August 16

What to Do When Your Weight-Loss Client Hits a Plateau

Mind Body Healing


What do you do when a weight-loss client hits a plateau?   She swears she has been exercising and eating well, but the weight just isn’t coming off anymore. She is becoming very discouraged.  Should I doubt her work?  Suggest a cleanse?  Supplements?  Give suggestions to rev up her metabolic rate?  Something else?   - Puzzled over the plateau

Weight problems are generally tied to 3 factors:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Toxins
  3. Energy


Is the client getting sufficient nutrition?

When the body isn’t getting sufficient nutrients the brain sends out a signal.  It’s called “hunger.”  Overeating can simply be the result of a biological need for better nutrition.  So, if the client doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp on what actually constitutes “eating well” think about referring out to a qualified coach or recommending a self-education program.

Does the client know how to read labels?  Many people think they’re making healthier choices because they have replaced the burger and fries with a salad.  But if that salad is slathered with sugar-laden commercial salad dressing they are very likely sabotaging their success.

Keep in mind that supplements are not a replacement for healthy eating.  However, much of the commercially grown food we buy looks pretty but is nutritionally deficient.

Unless you’re a nutritional counselor, you’re not qualified to suggest supplements or dietary changes. But it behooves us as healing professionals to educate ourselves about these things.

Cell Food is an amazing product you can get at any health food store.  It’s food.  It provides 97 of the nutrients that are lacking in commercially grown foods.  It oxygenates the blood which detoxifies and energizes the body.  And most people notice cognitive improvements in as little as a week of adding it to their daily routine.

Vitamin D supplementation is very important for anyone who lives above the 40th parallel.  We just don’t get enough sunlight for the body to produce levels necessary for optimum health. Recommended dosages are 4,000 – 5,000 IUs.  If your client is not doing so already, she could try supplementing and see if it makes a difference.  Or she could see her doctor to get her blood levels tested.

Factor 2. TOXINS

What's your client's toxic load?  The body is basically a transportation vehicle for the brain.  If toxins reach the brain, we’re “toast”.  So the body is hardwired to protect.  

The way the body deals with toxicity is by storing it in the fat cells.  Reducing the toxic load on the body (e.g. processed foods, pesticides, etc.) makes it safe for the body to release the excess fat.  For example, medications are chemicals. Chemicals are toxic to the body.  And many have been shown to cause weight gain.

Many people think they’re eating well because they switched to low fat or sugar free products.  These products are laden with artificial substances.  Our biology hasn’t changed since our Paleolithic ancestors. Choose fresh, organic, REAL food.  This is what the body was originally designed to run on.

Your client may benefit from keeping a food journal for a week or two.  This can reveal a great deal and make the client more conscious of hidden calories and unconscious slips.  Be sure to also have the client also make a note of any emotions that are associated with unwanted eating behaviors.

Factor 3. ENERGY

What's your client's energy level throughout the day?  It’s no secret that self-discipline wanes when we’re over-tired.  It’s hard to say “no” to temptation when you’re feeling fatigued.

Many people eat in an attempt to get more energy.  Often, the choice of food is something sugary, offering a quick boost. Unfortunately, this stresses the body and results in further exhaustion.

Yo-yo dieting stresses the body.  Over time the body can get stuck in survival mode due to habitual deprivation strategies.  This is the old lizard brain doing what it was designed to do – preparing for the next famine by slowing metabolic rate.

I’m not a big fan of counting calories.  But if your client’s program includes counting calories Calorie Cycling can help break the cycle.

One of cortisol’s primary functions is to stimulate the release of glucose, fats, and amino acids for energy production and to encourage the body to refuel itself after responding to a stressor.  So, one of the effects of high levels of cortisol is increased appetite and cravings for certain foods.

Chronic levels of stress keep your appetite ramped-up so that you feel hungry all the time.  The type of fat that accumulates as a result of this stress-induced appetite typically shows up as a the all-too-familiar “muffin top” or “inner tire” around the mid-section of the body.

Chronic stress also causes insulin levels to rise, and together, cortisol and insulin signal the fat cells to store as much fat as possible.  And to hold onto fat stores.  So stress literally reduces the ability of the body to release fat.

Once negative emotions arise in the body, you have about a 6-8 second window to activate the parasympathetic nervous system.  Otherwise, the sympathetic nervous system will activate and adrenaline will be released into the system.

Activating the parasympathetic nervous system releases oxytocin, the hormone that contributes to increased feelings of trust.  As a person gains control of their emotions they take back control of their life.  As a result, stress levels will go down dramatically.  And the weight will begin to come off.


One of the simplest things you can do to improve a person’s general well-being is to improve both the quality and the quantity of their sleep.  We are a sleep-deprived society.  And a lot of people don’t even realize how chronically sleep-deficient they are!

According to sleep-expert, Dr. Rubin Naiman, “sleep disorders are the most prevalent health concern in America and probably the rest of the industrialized world today.”

It’s very difficult to control your weight if you’re not getting enough sleep.  And sleep deprivation also contributes to insulin resistance, the pre-diabetic condition.  Apparently the chemical messengers that signal sleepiness and hunger overlap so we can easily mistake being sleepy for being hungry.  And women tend to make this mistake more than men.

Sleep deprivation has been found to correspond with all sorts of problems including cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack, metabolic disorders, obesity, immune function and depression.  So hypnosis practitioners really need to look at addressing sleep as part of any healing program.

Depression is a low-energy state.

Virtually all depressed people have some sort of sleep disorder.  In fact, insomnia is a classic symptom of depression.  But get THIS ....  Science has confirmed that insomnia is actually a cause of depression! And the latest research is suggesting that depression may be caused by sleep deprivation (which also messes with metabolism).

Thirty-minutes of daily exercise outside has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression.

Negative emotions generate internal stress.  These feelings can includes:

  • fear
  • anger
  • guilt
  • resentment
  • blame
  • shame
  • worry
  • doubt
  • sadness
  • disappointment
  • discouragement
  • embarrassment

Emotional stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.  That’s the fight/flight response which activates the production of cortisol and adrenaline.


You mentioned that the client is feeling discouraged.  Discouragement is sometimes another word for anger.  

Are there other emotional issues she’s holding onto that may be energetically connected to the weight?

 I had a client many years ago whose sciatica completely dissolved during a session.  (This was not the presenting issue, just a by-product of emotional release work.)  The underlying problem stemmed from sexual abuse in childhood.

This is another reason the body will hold onto weight.  Excess weight can serve a subconscious purpose of protection by providing a barrier to unwanted advances.  When this is an unresolved fear from the past, the body will have a “set point.”  

Trying to change the set point, however, will be ineffective until the underlying fear and anxiety is resolved.  So if losing weight brings up anxiety, or triggers an eating binge, there’s a good chance the Subconscious Mind feels it’s important to hold onto the extra weight.

Rather than get into a wrestling match with a person’s subconscious, focus on resolving the underlying cause.  When the weight no longer serves any purpose it will melt away.

You'll find helpful tips on how to support healthy weight loss at this site.

Are the client's weight-loss goals reasonable?

Often, when a person starts a weight loss program (and especially if they have a lot of weight to lose) the numbers will initially drop pretty rapidly because the body is releasing water.

Safe weight loss is about 2 to 2 ½ pounds per week for most people.  Anything more than that and the person risks losing muscle and organ tissue.  Not good.

However, if you have had the client on a program for several months and her body is simply showing signs that it is adjusting to the new routine, change it up!  The body is designed to adapt and stabilize.  So, try adding something new.  A little light weight training, for example.  Fewer carbs, more protein.  Or calorie cycling.

No matter what the client’s issue might be, small, incremental changes are often all that’s needed to change their trajectory.  And get them moving in the right direction, again.  The question is … what small change is being called for at this time?

About the author 

Wendie Webber

With over thirty years of experience as a healing practitioner, Wendie brings a broad range of skills to her approach to regression to cause hypnosis. She combines a gentle, yet commanding way of presenting with a thorough, clear and systematic approach to helping healing practitioners to make sense of regression hypnotherapy.

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