If you were to spend just 10 minutes on Google, researching statistics on how many people fail at trying to lose weight, or sticking to their diets or achieving the body that they want, you’d be appalled.
The current stats show a 95% to 99% range. That essentially means that the majority of people are destined to fail at it. This may be a little shocking… or it may not.
There is a reason why the weight loss industry is a billion dollar one. Every month, new weight loss pills with bold claims, snazzy marketing and attractive packaging hit the market. People flock to purchase these ‘miracles in a bottle’ hoping to shed the stubborn pounds that keep fighting the good fight and winning.
Yet, as usual, the pills don’t work. Results never appear and the jaded folk look towards the next shiny solution that will melt their flab.
The question one should ask is, “Why are most people failing to lose weight?”
After all, they start out with the best intentions. They promise themselves to be determined and stay the course. They actually take action and change their diets. Many drop a chunk of cash on a gym membership that will supposedly get them the body they’ve always desired…
And despite all these positive actions, they FAIL.
The answer is simple. Losing weight is a mind game. Not a physical one. If you change your mind, you WILL change your body… but they never really change the way they think. And that’s why they fail.
You’re probably thinking, “So what does that really mean? What is a mind game?”
It means that your weight loss comes down to the decisions you make on a daily basis. Successful weight loss comes about through a sum of small efforts multiplied by time.
This is where most people trip up. They do not last the distance. They sabotage themselves along the way and when progress is slow to come, they beat themselves up over their lack of progress.
Finally, they decide that it’s all too difficult and they’re just not capable of it. They resign themselves to their fate of being overweight or obese… and they quit. The biggest tragedy of all – most people quit within a month.
But you’re not going to do that. No, not you. You’re better than that. You are going to develop the mindset that will take you from flab to fab. You’ll not stop till you get there… and if you understand the points below, get there you will.
“Does It Hurt Me Or Help Me?”
Before you make any decision that affects your weight loss journey, this is the first question you need to ask yourself. This question alone, is enough to make you think before you act.
If you see a donuts in the office pantry, before you chomp down on it like a starving alligator, ask yourself, “Will it hurt me or help me?”
Common sense will indicate that the extra calories from consuming that donut will affect your weight loss adversely. It’s not something you should be eating… and here you are salivating and contemplating not realizing that you are about to hurt yourself.
Now that you’ve asked the question, it’s time to run for the door. Don’t do what hurts you.
The same applies to your workout sessions. Will skipping one hurt you? Of course it will. Your progress will be slowed down and there will be the niggling feeling in your heart that you did not keep your promise to yourself.
Your metabolism for that day will not be elevated and you’ll not be in fat burning mode. Your action or lack of it will hurt you. So, get the workout over and done with.
While training, are you tempted to take things easy and not push yourself? Does the idea of panting from exertion and perspiring profusely make you balk?
Good questions… but they’re irrelevant. The only one that matters is if it will hurt you to slack off on your workout. Yes, it will. Case closed. Do your best until you are a sweaty heap of exhaustion. Sweat is just your fat crying.
Like the Navy Seals say, “No one ever drowned in sweat!”
As long as you proactively ask yourself this question and do what helps you, your progress will be accelerated. Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.
Help yourself. You’re all you’ve got when it comes to losing weight.
“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard…”
Yard by yard, life is hard. This is a very simple concept that the majority of people fail to grasp. Losing weight is a marathon and not a sprint. Most people gain the weight gradually over a long time. Just like how it took you a while to gain the weight, it will take you a while to lose it.
If you think that you can lose all your excess pounds within 2 weeks or a month, you’re almost certain to fail in your weight loss journey. You’re setting yourself up for disappointment and unnecessarily stressing yourself.
You want to make it easy on yourself by making small positive changes over time. If you drink 2 sodas a day, drop it to 1 and a half cans for a week, then 1 can a week and slowly eliminate it totally from your diet.
If you decide to go cold turkey and cut out sodas completely from your diet, you’re constantly going to be craving for it. Some people make it even worse by drinking water with lemon slices as a replacement for the old habit. They hate the taste of it and gag half the time while they’re fighting the urge to just drink the soda.
The goal here is to go slow. You do not want to do it all at once. We are creatures of habit. It takes time to break habits. Foods containing sugar are highly addictive. So is junk food and oily food. Your body craves these foods to feel satiated and happy.
By totally cutting them out in a misguided attempt at life transformation, you’re making your body and yourself unhappy. It’s just too much too soon. In most cases, sooner or later you’ll give in to temptation and binge on the very foods you’re supposed to avoid.
Asking yourself if it will help or hurt you will be pointless here. Your cravings will be too strong and you’ll cave in. The end result is that you’ll feel like you’ve failed yourself and you just don’t have the determination to stay the course.
This is what happens to most people who try to do too much too soon. Once they feel like they’ve failed themselves, they experience a sense of regret and guilt and worthlessness. The goal seems beyond their abilities and they throw in the towel without realizing that they are their only opponent.
Make slow, measurable progress over reasonable time. Slow and steady will make your journey easier and you will reach your destination.
Willpower isn’t your friend
This point ties in closely with the earlier one. We live in a day and age where there is so much talk about being disciplined and determined in order to succeed. Much emphasis is placed on willpower.
If you give in to temptation, you’re deemed weak and lack focus. When it comes to weight loss, you want to eliminate willpower from the equation as much as possible. It sounds counterintuitive but it works.
What does that mean?
If you’re trying to eat clean, you need to remove all unhealthy foods from your refrigerator if you have a sweet tooth. You need to avoid going to the bar with friends if there’s alcohol going to be served and you love your drinks.
It is arrogant to assume that you’ll have the willpower to say no and be true to your diet. Have you ever noticed that most people binge eat late in the day or at night?
There’s a reason for this. Every day when we wake up, we have a certain amount of energy for the day. As we go through the day, our energy stores get depleted. Willpower requires energy. When it’s early in the day, you’ll have the strength to say no to temptations that come your way.
However, by the end of the day, when you’re exhausted after a day’s work or a hard workout and you’re sitting on the couch watching TV… and a little thought creeps into your head telling you that there’s a tub of cookies and cream ice-cream in the fridge whispering your name, it will be extremely difficult to say no. And the whispering will get louder. You can bet on that.
You’re tired and you just do not have the energy to summon up enough willpower to say no. Next thing you know, the tub of ice-cream is all eaten and you go to bed feeling like a fat loser.
This could have been avoided if there was no ice-cream around.
No temptation = no willpower required.
The same applies to everything else.
Finish up your workouts early in the day. You might not have the energy to force yourself to hit the gym after work. Make things as easy as possible for you to follow through. You do not want to give yourself obstacles to cross. Losing weight is tough enough as it is.
Don’t Reward Yourself With Food
What many people don’t know is that one cheat day can undo 5 days or even a week’s worth of working out. Let’s assume that you lost about 3,000 calories over 4 days… and on your fifth day (cheat day), you decide to ‘reward’ yourself for your hard work. And this is what you eat for the day:
- 2 Pancakes with maple syrup – 520 calories
- 2 Slices pizza (14″ regular crust) – 570 calories
- 1 Can of coke – 140 calories
- 1 Big Mac – 563 calories
- 1 Fries – 510
- 2 Scoops chocolate ice-cream – 530
- 3 Glasses of Vodka Red Bull – 558
Of course, one does need to party with the friends to celebrate a little. The above scenario is not exaggerated. In fact, it’s a very modest estimate. Many people eat way more than this because they feel entitled to reward themselves for their hard work.
That’s a total of 5,694 calories. If your daily calorie requirement is 2200 calories, you’ve just consumed an excess of 3,494 calories. That exceeds whatever you lost and you actually added an extra 494 calories.
Where are these calories going to end up? Back on your belly, waist and everywhere else. And people wonder why they don’t lose weight… or worse still… they gain a pound or two despite all their efforts.
This mindset will sabotage your weight loss progress greatly… and you may wonder why the weight on the scale just doesn’t seem to change.
It’s fine to have a cheat meal or indulge in some of the foods you love every now and then, but don’t go overboard. Don’t cause your blood sugar to spike and raise the insulin levels in your body. This will cause weight gain.
Reward yourself with a movie or some new clothes… or something that you long for, as long as it’s not food.
Observe Your Patterns
Every one of us has certain behavioral patterns that we follow innately. It’s your job to understand yourself. If you notice that you feel great working out early in the morning, stick to it instead of working out at different times.
If you have food cravings whenever you watch TV late in the day, it’s best to avoid TV and go to bed early. By knowing yourself, you’ll know what suits you best. You do not need to do what everyone else is doing.
Some folks may swear by a run in the morning, but if you hate waking up early you’d be better off doing a high intensity cardio session in the afternoon. Don’t work against yourself.
The Road Is Not Straight
This is something you should sear into your mind. The weight loss journey is not linear. It is very common to expect yourself to progress smoothly and steadily with no hitches or delays.
Reality though is quite another story. There will be days where you slip up on your diet. There may be weeks where you hit a plateau and see no change in the scale weight. You did everything right and still no progress.
This is normal. Everyone who lost weight successfully has gone through this. All you need to do is keep going. If you slip up, acknowledge your mistake and examine what led you to it. Very often, you’ll notice that you tempted yourself or you were tired or you let someone tell you that ‘just one donut won’t hurt you.’
It happens. What’s crucial is that you do NOT give up and quit because your journey isn’t perfect. The goal here is persistence and not perfection. If you’re persistent, you’ll get it… and if you’re consistent, you’ll keep it. So, do not give up and you’ll never need to start over.
Don’t Take Your Eye Off Your Why
There is always an emotional reason for why we do what we do. If you’re trying to lose weight, there is DEFINITELY an emotional reason to it. This is your ‘why.’
The guy who got dumped by his woman might be trying to get in shape so that other women look at him in a whole new way. The mother who is trying to lose weight may want to improve her health so that she can be around to see her beautiful kids grow up. The successful career woman who wants to get in shape may secretly hate the way she feels when giving presentations because she thinks that she’s fat.
Whatever the case may be, there is an emotional reason and it ALWAYS conjures up images in your mind. Your job is to know exactly what your why is… and always keep your eye on it.
When you take your eye off your why, you lose focus. Suddenly, all the effort seems like a pointless struggle. The juice doesn’t seem worth the squeeze… and you give up.
This applies to any goal you have in life. Success is about knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing… and then you will gladly pay the price. Make no mistake here. Losing weight will come with some sacrifices.
You will need to cut down on your food intake and reduce consumption of all the foods you love. You may need to give up TV time to work out at the gym. All these sacrifices will be worth it in the end, if you know your why.
If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want will be your sacrifice… and that’s no way to live.
Adopt the tips above and implement them in your life. Shift your mindset and you’ll shift the numbers on the scale. Be stubborn with your weight loss goal but be flexible with your methods. You will get there. It’s inevitable.