On my journey to weight loss, I had forgotten something that was so fundamental to keeping me on track to being healthy. I began to focus on the number and forgot about focusing on number one (see “The Number to Focus On” for how to forget about the scale and focus on you!). As I began to focus on the 63 pounds left for me to lose, I began to get discouraged, to plateau, to fight to eat clean only to binge on junk foods, and exhibit other behaviors of resistance to change.

Why did I reach a plateau in my weight loss?

Because the focus on the number of pounds became more of a duty and obligation, instead of a joy.

One thing about the human condition, is if we feel that we “hafta (have to)” do this, and “hafta” do that, we tend to see the change we are trying to make as more of a punishment then a positive reinforcer. In the field of psychology, it has been proven many times that punishment and negative reinforcement are not effective in causing long term change. They actually reinforce the negative behavior. And indeed I began to fall into that regimen and gained a few pounds.

I recently became a “guinea pig” for my friend to be a client for life coaching to help me understand the story I tell myself about weight loss. I am all the more appreciative for this experience, because through the journaling and meditation that she had me do (though I wasn’t too thrilled with daily journaling) I have been able to recognize that I was looking at my health journey as an obligation, which is why I hit a plateau. I had come against resistance to change because of this as well as learning about other emotional things that I need to deal with to drop more weight. This falls in line with my belief that most times the weight a person carries outwardly can be connected to the emotional and psychological weight that they have not dealt with. I began to realize that I was not enjoying my food, not enjoying working out as much as I should, because I did not enjoy the process of change.

How do you enjoy the process of change and what have I done about it?

Well, for myself, I decided I will not weight myself for a month, only to cause myself to not focus on the pounds, but to focus on healthy eating and making sure my body is healthy. I have also decided to broaden my support system of positive change by employing a dietician along with my life coach to support me in healthy eating. Through the life coaching, I have learned more on focusing on me and figuring out the resistance to change so I can enjoy it instead.

The key things in enjoying the process of change is to:

1) Make change fun and positive!

I began to find recipes online and even just go in the kitchen on the weekends and become creative with my recipes. I know the principles of clean eating and just applied them without worrying about how much weight it would cause me to gain. If I just eat in moderation and the foods are clean, I should be fine.

2) Don’t allow change to overwhelm you!

Take it step by step and gradually get into it. Since I’m a perfectionist, I typically like to jump into the pool and do the backstroke perfectly. I have learned to take my time, to plan, and to slowly make changes back to eating clean.

3) Show yourself compassion: Understand that you are human, mistakes happen.

Just relish on the positive steps you made. You don’t have to be 100% perfect in your meal plans or working out initially. Not even after a year in. Just look at the progress you have made & write it down! This will help to remind you that you have made some awesome changes and to keep you motivated as you make your life changes.

4) See your changes as changes for life, not as a bandaid for now.

There is a such thing as a quick fix, but it’s not always a life long fix. Only temporary. Make sure that you take your time to enjoy positive change, because it is becoming a new habit. As humans, it takes time to change a habit, and the more time you take in repeating the change, the more the change becomes a positive part of your lifestyle.

5) Meditation and journaling.

Though I wasn’t happy with it, I must admit that journaling and meditation helped me to quiet my mind and to hear what was going on inside of me and document what emotions may be holding me back. Again, I give sincere thanks to my life coach in helping me see this. I will soon be blogging about more of the benefits of meditation and journaling along with other emotional/psychological healing.

In conclusion, the main thing to remember is to see change as a positive, exciting adventure that you are embarking on; you get to make your own rules and work at the pace you are most comfortable! You also get to discover new things about yourself and become creative with your change. When you reframe and see change as a positive enjoyment, it will be more long lasting. Enjoy your process, and keep me posted on your journey! I would love to hear your health or weight loss story in the comments section below.