Weight-loss Plateau: Part 1

Have a plan ready when you hit a weight-loss plateau.

Part 1

Affirm your commitment to comprehensive lifestyle modification!

On June 23, 2003, just a few minutes after 10:00 am I waddled into Grant Medical in downtown Columbus, Ohio holding my chest. That was my “welcome to heart disease moment.” When I returned home from the emergency room, I jumped online, and one of the first websites that drew my attention contained content from Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee was much more than an action screen actor. He was an innovator and philosopher. He founded a new school of martial arts called Jeet Kune Do or “The way of the intercepting fist.” This unique non-classical and formless fighting style is based on anticipating the action of one’s opponent and intercepting that action with quick countermeasures designed to exert minimal effort with maximum effect. There are no style points awarded in Jeet Kune Do. It is a conspicuous style based on economy of movement that is neither arrogant nor pretentious. Jeet Kune Do fighters step in, get the job done, and walk away. Bruce Lee’s movements are elegant in their simplicity. This concept struck a chord with me because “simple yet elegant” had become a hallmark of both my cooking and management styles for years. Jeet Kune Do heavily influenced my own comprehensive, realistic and actionable lifestyle modification plan.

Twelve-step addiction recovery programs also heavily influenced my thinking as I formed a commitment on the first days on my lifestyle modification journey. As I deal with a plateau, I go through the process again and affirm my commitment. Recovery programs are all about personal honesty. Step one states that we are powerless, and our lives have become unmanageable. Step three demands that we make a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves. This is where I start and re-start the process.

Be honest with yourself. Take a long hard look in the mirror. This is the first crucial step in developing an individualized lifestyle modification plan that is comprehensive, realistic and actionable. You first need to know yourself. To create a lifestyle modification plan that is comprehensive, you need to be aware of what aspects of your life are critically import. To create a lifestyle modification plan that is realistic, you need to know what your willingness level is and what abilities and skills you have. To create a lifestyle modification plan that is actionable, you need to be able to honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses.

Know what your motivations are. What do you consider valuable in your life? What is it that is motivating your desire to change? There is no right or wrong answer. It is about you, not anybody else! Using what motivates others will not give you a firm foundation to act upon. If looking good is important to you, then you may want to make vanity a foundation of your desire to lose weight. Don’t let anybody tell you there is something wrong with that! Being around for family, children and grandchildren is not an especially strong motivator for me, but I know it is a strong motivator for many others, and it may be for you. You may need to couple your lifestyle modification commitment with a spiritual or philosophical concept that is important to you. You need to rethink your motivational hierarchies and move lifestyle modification up to the top of the list and base it on things that matter to you and only you. Don’t look to anybody else to validate your commitment. What motivates them is not important to you. It is also not important that you broadcast your motivations to others, that is a waste of time and energy. It is only important that you gather this critical information about yourself, use it to make a commitment and then take quick and decisive action.

Take a deep breath, make a fist and be ready for a long haul!
There is never going to be a moment on your lifestyle modification journey that is easy or fast. It is going to be a long and difficult slog that will demand a day-to-day, hour-to-hour and minute-to-minute commitment to change! Lifestyle modification takes time and will require patience. Lifestyle modification is all about taking small steps over and over again; you will have to be persistent! Lifestyle modification means perseverance and dealing with periodic setbacks. It’s going to be a fight, and this may be the hardest thing you will ever do in your life. Take a deep reflective breath, make a fist–an intercepting fist–and get ready for action!

DO something!
Note that of the five things I do when dealing with a plateau, affirming commitment is the only one that is not action-oriented! Lifestyle modification is about action!

Being willing to change is great, but ultimately talk is cheap. Step away from thought now and do something and let your action be the physical manifestation of your commitment to change!

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
Willing is not enough; we must do.”
– Bruce Lee

Next week we will discuss ways to reassess your dietary approach and specifically concentrate on calorically dense foods.