Episode 28: The Hidden Gift of Plateaus
In this episode, Renée explains how to unlock the forward progress hidden in your plateau. Learn about the cyclical nature of change, and how the 80/20 rule translates into pounds off your waistline. Plus, more lessons learned from the economy.
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Renee Stephens: Welcome to Inside Out Weight Loss. I’m your host Renee Stephens and together we’re accessing the control panel of your mind, body system, bringing ease and joy to your weight loss journey and fullness to the rest of your life. Today on the show, how the 80-20 rule can translate into losing lots of pounds easily and unlocking the hidden gift of your plateaus.
I’m going through this process with one of my clients right now, and we discovered that for her, it was office boredom that sent her roaming to the snack room. She now breezes through the afternoons. Mind you, I couldn’t make her job more interesting I’m afraid but I did help her change her reaction to it. I have seen a lot of weight loss. My own and my clients. And I can tell you that one to two pounds a weeks is an average. It is an average. Some weeks there’s no weight loss. When people say they hit a bump in the road, it gets hard, perhaps they have an overeating episode or they have a plateau, and they say “Oh my goodness! I’ll never change. I knew I could never do it. This is terrible. I’ll always be fat and unhappy. Yadda yadda yadda”. If you say those sorts of things to yourself when you hit a bump in the road, when you have an overeating episode, what do you think’s going to happen? It’s going to make you feel bad.
Let’s go ahead and set our intention for this episode. Drop down inside of yourself. Take a deep breath. And as you exhale, let go of any cares of worries that you have. Let them float away like clouds in a sky. It’s time to become present with you. Present with your body. Present with current experience. Present with yourself. I’d like you to take a moment to check in with your body. Notice how it feels in this moment. Does it feel heavy or light? Where is it tense? Where is it relaxed? And as you find the areas of relaxation, even very small areas, allow that relaxation to spread as you sink into this episode of Inside Out Weight Loss. And allow your intentions to surface, to come to you now, as a word, or phrase, or a symbol. Is it to renew? Is it to break through what’s been holding you back? Is it to make your journey easier and more natural? Or perhaps it’s simply to endure the ride. Whatever it is, go ahead and set it now. As you listen, open up and connect energetically with all the other listeners of this show, across space and time, feel their presence. Send them your support, whatever that looks like for you. We’re starting a movement here. A movement to end the weight struggle, free ourselves from our own oppression and come firmly, harmoniously and clearly into our lives that we’d love to live. We’re replacing the struggle with freedom, fulfillment and fun. Right now. Not in a week or a month or a year when we reach some magic number on the scale or some magic size of our clothes or the skinny jeans finally fit. But right now. My intent is to bring my message to millions, starting you. My intent is not only to show you what’s possible, but to take you there as quickly or as slowly as you like.
For the last couple of episodes we’ve been talking about plateaus for the experience of maintaining a new lower weight. We talked about the two antidotes to the plateau. The first is simply celebrating and embracing our success. Like taking a pause along the road. The second is seizing this opportunity for what it really is. An opportunity to learn and go deeper. And an opportunity to use the “re-do” technique.
Did you do your homework of writing down all the contexts in which you eat like a naturally slender person? And all the contexts in which you don’t? Because when it comes right down to it, for most of us, it’s not that everything makes us overeat. I’ll remind you of a story I shared in the Self-Correcting episode, or one of the Self-Correcting episodes. This client had been binge eating for her entire adult life. And she was almost 60. She regularly binged five or more times a week. Her binging was running her life. Yet it didn’t actually take that long to resolve her binging. After the first private session, which admittedly is an intensive 3-hour long session, she wasn’t binging anymore. It seemed like a miracle for her. Yet she worried that the problem would resurrect itself. So we brainstormed all the types of situations that could really throw her off balance in life and it ended up where there were only four types of situations that recurred again and again. Once we addressed each, so she knew she could self-correct in 24 hours or less for each type of situation, she was done. I’m going through this process with one of my clients right now, and we discovered that for her, it was office boredom that sent her roaming to the snack room. She now breezes through the afternoons. Mind you, I couldn’t make her job more interesting I’m afraid but I did help her change her reaction to it.
Imagine how many pounds resolving a single context might be worth for you. And the good news is, again, that there probably aren’t that many different types of situations. We’re going for the 80-20 rule here. Twenty per cent of the context probably account for 80% of your overeating. So simply identifying and changing those 20% of the contexts, 20% of the types of situation, 20% of situations where you overeat, will give you huge benefits. Once in a while a truly unusual situation will arrive that’s a trigger. For example, another client of mine just moved her office. Now there’s something that doesn’t happen every day and she experienced a huge amount of stress that really threw her off balance. She was able to self-correct in five days this time, which is a heck of a lot better than months or years, but of course she’d rather have self-corrected in 24 hours or less or stayed in balance through the chaos. This situation was an outlier for her, an unusual situation for her. We can resolve it or not resolve. If we don’t resolve it so then the next time she moves her office, which will be who knows when, if ever, then she sails through it. Or not. It’s not that big a deal because it was a real unusual type of situation. The important thing, however, is to not have all your situations be “unusual”. In other words, I’m not saying make excuses here and say, “oh well, it’s just because my family was in town, it’s just because I was on vacation, it’s just because…yadda, yadda, yadda.” If you’re coming up with a lot of “oh well, it’s just because” then it’s probably your excuse voice talking rather than the 20% of truly unusual types of situations. And yes, we want to resolve that final 20% of situations but it’s not urgent. We want to go for the low-hanging fruit, so to speak, here. In other words, get those situations that come up all the time so that when they come up you breeze through them. You are naturally slender in those situations. Imagine what that would be like. Think of it right now. One of the situations that is your most common overeating. Maybe it’s in the evenings after work or after dinner, after lunch or after work, maybe it’s munching while you’re preparing the evening meal. How many extra calories do you think you take in in that kind of situation? In your number one most common overeating scenario? How much overeating is actually done during that time?
So now imagine what it would be like if you were completely, naturally slender during that time. Now I’m not talking about distracting yourself. Right? I was asking a client the other day what it is that she wants. Well it would be great if I had lots of ways to distract myself. I said, “Well. You know, maybe you need to dream a little bigger than that. Because when I imagine what it’s like to distract myself, if I put myself in your shoes, I get this idea that there’s something that’s pulling me towards it and I have to be entertained by external stimuli to keep me from going towards it. That sounds like struggle to me.” And you know, life is too short. We don’t want struggle. Remember, we’re ending the struggle here and replacing it with freedom, fun, joy, all sorts of good things. So what would it be like if you truly had that instead of the struggle? Think about it. How would you like to be, let’s just take the evening example, you might be thinking about afternoon office goodies or whatever it is that is usually your number one challenging time. Think about what quality or feeling state you’d like to have instead. Would you like to be calm? Would you like to feel relaxed? Contented? Centered? What feeling state do you have when you are being naturally slender? What inner state would allow you to really truly enjoy in a naturally slender way? And when you have that, when you know what that is, when you have an idea of what that is, let that feeling grow and spread as you imagine easily going through those situations. If it’s the goodies at work or the afternoon office doldrums, then you’re going to want to imagine being focused, or taking a break doing something that you enjoy to do, allowing yourself to have some time. But whatever it is, it’s a feeling quality that’s more important than the what it is that you’re doing. It’s not distracting yourself because we want to get rid of or change whatever it is that you were distracting yourself from. We want to change your perception of it so that you change your experience.
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Renee: We’re back now. Before the break we were talking about the 80-20 rule and identifying the 20% of situations that account for 80% of your overeating and how much tremendous benefit that will bring you. I wonder how many pounds just resolving your most common type of over-eating situation would be worth to you. Imagine that. I bet it’s a substantial amount.
Okay. Let’s go back to the subject of plateaus and how to love them. I want to introduce you to the idea of cyclical or wave-like change. It’s very interesting, and I think that it’s particularly common in the US culture, perhaps in western culture as well, in the developed world, where we expect change, we expect progress to be linear as in straight up. If you look at a graph line it’s supposed to go straight up, in a line. That’s what we expect of the economy. And somehow whenever the economy takes a downturn, like they’re reporting that it is now, we think “Oh my goodness! Oh wow! This is terrible. Terrible! Something’s gone wrong because it’s not going up, up, up indefinitely.” And yet the reality is that the economy is cyclical. There are cycles of economic growth and economic consolidation. The stock market is the same way. We like to think that it’s going to be a never-ending surge upwards. And yet, it’s not. There are always bounces. There are bull markets and bear markets.
Similarly, with our weight loss, we think “okay. Well, I’m going to lose one to two pounds a week”, which by the way is a very healthy rate to lose weight at, it’s a very healthy and sensible to lose weight at. Any more than that, and we’re getting into a little extreme. If you’re losing more than that you might need to make an adjustment. Unless, of course, it’s the beginning of your weight loss program and you’re very overweight in which case large weight loss is typical.
But I digress, don’t I? So, you’re thinking, “okay I lose one to pounds a week” and we’ve all done this, haven’t we? We say, “Okay. If I lose two pounds a week, because it’s not going to be one for me, it’s going to be two. It better be two. Then that means in four, eight, twelve weeks…by the time I get to my summer vacation, by the time I get to the wedding, to the family reunion, to the high school reunion, to the whatever it is, to the beach vacation, I’m going to be…”and we have a number in our head. And we think “Oh. That might be okay. I might be able to just slip it in.” I have this in mind that it’s going to be steady progression.
Well, I have seen a lot of weight loss. I have seen a lot of weight loss. My own and my clients. And I can tell you that one to two pounds a week is an average. It is an average. Some weeks there’s no weight loss. Some weeks there might even be a little tiny weight gain. Shock! Horror! And other weeks there will be a more substantial weight loss. So we’re looking for an average. You may clip along at one to two pounds a week for weeks, and maybe even a couple of months and then you will stop. The scale won’t budge. And maybe you’re doing all the same things but the scale doesn’t budge. My kids have a children’s story called “We Won’t Budge!” And we get so angry. We get so frustrated. We lose our patience. “Why am I putting in all this effort and nothing’s happening? It’s just not fair!” we think. “Oh my god! I won’t make it to the wedding, the beach, the reunion, the date,” the whatever the heck it is. What’s going on here when that happens? Well, it’s very simple. What’s going on is a whole bunch of feeling bad. It’s a whole bunch of feeling bad. And we know what feeling bad does for us. Nothing good. And if you still are connected to your old coping mechanism, which is how do we make ourselves feel good instantly, we have a quick side trip to the donuts or the refrigerator or the chocolate. Feeling bad is to be avoided. We want to think thoughts that make us feel good. Because when we are feeling good we are in a more resourceful place. So how are we going to think about these plateaus, these times when the weight doesn’t budge for a time? We know from earlier episodes that this is simply maintaining a weight that’s lower than it used to be. This is great news. Exactly what we want.
You see, change happens in waves. And if you want to create a visual image of what your change will look like, imagine a wavy line tilted upwards. A wavy line that over time, moves upward. So the peaks of the waves, the humps of the waves, the bumps are when everything’s going great. You have a breakthrough, you have a wonderful experience, you’re on top of the world, it’s wonderful, you’ll never go back. And the dips, or the troughs of the line, right, the place between the waves in the ocean, is the place that is so important to your process of becoming naturally slender. In fact, it is the key point. How you deal with the dips, and sometimes those dips look like plateaus, how you deal with the bumps along the road, the dips in the waves, the troughs, determines how far you will go.
Let me explain that in a slightly different way. In other words, when people say they hit a bump in the road, it gets hard, perhaps they have an overeating episode or they have a plateau and they say “Oh my goodness. I’ll never change. I knew I could never do it. This is terrible. I’ll always be fat and unhappy. Yadda, yadda, yadda.” If you say those sorts of things to yourself when you have a bump in the road, when you have an overeating episode, what do you think’s going to happen? It’s going to make you feel bad. And you know what you used to be doing when you feel bad. You overeat. So from that perspective, it really doesn’t work too well. And in fact that’s exactly the type of thinking that prevents us from evolving, that prevents us from moving forward.
So what’s the alternative? The alternative is – see if you can guess this based on what you’ve heard already: the alternative is to learn from this experience, to enjoy this experience. You can say to yourself, “Hmmm. I’m at a bump in the road. What’s there for me to learn here? What’s there for me to learn here?” Or perhaps, “How can I fully enjoy the experience of being in a resting place, of consolidating the progress that I’ve already made? How can I celebrate the progress that I’ve made?” Any of these thoughts or questions will allow the next wave to naturally occur. Because we grow, as human beings we naturally grow and learn and move forward. So the bumps, the plateaus in fact are the key place in your journey to becoming naturally slender. They are the key place.
We’re almost out of time for today but before we go I invite you to celebrate your plateaus as milestones of your accomplishment. Mark them with an indulgent walk in nature, a luxurious bath or whatever it is that truly renews you. You’ve reached a milestone. You’ve made progress. Acknowledge it. Enjoy it. And indulge yourself in learning and growth. That brings us to the end of our show today. Thank you for being present.
Research clearly shows that those with a good support structure are the most successful at weight loss. How’s your support structure going? Do you have the right quality of support people around you? Perhaps you’d like to have a one on one support buddy. A great place to find one is either on the MySpace or the yahoo groups that are built around Inside Out Weight Loss. Go to personallifemedia.com/renee to find links. Use these places to share your dream, your intention, to support and be supported and to connect with others. You might even want to solicit an Inside Out Weight Loss buddy to help you on your journey. Also you may not be aware that I have guided journeys for sale on my site. Remember the most powerful force change in the universe is inner alignment. The Sabotage- Self-sabotage Process, sold as an MP3 download, allows you to attain a level of inner alignment that you perhaps have never attained before. You can find those or link to those products through by going directly to my website at mindforbody.com. There’s a link on the personallifemedia.com/renee blog roll. I love hearing how Inside Out Weight Loss is helping you on your journey. If you’d like to send me a message you can do so by emailing email@example.com. For other shows on the Personal Life please visit our website at personallifemedia.com. There’s loads of intriguing content to feed your mind, body and spirit. This is your host Renee Stephens and I’m on a mission to eradicate the weight struggle from the planet and replace it with light and love. Join me as we evolve the world by evolving ourselves. Take good care.
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