“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
What do you do when you reach a plateau? How do you stay focused when the weight loss stops?
That's what "A" wrote to ask me a while back....
"Martha..I am struggling with staying focused on eating healthy....I have lost 10 pounds but now I have stopped....have not lost anymore...it has been a month....how do I motivate myself to move forward with a positive attitude...this is the same thing that happened in weight watchers and I dropped out after joining twice...thank you in advance for your help." - A
How to Stay Motivated When You Reach a Weight Loss Plateau?
Because this is a situation all of us will face at some point or another I'm sharing my response here in hope that it helps as many people as possible who are feeling stuck...
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to healthy eating and weight loss. We all have to find our own unique "recipe" blending a variety of "ingredients" that can work in the long run.
Any thoughts on why you haven't lost any more weight in a month? Are you trying too hard? or have you stopped trying?
I had to change the way I looked at weight loss, letting go of my short-term "diet" mentality which is the reason most diets fail.. I instead began to focus on a long-term sustainable approach that I could see myself doing forever. Instead of focusing on a number on the scale I began to think about what my longterm goal was: To grow old gracefully and vibrantly. To live a happy, healthy life. To look and feel my best.
I started to think about little changes I was willing to make and let go of intense dieting and deprivation. I let go of extremes and all-or-nothing thinking and thought about moderation. I began to think about what my grandmother who lived to be 93 did to stay slim and active.
I began to pay attention to how different foods made me feel. Did they energize me or weigh me down? Did they keep me fueled for hours or was I hungry a short time after eating them?
We have to think about managing our weight the way we think about managing our finances or our home or our work. We are never done. It's a journey.
Little tweaks over time add up. As my favorite yoga teacher says, "a little yoga done often is better than a lot of yoga done once in a while."
What little changes/tweaks can you make? Substitutions can you make? What are you willing to give up? What are you not willing to give up? What is the one thing you could do to make healthy eating fun or at least not such a pain?
I have developed my own set of "food rules" based on my likes and dislikes.....
- I only eat when I am physically hungry.
- I try to make it a habit to only eat when seated.
- I make sure to get plenty of sleep because when I don't I'm constantly hungry.
- I work to keep my stress low because when it's high I crave sugar and salty, crunchy snacks, like cheesy crackers (a definite trigger food).
- I only eat snacks that don't come in packages which means mostly fruits, vegetables, small amounts of nuts, hard boiled eggs, etc.
- I limit my snacking to when I'm really hungry.
- My drink of choice is water. I don't drink my calories, except for the beer/wine I have with dinner
- I try to makes sure I get 5+ servings of fruits/veg every day and limit my carbs to 5 or less servings. (A serving is equal to one slice of bread or about ½ cup of pasta! - not very much!!)
- I try to move my body in ways I enjoy every day. For me that means yoga and walking.
- I've learned to be happy with 2-3 bites of dessert. Some people I know want larger amounts so they have desserts and sweet treats less often. My grandmother was the queen of the "little sliver" of dessert.
- I'm constantly talking to myself and asking questions such as, "Is it worth it?" when it comes to food. I like to save my precious calories for the foods I really love.
- I don't keep "trigger foods" or foods I lose all control around in the house. For me that would be things like cheeze-its.
- I don't deprive myself of anything. If I really really want it I have it. But sometimes I play a game of delayed gratification with myself. When I want some indulgence, I tell myself I can have it later or tomorrow or on Saturday. Often the craving passes.
These are things that work for me.
Your list might be very different. The key is to stick with it and push through the plateaus with plenty of patience and loads of loving kindness.
Martha is the founder and main content writer for Simple-Nourished-Living.
A longtime lifetime WW at goal, she is committed to balancing her love of food and desire to stay slim while savoring life and helping others do the same.
She is the author of the Smart Start 28-Day Weight Loss Challenge.
A huge fan of the slow cooker and confessed cookbook addict, when she's not experimenting in the kitchen, you're likely to find Martha on her yoga mat.
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Hi Martha, Looking forward to the Mindless Eating Challenge!!!!!! Thank You!
Hi Martha, I love your recipes and inspirational messages. This post really helped to try to get me back on track especially the finance part. It made more sense when I equated my eating budget to my finance budget. I do have one question did you really mean "I try to makes sure I get 5+ servings of fruits/veg every day and limit my carbs to 5 or less servings. (A serving is equal to one slice of bread or about 1/2 cup of pasta! – not very much!!) -- 5 carbs seems like a lot to me. Thanks again for your encouraging words and great tasting recipes.
Hi Susan, Glad you found this post, as well as my recipes and quotes helpful! Yes, I do focus on eating 5+ servings of fruits and vegetables and 5 or less servings of carbs. Back under the old WW exchange program (when I first lost my weight on WW) we were allotted 2-3 servings of starch/day. After week 5 we got a floating exchange that I always used for carbs, so I was able to eat 4 servings of starch and successfully lose weight. Now that I am in maintenance 5 or less seems to work for me but everyone is different. Any wine or sweet treats would also be counted toward my 5 or less. Hope this helps. -Martha
Hi. I have learned to love cooking and eating healthily since I found your web site. You do an amazing service for me. I’m a carb person so I eat more carbs than protein. But I eat healthy carbs because of your website. So far I have lost 43 pounds. It feels great. I agree. You have to find your own rythme. I don’t deprive myself of anything but I find my wants have diminished. Thank you very much for all your hard work!
Hi Sandy, Thanks so very much for your thoughtful comment. So happy to know I have helped you on your journey of eating healthy carbs while losing weight. Congratulations on your 43 pound loss. That's terrific! ~Martha
I really enjoy reading your blog. You have been a true inspiration to me as I got back on track with my WWs. I have been a member for several years, but I lost focus and I gained some of the weight that I lost. I am happy to say that I have gotten back on track and I am back at my goal weight. My husband reminds me of the 3 "D's" he shares with his students: "Discipline, Dedication and Determination." I've learned that all 3 have to be in place. Keep up the wonderful job you are doing in providing great information and encouragement to so many of us. Have a great week and upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday.
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment. Happy to know you've found the blog helpful getting back on track. Congratulations for getting back to goal! I' love the 3Ds. It's really so true. Discipline, dedication and determination are integral for the successful completion of any undertaking. Happy holidays to you. ~Martha
I have been focused on an eating plan that is similar to KETO, but more flexible. I watch my macros and work hard to keep a 10/70/20’ratio of carbs to fats to protein. I’ve lost 20 lbs but concerned about the higher fat intake. Mostly good fats, but not used to this ratio. I like your stance on eating and wondered if you could comment on this type of eating or just share your carb choices with me if you don’t want to comment on the eating plan Inhave described. Thanks!
Hi Jill, I'm not really qualified to comment on your eating plan as I have no experience at all with KETO. I eat carbs in moderation. I lost weight on an old WW Exchange Program so I still think in terms of servings of food per day, usually limiting carb selections to 2-3/day. Hope this helps. ~Martha
This post was especially helpful for me Martha!! Thanks for your encouragement!!! I LOVE your recipes. I’ve been married 44 years. My husband loves all the new recipes/meals we are trying. Tells me he’s getting spoiled.
Thanks, Joyce. I very much appreciate you kind comment and am so happy you are enjoying the recipes. ~Martha