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Reached a Plateau? Ask These Questions




Plateaus can be sooooo frustrating.


We’re plugging along, doing our thing, eating well and moving in ways we haven’t before. And it’s working. We’re feeling better and losing weight. We’re motivated to keep on going.


All is well.


Then one week when we know we’ve done everything “right” we hop on the scale and no change. Sigh. It happens.


We keep on keeping on knowing it will show up soon. Our owed loss will reveal itself. So the next week goes by and we’re excited to see the big drop—two weeks worth.


But nothing. No change.


Our sigh turns to an “argh!”.


Now we start to panic a bit.


“I’m nowhere near finished with my weight loss!”

“I’m doing everything ‘right’”

“Why is this happening to me?!”

“I can’t possibly do more”

“There’s something wrong with me”

“I can never lose weight”

“It’s hopeless”


This is the work of plateaus. Right here.


It’s mental work.


Because the physical stuff is pretty straightforward.

Here’s the first checklist of questions to ask yourself when you’ve hit a plateau:


  1. Is it water weight?
    • Have you started having saltier foods the day before your weigh-ins?
    • Where are you on your hormonal cycle?
      • The week before your period is notorious for water retention.
    • Are you dehydrated?
      • Water is the best diuretic and if you don’t have enough on board your body will hold on tight.
      • Have you decreased the amount of water you’ve been drinking or has your need increased (its gotten hotter or you’re sweating more)?


  1. Is there any place I’ve slacked off a bit?
    • Is your food logging as accurate and timely as ever?
    • Are your portions growing in size?
    • Have you skipped some workouts?
    • Are you getting your 7 hours of sleep each night?
    • Are you managing your stress?


  1. Has anything changed?
    • Medications?
    • Food choices?
    • Exercise routine?
    • Habits?
    • Job? Location? Partners?


Once you go through the list and you’ve tweaked what needed tweaking and there’s still no budge, you’re left with the philosophical aspect of a plateau.


It’s my favorite part.


This is all about Faith, Trust and Integrity.


Integrity—are you being honest with yourself? Are you doing what you say you will? Are you self-compassionate when you aren’t and working toward more realistic goals? A plateau is the perfect opportunity to evaluate where you are with your self-integrity.


Trust—do you trust your body? To tell you when it’s hungry and satisfied? To function properly? To lose weight when it’s given the right conditions? It can be hard to trust a body that has been so untrustworthy in the past. Plateaus challenge that trust and ask for more.


Faith—do you have faith that things will turn out well in the end? If you know you’re eating well and moving your body and comforting yourself in ways that don’t involve food and only eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re satisfied then you will succeed. Part of the spiritual practice of a plateau is not getting caught in despair.


Ultimately, there’s only one question to ask when you hit a plateau:


Can you do all that you know is healthy for your body even without the reward of weight loss?


Just because you and your body deserve it?


Just because you feel better and have more energy when you manage stress and sleep well and eat whole foods and don’t overeat and move your body?


Can you?


The answer to that question is all that matters.


If you work that one out, your desired body is inevitable.




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