Dear Dr. Sadaqat Ali,
Old and is fifty pounds overweight. I have currently completed my graduation and has not been in the job market yet. I am worried about my health, and the bias. I could face seeking a job as an overweight individual, and I do not have much a social life. I have been trying to have healthy meals and follow healthy eating at the dinner table, but I have stopped following such patterns since my weight stopped at a plateau after losing 6 pounds in a month. I no longer goes on short walks and is doing even less physical activity than before. I am seriously concerned about my weight issues because it eventually signifies my health status. I have seen other obese people face lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, these diseases run in my family as well. I realized that, if I did not change, I would likely face these same obstacles. I was determined to reduce my weight but I don’t know what went wrong that I could not keep myself on track of weight loss. I had nurtured my studies but ignored my health. I realized I need to spend more time on me. Please help me to figure out how to overcome my weight loss plateau which has demotivated me to reduce my weight.
You have done very well, losing six pounds in one month is not that bad. Hitting a plateau after losing weight is not failure and you must not be demotivated.
There are many people around the world who blew their New Year’s Resolution and get demotivated when they get stuck in something for which they had work very hard. It turns out that fewer people succeed in changing a longstanding habit that has kept us from proceeding our better life style such as succeeding in career, improving a relationship, getting healthier, or becoming financially fit. The change becomes difficult and we usually fail to bring change because of our belief only on willpower we possess. When our willpower deplete we begin to believe that we can kill our bad habits by using single pill, having surgery or using any gadget etc. For example, a friend loses weight, and we buy the same diet book and hope that what works for him would also work for me, but it would be only temporary and we would lose our track and fall back to old bad habits and looking for the next quick fix. The problem we face is that we put our fate in one thing only and expect that simple change will get us to overcome the highly intractable patterns of behavior.
There’s a way to design personal change that makes you ten times more likely to succeed in projects like weight management. Be the subject and the scientist. You need to update your plan by using your previous data and thus overcome the weight loss plateau. The weight loss, wellness and health has been studied by different scientists, nutritionists, and physicians but your weight loss has not been studied by anyone. General ideas and plans for weight loss have been developed but to overcome the plateau and to have better results you need specific plan for yourself. You need to be the scientist who studies you to discover the best plan for your own health and wellness. Most of us shop for magic bullets as though someone else might have figured out the key to changing you.
They haven’t and no one knows all of the unique dynamics that affect your weight, relationships, career, finances, or health. You’ll have to embark on a scientific study of your own behavior to discover the key to changing you. Keep in mind a change plan is dynamic not static. You should now expand, experiment, analyze, and adjust your plan.
For example, let’s suppose your vital behaviors were to:
1. Weigh daily
2. Take a brisk twenty-minute walk three times a week
3. Stop eating snacks before bedtime
These behaviors have likely made you aware of your weight and the impact your plan is having on weight loss. This is good; observation and awareness are key tools of a scientist to gain understanding. Your weight loss probably resulted from not eating snacks before bedtime and being more active. You made progress and then plateaued. Maybe you should continue this behavior and expand your plan. Another point is taking your failure as a good data and not becoming discouraged. When you fail to change, the problem is not you—it’s your plan.
It’s time to leave behind failed approaches. Over the past years, I am sure you have tried variety of fad diets and exercise approaches in an attempt to lose weight. You could not produce desirably consistent results because there isn’t one reason we’re doing what we’re doing—there are many powerful forces around us that influence our choices, and these choices ultimately terminate into our success or failure. Educate yourself. Set a realistic weight loss goal in mind. Formulate a structured weight loss plan with your doctor and receive proper follow-up. To start a concrete plan, first you need to reshape your perspective. You need to change the way you thought about success. Everything depends on the way you look at things. You cannot have the success without the failures. Visualize your goals in such a way as you already have achieved it. Visualizing the goals would help you to overcome the negative perception about yourself and would keep you stay motivated. Believe in making possible the impossible. Instead of giving yourself reasons why you can’t, give yourself reasons why you can. As you already were taking healthy meals and healthy diet pattern but then you stopped following, so instead of being demotivated and giving up, have a look at your plan and try to individualize it. Start focusing on the type of the food and timings of the foods as well. Turn your accomplices in to friends. I would like to suggest you is to look for a people who have lost weight successfully in your circle. Ask for their help.
Distance yourself from those who draw you back into your old eating habits. Take an honest account of friends and accomplices. Surround yourself with supporters. Ask these group members to hold you accountable for your behavior. Take full advantage of available coaching and encouragement succeed. Leave something on the plate, each time you eat. Use smaller crockery. Eat low calorie-food with bulk and slowly eat and consume a lot of time. Consistency is a vital attitude for any change plan. To stay in the plan and keep on following it you need to reward yourself with things which you love. For example, if you are a life-long pizza lover, reward yourself with a pizza dinner every Saturday evening if you had stayed on track throughout the week, or you could reward yourself by buying a new dress after specific loss of weight. These rewards will keep you motivated. To help you in more uniform manner, you need to shape your environment. You may develop barriers between unhealthy diets and you. By keeping them far away from your sitting place. You could use your energy in such a way that barriers between good habits and you started reducing. Like you could place your exercise machine in TV lounge and could exercise while watching television. Have low calorie dips, raw vegetables or fruits within your range. Choose foods high in fiber such as fruits and vegetables with moderate portions of whole-grain breads, cereals, and rice. Maintain a food journal and keep record of everything you eat and drink and be honest about it, it would help you to have check on your food choices and timings as well. By incorporating each of these small changes, I am sure you will overcome your weight loss plateau and will get good results. This will not only help you to further reduce weight, it will equip you with some essential paradigms and skills that you can apply to change anything you want.
Wish you Best of Luck
Dr. Sadaqat Ali