If you’re working on a long term project or some form of transformation you will be familiar with “the valley of despair”.
For me, it’s been through my ongoing fitness transformation that I have begun to understood this place and been able to apply it to other areas of my life. For most people on a weight loss journey, we call this the plateau; when we’ve got our habits in check, our nutrition is improving and we’re working out well but still those hips won’t shift!
Zero pounds lost!
To say it can be disheartening is an understatement! You’re putting your all into this weight loss so it’s not unreasonable for you to expect results. You lower your expectations, in the hope of uplifting yourself but still that scale isn’t giving you a single ounce! Now, there are many reasons why that could be happening but I’m not a fitness expert so I’ll leave Google to help you with that one. But what I have learned is that the valley of despair has been a good place for me. Whilst I would love to be dropping those fatty pounds on a weekly basis, I’ve learned to use other methods to measure my progress.
- How many full body push-ups can I do in one set compared to last month?
- How much more weight can I lift?
- How clean is my food diary?
- How much better am I feeling, mentally, emotionally and physically?
For example , this weekend we had a cupcake each but by the next day, my husband hadn’t eaten his. When he said he wouldn’t be eating it, I threw it straight into the food caddy. It’s only moments later I realised what i’d done. This time last year I would have eaten that cupcake. Not all your progress can be quantified.
In the valley of despair I have really learned to change my mindset and work on my habits. I have some way to go but I realise that, had that weight just dropped off with little struggle I would still have the same poor habits and a weak mindset. Some things are meant to be tough and like my PT Robbie always says; – most people think that starting is the hardest thing. But trudging on and doing your best even when you can’t “see” the results, that’s hard! – I would agree.
Now most of us have done this, we’ve been wallowing in the valley of despair for so long we decide enough is enough. Fair enough! But going back to the same habits that got us in this situation in the first place is plain silly. If you’ve had enough of the valley of despair and want to quit! Go ahead, but choose another strategy, don’t give up completely and lose all the hard work that you’ve put in.
In the valley of despair, there are lessons to be learned. The longer you’re there the more there is for you to learn. This applies to many areas of our lives! Keep hope alive; reassess your goals and strategy but whatever you do, don’t give up! You’re no longer the same person that started this journey, you’re better, stronger, healthier.