Are you Committed to Your Weight Loss Journey?

Q. Dear Dr. Baskett: I have been working on weight loss and have lost about 18 lbs. Now, I seem to have plateaued - what should I do?

A. First, I want to congratulate you on your weight loss thus far. Losing weight is never easy, and taking a moment to pat yourself on the back for the work you have done is important.

If you’re not continuing to lose weight, or may have even gained a couple of pounds back, here are some questions to ask yourself:

Do I need a behavior adjustment?
Remember, you should be eating 3 meals each day, sitting down to eat slowly and consciously. Take small bites and chew your food thoroughly, listening to the signals your body is giving you to let you know you are full. Also, be aware of whether you’re snacking or grazing throughout the day; even a couple of extra snacks can result in a weight loss plateau.

Do I need an eating adjustment?
Healthy food choices are key in any weight loss plan. You need to ensure you are consuming adequate protein, avoiding calorie-rich junk foods and drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily. It’s also probably time to take a look at portion sizes. A few other thoughts — you may want to cut back on eating out more than once a week, and avoid going back for seconds.

Do you need an attitude adjustment?
This can be one of the most difficult questions to ask, but it’s important that you do: are you committed to your weight loss journey? Remember, losing weight is not about dieting, but about making lifestyle choices. It’s helpful to keep a record of your eating and activity, always being honest with yourself. You also need to consider whether your weight loss expectations are realistic. Finally, evaluate whether you’re eating for emotional reasons or if you’re letting people sabotage your weight loss. If so, there are some deeper issues that need addressing.

Do you need an activity adjustment?
Your goal should be to get in at least 30 minutes of activity a day. Try wearing a pedometer and aiming for 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day .

Above all — do not give up; weight loss is a process and the goal is to make lifestyle changes that will be long lasting because in this way, you will be able to maintain your new weight!

Kathleen Baskett, MD is the Medical Director of Weight Management at St. Vincent Healthcare. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the author of “Moving Forward: The Weigh to a Healthier Weight”.