Give Yourself a Break (through)!
March is the month of the year where I seem to get more grumbles about weight plateaus than any other time of year. Weight loss plateaus, like death and taxes (something else we face in March) are pretty much guaranteed.
During the many years of my practice as a clinical hypnotherapist specializing in long term permanent weight “release” and helping thousands of clients in that time period, I can pretty much assure you that most everyone hits a plateau at some point during the journey to their ideal weight. The difference in who is successful breaking through this perceived barrier and who is not, is based entirely upon how the person deals with it mentally, physically and environmentally.
The key is to look at plateaus in a way that gives us power rather than takes it away from us. We want to start seeing a plateau as an opportunity for deepening our mastery of long-term permanent weight release. In this 3 week series of blogs, I will explore the nature of weight loss plateaus and offer you coaching on how to master them.
This week I am going to focus on the mental game of mastering and busting a plateau. Once your mind can SHIFT around and through a plateau, your body will follow.
FAT THINKING ABOUT WEIGHT PLATEAUS
First of all, let’s be clear on our definition of a weight loss plateau.
Definition: A weight loss plateau is a period of time where your weight does not change.
Hmm, a period of time where our weight does not change? Well that seems innocent enough. So why do those words strike such fear, anger and frustration in the heart of many???
Let’s look at our FAT THINKING around weight loss plateaus.
I don’t deserve this (plateau)
This is unfair
My body is broken
I will be fat forever
I am working so hard and nothing is happening
Plateaus are hard
If I was better, smarter, richer, prettier, this wouldn’t be happening
[BTW, “Fat Thinking” is the term we use at Shift to define the ‘all or nothing’, ‘good or bad’, ‘on or off a diet’ thinking that we get into when trying to LOSE weight. Fat Thinking includes the negative beliefs that keep us stuck in our struggle with weight.]
When we SHIFT, we are Shifting our mind into “Thin Thinking” which comes from a vision of what we want to achieve, which is not only weight “release” (because we never want to find that weight again) but a vision of finding a way of connecting and communicating with ourselves in this area of our lives that allows us to feel nourished, vibrant and masterful.
As a dieter stuck in Fat Thinking, we hate and fear plateaus because they keep us from our main dieter goal—seeing results on the scale.
Diets focus on the external—the results on the scale—following the diet “plan” perfectly– but usually never focus on making the changes internally that created the weight struggle weight in the first place. So plateaus form a huge threat because the positive feedback a dieter has received for restricting themselves on the diet is gone.
When we start a diet, there is a daily loss on the scale. It’s great! It’s fun! It’s glamorous and cool—sexy!! But what happens when the scale stops dropping and there is no more positive reinforcement on the outside—only the diet plan and restriction with no apparent pay off?
We start to get upset. Our inner mindset,which has not been altered at all by the diet, and which is still stuck in “fat thinking” begins to come back full force. Our Inner Critic who has been lying dormant while the scale dropped now wakes up and begins to analyze the scenario—
“What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you losing? You are doing something wrong! You picked the wrong diet. The scale should be lower now. Your body is broken. Your head is broken. This plateau equals failure. You are a failure.” Yikes—not so fun now –right?
As the days pass and the Inner Critic continues the rant about the flat line scale, we feel another Fat Thinking part of us kick in. Yes—it’s our friend the Inner Rebel.
“Weeeeelll since you aren’t losing any weight maybe you can just eat that cookie. This diet sucks, obviously. You worked so hard, let’s just take a break—maybe we can start another diet—the best diet—next week?”
The Inner Critic and the Inner Rebel—those parts of us that drive our Fat Thinking– love to come out and play during a plateau and usually what happens is we give up. We become a victim of our limiting beliefs about the plateau, sabotage the diet, abandon the plan, and with no internal Shift having occurred, gain the weight back.
SHIFTING INTO THIN THINKING THROUGH PLATEAUS
When we Shift, we make the decision to begin to use our mind differently about how we approach our weight. We recognize that the mental thought systems and strategies that we operate from will need to be “Shifted” in order to have lasting, long term permanent weight release. Success comes not from a diet on the outside but from engaging the Inner Coach within you, (and at Shift we use hypnosis and cognitive techniques to help us) to unravel the faulty wiring that keeps us struggling and to re-wire ourselves with a powerful mental foundation that supports our living our life at our ideal weight.
A weight release plateau becomes less threatening because we understand the physics side of weight release (to be discussed next week) and we also know that a plateau can be an opportunity to connect with our Inner Coach and grow from the experience. Just because there is no movement on the scale externally, does not mean there can be no movement internally. Many weight release masters even say that their biggest mental breakthroughs came during their weight release journey plateaus—because they were forced to turn within—to learn to stretch themselves past where their current thinking was stopping them (which was being reflected on the scale).
The best coaches create a powerful vision and ask powerful questions that help keep one focused on moving forward towards mastery, rather than becoming a victim of the perceived plateau on the scale.
If you are experiencing a weight release plateau right now, try engaging your Inner Coach and ask yourself these questions:
-Is my vision of what I want to achieve with my weight release journey as powerful and visceral as it was when I began? If not, how can I up the stakes and power of what I want to achieve until I feel reinvigorated and engaged again?
-Do I really believe I am going to be successful? If not, what are the limiting beliefs that keep me from feeling 100% certain? I can begin to get conscious that these beliefs are a block and need to be Shifted and move towards that—(seek support, hypnosis CDs, reframe the belief in a positive way)
-Do I need to sharpen our focus my efforts externally? (If the answer to this is yes we will be exploring this in the next 2 weeks)
-Am I at a mental plateau? Do I need to shift my thoughts more? Are there thoughts that are holding me back such as:
“I am afraid to be seen or be seen as attractive to others”
“I am afraid to feel vulnerable and small”
“I am not willing to exercise more or focus on calories, or write down my food.”
There are many other thoughts or beliefs that may be mentally keeping you at a plateau. Can you get curious about them and then begin to get conscious about them and then begin to Shift them?
Rather than allowing the dieter Fat Thinking mindset to assume something is wrong during a weight plateau, can you keep your power and stay on course moving forward?
A MENTAL EXERCISE FOR PLATEAU BUSTING
1) Create a vivid representation of the way you are right now in your plateau(your present state) with all of the challenges the plateau represents.
2) See a vision of your self once you get through all of the challenges. Be clear on the specifics—how you would be behaving, how much would you be eating and exercising, what do you look like, how do you feel??
3) Place one image in each of your hands outstretched in front of you with a space separating them. This space represents the unexplored territory and unspecified steps that lie between the plateau state and the plateau busted state.
4) Begin to make a series of images or movies of the logical steps from one state to another, adjusting each frame until each is a fully representational stage of the process of change.
5) When you have between 5-8 stages in front of you, begin slowly to close your hands, collapsing all of the stages into a single process.
6) Bring your clasped hands toward your body and pull the new state into your body, making a new feeling that represents action and success—PLATEAU BUSTING!
7) Spin that feeling faster and faster. Intensifying it and allowing it to spread throughout your body so that it saturates every muscle, every organ, every nerve, every cell. As you do this, look at what you need to do (or think) first. Then see yourself taking the second step and then the third etc. and keep spinning and intensifying that feeling until you feel excited and energized and ready to make the mental and/or physical adjustments and go bust that plateau!
Have a great breakthrough week and next week we’ll look at the physical side of weight plateaus!