to bed, I was mentally tired, but not physically. Tossing and turning for nigh on half an hour, I got back up and went through all the latest previews over at apple's website and took a look-see over at the peaches and cream site of Brooke's. All up, it was another three hours before I got physically tired enough to go back to bed. LOL (I didn't do aerobics or any working out because I knew my brain was too fuzzy, thus would probably hurt myself.)

The party over the road was still going, so I got out my trusty ear plugs, and soon enough I was fast asleep. My brain kept waking me up with story ideas, and I'd roll over and go back to sleep. Alaskaboy came home some time around dawn. Poor baby had been awake for 21 hrs straight. (Hooray for overtime!)

I disturbed at 10:30, with a stiff neck and back from sleeping in the one position for the last several hours. Seeing that the intuitive eating group had already started, and I was still tired – eyes, body and brain-- I rolled over and slept for another hour and a half.

Woke up feeling fabulous.

Intuitive eating. Intuitive sleeping. Intuitive exercise, or lack there of. I feel like I've had a good week.

This month has been especially wonderful. I've learned a lot about myself and how I handle pressure when I'm not using food to cope. Yes, there were a few times I did so, but even in the midst of the eating I was aware. There was no mindless binging.

What has this month got me?

A gain of half a pound.. or 200gms.

I'm ecstatic! Before whenever there's been crises I've easily gained upwards of five to ten pounds for the month. This month I didn't need protection. I coped with my life. No. I did better than merely coping, I made progress.

My weight may be have been on a plateau for the last three months, but that's three months that I've had to get used to this new body. New curves, new clothes, new confidence, new emotional and mental maturity. And now I feel ready to move on to the next step. I know those pounds I've lost are gone for good. There is no fear that they'll come back. Why? Because I won't ever go back to being that same scared person I was that needed to hide behind all that fat. I'm learning to live with my emotions.

Last week I joined both a writing critique group and an intuitive eating support group. Face-to-face groups, not on-line ones.

I know. Can you believe it?

According to the dietitian, (one of the authors of Intuitive Eating actually) that a member of the group visits, plateaus are a marvelous thing. They give your body time to accustom itself to the way you are now, and prepare you for the next step ahead.
All of us talked about how in the past we'd always had our methods for breaking through a plateau, and sure enough, because we weren't ready for the next phase of our weight loss, we'd inevitably scurry back to safer ground.

This plateau has taught me to buy clothing that fits me comfortably. To appreciate the body I have now, in this very moment and dress it accordingly.

This plateau has taught me that I can deal with stress without turning to food, and still maintain my weight.

This plateau has taught me that I like to exercise regularly, but there are times when my body, mind and soul need to rest.

This plateau has taught me to lighten up about weight loss. I don't have to be at my goal weight when I go back to Australia. I'm healthy enough to be able to enjoy myself as I am.

This plateau has taught me to look for pretty clothes that I want to wear. Clothes that are appropriate for the season. To quote a favourite show of mine, “I'm loving myself sick” at the moment in all the pretty summer clothes I just bought.

This plateau has taught me that I don't need to exercise like a fiend to lose inches. Feeling fabulous as I did, I tried on some clothes this morning.

I fit back into those 16W cargo shorts this morning. Only just, but they did up. Yet I'm a few pounds heavier than last time they fit.
I fit comfortably into a new pair of shorts that I'd bought during the week that didn't do up at the time. Can't wait to try on a bunch more of the stuff to see if anything else fits.

I haven't exercised all week!

BUT. I have eaten intuitively. I've also eaten less restaurant food than I've done in the prior two weeks. That's not to say I haven't eaten salty foods. I ate a whole bunch of cheese and store bought hummus. But, I concentrated on eating as intuitively as possible the whole week. I didn't eat perfectly. To me that defies the whole purpose of intuitive eating. If I'm concentrating on perfectly eating intuitively... see how that sounds?

Intuition means listening to your body. It means listening to that deep inner sense that tells you to do something. Sometimes it tells you you need to eat beyond full as there is something in you that needs nurturing. Some emotion, some body part.. just something.

If I'm telling myself that I have to always stop the second I'm full.
If I'm telling myself that I must always eat only from stomach hunger.
If I'm telling myself I must... then that's a rule, and I'm back on a diet.

But, what about the challenges? Aren't they rules?

April and May I'll be doing a few exercise challenges with friends. These challenges are not because I enjoy the rules and the telling myself I must do this or that. They're not to beat myself over the head with exercise.
They're simply ways in which I can be social with my exercise. Challenges (at least nowadays) mean that I'm doing my exercise with someone. Rather than browbeating myself into doing the exercise.
That's another thing this plateau has taught me. I need to find ways in which I can exercise socially, I'm bored with doing it all on my lonesome. The streaks no longer work for me because they were about establishing a habit of regular exercise. That is established, now I want the companionship. And since I cannot afford to join clubs or gyms, challenges with my friends via the 'net are my best option.

What are you learning from your plateaus?

1 Nibbles:

Marshmallow said...

This is a fantastic post, Kada. Really really good; it articulated a lot of things about plateaus that should be understood, though often are not because people are obsessed with breaking them.