If you’ve ever aspired to lose weight or if you currently desire to, then you know that in order to see results, you must set a goal, and lay out a plan to reach that goal. For weight loss related goals, the plan will likely include exercise specifics, dietary changes and swapping out some bad habits for good, healthy ones. Sounds pretty straight, forward right? Maybe…and maybe not.
It’s quite natural for anyone trying to lose weight, to want to do it quickly. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports evidence shows that people who lose weight steadily and gradually (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping the weight off.
Healthy and sustainable weight loss isn’t about a diet or program, but rather an ongoing lifestyle consisting of long term eating and exercise habits.
So, assuming we want to lose the weight and keep it off as opposed to putting it right back on again, it would make sense that losing weight steadily and gradually would be the goal, right? So why are we so impatient when we set a weight loss goal? We want to lose the weight NOW. We may have gained 10s of pounds over the last year or two…or maybe we have been quite inactive for years and years and our bodies are showing the signs of poor choices and lack of care.
Did you know that one of the top 4 reasons why people quit on fitness goals is UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS??! Yes, it’s true. It might have taken us a while to pack on the extra weight, maybe we have been overweight as long as we can remember, and yet somehow, we think that a few trips to the gym and a handful of healthy salads later, “Why isn’t the weight coming off????”
Sadly, a few weeks into making healthy changes, many people quit making the effort, convinced that losing the weight is just impossible. For many people that weight loss goal seems SO intimidating, SO big, SO far away…so they quit.
As important as a weight loss goal is, what if we looked at the scenario differently. What if we have a weight loss goal, but instead of hyper-focusing daily on our goal weight, instead of jumping on the scale daily, we approach this scenario differently?
Let me share an approach I take with my training clients that has proved to be successful and sustainable. My approach revolves around this favorite quote…
“If you focus on results, you won’t see change. If you focus on change, you’ll see results.”
Let me explain and break down the concept of this. Weight loss is hard work. You see, the weight didn’t just show up last week. The weight has crept on, on and on, week after week, month after month, year after year. The extra weight we carry is almost always due to a lifestyle we have been living, consisting of unhealthy choices, repeated over and over again.
The weight is rarely due to ONE unhealthy choice, but rather to many unhealthy choices revolving around lack of exercise, unhealthy foods and eating habits, overall inactivity and sedentary lifestyle. These unhealthy choices we have been making, are what need to change.
Therefore, if we start focusing on our daily choices, food, exercise, moving more throughout the day, then we start readjusting habits and behaviors that led us to the place of weight gain in the first place. Instead of focusing on the BIG WEIGHT LOSS GOAL day in and day out, feeling overwhelmed and inadequate, we focus on one day at a time, which is so less overwhelming. Let’s face it, our daily habits are what largely contribute to a healthy, ideal weight, OR to an unhealthy, abundance of extra weight.
Instead of tackling the weight loss number and having that weigh heavy (no pun intended) on our mind EVERY DAY, paralyzing us because it seems so unattainable and scary, let’s refocus on each day, and what we need to do to change our habits. Let’s create an example scenario shall we….
Let’s say Judy has a total of 50 pounds that she needs to lose. Judy’s doctor is warning her that her blood pressure and cholesterol are rising and he’s concerned. Judy finds herself wearing the same 4 to 5 outfits as it seems most of her clothes in her closet don’t fit her well anymore. Judy can’t remember the last time she felt attractive. Judy hates looking in the mirror and avoids it at all costs. Out of desperation, a few months ago, Judy tried a “detox cleanse” promising weight loss of 10 lbs. in one week. “This could be the quick, jump start that I need” she thought. After one week, Judy lost 8 lbs., but felt exhausted and starving. After returning to her regular eating habits, she gained 12 pounds in the next two to three weeks, so she was now heavier than when she started the detox. This left Judy depressed, depleted, and frustrated.
Over the years, I have worked with many people like Judy. I have found that when I teach people like Judy to refocus on daily practices like: eating breakfast, drinking water, exercising for 30 minutes a day, moving more throughout the day, they start to feel like a weight has been lifted (again, no pun intended). It’s so much easier to wake up each day and focus on healthy choices for that day, instead of obsess, regret, shame and shudder about the 50 pounds that we want to lose. Look, we know we need to lose the 50 pounds, but hitting ourselves on the head with it EVERY day, is not the best approach. By refocusing on our daily habits, we are rearranging and beginning to undo the habits that brought us to this place of weight gain.
It’s important to monitor the progress of a weight loss goal, and I do keep my clients accountable. But accountability involves more than just getting on a scale. Accountability is also about sleeping well, drinking water, nourishing ourselves with food, daily. Just as unhealthy habits lead us on a path of weight gain and health issues, we can turn around, make different choices, and find that healthy path. We don’t have to find that healthy path in one day. We don’t have to hike miles and miles and miles in one day. We just have to make steps daily towards that path, everyday a few steps at a time, and we will get there.