Trust the Process

Transformation pictures are great, aren’t they? You see the “before” and the “after” and get all inspired. And then you start envisioning your own “before” and “after” pictures hung up on the wall of your local gym under the banner “Success Stories” because you know that this time it’s different!

But what happens if you lost weight at first but then your weight loss just stopped? Even though you’ve been eating clean and exercising for a month and nothing seems to be happening? Like…nothing? N-O-T-H-I-N-G? Insert meltdown {{here}}.Mad face

I speak from the heart now because I’ve gone through it before. The official name for this phase is called “reaching a plateau,” meaning you’re stuck where you’re at for now. Let’s talk about why this may be happening and then something to tell yourself if you are in this situation.

Physically there are all sorts of reasons why you may be stuck at the moment. I’m going to take you at your word that you’ve been eating clean and haven’t been sneaking a bite of your kids’ hot dog or sampling that office birthday cake and you are legitimately not sure why the weight isn’t coming off. Were you a yo-yo dieter? If so, your metabolism may be a little confused/angry with you. She might be expecting a fasting phase and is hording all fat to be used in case this is a long famine, which is why she won’t let go of the weight. For this same reason, you need to make sure that you are eating enough calories. I know this sounds counter intuitive, but trust me, if you are exercising you will need those calories.

During my first competition I used to have fights all the time with my trainer, Daniel, about this calorie situation. He had me on 1,800 calories per day, which was WAAAAY too much food in my know-it-all estimation. See, I didn’t know how to lift weights, but I was an expert at dieting and I knew, I KNEW, that eating 1,200 calories per day would make me a skinnier Lisa because it was simple math, but I ate the 1,800 calories just to prove him wrong and that’s when I suddenly was able to fit into my size 8 jeans…Oh. (If you’re wondering why this happened, read the paragraph above again.)

Standing in my size 14 jeans
Standing in my size 14 jeans

There are other physical reasons why you might be experiencing a plateau. Are you stressed out? If your cortisol is spiking then your hormones could be temporarily out of balance making the weight stay on. How’s your sleep pattern? If you’re not getting a full 7-8 hours of sleep you’re just asking to keep the pounds on.

When my mom was in and out of the hospital for chemo last year I gained some weight back. (Um stress? Lack of sleep?) That’s when I started training with Robin and entered the Arnold Classic competition. At first I had lost five pounds pretty quickly, but then I was stuck at 130 lbs. for almost six weeks and it was freaking me out. Even my husband and daughter were saying I didn’t look bikini ready, which freaked me out more. (Hello, cortisol!)  And I considered quitting, ’cause I didn’t want to embarrass myself on stage and maybe my body just changed or something.I-quit

Robin listened to my concerns and then essentially pulled an Obama and was like, “Chill the f*** out, I got this.” (Only he didn’t curse.) He did say that it wasn’t my job to worry about this, it was his job and I just needed to follow the meal plan, trust my body and trust him. He was right, of course, but when you have disappointed yourself in the past it’s easy to think that you will fall into the abyss again.

When you are at this point of frustration and doubt, this is where you have to dig in and not quit. Because if you are eating clean, you’re working out with a combination of cardio and strength exercises, you’re getting enough sleep, and calories, and are taking measures to handle the stresses in your life, then

You need to calm down and trust the process.

I know that sounds like total personal trainer BS (’cause that’s what it sounded like when my trainers said it to me) but know that your body will eventually balance out. It takes time for your body to trust that it’s going to be fed well and consistently.  When it realizes that a healthy lifestyle is the new norm it will relax and the excess weight will fall off.

Trust the process. You didn’t gain the weight overnight and it’s not all going to come off overnight either. But if you eat clean and exercise you will be at a healthy weight, so hang in there!

Be healthy,

Lisa 😉

Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two.

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