Have you ever tried to lose weight? If so you’ve probably noticed that it’s not a linear process.
Instead, there are lots of ups and downs. Some weeks there’s a lot of progress, the next week there might not be any. Or you might even feel like you’re going backwards.
But guess what? That’s to be expected. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong, and it shouldn’t be a source of discouragement.
In this blog post we’re going to look at the stages of weight loss: what they are, why they happen, and how to deal with them.
We’ll cover two areas:
To begin, let’s channel our inner Olivia Newton-John and get physical.
The Physical Stages of Weight Loss
It’s no surprise that losing weight is a big thing for your body. The process impacts everything from sleep and mood to metabolism and even your body clock!
Being aware of the different ways weight loss will manifest itself, and the way these changes might make you feel is an important part of the journey.
Fast weight loss
Early on in your weight loss journey, you might notice quicker results.
This can be encouraging, but it’s important to understand that this may be the result of depleting water, carbs or even muscle rather than burning fat.
For instance, people on low carb diets – like the keto diet – can experience a rapid weight loss in the first few weeks, due to a depletion of stored carbs. Research has found that those following low carb diets have a more noticeable weight loss than people on low-fat diets after 6 months, but this gap closes after 12 months.
Also bear in mind the rate at which you’ll lose weight depends on lots of factors. Things like:
- Your starting weight
- The amount of exercise you’re doing
- Your caloric intake
- Your gender
- Your age
People with a higher starting weight who incorporate more frequent exercise and healthy eating are likely to see lots of fast weight loss.
Slow weight loss
After the initial stage, your body shifts into a slower rate of weight loss. Here weight loss is attributed to depleting fat reserves, rather than water, carbs and so on.
At this stage you may encounter something called a weight loss plateau. This is when progress slows to the point of being unnoticeable.
We’ve written about weight loss plateaus and how to overcome them right here. Plateaus are actually quite normal, even if you are doing everything right.
But sometimes people may encounter a plateau because they start to struggle with sticking to their eating plan, rather than any physiological reason.
This means that if you’ve encountered a plateau, you might need to look at the psychological underpinning of weight loss to see whether issues of motivation are the cause.
The Psychological Stages of Weight Loss
Research into weight loss and maintenance strategies struggle to find common approaches for people who succeeded in achieving their goals. This means people can lose weight using a variety of diets or eating patterns.
What researchers have identified, is that there are a handful of psychological factors that influence weight loss success including things like:
- Contact with and support from others
- Development of problem-solving skills
- Relapse-prevention skills
These help to shed some light on the psychological stages of weight loss. That is, how your thoughts and perceptions might change throughout your journey.
Stage 1: Replacing ‘want’ with ‘need’
“I really should lose weight…”
Ask yourself: have you ever said that out loud?
It’s subtle, but that word ‘should’ carries a lot of weight.
‘Should’ is a get-out clause. It shifts taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle from something that is going to happen to something that probably won’t.
People who see the most success with making lifestyle changes are the ones who manage to make that commitment: to change ‘I should’ to ‘I am’.
Stage 2: Rock bottom
Something that moves us from the ‘should’ to the ‘am’ is that feeling of hitting rock bottom.
The time when you say to yourself “I can’t do this anymore”. When it becomes harder to stay where you are now than it will be to do the work required to make a change.
While this may feel like the lowest point, it’s very empowering because it leads to…
Stage 3: The realisation
Here people clearly feel that change needs to happen, that they can’t keep doing the same thing.
There’s also the realisation that trajectory is more important than destination. That is, if you’re making progress towards your goals, you’re on the right track.
This shifts the focus to the here and now, rather than to the distant future. And it’s a lot easier to motivate yourself to do a small thing now than to fundamentally change everything in one go. (See our post on habits for more about this).
Stage 4: Adjusting habits for success
When the focus switches to the here and now, it becomes easier to make changes to your behaviour. Eating less, for example, or moving more: both are less daunting if you’re thinking about what to eat tonight, which workout to do today, rather than for the rest of your life.
Each behavioural change leads more smoothly to another, and this incremental shift lays the foundations for more sustainable change.
Stage 5: Navigating hiccups
We’ll be honest with you: these are inevitable. The secret isn’t to avoid them, it’s to develop the resilience to move through them.
And here’s the thing: the stronger your habits are, the more likely they are to catch you when you fall.
Sustainable progress is about building those habits, then strengthening them over time as they withstand testing.
This leads to maintenance of your healthy lifestyle goals and helps you to move towards becoming – and staying – the person you want to be.
Whatever stage you’re at, we can help
We’ve formulated Leanbean to offer support wherever you are in your journey towards your lifestyle goals.
Our formulation is designed to curb appetite and to reduce food cravings, to help you transform your sense of wellbeing.
Each dose of Leanbean contains –
- Caffeine: Naturally extracted from green coffee beans
- Glucomannan to reduce your appetite
- Numerous other powerful ingredients
Disclaimer: The information on the Leanbean blog does not constitute medical advice and should not be used as such. If you would like to learn more about your dietary requirements and related aspects of your health, speak with a registered medical professional.