Even if you’ve been cruising down the road to health for some time now, as the end of the year approaches, there are many things that might cause you to put on the brakes — or even stop you in your tracks. With the changes in the seasons and the stress and temptations of the holidays, it’s easy for your health journey to take a bit of a detour.
But beyond that, it’s also common this time of year for people to lose motivation or begin to plateau. Of course, hitting roadblocks on the way to getting healthy is normal any time of year. And under most circumstances, you would simply seek a new approach and try to push through. As the year draws to a close, however, hitting a bump in the road can cause many people to veer completely off course.
Maybe you’re too busy with the holiday hoopla to take proper care of yourself. Maybe the cooler weather makes you less motivated to be physically active. Or maybe you want to overindulge in holiday goodies and not have to think about your gut health.
With so many health challenges in the next couple months, people often choose to take a step back from prioritizing wellness. Rather than attempting to overcome the many potential fall and winter obstacles, it might seem easier simply to put your health on hold.
You’ll be healthy again after the New Year, right? You might be telling yourself that you’ll just pick up where you left off come January, when “get healthier again!” will top your New Year’s resolutions list.
But if you let yourself backslide too far, it can be that much harder to get back on track. Here’s a look at how and why most people plateau, along with some ways to fight it and get back to a healthier you.
What Is a Plateau?
“Hitting a plateau” is probably a phrase you’ve heard fairly regularly. It just means that your momentum toward a goal has slowed or stopped, and you’re no longer making progress or seeing results. You can plateau in any area of your life.
For example, athletes often talk about plateauing when they're no longer getting stronger or faster. You might plateau in your weight-loss journey if you’re not shedding pounds anymore. You can hit an emotional plateau if you lose interest in getting healthy or become discouraged, or if you’re suddenly having emotional issues that you can’t seem to resolve.
And where your health journey is concerned, you’re plateauing when you’ve been seeing noticeable improvement in your overall health until suddenly, you’re no longer making strides in the right direction. Despite seemingly doing everything you can to achieve optimal wellness, nothing seems to be working anymore.
What Does It Mean if You Plateau?
Plateauing can be a sign that you need to move to a deeper level of detox. During heightened physical and/or emotional stress, you may plateau if your body just needs to maintain and stabilize for a bit before it can make more progress. Your system might just need to refresh and reset.
Everybody’s health journey is unique and individual, and everyone moves at a different pace. It’s completely normal to have ups and downs, good times and bad times — and there’s nothing wrong with you if you encounter plateaus along the way to wellness. In fact, it’s completely normal and to be expected. Don’t be alarmed if it happens to you.
As long as you don’t give up on being healthy and can work through plateaus rather than letting them get the best of you, you can rest assured that you will eventually make headway again.
On the other hand, plateaus should be temporary. If you find yourself stuck in a rut and unable to get past a plateau for the longer term, you may need to make some changes to your health routine.
What Causes Someone to Plateau?
So you think you’ve hit a plateau. You’re stuck. You aren’t feeling better, and in fact, you may even be feeling sicker. All the work you’ve done toward reaching your health objectives is suddenly at a standstill. Understandably, you’re getting frustrated.
Remember to be patient. If you’re just beginning your health journey or you’ve been taking a series of baby steps along the way, it may just be that you’re making slow and steady progress. But you could still be moving in the right direction. Small changes and healthy habit adjustments take time to build to a point where the difference is really noticeable.
Think of it like saving up for a rainy day. If you put a penny in a jar every day, it’s going to take a while before you even have so much as a dollar. And you might not notice the pennies piling up until you’ve collected a bunch. It may seem like you've hit a plateau, but as long as you stick to those healthy habits, you're still making a daily contribution to your health. However, if you’re sure that you’ve hit a genuine plateau and not just a slow patch, don’t lose hope. The first step is to identify what’s causing you to plateau, so you know how to deal with it and move past it. Here’s a look at some common reasons that many people plateau.
Die-off symptoms happen during a parasite cleanse or detoxification protocol. As you’re working to kill any parasites in your body, keep in mind that the process is a little bit like poking a sleeping bear. Those parasites have been blissfully living inside you, stealing your nutrients and taking advantage of the hospitable surroundings your organs are providing them.
But now, you’re going to be disturbing their peace as you attempt to eliminate them from their happy home. And they’re not going to go down without a fight. You’re effectively stirring things up, agitating them. So any defenses that these buggers have are going to be kicked into high gear as they try to hang on for dear life. That means that any symptoms the parasites might be capable of causing you are going to be intensified. And you’re likely to feel the difference. (1,2,3,4)
In addition, as parasites die, they give off toxins in the form of toxic heavy metals, neurotoxins, and others. These toxins circulate throughout your body, causing a range of unpleasant symptoms, such as: (5,6,7,8,9,10)
Emotional issues, especially anxiety and depression (see below for more on emotions and plateauing)
Flu-like symptoms, including fever and chills
Stuffed-up nose/excess mucus
Die-off symptoms can make us feel worse and seem to set us back. This is another form of plateau.
Especially with the holidays looming, this time of year can be emotionally charged. Many people can feel a range of negative emotions associated with the end of the year, such as the stress of holiday activities and preparations, loneliness or depression, and perhaps a bit of family drama to accompany various holiday gatherings. These types of emotional issues can definitely cause you to plateau.
Emotions and organ function
Your emotions can affect your health in different ways. For example, emotional stress can affect your organ function. When your body is under emotional strain, it enters sympathetic mode, which is your “fight-or-flight” mode. (1,4)
When that happens, your body instinctively removes energy and blood flow from your digestive tract, for example, and carries them to your muscles and brain to protect those important organs. But that leaves other organs more vulnerable. (4)
The effect of memories
Or you may be emotionally plateauing if your mind is stuck on a certain incident in your life and won’t let go of the memories and associations with that experience. This is especially true of traumatic or life-altering events. For example, when you get into a car accident, the brain is recording information from all your senses — all your emotions, fears, and thoughts at that instant. And those memories linger. (2,3,4)
The same thing could happen when moving into a home with water damage, for instance. If you’ve been exposed to toxic mold previously, maybe your self-talk will now keep telling you that you’re going to get sick. Maybe you feel shame or guilt for bringing your family into that situation.
Our brain always compares input from our senses to past recordings. That helps our minds get a jumpstart on responding to situations. So, whether or not we're aware of it consciously, our brain is replaying situations all day long. (2,3,4)
It's like having 20 apps open on your phone, but you really only need two or three to update regularly. Having all those apps open and refreshing continuously behind the scenes drains your battery life more quickly.
Our bodies are the same way. These memories play all day long: neck tension, stress, worry — and they rob us of our energy, even if we don’t realize that they’re in the background. This is another way that our emotions and emotional memories can cause us to get stuck, or plateau. (2,3,4)
Finally, one of the main reasons that people plateau is because of a mental block. Sometimes our perceptions or beliefs about ourselves, our ability to heal, and even whether we deserve to heal can be roadblocks. And if our motivation is lagging and our heart is just not in it, we’re not going to put forth the same effort nor achieve the same results. Often, you may not even notice that you’ve stopped trying quite as hard.
Exposure to toxins
You’re exposed to many toxins every day, from chemicals in the products you use to mold in your home to radioactive elements in your drinking water. You already know that toxicity can affect you both emotionally and physically. It can make you sick, and it can cause you to plateau. (11,12,13,14)
A plateau could be the result of a new exposure — a different toxin or sudden increases in levels of a certain toxin. Or it could be toxicity that’s been slowly building over time and is now affecting your health.
Either way, if toxicity is at the root of your health issues, you need to address the situation to help your long-term healing. In addition to reducing your exposure to toxins wherever possible, try to keep your terrain healthy and strong. That way, your body will be better equipped to handle toxins without plateauing.
You probably already know that drainage is the first step of detox. Drainage refers to keeping things moving inside you to get all the harmful and unhealthy things out of your body.
Are you familiar with the drainage funnel? It refers to the order in which fluids move through the body to remove toxins. The cells are at the top of the funnel, and the colon is at the bottom. The drainage funnel also includes the organs and tissues, lymphatic system, liver and bile ducts, and the skin, lungs, and kidneys. All of these work to eliminate toxins from the body.
When that funnel gets plugged up and you’re not draining properly, you’re going to start to have symptoms, such as constipation and other gut issues, kidney and/or lung damage, and skin reactions, among many others. If you experience these types of symptoms, you’ve likely also hit a plateau. (15,16,17,18,7)
Sometimes, a plateau can result when the body experiences actual physical or structural changes.
For example, inflammation or infection in a tissue may have resulted in the formation of scar tissue or adhesions. Adhesions are clusters or bands of scar-like tissue that can restrict the movement of some organs and tissues. They can even cause these organs and tissues to stick together instead of slipping and sliding past each other like they should. (19,20,21,8)
Structural issues like those can prevent an organ from functioning properly. The organ may not be able to make the hormones or chemicals that it’s supposed to make to keep you healthy. Or it might not be able to drain properly. This, in turn, affects the lymph system and drainage funnel, which can slow down your health journey and cause you to plateau. (8,22)
What Can You Do to Break Out of a Plateau?
No matter how busy or stressed you might get this time of year, it’s important not to put your health on the back burner. Finding the time and emotional drive to take care of yourself is crucial. If you prioritize your own well-being, even in the midst of all the hectic holiday hassles, it may actually lessen your stress levels and improve both your emotional and physical resilience.
So now that you’re willing to focus on getting out of that stuck status and putting that plateau behind you, what should you do? Maybe your body just needs more energy or emotional support to move into a deeper layer of detox. Maybe you need to boost your drainage first.
Exactly how to handle a plateau depends on what sort of plateau it is, and there are several methods appropriate for each. Here are some tips for breaking free of emotional, physical, and structural plateaus.
How you feel emotionally during your healing journey is just as important as your physical health. If you need some emotional assistance to cut that plateau loose, here are some useful approaches: (1,4)
Emotional clearing involves bringing out even deep-seeded or hidden emotions so that you can better face and cope with them. Emotion code is a similar type of emotional release therapy. Other forms of emotional therapy, as well as breathwork, may also help you heal and move beyond a plateau.
Sometimes all you need is a little encouragement and moral support to stay the course and keep going. Find someone to confide in and talk to — a family member, friend, or support group.
Journaling, meditation, or mindfulness training can help relax you in times of emotional turmoil or stress.
If your plateau is the result of physical issues, here are a few very simple options to help get you through it:
Consider additional drainage and/or energy support.
Try different levels of exercise or activity to move your body into an improved metabolic state.
If you’ve hit a plateau because of a structural problem, it might help to try the following:
Visceral manipulation uses gentle manipulation of the organs and surrounding connective tissue to move things back into place or alleviate any structural problems. (23,24,25)
If your lymph is getting stuck or clogged, lymphatic work like lymph massage or yoga can encourage better lymph drainage. (26,27,28,29)
The “Sonic Slider” is another item to add to your toolbox. It’s a tuning fork that uses sound therapy not only to support the lymphatic system, but also to promote better digestion, higher energy levels, improved skin health, and increased muscle tone and weight loss. It also reduces pain.
Feeling Stuck? Just Stick With It!
Hitting a plateau can be flat-out frustrating. But plateaus are common and don’t have to be more than a slight hurdle to climb. Even when the road to wellness is a little bumpy, that doesn’t mean that your health has to fall flat.
If you can recognize those times when you’re plateauing and what might be causing it, you can begin to do the work to get past it and back on your way to good health.
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