Weight Loss Plateaus – Part 3
Break On Through To The Other Side
Welcome to week three of the Plateau Buster series! Plateaus have a nasty reputation in the dieting world. In the dieting world, a weight loss plateau is hated, feared, and cursed because it represents a stopping of success–the glamorous loss on the scale. It means that your weight loss is stagnant and you are unsuccessful. In the dieting world, plateaus often lead us to give up on our plan and gain the weight back. Sorry plateaus– that’s a tough gig over there in the dieting world. Read: Week 1 / Week 2
When we make the Shift and learn how to use our minds more effectively—to think, strategize and assess as a weight release master–we can have a much more powerful relationship with a weight plateau. In fact, often plateaus are opportunities to learn more about ourselves, our thought processes, our eating patterns and our environments. When we take back our power and cultivate a powerful and lasting foundation within ourselves, the number on the scale becomes only one indicator of the progress we are making. We can then see a plateau not as a scary force, but a natural part of a weight release journey.
Over this three week series, we have explored the nature of weight loss plateaus. Week I focused on the mental game of mastering and busting a plateau. Last week I explored the physical part of mastering and busting a plateau. This last week I will focus on how our environment may be contributing to our weight plateau and I will ask your Inner Coach some leading questions that may help you to drill down and find some en”light”ening answers..
ARE YOU EATING UNDER THE RADAR?
Often, when we begin a weight release journey, we are focused and our vision is strong. We easily track our foods, tune into portions amounts and are very clear on what is going into our mouths. But over time, as we get further down our journey and further down the scale, it is easy to lose the focus that we had in the beginning. Sometimes not every calorie gets written down. Am I right?
Let’s face it– we often forget what we eat 15 minutes after eating it. There have been days when I have not been on top of my tracking and I will get to the end of my day and my calories seem a bit low and then I will realize that I had conveniently forgotten a cookie that I had eaten. Sometimes, if I have not been on top of it, I could have consumed up to 300 calories more than what I had written down. I call this “under the radar eating” and this is often what is going on when someone is experiencing a plateau.
Brian Wansink, in his book “Mindless Eating” discusses the fact that most overweight people underestimate the amount of food they eat by up to 100%. If you are not writing it down, chances are you are making yourself a victim of distorted, under the radar, thinking.
“But I am not eating anything!” my client will say. But when I have them write down EVERY lick, bite and nibble, the light bulb will go off, “Ooooohhh now I get it” and they see that those extra little “bits and bobs” can add up fast and fill in any sort of deficit hole that they may have thinking they were creating.
I recently had a new client who was eating only about 900 calories a day in “real food” and was baffled by why she had been gaining weight. She admitted to eating a little chocolate here and there over her work day. “How many calories are in the chocolate?” I asked. “I am not sure but it can’t be much”. She called me the next day having checked the chocolate wrapper and said she had been eating about 650 calories a day in chocolate!!! She was shocked and relieved at the same time—now she had her answer. Mystery solved and plateau—broken!! She still eats chocolate every day BTW, but just a lot less!!
Question for your Inner Coach: Are you absolutely clear on the number of calories you think that you are eating per day??
WHEN YOU “ASS”UME, YOUR “ASS” COULD GET BIGGER!!
Another environmental issue is that as we lose focus, we also start assuming calories in portions. This is fine—I don’t think you need to weigh and measure everything that goes in your mouth your whole life—that would be a little excessive. This point is, if you are experiencing a plateau, you could be under assuming the calories in the portions you are serving yourself. Once a month I get out my Kitrics Scale and weight portions of chicken, vegetables and fruit—just to keep my eyes honest. I crack up at how, even though I have been maintaining my weight for fifteen years, my estimates of what 150 calories of chicken is grows to about 250 calories every month!!!
Question for your Inner Coach: Are you sure that the energy values of the foods you are putting in your mouth are really what you are assuming that they are??
ARE THERE FOODS IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT THAT SHOULD NOT BE THERE??
As I say again and again, and again and again, and even again—weight management is 80% stimulus control. Having helped thousands of people release weight and seen many weight release journeys, the main thing I hear over and over when trouble start brewing is—oh yeah that “thing” appeared on my plate or my desk or in my fridge and I just had to eat it. The other one is “well I thought I could have it in my house” or “I just bought it for the kids”. If you are stuck on a weight release plateau, it is time to take charge of your environments and get rid of any foods that may lead you to taking those extra bites, licks and nibbles.
Restaurant eating is also a plateau creator because we are really not on top of what’s in the food. We could assume that salad is 350 calories and it is really over 1000!! That is what happened to a client of mine who was stuck on a plateau for 2 months until she discovered his innocent salad at lunch was 850 calories—no wonder the spin classes weren’t allowing him to release weight! If you eat out a lot and are experiencing a plateau—the best thing to do is find out calories from the internet ahead of time or to order food, prepared simply so that you know how many calories are in them. This doesn’t have to be forever—just until you break through your plateau.
Question for Your Inner Coach: Are you allowing disempowering foods to enter your environment and sabotage your weight release efforts? Why? How can you Shift those foods out of your life for now?
Here is the exercise we have been focusing on over the last few weeks. Now you can create a powerful vision using all of the mental, physical, and environmental components that we discussed in order to create an amazing breakthrough on the scale and with yourself.
Exercise for Plateau Busting:
1) Create a vivid representation of your present state with all of the challenges the plateau represents.
2) See yourself the way you want to be when 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!