Staying Motivated through Weight Plateaus
While you are bound to have some blips in the road along your way to your weight loss goal, it is important to stay positive to help you move forward. Perhaps you no longer feel you are losing weight fast enough, or you’ve reached a weight plateau. One key is not to focus too much on the number on the scale. You are striving for a healthy weight range and a healthier BMI, not a specific weight. There are natural variations in your weight based on the times of day, fluid retention, salt intake, and perhaps hormones. It is recommended that you weigh yourself once a week in the morning without extra clothes. Record your weight to note the overall trend. There can also be positive changes in your body measurements (such as a smaller waist size) or your clothes may fit without actual weight loss. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others. Metabolism, genetics, body composition (muscle weighing more than fat) and perhaps certain medications all play a role in your weight. Be realistic with your expectations. Keep in mind that losing approximately 50 percent of your excess weight is considered a success.
Regardless of where you are on your weight loss journey, look at how far you’ve come. Your body image of the lighter new you sometimes lags your actual weight loss. Maybe you have kept a piece of clothing from before surgery, or have an old photo for comparison. Recall some of the positive comments or surprised exclamations from others who hadn’t seen you since surgery. It is helpful to journal compliments you receive as you lose weight. Also record each new achievement. This can be tying your shoes with more ease, traveling by plane comfortably, or going on amusement park rides with less difficulty. Remembering the initial reason you sought weight loss surgery can keep your weight in perspective, even if you have not yet reached your goal. Perhaps you have more energy, can walk further without getting short of breath, have better physical health in general, take fewer medications, or experience less pain.
Next, look at where you still want to go. What else do you want to accomplish? Perhaps it is having more variety when you shop for clothes, feeling more confident at work and in social settings, or returning to your old favorite sports or outdoor activities. It is best to have short term goals such as an upcoming wedding or family gathering, as well as long term goals, such as living longer to play with your kids/grandkids. Write these personal goals down and read them each day to help push through your weight plateau.
So if you feel “stuck” at a certain weight, you might need to take a step back, and recognize how much you’ve already changed both on the inside and out. Continue to be patient with yourself as you visualize even more success. It took years to get to the point you were at before weight loss surgery. Forming better habits takes time, but each time you practice, you are that much closer to the new healthier you.