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What to Do (And What Not to Do) When the Scale Won’t Budge
By Erin Pover, MS, RD, CSOWM, LDN


Many of us have been there; standing on the scale after making some healthy changes and looking at the number, disappointed it hasn’t moved in the direction we were anticipating. What is the next step?

Here are some tips when you meet this crossroad in your weight loss journey.

  • Avoid the “slippery slope” of catastrophic thinking. This is an easy trap to fall into; thinking all sorts of negative, unrealistic thoughts when your weightless habits don’t immediately produce results. While we can’t avoid all negative thoughts from popping into our heads, we can choose realistic and positive thoughts. For example, if the first thought that pops into your head is, “I’m a failure, I will never lose weight,” you could counteract those thoughts with more realistic thoughts such as, “Weight loss is a journey that will take time; I’m not going to let this one weight derail all the positive changes I’ve made.” Another strategy is to ask yourself what you might say to a friend or family member in this situation and apply that same kindness and encouragement to yourself.
  • Shake up your exercise routine. Over time, our muscles become very efficient (translation: fewer calories burned) with exercise if we perform the same routine each day or each week. Surprise your muscles with a new cardio or strength training routine. If you haven’t been doing strength training as a part of your workouts, this may be the perfect time to start.
  • Track your meals and snacks. Tracking what you eat can be a great way to add accountability to your day-to-day routine. Recording your food intake can give you instant feedback on what you eat and be a way to learn about the foods you are using to nourish your body.
  • De-emphasize the scale and focus on non-scale victories. Although the first thing we look for with any weight loss journey is a number change on the scale, try listing the other positives you are noticing from the healthy changes you are making. Perhaps you feel more energetic, maybe you are seeing positive results in your blood work, or you find that your clothes are fitting better. Write down these positives and review them often. You can also look back on old pictures to really see some changes. This can help to keep you moving forward, despite the number on the scale not meeting your expectations.
  • Call on your support system. Having a network of supportive people is always important when you are on a weight loss journey. This group can range from a spouse, friend, family, online support group, a healthcare professional, or all the above. They can speak words of encouragement when you are finding it difficult to do so yourself.

Erin Pover is a Wellness Coach for Highmark Inc.



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