Punctuated Equilibrium

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

“See how I had a spike in my stats on that day. That’s when that website linked to me.” I was showing Mike my webstats last year. He replied, “Yeah, you’ll notice that your numbers will go back down, but they will be a little bit higher than they were before they linked to you. It’s called Punctuated Equilibrium.” I crinkled my brow at him and he continued, “It’s a biological term, actually, but it describes this… I guess because we are dealing with people and people are biological, it works…”

Punctuated Equilibrium is a theory that states that jumps in evolution can happen suddenly with long periods of stabilization afterwards. I see it in my webstats. I will get linked to a big site, I’ll have a huge jump in traffic, it will ease off, but never as low as it was before the huge jump.

It took me three years to notice the same phenomenon in my weight loss. After looking at the graph, my weight loss has followed the same pattern. I will have a large loss and the next week or two, I will either gain a little or maintain. On the whole, the graph has gone down consistently, but there were just months where things would stay the same.

It was hard for me not to panic during the Equilibrium time. When things felt like they were stagnating, it really meant that my body was catching up. When that scale didn’t move, my mind was getting used to the idea of being thin. My weight loss journey has taken so long that by the time I get to goal, I am going to be completely acclimated to life as a thin person.

Next time you feel discouraged that the scale hasn’t moved and you know that you did everything perfectly the week before, remember the phrase Punctuated Equilibrium. You might be waiting for that big loss that is coming in the next week or two. Just hold on.


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