The Dreaded Weight Loss Plateau

The dreaded weight loss plateau. We all know what it’s like, you’ve lost a few kilograms and you are feeling good, but now, no matter what you do, it’s seems the scales refuse to budge. It’s a situation faced by everyone, but when it happens to you, it is easy to question if you are really on the right track. You wonder what is going on. You’ve done all the right things; regular consults with your Dietitian, following a healthy eating plan, your exercise regime is going great guns, but there is no weight loss in sight. You start to wonder if it’s really worth all the trouble, and if you are really on the right track. The answer is a definitive ‘Yes,’ you are on the right path, not the latest ‘quick fix’ fad diet, but a permanent lifestyle change to find a happier and healthy you.

Sadly, this is where many people lose their way, however a weight-loss plateau is in fact something worth celebrating and is a defining moment in your journey. Now is the time to reassert your goals and keep going. Understanding your motivations is important when riding out the frustrations of a weight loss plateau. This is the time to fully understand why you are making these changes and recommitting to those goals. Starting out on healthy new plan is easy, that’s the ‘honeymoon phase,’ but committing to a longer term view is the path to permanent change.

It is essential to explore right from the start what your goals are, and if these are appropriately researched in the first place. Simply reaffirming these goals should be enough to kick on past the mental hurdle of a weight loss speed bump.

It’s important to understand what weight loss means to you. What motivates everyone will be different, but knowing your motivations is an important part of ensuring lasting change is achieved.

Even so, a weight loss plateau is a frustrating hurdle. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects to grapple with is an understanding of why it has actually occurred. A weight loss plateau can make you doubt the advice and direction given by your health professional. What’s important to remember is that plateaus do occur, and they are merely a minor hurdle on the road to continued lifestyle change. So what does contribute to, or cause a weight loss plateau ? What do we need to do to recognise their cause and overcome them ?

Unconscious or Conscious Non-adherence ?

Non-adherence regularly occurs for a number of different reasons. The most common reason for giving up when we hit the first speed bump is that we set ourselves unrealistic goals, and when we don’t see the rate of progress we desire, we simply ‘burn out.’ Another factor in our non-adherence can be that our commitment to making the changes to our health gradually diminishes over time. We forget to continue to harness our motivations as to ‘Why?’ Our diligence wanes and we lose sight of why we are on this journey.

Sometimes we can misinterpret the information provided to us, or simply choose not to follow the plan. One aspect of non-adherence not directly addressed in face-to-face consultation is whether or not the root of the non-adherence is a conscious or unconscious activity. As the phrase suggests, an instance of unconscious non-adherence can occur without us evening knowing – it may simply occur as a result of including a new food source in our diet which we don’t have an understanding of appropriate serving size. An issue like this can often incur a weight loss plateau, and is something easily identified and corrected by  your Dietitian.

Conscious non-adherence is a greater issue to tackle. Where our health and health goals were once our highest priority, this shifts, and instant gratification for momentary comfort becomes our main concern. Conscious non-adherence requires an individual to re-evaluate the strength of their initial goals, and exactly ‘why’ it is they chose to embark on the journey. Tackling ingrained behaviours is something that may require continued consultation with health professionals.

Intake and Expenditure Equilibrium

Weight loss plateaus also regularly occur as a result of energy intake matching the energy requirements of our changed weight. At this stage we will need to re-examine the plan – either adjusting the level of exercise and/or strengthening dietary restrictions. A systematic and planned approach, with the help of your Dietitian and Exercise Physiologist, is your best plan for success.

If you would like to avoid the dreaded weight loss plateau then book in a free health and fitness assessment with Optimum Health Solutions. Fill in the form below and we’ll contact you!

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