By Geoff Edwards, first published on Fitness First.

Almost everyone who loses weight will reach a plateau at some point. There can be many reasons why this occurs, including a lack of motivation, internal sabotage or insufficient focus on your goals. If you are experiencing a plateau – and by this we mean your rate of fat loss has slowed, or perhaps even stopped, despite continuing to do all the right things– then in order to reignite your fat loss, it might be time to take a close look at how you are approaching your health and fitness program.

To determine the reasons why your weight loss has come to a halt, ask yourself these questions:

Do you have concise goals in place?

Having clarity surrounding your health and fitness goals is very important. Also, goals should be measurable, challenging and expressed in a way that is inspiring to you (for example, your goal might be to achieve a 50 per cent increase in energy levels by 31 March 2014. Then, your daily and weekly focus should be derived from your longer term goals.

Are you self-sabotaging your achievements?

Just as dieters create a list of why they want and need to lose weight, most people can match it with a huge list of reasons NOT to lose weight. While your reasons to lose weight may be clear (e.g., to fit into smaller sized jeans), the reasons to not lose weight may also be present in your mind (but not necessarily as obvious at first). Self-sabotage occurs on a subconscious level and, unfortunately, no matter how motivated you think you are, none of your reasons for losing weight will work for you if the subconscious reasons for keeping the weight are stronger. If recently you’ve found yourself coming up with excuses for missing training or feeling unmotivated, analyse and challenge your excuses and you might shed light on the reasons behind the plateau.

Understanding your emotions and what components drive you will support you in reaching your next goal. By monitoring your emotions and how you feel, you can determine when you need to change and how you can keep yourself in a great state. For example, you may be having difficulty losing the final 5kg to 10kg. In this situation, ask yourself what your beliefs are about reaching this outcome, and think of ways that you can change those beliefs to be more empowering towards helping you achieve the goal. Also, what is the language you may be using at this time? Substitute the ‘here we go again’ mentality with ‘I am on the way to achieving a successful outcome’ thoughts, and you will find yourself moving through the plateau.

Visualise your success

One key to successfully continuing your weight loss is to visualise your desired outcome as often as you can. This is effective because the body cannot distinguish between an event that you actually experience, and one that is vividly imagined; which explains why peak performers continually undertake visualisation in their quest for success.

When visualising, thoughts and images create neurological patterns, which in turn, lead to muscular responses. This means, with repetitive thoughts and images, the associated pattern in the nervous system becomes strengthened and the responses that are imagined have a higher probability of becoming real.

Some people also use anchoring with their visualisation. By using anchors, in conjunction with visualisation, you can stimulate certain reactions and change your overall attitude and behaviour towards any situation. This is based on recalling past events, feeling the emotion of these events and putting that emotion into an anchor. The feeling of emotion helps you imprint the success of a goal on your subconscious mind, giving you that edge you need during challenging times.

To build an anchor during visualisation, go back to a memory or an experience that relates to your current situation; for example, if you want to improve motivation to go to the gym then think back to previous experiences that closely reflect this situation. Clearly visualise the moment in your head, rehearsing the memory vividly to emphasise the points that created the emotion. Maybe that time was one of strong confidence, unstoppable enthusiasm or when you were completely involved in the task at hand. When you have that image in your mind, then see, hear and feel how it was for you to be totally motivated. When you really feel it, create a physical anchor for yourself, such as a fist – a good, strong fist! Now, open your eyes and keep that feeling with you. The next time you are going to the gym, make a fist just before you need it and it will reactivate those feelings of motivation for you. Keep rehearsing this until every time you think of the moment, you are filled with the exact feeling you are looking for. Anchor moments stack the emotional deck in your favour, so when you approach a situation, you will already embody the emotion you need to succeed.

Success is a journey and a dynamic and progressive realisation of what works for us as individuals. By keeping the end goal in sight, and taking actions that will progressively change your habits for good, you will create momentum and achieve the outcomes you desire. When there is an interruption to this flow – i.e., a plateau in your results – it is important to reflect on your journey to date, acknowledge the results you have achieved so far, and perhaps reset your goals. By realising this is an important part of the journey, you will approach your targets with a renewed vigour and overcome any plateaus that come your way.  Good luck!


Don’t skip on sleep – A well rested body is more efficient at everything, including burning calories.

Eat breakfast – a must to kick-start your metabolism for the day!

Keep stress in check – Stress leads to production of high levels of a hormone called cortisol, which encourages deposition of fat around the middle. So learn to relax and let go and the extra kilos may follow!

Dieting – Strict dieting per se can lead to lower metabolism by causing your body to switch to an efficient starvation mode. The key to a healthier you is to improve your overall eating habits over the long term.

Try a supplement containing the herb coleus which helps support normal thyroid function

About the Author

Geoff is an internationally accredited life coach with over 25 years of coaching experience who can support you on your journey to success with results that last. He is author of The Success Coach and can be contacted via

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