OK, so we all know the basics of losing weight: eat less and move more. It’s a simple concept, just 2 rules, which if followed, pretty much guarantee us success. So why is it so hard to lose weight for so many of us? Can we not follow just 2 simple rules?
We’re an increasingly overweight society. We drive everywhere, sit on our arses for most of the day, cook less and eat more convenience food. Basically, we prefer to take the easy option in just about everything. And the problem with losing weight is that it’s hard work and us humans like the easy option.
We are lazy
We start out OK, full of great intentions and enthusiasm. For instance, along comes another new diet craze which you religiously follow for a while, losing quite a few pounds. But then you get bored with it and the weight slips back on. The sofa becomes your best friend again and all the new kit you bought to go to the gym lingers in the bottom of the wardrobe along with all the other clothes you can no longer get into. Sound familiar?
You probably know that what you need is a healthy lifestyle plan that helps you lose weight, but which also helps you to develop new and healthier habits. Or a magic pill that lets you carry on with your comfortable life but miraculously does all the work for you. Wouldn’t that be fabulous?
Sadly there is no magic pill. Losing weight (or any other big lifestyle or habit change for that matter) requires self-motivation, consistency, sacrifice and a massive MINDSET CHANGE.
Strategies to help lose weight
Of course, there ARE strategies you can put in place to assist you:
Strategies to help you lose weight
- find someone to accompany you or support you in your weight loss plan
- commit to the plan publicly by stating on all your social media channels that you’ll donate cash to a cause or group that you DISLIKE if you don’t keep to the plan (that should give you more incentive to keep at it)
- try a different diet plan
- have ready made meals bought in, ready prepared
- do your food shopping online so you don’t find yourself walking down the biscuit aisle
- keep your ‘WHY’ clear in your mind – or written on your fridge (read more about that here)
- find an accountability partner
- keep a diet journal
- find a gym that has a weight loss support program. I used to go to a ladies only gym and I found that so much more relaxed than a mixed gym
- pay for a diet mentor
- pay upfront for your gym classes to give you more incentive to attend
- avoid situations, people and places that you find challenge your diet and your good intentions (see more about comfort eating here)
And when you do slip up from time to time, don’t give up. Don’t beat yourself up over it, and certainly don’t tell yourself that since you’ve messed up, you might as well not try anymore. If you have a bad day and cheat, make sure you don’t go off track 2 days in a row.
Making big lifestyle changes is a challenge in itself. Some of us are able to just stop something overnight, others find more success in making small changes over time and gently incorporating them into daily life. My method is the latter. It took me years to get to the point where I practice yoga several times a week on my own. Initially I was a typical once-a-week go to a yoga class girl. And if I’m honest, part of that was more about getting out and doing something social, and cool, rather than doing it for my own personal development. Now though I can’t imagine not doing yoga.
So if you’re like me, and prefer to make small changes over time, be realistic with your weight loss plan: perhaps ideally you’d like to do all the things in the list above. Well you can, just maybe not starting them all today. Take one, the one that seems the easiest, and start it. Incorporate it into your daily life until it comes naturally to you, then add another thing off the list.
It might seem like slow progress, but isn’t slow progress, like 1 LB per week weight loss, better than an intensive loss of 5 or 6LB at the beginning and then nothing because you can’t keep it up? (for strategies on incorporating small changes and better habits in your life, Atomic Habits offers a pretty comprehensive framework).
Weight loss isn’t only about following a diet plan. For long-lasting change, you do need to make other adjustments in your life. Many of these adjustments involve sacrifice (e.g. less crappy food), hard work (e.g. walking instead of driving) and following some new habits (e.g. avoiding the biscuit aisle).
Are you prepared to make these changes? Does losing weight really matter enough to you? Being overweight is bad for your health, yes. But yo-yo dieting and spending lots of money on gym clothes you’ll never use isn’t healthy either.
Have you ever asked yourself “Am I really serious about trying to lose weight? Am I truly prepared to put in the hard work and make some difficult changes?”
Am I really serious about trying to lose weight?
Am I really prepared to put in the hard work and make some difficult changes?
Alternatively, ask yourself “Can I be happy as I am? Who am I losing weight for, me or someone else? If you don’t have a good reason for doing something, it often doesn’t happen. But the opposite is true too: if you want something badly enough in life, you’ll work at it.