“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 1/2 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.
Have you done my 28-Day Smart Start? It’s designed to provide daily emails to help you make slow and steady changes you can stick with. Here’s what satisfied customer Cathy had to say about it…
“Martha – I just love all of your advice. I am about a week into your 28-Day Smart Start Challenge and learning a lot about the importance of small changes. Thank you for making a difference in my life!” ~Kerry M.