I recently spoke with a client who was experiencing anxiety from the most challenging part of the weight loss process: the plateau. Before the plateau you were making lots of changes with food, exercise, lifestyle, and even your attitude about life. You felt energized, successful, and almost glowing by seeing the scale drop week by week. Now you step on after a month of losing and you see it: the number is a few pounds higher than last week.
Then start all the questions, cycling thoughts, negative feelings (failure, sadness, anger, guilt, frustration, confusion, etc.). I thought I was doing so well? What did I do different from last week? Was it that extra apple I ate yesterday? Thoughts start to take over and ultimately do not become very sound anymore. You may start reaching for far-fetched reasons of why you have failed at your diet, exercise, and life in general.
But here is the thing to remember: this is a normal part of the weight loss process!! It doesn’t seem like it should be, but it is. Before you started your weight loss process, you had probably stayed at the same weight for quite some time. Then you made several significant changes, and your body responded by losing weight, or body mass. Now your body has started to catch on to what you are doing, and it is starting to create another “homeostasis” where it feels it can stay comfortable. This is the point in your weight loss where you want to look at several factors:
– is this where I want to be? If so, then I will start focus on maintaining this new weight and the fluctuations that happen around it.
– do I have the goal to safely lose more weight? Then you have to look at your exercise routine: what can be changed? Do you have the time/energy to safely make those changes?
– How is your nutrition routine going? Is there anything in that routine that can be modified without you feeling deprived, hungry, or low on energy?
Meeting with a Registered Dietitian during this “plateau” time can be extremely helpful on your path to success and overall wellness. This plateau time is a great chance to make the small, important changes that can help you meet your goal and sustain that goal for life!