Patience. It’s the biggest, most challenging part of weight loss – if you ask me at least. Your patience is tested from the start and it continues to be a big part of the process throughout the whole thing. I’m 36.2 pounds down and I still have a hard time being patient.

Over the last 3 weeks, I had 2 weigh-ins that saw no movement and it concerned me that I was hitting another plateau. Plateaus are the biggest tests of patience because plateaus don’t necessarily mean that you’re doing something wrong. Sometimes it’s just a sign that you’ve been doing everything right, but your body is used to your ways.

I hit a big plateau a few months back where I was at the same weight for almost 3 months. During that time, I didn’t recognize the plateau early enough to prevent it from going on for that long. I had just gone on vacation and I had gained a few pounds back so I figured I was just having a hard time getting back into my normal routine.  I also hadn’t experienced one yet so I wasn’t sure what I needed to do. It wasn’t until I was sick of seeing that scale not budge that I finally did some research. So this time, when I had 2 back to back weigh-ins that were the same, I knew what I needed to do. I needed to figure out if my plateau was happening because my body had adjusted to my most recent changes, or if other factors were in play. I realized that I’ve been stressed out, eating more calories than my limit, not sleeping well, and working out not nearly as hard as I should. So that meant I needed to mix things up and address these issues.

I take walks on my lunch breaks and during that time, I do a lot of thinking. I don’t listen to music when I walk because I’m busy listening to music all day long so the silence is refreshing and it helps me clear my head. The other day is when I realized how big of a role patience plays in weight loss. I had to remind myself of what it was like when I was striving to hit my 10-pound goal and how far away my 20-pound goal felt. I had to be patient and work at it one pound at a time. I was patient and I worked hard and I hit my 10-pound goal, then my 20, and even my 30! Right now, my next goal marker is 40 pounds and that’s really hard to believe. It’s hard to believe because I’m excited to reach that point — it’ll be my halfway point! And it will make me feel even more accomplished. But still, I have to be patient.

So what did I do next? Well, obviously I had to continue being patient. Also, I needed to tackle my stress which helped with my sleep, my calorie overage, and also helped with my workout intensity level. I made some changes to how I was approaching things mentally. Then, for the third week that I was expecting to see the same number, I actually saw another 1.8 pound drop on the scale. Yay!

Another important factor to consider is that it’s not just about the scale. While the second week that I saw the same number was disappointing, it was also time for my monthly measurements. When I measured myself, I discovered that I not only lost 5 inches from last month alone, I had a total of 18 inches lost from the first time I measured myself! (Which was 3 months after I started this process.) This also helped with my patience because I was reminded that the number on the scale isn’t the only thing that shows my progress.

Bottom line, if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s very important to be patient and keep a positive attitude. Even if you find yourself stressed out and hitting plateaus, you just have to refocus. Know that healthy weight loss is going to take time because you’re developing new habits and you’re doing it the right way. Don’t let plateaus or stress screw up your end game. Be patient. You’ll get there.