We’re in a period of transition here at Losing it in Ottawa. Perhaps it hasn’t been as obvious until last week with Lara’s post, but this transition has been slowly happening for a while. Lara shared her thoughts last week and I’m going to take this opportunity to offer my perspective – a week later with lots of thought and discussion that’s happened.
Weight loss is hard. There’s one word that strikes fear in the heart of every person who is making lifestyle changes to lose weight and that is “plateau”. All you have to do is look in our archives months ago as Sara and Barbara both struggled to get past plateaus, with more recent plateaus experienced by Jenn and Jennifer. It’s a part of the journey that is frustrating because there seems to be so little reward for the effort.
I did a quick google search “weight loss plateaus” and picked the first article from a source I felt had trustworthy advice for overcoming such a plateau. “7 Ways to Pass Your Weight Loss Plateau” was published on Oprah.com by Dr. Katz, from the August 2003 issue of O Magazine.
What does all this talk about weight loss plateaus have to do with what’s going on with LIO? The changes Lara introduced last week stem from what I see as a mental plateau. Lara and I are right there, struggling to get past this mental plateau and move on with losing weight. I know a little bit about overcoming weight loss plateaus and I see a correlation between that and the mental plateau. The seven steps outlined in the article – and how I’ve re-imagined them to apply to mental plateaus are:
1. Hang in there.
We’re making little changes in our lives, being mindful of healthy habits, but not with the focus one needs to lose weight. But by continuing to participate in this community and be accountable for making those small changes, we hope to show progress again.
2. Avoid fuzzy math.
This reference to accurately knowing calories ingested is tricky to relate to the mental plateau, but here’s my attempt: It’s crucial to be honest with yourself and others. Pretending to be making an effort that isn’t happening isn’t real accountability.
3. Put up some resistance.
It would be so easy to give up. To go back to eating the way I did before starting LIO, but rather than giving in, I’m resisting and forcing myself to make the effort to maintain until I personally start losing again. Some minutes are more successful than others, but easing back in may take some time. Practicing new healthier habits more regularly will lead to progress – even if it doesn’t net pounds lost. This is about a lifestyle change, so we have to practice those changes to build the habits, whether losing weight or maintaining.
4. Up your protein quotient.
Just as our body needs “meaty” content, so does the mind. I’ve talked about becoming an expert and Barbara gives great suggestions for health and fitness resources in nearly every post. Taking time to explore different options and figure out how to fit them into daily life can take more time for some than it does for others. I have good ideas around how I want to proceed, but I’m struggling with making them fit in my life. I keep experimenting and I will figure it out.
5. Shake it up.
I believe strongly in the ability to change the way you think about things. Sherrilynne once commented on a post of mine with the advice to stop saying “have to”, “need to” and other such phrases. At first – despite my belief in this concept – I thought it made no sense, because I genuinely need to lose weight for health reasons. As I thought about it more and more, I realized that isn’t the motivator that will work for me – clearly. However, I still really struggle with that and her comment has stuck with me for months now. My mentality is still firmly based in a have to/need to mode. I need to shake it up and get into a “want to” frame of mind.
6. Recharge your drive.
This is the one item in the article that speaks to the mental side of weight loss. So, I’m going to quote it directly:
If your motivation is flagging, write down all the reasons you originally wanted, and still want, to lose weight. Look at the list every day. Also let friends and family know what you’re up to, and ask for their support.
‘Nuff said, right? I need to do this ASAP – it’s great advice.
7. Reconsider the skin you’re in.
I’ve started to wonder if I’m being too closed-minded about certain things. For example, I have insisted since day one that I am not and never will be a runner. I don’t like running and if – like beer – it’s an acquired taste, why would I want to acquire it? For myself, I think I need to open up to different possibilities. I’ve been pretty stubborn on a lot of subjects, so perhaps I’m sabotaging myself by creating more pressure to succeed with a narrower list of options. It’s a possibility I have to explore.
What does this mean for LIO?
Imagine a group of bloggers who are all trying to live healthier lives. Some need to lose weight. A couple have reached their weight loss goal and want to maintain. One actually wants to gain weight. A few have health concerns. Others are trying to learn what healthy means for them.
- Each of these areas brings challenges.
- Each of them allows the blogger(s) to set goals and be accountable to the community.
- Each of them will add value as they go on their journey on different paths.
Are we adding a bunch of new bloggers to fill in the roles described? No, but part of this is about a vision for the long-term future. This is an evolution, not a change. Lara and I started this blog because we both needed to lose weight, but we wanted to do it by making healthy lifestyle changes. We wanted to promote that in our community. That central focus isn’t going to change – how we actively implement it will evolve over time.
Does this mean that the Tale of the Scale and Moving It and other goals tracking are gone? Not at all. Every blogger who is focused on losing weight will keep doing what they’ve been doing – with the freedom to adjust their focus as required with a different set of goals to be accountable for because progress and accountability is important.
So, that’s my five cents (I added some extra cents because it’s a long post). What do you think?