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40+ suggestions to help nurses conquer that weight loss plateau


weight-loss-successIt seems lately my blog posts here have been concentrating on weight loss and battling the ‘bulge’ of obesity.
So I thought I’d share some suggestions on how to get past that ‘sticking point’. We all have played passenger to that roller coaster of a ride called weight loss.

This so-called diet train can be grueling. And nothing is more frustrating than having the right state of mind, the drive, and the much needed motivation to lose the weight… but no matter how hard you try.. the weight just doesn’t want to disappear.

A lot of these suggestions may not apply to you, but maybe… just maybe one of them does. Stay strong!

A weight loss plateau? What the heck is a plateau?


  1. A relatively stable level, period, or state
  2. To reach a stable level; level off

No matter your effort , no matter your plight, or level of commitment, we all have crossed or visited this nemesis.

Once there, we begin the endless search as to ‘why’ it’s happening, and ‘how’ do we fix it!

Weight loss is an interesting animal. It involves a plethora of inside and outside influences. And no singular element will or will not guarantee your avoidance of ‘THE PLATEAU’.

Food and eating are not the enemy. More often than not, it’s the mind numbing psychological battle at the root of our evils. Remember we have to eat to live, not live to eat.

Weight Loss is NEVER always about the numbers, even if losing weight IS a simple math equation. The goal of weight loss is accomplished when you eliminate (burn/use) more calories than you consume to create a calorie deficit. Unfortunately we have all learned the hard way that life is NEVER simple. Weight loss is truly a LIFESTYLE change.

You have two options to create this ‘calorie deficit’ lifestyle. Either decrease how many total calories are going into your body(through some form of better food choices), or increase the amount of calories needed by your body (via exercise or increased activity). Most individuals focus solely on the ‘numbers’. Some can and do turn this focus into a negative obsession.

Weight loss should not become an added stressor. Remember, you are doing this to improve your overall wellness. Being unhappy and miserable not only is counter productive to being happy, but it is guaranteed ammunition for giving up and giving in.

Instead of giving you lists of ‘What to Eat’ and ‘What not to Eat’, or providing you with innumerable ‘calorie-burning’ exercises to help you become triumphant when waging war against this maniacal adversary. I thought it best to start were you will ultimately finish – within. Those lists are only as good as the person using them.

Here are a few suggestions that may help you step past your weight loss plateau and help you to continue moving forward on your weight loss journey.


  • How do you feel?
  • Are you energetic, or run-down? Is your attitude positive or negative? Your attitude is a great indicator of your happiness. Your happiness towards you and your happiness with your weight loss. No one can lose weigh when they are run-down or feel miserable.
  • How long has it been? (is you body in a period of adjustment?). This is a marathon not a sprint
  • Be honest with yourself. How compliant have you been? How many excuses have you used?
  • What are you missing? Are there foods you eat that you think are ‘healthy’, that may not be THAT healthy? Do you consume soft-drinks? (empty calories)
  • Why are you losing weight? Are you still as motivated as you were initially? Do you need help with your motivation?
  • Utilize your resources. Ever heard of the internet? Winking
  • Ask questions. Ask family, ask friends. (How about asking that fit person at the gym for some pointers?) ~ Someone who has been successful at the very thing you are attempting.
  • Ask for help. Maybe you need more advanced assistance from a professional?
  • No two bodies are the same. Don’t expect to burn calories like your cousin. No matter how similar you are to someone, your metabolic and cellular composition is not the same.
  • No two programs are the same. Be careful what you read and see. Infomercials and most products are out for the sale, not to help you lose weight.
  • One person’s success does not guarantee yours. “Well this worked for my neighbor” will not guarantee your success.
  • One person’s failure does not guarantee yours. “I don’t do cardio, it didn’t work for my brother”
  • Change something. Add some variety to your workout

Portion Control

  • Smaller plate. Using a larger plate will ‘trick’ your mind into thinking it’s OK to eat more since your plate isn’t full.
  • Use napkins. You’re forced to only take what will fit on the napkin. (This doesn’t mean turn you food into a cup stacking contest)
  • Use a bowl. Same concept as the napkin, just don’t go looking for that 10 Qt bowl.
  • Buy smaller amounts of food when possible. The more food you buy, the more you will eat.
  • Only take what you will eat to make yourself full. You’d be surprised how hard this can be.
  • Leave the box or bag in the cupboard. If you have the whole box or bag, you’ll some how eat the whole thing!
  • Pass on second helping. Do I really need to explain this one?
  • No I didn’t say starve yourself and rob your body of needed nutrition, energy and vital nutrients. I said reduce the total amount of calories , not eliminate them. Starving yourself actually is counterproductive and will wreak havoc on you metabolism.

Plan Your Meals

  • Pack a lunch. Not only do you gain total control over what you eat, but you save money as well!
  • Pre-plan your day. Don’t just pack your lunch. What about breakfast? Or your mid-morning and/or mid-afternoon snack?
  • Prepare the night before, even the week before. This creates three good habits. You start to think more about how you eat, when you eat, and what you eat.


  • How much sleep do you get? Remember how your body feels when you’re not properly rested? You’re body’s trying to help you by telling you something.
  • Do you sleep at different times? (shift work?) I am a light sleeper, and when I worked overnight (midnight shift) I got little to no sleep and slept poorly. This disruption in your circadian rhythm directly affects your body’s metabolic activity.
  • Do you eat late at night? Is it preventable? Eating late at night is never good. The later in the evening the slower your metabolism, which in turn results in less calories burned.
  • How often do you eat during your typical day?(often or rarely?) Your frequency in meals is a direct indicator of your metabolism. Eating like a Gerbil? You may start to look like one if you’re not careful.
  • Do you exercise? Congratulations! Keep it up! Are you giving it your best effort, or are you just doing because you know it’s what you are supposed to do. Be sure to find and exercise/activity that you enjoy. Otherwise you’ll find every excuse to not exercise.
  • Do you want to exercise? No better time to start then now.
  • Do you eat breakfast? The most important meal of the day. You keep your car fueled don’t you?
  • DO NOT shop hungry! I don’t think I need to explain why this is bad. Impulse shopping is really bad for your health.
  • Pre-eat for social gatherings. I do this to lessen the amount of food I would buy and/or eat because I’m already full!

Eating Habit

  • Do you control how much you eat in one sitting. I used to eat until I ‘couldn’t breathe’. Are you only eating what makes you full? Over-eating is a hard habit to break. The hardest part is admitting to the problem.
  • Do you control how often you eat. Be sure not to eat simply because there is food in front of you (like at work).
  • Do you have ‘weakness’ foods. Be honest. We ALL do. It’s OK. Just be sure not to abuse the occasional indulgence.
  • Are you a snacker? I was and still am. The difference is, now I am in control of my snacking urge, not at the mercy of the food.
  • Do you eat till the plate is clean, or until you full? They are NOT the same
  • Do not eat distracted. Do your best not to watch television or have a meaningful conversation while eating. Before you know it that entire bag of food is gone. Be conscious of your surroundings and your control.

At the end of the day, we all are human. Remember: “To err is human; to admit it, superhuman.” – Doug Larson

Be proud of your accomplishments thus far, NO MATTER HOW SMALL THEY ARE. Any step forward is better than no step at all.

Take care of yourself and yours.

Carpe Diem

How To Conquer Your Weight Loss Plateau‘ originally posted on My Strong Medicine.

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    Maggie Stewart, LPN

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