There are many physical ways to overcome weight loss plateau: diet, exercise, short-term tricks. But from my own success at losing weight and from experience working with clients, I've learned there's always an underlying reason why you're not able to lose more weight. Unless you address it, you'll struggle to succeed.
For example, many women lose some (or sometimes quite a lot of) weight when they start eating healthier. But the weight loss almost always stops before they reach their "ideal" body. When I changed my diet in 2010, the first 22 pounds fell off effortlessly and quickly. I was happy with my results, felt more energized and healed many health issues.
However, my weight suddenly froze no matter what changes I made in my diet. It stayed at the same number for over a year.
Eventually I lost the weight I wanted, but it took almost four years. It wasn't just gradual weight loss, either: I hit a weight loss plateau at least three times during those years!
Having overcome the dreaded weight loss plateau several times, I can tell you that the secret isn't some sort of magical diet trick or miraculous exercise routine. It's much deeper than all of that. It's your mindset.
Here are the first steps you can take to overcoming your own weight loss plateau:
1. Discover the real reason(s) you're overweight.
If you're carrying excess weight, the primary reason probably isn't your diet, lack of exercise, lifestyle habits or lack of willpower. Yes, all of these factors play a major role in your health and how your body feels and appears, but they're just a manifestation of the real, deeper reason.
For example, fat works as protection. We're building a shield of fat in an attempt to protect ourselves from perceived threats. Many of us have different fears and we constantly feel threatened, whether consciously or subconsciously. Fat may also serve as a means to hide, be invisible and not shine your true light.
Sometimes people feel unfulfilled in some areas of their lives. Perhaps they sense they're not following their true purpose. Maybe they're not happy with their relationships. Maybe they don't feel a spiritual connection. They subconsciously try to fill that inner void with food.
There are many deeper psychological reasons why you might be carrying that excess weight. It's important to discover those that apply to you and address them if you want to get rid of fat with permanent, lasting results.
2. Accept your current reality.
I see so many women obsessively weighing themselves, restricting calories, blaming their metabolism and wondering, "Why am I putting all that effort into losing weight but not getting results?"
Obsessively focusing on weight loss, hating your body shape and thinking that your life will be perfect when you lose weight are manifestations of the thing that's keeping you overweight. It shows when you don't accept what is, when you resist the current reality. And whatever you resist persists.
In order to break through the plateau and release stubborn excess weight, first you need to accept your current body and be OK with it. This doesn't mean that you want to stay the way you are forever, but you need to accept the current reality: "OK, this is what I did to my body, this is how I currently look. No matter what, I still love and appreciate my body".
Only then will you be free to relieve the internal tension, feel at ease and focus on achieving positive changes.
3. Find the right motivation.
When I think about weight loss motivation, what often comes to mind is those motivational posters depicting hot fitness models repeating hollow phrases like "No pain, no gain" or "Strong is the new skinny."
But I personally think this type of motivation is superficial, even damaging. It might get you pumped for a little while, but take a step back and ask yourself why exactly should having perfect abs be your focus?
We are conditioned by the media and mass culture to assume that being skinny and fit will bring us happiness and make our lives whole. Usually these assumptions are not even conscious. But what is truly important is to feel free and connected, have lots of energy and have the confidence to fully express yourself.
You have to figure out how you truly want to feel, identify your core values in life and take ownership of your vision. Everyone is different, so this has to be your personal manifesto, not one cut and pasted from a glossy magazine. Then let those values, that vision and those desired feelings guide you and be your motivation.
This motivation comes from within, is authentic for YOU and brings harmony to your life. Everything else will follow naturally.
Photo courtesy of the author