Millions of people struggle to lose weight every year, and unfortunately, for most of them, two things happen:
1) They don’t see almost instant progress, so they quit.
2) They see some success on a fad diet, get the results they want, then revert back to their old lifestyle, gaining back everything they lost with interest added.
People make weight loss far more complex than it needs to be. It’s this simple; if all you care about is actual numbers on a scale, you can manipulate your body into dropping pounds. All you have to do is eat less calories than you burn in a day, and your body will drop weight.
But it won’t happen overnight. If you consume 500 less calories than you burn per day, it will take you a week to lose 1lb. It’s basic maths.
For the sake of argument, let’s say you’re a 12 stone woman trying to slim down to 10. Here are some major reasons people fail:
Overthinking. That’s why you see them micro-measuring grains of rice, popping magic pills, and choking down foods they hate. You see them panicking about 10 calories here or there. The end result is that they get bored and frustrated, because they think they’re doing everything right. They think it’s all a big fix and give up, saying “If I can’t lose weight eating like that I may as well eat what I want’”.
How to fix it: Don’t get wrapped up in minute details. If you can’t handle the health pillars like motivation, water intake, and macro-diet philosophy, how can you handle the micro? Follow a few set mantras instead. 3 litres of water per day. Half of every plate filled with veg, and as much running, jumping, squatting, and walking as you can muster. Give it a few weeks, and see where you are. Adjust from there.
2) Boredom: This comes off the back of number 1. They get on the ‘chicken, brown rice, and broccoli for every meal’ diet, measure every quantity, and do the same boring workouts every day. No fun, no joy, no passion. After a while, a person just cracks.
How to fix it: The best eating and training plan is one you enjoy, because that’s the one you stick to long term. If that means you have a cheat meal or day every now and then, or still have your coffee in the morning, so be it. Find an activity you enjoy (maybe yoga, swimming, aerobics) and go to a class with friends. In terms of eating, one bad day won’t hurt you. Getting bored, giving up and having ten more bad years will.
3) Soreness: If you’re working hard in the gym, in the pool, or out on the roads, you’re going to get sore muscles. For a lot of folks new to training, that’s a little too much to handle. They can’t distinguish between structural pain (which is bad), and muscular pain (which is good). They get sore, complain, and give up.
How to fix it: Understand what that pain is. It’s your body adapting and getting better at what it’s supposed to do. That means you should look forward to the pain, because it means you earned it. If you really struggle with it, or it’s debilitating to your job or day, invest in a protein powder. It’ll help replenish your muscles faster.
4) Bad Influences: Sometimes it’s difficult to eat a handful of almonds when your spouse is eating cheesecake. It’s so common for a couple to be sitting on the couch watching TV, and what do ya know! A pizza appears. It’s all downhill from there. Another situation is the classic night out. “One more shot” or “fancy a smoke?” are two of the worst things you can hear if you’re trying to make changes.
How to fix it: Don’t let one slice of pizza turn into three. As we always say, one bad meal won’t derail you, but you can always do damage limitation. As for the bad influences when you’re out, have a conversation with your friends. Tell them why you’re doing this. Good friends will support you on that journey, and not try to tempt you with your old vices like cigarettes and alcohol.
5) Turn a Hangover into Hell Week: We get it. When you’re hungover, you want every type of bad food on earth. But too many people let that destroy their progress. They eat badly on Sunday, and on Monday, they say ‘well I ate bad yesterday, what’s one more day?”. Then, they won’t work out because they feel like the day is lost from the bad diet. It’s so easy for a bad day to turn into a bad week.
How to fix it: Make Sunday your cheat day, and have that day end at midnight. Don’t feel guilty. Just enjoy your food, drink plenty of water, and get your mind prepped for the week ahead. Get in the kitchen Sunday night, and pre-chop your vegetables for the week. When Monday comes, treat it for what it is: the first day of a good week. It’s not Hangover Day 2.
Apply as many as these as possible, and you’ll go a long way to making sure your weight loss/fitness journey is a long-term, successful project.