Health & wellbeing

Are you stuck on a plateau?

If the number on the scales has stopped changing and your motivation has stalled, don’t worry! We’re here to help you move on.
You know the feeling - it all started so well, you were enjoying living more healthily and your new body was taking shape. But now your scales are stuck (or, worse, inching upwards) and your motivation is drooping. But don’t worry if you’ve hit a weight-loss wall - it’s normal to experience a plateau phase once in a while. And getting your mind on track is just as critical as sticking with your eating and exercise plans. ‘Work out what’s draining your enthusiasm and accept that what initially motivated you may not be doing the same now,’ says psychologist Emma Kenny. Try a fresh approach. You’ll soon get over those hurdles…

Fight your secret fear of slim
If your weight loss has halted for a while, could you secretly be afraid of being slim – and what it might mean? ‘When you want to do something, but don’t, there’s always a reason,’ says Emma. ‘For some people, weight loss can be the first step to becoming the person they’ve always dreamed of being – and that can be scary. Emma’s advice? Complete the sentence ‘I’m afraid to be slim because...’ as many times as you can. While the first responses are likely to be superficial, as you further list them you’ll get deeper answers, giving you valuable information on your secret worries.

Celebrate your healthy, happy highs
Even if you’re doing everything right, there will be times when the scales won’t budge. Don’t let this discourage you; instead focus on how fab you’re feeling and you’ll stay on track. ‘Motivation is like a muscle – the more you work it, the stronger it gets,’ says Emma. ‘Tapping into all the benefits you get from taking better care of yourself will increase your motivation to do it more. So focus on the energised mood you get after a healthy meal, or how well you sleep after a workout.’

Stop binge thinking
Always worrying that one extra banana will make you put on pounds? If you always jump to the worst-case conclusions, it’s hardly surprising you feel deflated. ‘Catastrophising breeds anxiety and doesn’t leave space for happy thoughts,’ says Emma. ‘Instead of focusing on something that hasn’t happened – and probably won’t – ask yourself: “What am I really worrying about?” Chances are it’s not the banana, but bigger worries – perhaps you’re feeling under stress at work or in your relationship?’ Once you’ve pinpointed what’s triggering the negativity, you can deal with the cause.

Jolt yourself with a journal
No doubt you already know how useful it can be to keep a food diary. Recording all the food you’ve eaten is the best way to stay on track and discover eating patterns you might not be aware of. But have you thought about how a journal for your emotions could also help you to stay fired up? ‘Writing down all the great things about your day, and working through your problems can be so inspiring,’ says Emma. ‘Recording how you’re feeling can also help you to combat emotional eating triggers.’ Make tracking easier with our handy Journal, available to buy in our online shop.

Think in shades of grey
Trying to be perfect all the time? Stop judging yourself as it will only bring you down. ‘Don’t think in black or white, but in shades of grey,’ says Emma. ‘In every situation, ask yourself if there’s another way of looking it.’ For instance, did you learn something – and how has that made you stronger as a result?  ‘So, instead of “I forgot my trainers so I couldn’t go the gym”, think “I realised that I should keep a spare pair of trainers in my car”. ‘When you reframe a problem into an opportunity and praise yourself for the effort, rather than the outcome, your positivity levels will soar.’