Helping Your Patients Through Weight Loss Plateaus
A weight loss plateau occurs when the patient stops losing weight despite them doing all that is asked by your weight loss program. Hitting a plateau can be discouraging and even frustrating for many weight loss patients. If not addressed properly, this may lead to the patient giving up altogether. A patient who gives up means not only are you losing that patient, but also any future referrals from that patient, and potentially more if there is damage to your reputation.
1. Manage Expectations
Part of avoiding the struggles of a weight loss plateau should be done at the start of your weight loss program. Before your patient even begins their weight loss journey, review exactly what they should expect throughout the various stages of the program.
Remind the patient that pounds lost is only one measure of the patients success. Glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, and even inches, are all metrics which may be improving even without seeing a change on the scale.
2. Address Common Causes
There are a number of reasons why your patients may be hitting a plateau. The most common causes are: cheat meals, sleep issues, high cortisol levels, or insulin resistance.
Cheat Meals – A cheat meal is viewed as a reward for sticking to one’s new diet or weight loss program. However, a cheat meal may lead to other cravings or have further metabolic consequences which make it harder to lose weight, even while keeping a healthy diet “most of the time”. To overcome a weight loss plateau, reduce frequency or eliminate cheat meals altogether.
Sleep Issues – an inadequate sleep schedule can result in increased appetite and/or impaired metabolism. For a better quality of sleep, consider melatonin or 5-HTP, which is a melatonin precursor.
Cortisol – Continuously elevated cortisol levels, such as what occurs with chronic stress, can lead to over-eating and elevated glucose levels. DHEA may be effective at neutralizing the impact of cortisol.
Insulin Resistance – Insulin resistance means that the body does not respond properly to the presence of carbohydrates. In a state of insulin resistance, more insulin is required to remove glucose from the bloodstream, and elevated insulin leads to fat storage. If left untreated, insulin resistance can evolve into type 2 diabetes.
While some of these causes may only need simple changes to remedy, others may require additional medication or treatment from a specialist.
3. Increase Medication
If the above has all been addressed and a patient is still experiencing a weight loss plateau, it may necessitate additional weight loss medication to overcome. However, increasing the dosage of controlled drugs may have side effects which can be dangerous.
Before you reach for that prescription pad consider a natural option, such as those offered by Legere Pharmaceuticals, to help your patients reach their goals.