One thing no one tells us at the start of our weight loss journey is that, at one point or another, we will hit a plateau.
When we begin our new diet or fitness regime, it doesn’t take long to see results. For the first few weeks or so, we see a consistently declining number on the scale.
But sooner or later, that number stops moving. Once we realize this isn’t due to a broken scale, we feel confused and worried. We wonder, “What am I doing wrong?” “Why did I suddenly stop losing weight?”
The truth is, weight loss plateaus are totally normal. A break from losing weight doesn’t mean you cannot get any slimmer, nor does it mean you are failing.
In this week’s article and YouTube video, I’m discussing why weight loss plateaus happen and, more importantly, how to move past them.
But rather than focusing on common strategies and tactics, I’m sharing some lesser-known yet highly effective ways to end the stagnation, which I’ve neatly packaged into an actionable 3-step process.
So, let’s start with step number one…
Step 1 – Detach from the outcome and stabilize
The first thing to do when you encounter a weight loss plateau is check in with your mindset.
This is important as it is so easy for us to let our minds run wild with thoughts like “I’ll never get to my ideal weight” or “I knew I would fail.”
But a plateau is not a sign of failure at all.
No one said the weight loss journey would be one smooth downhill slope. There is no rule that you have to be losing weight constantly. And not losing weight doesn’t mean you will put it back on.
It is totally possible and OK to stagnate at a certain weight for a while.
So, if you notice anxiety creeping in, switch your mindset to seeing this plateau as an opportunity to stabilize and adjust to your new weight and body size.
In fact, learning how to maintain a new weight is essential because it’s something you’ll have to do when you reach your ideal weight.
So see this break as a practice run – if you can hold your current position now, you’ll be able to do it further down the line, too.
Switching your mindset like this allows you to feel good about maintaining this new weight rather than feeling bad because you have stopped losing the pounds.
You now know your current habits, lifestyle choices, and diet are required to maintain this weight. So, as long as you continue with them, you won’t regain the weight you’ve already lost.
When you look at it from that perspective, you’ll see it more like a win than a failure, which leads us to step 2…
Step 2 – Celebrate your success
Sure, you haven’t yet reached your ideal weight, but you have made SOME progress. Your current weight is lower than your starting weight, so isn’t that something to celebrate?
I’m a huge believer in celebrating our wins in all aspects of life, and here’s why:
Celebrating your achievements and expressing gratitude for what you have will increase the positive energy around you and open you up to receive more blessings.
So, as you pause in this plateau, express thanks for your progress so far – that will fuel you to advance further!
Gratitude also increases your emotional resilience, allowing you to quickly bounce back from challenges or setbacks. This is vital in the weight loss journey – Without resilience, you can quickly become discouraged and give up completely, which is absolutely THE WORST thing you could do.
Once you’ve cultivated an attitude of gratitude, you can move on to the final step…
Step 3 – Clear your blocks and move forward
This step relates to the “Upper Limit Problem,” a concept coined by author and psychologist Gay Hendricks in his book “The Big Leap.”
The Upper Limit Problem is a subconscious barrier we face when we start to experience higher levels of success, wealth, happiness, or health than we’ve previously had. This self-imposed limit can appear in various ways and often leads us to self-sabotage.
So, how does this relate to weight loss?
It’s likely you unconsciously have a specific weight you think you can achieve (which is known as a mental block). For example, you may think that after having three kids, it is impossible to return to the weight you were before your first pregnancy.
Now, if, despite your beliefs, you start to approach your previous weight, inner conflict (known as cognitive dissonance) arises. This creates an uncomfortable or anxious feeling because your current reality conflicts with your ingrained beliefs about yourself.
Now, if we don’t tune into our thoughts and catch this cognitive dissonance, here’s what happens…
To stop the feeling of discomfort, we unconsciously self-sabotage by ruining our diet or slacking on our exercise routine. Sometimes, the self-sabotage can be minor enough that we don’t notice we are doing it, but it is enough to halt our progress and ensure our reality aligns with our perceived limitations.
If, like me, you’re fascinated by how our minds play tricks and try to trip us up, I highly recommend watching the full YouTube video where I go deeper into these psychology concepts.
You’ll find the full episode here: https://drkimfoster.com/163
If you prefer an audio-only version, here’s where you can listen to the podcast episode:
I’d love to know your thoughts about this somewhat unconventional process of moving through a weight loss plateau.
Can you identify some mindset blocks or limiting beliefs holding you back?
If so, let me know in the comments, or find me on Instagram and send me a DM!
Download my free Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life workbook: https://drkimfoster.com/mindset
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