Kobe, NSVs, Core 4 and the Dreaded Plateau
The Dreaded Plateau:
So, let’s talk about something uncomfortable – I lost a little weight (35 lbs so far), made a few healthy lifestyle choices, wrote a blog post or two, and then started a positive Facebook group about wellness (yes, you should join, it’s called: Will’s Weigh). I mean, I really got myself out into the public spotlight and put it out there that I’m working on my fitness…and then, it happens: The dreaded Plateau. AWK to the WARD. You know what I’m talking about…humming along nicely, basically tripping over piles of success and lost pounds, and…SCREEEEEECH (record stops).
Per science, your body hates losing weight. And being a healthy weight is a pain in the well-appointed rump: Unless, you are one of “those people” (who everyone hates, btw) – “those people” who say things like, “I was just so busy today, that I forgot to eat lunch. Or I can eat anything I want and not gain weight” – If you are a normal human, who is food motivated, your body is designed to hold onto enough fat to get you through long periods of time without food. It all harkens back to the stone age when people didn’t have plentiful food sources in every direction. If you restrict your calories too much to lose weight, your body fights you and holds on tighter to your fluff. Along those same lines, if you cut out a whole macro group(example: Carbs or Fat), your body starts to crave it, and whenthat macro is eventually reintroduced to your body: you justprepared the vessel with some extra padding.
You must keep modifying your approach, especially if you have a long unloading process until you reach your health goal.You can’t eat the exact same foods every day…you need to mix it up. Keep your body guessing. Have some days that you enjoy higher fats and others that you enjoy higher carbs. Meatless days, that’s a thought. Throw in some dessert, you’ve earned it, just not too much or too often. Explore different eating windows (three/four meals a day -Vs- grazing throughout). Try intermittent fasting for a few days/weeks. Keep mixing it up…if you find something that works and you want to stick with that model: give it a shot. Just be flexible enough to mix it up if/when needed. Your body adapts and you need to keep it on its toes.
Same thing with exercise: use muscle confusion to get results. Mix strength training and aerobic training and flexibility work (YOGA). Try HIIT training AND long, slow, steadyexercising. Results will come more quickly (and you’ll get boarded less quickly) if you consistently use different approaches. It doesn’t matter how you move your body, just that your body is moving.
So, here we are now…over 400 words into this and we don’t know if our hero is still stuck or if he found a way to continue his unfattening. Read on and we’ll see…
To re-energize my momentum, I went back to the drawing board. I wanted to make sure I was aware of the 4 things which were the original foundation to my success. By refocusing on those things, throughout my day, everything else would take care of itself. Again, I attribute mindful consistency, not strict inflexibility, to my success.
Quality Foods: Concentrate on whole foods. Food with small ingredient lists. Foods that live in around the perimeter of the grocery store. Limit desserts. Be mindful of carbs. When deciding between two or more items, try to make the heathier choice.
Quality Movement: As Mystikal wisely said, “Shake yaass, show me what you workin with.” And…you don’t even need to shake it, just move it. It doesn’t have to be some crazy new extreme exercise routine…you just need to move your body as often as you can. Walk. Run. Dance. Bowl. Golf. Play tag with kids. Play tag with my kids. Try something new. Move your booty. Everyday. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for Mystikal.
Quality Sleep: Like the easiest thing to do seems to be the hardest. Aim for 8 hours every single night. If you get close more often than not, you will be amazed at how wonderful you feel. Quality sleep changes everything. You can’t really change the time you need to wake-up, so you’ll have to adjust the time you go to bed. It’s hard, but it’s worth it.
Quality Spirit/Mind: Church. Headspace. Calm. Mindfulness. Meditation. Yoga. Breath work. If you devote yourself towards getting our spirit/mind right, you will grow in ways you never imagined.
NSV = Non Scale Victory. These are the most powerful tools a person has to measure their success within a health journey. So many people live and die by the number on their scale. If the number is lower, then you have been successful. Likewise, a higher number = unsuccessful. Please, take some time and read this next sentence: IT’S NOT THAT CUT AND DRY. While the scale does provide important information, it only gives a very small portion of your overall health picture. Focus on your clothes fitting differently. Or your ability to get up and down stairs more easily. Or your deeper bend in that Yoga pose. Or the smile a stranger flashes your way. Focus on the additional weight on your bench press. Enjoy the lower blood pressure numbers. Whatever changes you are achieving from your healthier lifestyle, dwell on those. If you keep focused on the core 4 and celebrate the NSVs as they present themselves, the number on the scale will take care of itself. And you’ll be much happier throughout the whole process. Interestingly enough, while I was focusing on things other than the scale, I have started to lose weight again. Let’s keep this train rolling along!!
A few Sundays ago, while I was walking through the living room with a poorly folded hamper of clean clothes (destined for my closet, where I would leave the clothes – in the hamper – on the floor – for the entire upcoming week), I stopped and watched a few minutes of the NFL Pro Bowl pregame on TV. Just then, the news crew interrupted the broadcast with some breaking news: Kobe Bryant (and, we found out later, 8 other people) had just been killed in a helicopter crash in California. More details to come…
I’m not a huge basketball fan, but I obviously know Kobe Bryant. He was very close to my age, actually a year younger. His sudden, unexpected death really gave me pause. I found myself thinking about it many times throughout that weekend and beyond. Here’s a guy, who has seemingly everything, who was killed with his young daughter (and 7 others) in a freak accident. One minute here, the next gone…life is so fragile and unpredictable. While we can’t bubble wrap ourselves to avoid accidents, we can work to effect those things in which we have control. In the end, I can’t do anything to avoid the unavoidable, but I can take better care of myself in order to hedge my bets against diseases that are exacerbated by poor health/excess weight. I will control the things that I can control. If and when it’s my time, I want to know I have lived my best life: taking care of myself and others along the way. Let’s live life to the fullest and remember to hug the people you love. Tomorrow is never guaranteed. So, I’m gonna keep on working on me, because the best “me” is what I deserve and what my family, and loved ones, deserve too.