Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Plateaus, like internet outages, are only temporary

I’m a bit agitated this morning. It’s a few minutes after 4 a.m. and I've been up for a little more than an hour, but I've yet to be very productive. When I sat down with my cup of coffee, I quickly discovered that my internet service was out this morning, causing me to start my day in a state of irritation. After attempting various methods to try to restore it (in case it was something on my end) I placed a call to my provider and was greeted with the standard, ‘we are aware of an outage in your area” message confirming what I already knew. Hearing that didn't make it any better; it is still an inconvenience.

SO….my typical morning routine of answering e-mail, doing some business, writing my blog, responding to any issues that may have occurred overnight, working on homework, and communicating with a good friend has been interrupted, and as a result, I’m agitated because my routine has been disrupted.  How did a girl who has only had high-speed internet access at home for three months get so dependent on it so quickly?

So…..for the first 45 minutes of my day, I was ‘out of sorts”.  Certainly, I have A LOT of other things that I should/could have done this morning. I have dishes in the sink from a couple of days ago; a load of laundry in the dryer from last night to be dried and folded, some reading to do…..a “to-do” list that spans multiple pages……none of which are dependent on an internet connection.  And yet….because of the outage….and disruption, I wasted the time doing nothing productive because I was “out of sorts, slightly crabby, and felt justified.” I actually wasted 25 minutes playing some stupid solitaire game on my computer before realizing that I was not accomplishing anything and was actually just putting myself further behind in my work.
So, I quit the game, poured another cup of coffee, and sat quietly for a little while and I pondered the lesson that was waiting to be learned this morning.  It didn’t take me long to make the connection between the outage and my personal journey. (Too bad I couldn’t experience a temporary “outage” in my constant thinking….maybe they call that a “VACATION”?)

Over the course of the past three years, I have experienced many periods of when “ service has been temporary disrupted and an I’ve felt “disconnected’ (also known as the dreaded plateau or periods of stagnation).  In spite of my efforts, there was no progress; the scale didn’t budge, nothing appeared to be happening, causing me to feel the same agitation, frustration, and irritation as I feel this morning. Sometimes I was tempted to just ‘throw in the towel” and go back to my old way of life. Sometimes I was tempted to ease my irritability with potato chips because I felt “justified”…..(after all, Theresa, you’ve been doing everything you’re SUPPOSED to be doing….staying within calorie allowance, taking your walks, drinking your water, staying on plan) and that stupid scale isn’t rewarding me for my efforts. This stinks!  Likely, you’ve been there….or are there……or will be there…. at some point.  Sometimes these plateaus threatened to totally knock me off my game, but fortunately, they didn’t last long and even though they were a temporary disruption, they only strengthened my resolve to succeed.

In a sense, those plateau times are just like this internet outage this morning….frustrating, irritating, agitating….causing me the same feelings and disruption in my routine.  When I discovered the outage this morning, the first thing I did was check my equipment. I rebooted my computer; I unplugged and reset the modem; I checked all my connections. Once I determined that the problem was not on my end or in any way my fault because I was doing everything “right,” I realized that there was nothing more I could do but wait for Charter to “fix the problem.”  But hold on a minute… is that really ALL I can do??????  Hmmm…. I could, but I don’t think so, at least I have want to get things done.  “Duh, Theresa…...what did you used to do BEFORE high-speed,” I asked myself.  Certainly I managed to write a blog, check in on Facebook, answer e-mail, do homework, pay bills, take care of business…..for MANY YEARS without high-speed. How?  Well, I would write my post on a word document, copy it on a flash drive, go to the college an hour early each morning or drive to a place where I could access WI-FI and post my thoughts, or connect to the very slow dial-up and wait – and wait – and wait…. Bottom line…..I did whatever I needed to do to get what I needed done.  Was it a pain?  You bet!  Did it require extra effort?  Certainly!  Did I get irritated, agitated, frustrated?  All the time.  But…. I did what I had to do, because I didn’t really have any other choice if I wanted to be use be online and communicate with the world.

SO…..If you are experiencing a plateau or a period of “blah,” you have two choices…..You could just do what I temporarily did this morning (make an excuse that my hands were tied so I wasted time playing a dumb game)…you could justify eating a piece of cake (what’s the use, I haven’t lost a pound in 3 weeks and I’ve stayed on track, I might as well eat a treat)….. OR….you could go back to the basics (check my pc, reboot my system, restart the modem)….To make sure there is not a problem on your end (recalculate your calories….go back to measuring your food….are you really staying on track or is that little bite here and there adding up…..have you honestly been staying on track, doing your exercise, tracking accurately your food????)   If you are….then you can either….WAIT IT OUT patiently (Charter can’t be out for too long, can it?)…. “This plateau can’t last for much longer, can it?”…..OR…..you can do what you used to do before or adjust your routine…(copy and paste, go to work early to use the internet…all things that require extra effort but must be done if I want to post this blog..)…..switch up your food, change your exercise, add some weights, drink more water.     

For a moment, I gave in this morning…..but not for long. I got myself focused…. I did what I needed to do….even if it was/is a pain…even if it is annoying….even if it is
inconvenient….even if I’m agitated, frustrated, etc…… BECAUSE….I want the end result. If I would have done nothing….meaning played that game all morning instead of writing this….when service is restored (and it will be AT SOME POINT), I would be that much further behind….because I would have wasted the time this morning doing nothing. If you do NOTHING while you wait out your plateau….or worse yet….you go off track and justify a treat….when your weight loss kicks back in….(AND IT WILL eventually)…..you will be that much further behind.   Do what you need to do….whether you are “connected or not”….whether the scale is showing it or not……and eventually, you will be back “online” or “on-track.”  Don’t let a temporary annoyance or disruption totally knock you off your game!  The choice is yours.

Make it a good day!