About a three months or so ago, after working out consistently for 6 months straight, I decided to take a week break from exercising. This came about because I realized I wasn’t working out at my peak anymore. It was becoming increasingly harder for me to get out of bed to exercise and when I finally crawled to my fitness room I didn’t push myself as hard as I normally would. My results stalled, my muscles hurt for longer than usual and I came to the realization that I was burned out and not really getting anything out of the workouts anymore. This is when I came to the difficult decision to take a little break.
When I started working out and eating healthily a few years ago, I was pumped and excited and maybe a tad naive. I believed that if I exercised and ate healthy food, I would be able to lose weight whenever I wanted to. That is how things worked I happily told myself. How hard could it be? I had heard of the dreaded plateau but having never experienced it myself, I had no idea what these people were referring to. What did they mean when they said they had hit a plateau in their weight loss? Clearly, they weren’t doing something right I haughtily said to myself. Well, karma has a way of being a b*itch so trust and believe that I have completely refined my thoughts on the plateau and know exactly what this means.
“Progression: the process of developing or moving gradually towards a more advanced state”
My fitness journey has been a long one. I made the decision to live a fit and healthy lifestyle about six years ago and have gradually made that decision a reality. It took time to change many years of eating whatever I wanted and to scoff at the idea of working out. I stumbled many times and had to start over and many many times thought of giving up because the process was too hard, but with perseverance and motivation, I stayed steadfast and kept moving forward with my journey.
Why is this taking so long? I workout everyday. I burn calories. I eat healthily. I run half-marathons, I lift weights. Why don’t I see the results of my hard work? Why is is taking three months to lose five pounds? Why don’t I see the definition in my arms that I am working so hard to achieve? These are all questions I ask myself and you probably ask yourself too and for good reason because when you think you are working really hard, you expect the results to reflect your hard work, that’s how it’s supposed to work!
Well, it turns out that it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time for you to see the fruits of your labor when it comes to working out, be it for losing weight or for toning and sculpting. If you are trying to lose weight, you have to realize that 3500 calories equals 1 pound of fat, so you have to create a deficit of 3500 calories just to lose a pound a week. 3500 calories!!! Can you believe that. You don’t realize how hard that is until you start to log your food and calories burned and realize how fast the calories you consume add up. It takes no time at all to consume 3500 calories which is why it is so easy to gain weight if you’re not eating properly or exercising.
I used to always want to join a gym. I had this fantasy of waking up on Saturday mornings, putting on my matching workout clothes, pack a gym bag with a towel, headset and protein bar and head off to the gym where I would run on the treadmill or elliptical, lift some weights, looking awesome doing all this of course and at the end of my workout head to the nearest Panera Bread for breakfast. Well, this fantasy never became a reality because when I did walk into a gym with the intention of getting a membership, I looked around at who would be my “workout buddies”, and I felt so intimidated that I walked right out. Now, this was no fault of my fantasy “workout buddies”, all they were doing was getting their workout in. This was completely me being so self-conscious and insecure that I knew there was no way I would be comfortable there.
Sometimes after an especially stressful and hard day at work, I wonder to myself why I hadn’t thought of or invented one of the many ingenious things that are out there that other people have made millions or even billions from. I could’ve invented the back-up camera or come up with Amazon or Google or even better, I could’ve come up with a diet that promises instant weight loss. Yes, the diet, all the many different types of diets out there are making quite a number of people very rich indeed.
We have all at some point in our lives been on some diet or another. Years ago I went on a diet to gain weight and drank ensure three times a day because I was told it would help me gain weight. Years later, I went on a protein only diet to lose weight and at some point or the other I went on a liquid diet also to lose weight. Neither one of them were successful. If you want to be on a diet, you have a wide variety to choose from, no-protein, only- protein, carb- free, only carbs, liquid, fasting, cayenne pepper and honey, lemon water, Ketogenic, Atkins, weight loss pills, South Beach…the list is endless. Seriously, I need to think of one, I’m tired of going to work everyday.