Why the Plateau(s)? – Weight Loss No. 17

Why the Plateau(s)? – Weight Loss No. 17

Humans are a bit strange. We are each capable of driving ourselves insane without any outside help when our plan doesn’t go as we wanted or expected. But give a person new understanding as to why it didn’t, and suddenly they shift into the calm after the storm. I wrote this article because I want you to be as calm as the desert waiting for rain when you hit your plateaus.

You only have control of your choices, so make good ones
Everything else is in the hands of much greater forces

My neighbor Kelly was outside huffing, puffing, ranting and raving. She had just met the love of her life and was on a fervent goal to lose her excess weight. She was eating right, exercising daily, making progress and then about 10 days ago NOTHING. She was spinning out in her own self-created twister – “I hate my body”, “This will never work”, “I will never lose the weight”, “Why did I ever think I would be successful this time?”. I told her to stay the path, relax, take a deep breath and to hang out for another 5 or 6 days because we were only a couple days away from the full moon. If expressions had words hers would have said “wtf… I am eating right, exercising, not losing any weight and you are talking about the full moon?!”. I didn’t have time to explain so I left her to ponder what she saw as some crazy enigma with no value. Ten days later she was frenetically running straight for my moving car. I was scared, but noticed a sly satisfied smile on her face. On arrival at my car window she said that a few days after the full moon passed all the weight she had expected to lose came right off. She now wanted to know what this full moon stuff was all about. To keep it simple I explained that when the dark skies become lighter as the moon waxes to become full, that nature (your body is nature) is building, taking on, replenishing and storing. When the full moon wanes towards the darker starlit skies of the new moon, nature is releasing, losing and letting go. Your weight loss efforts may be more evident in the two weeks following the full moon. A few months later she was power preaching the effects of the moon cycles to her adult daughter, whose facial expression mirrored the one her mom gave me. I was happy to see her pass the information on with such enthusiasm.

Fishermen, farmers, surfers and emergency responders know the unparalleled magic AND poison of a full moon. Many women’s menstrual cycles are synchronized and as systematic as the moon’s 28 day cycle. The moon is a powerful modulator of body fluids in and around the body, organ function, hormones and body chemistry. Its effect IN your body is as powerful as its influence on the ocean tides, plant kingdom and animal behavior.

For more information about the moon I recommend the books:
The Lunar Effect: Biological Tides and Human Emotions” by Leiber and Abel.
Guided by the Moon: Living in Harmony with the Lunar Cycles” by Paugnner and Poppe

Want to make nature giggle? Expect nature to bow down to your goals
Nature’s beauty is because it bows to nothing but its process

Nature is ebb and flow, always reaching for balance through the weather, atmospheric conditions, temperatures, wind, storms, blue skies and more. An interesting book written before big pharmaceutical drugs took over healthcare practices is “How Atmospheric Conditions Effect your Health” by Michel Gauquelin. It isn’t about weight loss, but has research on how dramatically natures influence effects specific body function and health. Don’t discredit the power of nature nor the power of climate, altitude, geographic location and season on your weight loss efforts, but don’t use anything as an excuse for falling off course. If you are on a plateau find out if there is a reason why. Is there a common thread with this one to previous plateaus? Look for patterns. You may even stumble on how accurate your body is at forecasting an upcoming phenomenon.

Falling in love, marriage, divorce, pregnancy, childbirth, death, illness, loss, change of home or employment, traveling of any sort and new activities force you and your body out of its groove. When your thoughts and emotions receive an unexpected jolt so too do your behaviors AND body function. Give yourself and your body time and space to find a comfortable groove as you ride the roller coaster of life. Media and self-help have glorified positive emotions as the master key to health and wellness, and negativity as the demon. But extreme emotions, no matter if good or bad are destabilizing to the body. A mind-blowingly awesome dream come true may move the body from remission to an epic systemic catastrophe. Just because it is desirable doesn’t mean your body will respond in a desirable fashion.

Not all that is demonized is bad and not all that is heralded, is good

My dad learned that the hard way. His favorite NBA team won, he yelled with a roar of glory and at that moment felt his heart go straight into tachychardia again. After being discharged from the hospital he decided watching sports needed to be done consciously and passively or not at all.

Weight loss might be your number one priority
 But your body’s top priority is managing potential threats
and real problems

I sometimes wonder how many times a week my body has victoriously thwarted a danger that was about to destroy me. My body goes unrewarded for its moment to moment conquests. For each time you get sick your body may have had 100,000 victories to keep you healthy. Weight loss is a past time activity for your body – it is secondary to keeping you thriving and surviving as best possible. Next time you hit a plateau consider for a moment that maybe your body has some bigger fish to fry than burning and melting off excess weight. Maybe it was designing and fabricating an antibody to keep you from getting a virus. Did your body notice a tumor that needed to be broken down? Were white blood cell armies forming and grouping to disarm a possible infection? Was your body exposed to something toxic (even cleaning products, detergents, personal care ingredients, herbicides, pesticides or maybe even the residue of a broken mercury filled bulb) that it is immediately managing to remove from circulation and your body?

Maybe you inadvertently created the body burden by the innocent temptations of consuming dishonest convenience foods with harmful additives that have disrupted your body. A great book about how known additives disrupt your body function is “Eater’s Digest; The Consumer’s Fact-Book of Food Additives” by Michael F. Jacobson. On occasion you may knowingly or unknowingly expose your body to ingested, inhaled or dermal allergens and intolerances. These each have the power to flat line your weight loss efforts as your body takes a leave of absence to manage them.

Be attentive to any health conditions or symptoms that stick around
the symptom may be an SOS for help from your body

You are now armed to glide over those plateaus with great ease and maybe you will even recognize them as time-out opportunities. Would you enjoy your current strategy more if it got an update or renovation? Do you need to change things up to relocate to more fertile ground in one or more areas of your action plan? Your body may just be asking you to relax, be patient and stay the healthy path while it manages more pressing needs. And maybe the plateau means absolutely nothing.

Plateaus are inevitable even if you are doing EVERYTHING right. Learn to be as calm as the desert waiting for rain when you hit one. Your body is no match when nature is flexing its muscles, nor life’s ebb and flow or the fact that sometimes your body simply has something more important to take care of than converting fat to fuel. Be curious, investigate and be open to noticing mysterious patterns between what your body is doing and outside events. Stay the course, help your body and thank it. When a plateau becomes the norm, then consider that plateau a call for help. If your own detective efforts don’t pan out the gold then give me a call and we will figure it out together.


                                                              Krista Umgelter 

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