So, what is the reason why my weight loss plan has failed? That is a very good question, isn’t it? The problem isn’t that you have tried everything and nothing has worked, but rather that you haven’t stayed consistent with anything. Entrenched in that assertion is a very simple reality as it relates to weight loss. The reason we often don’t lose weight is that we are looking for an external remedy to avoid addressing an internal weakness. This is largely why weight loss products are such a lucrative industry. Each new product, approach or “secret” promises an external answer that often allows us to ignore the reality of a lack of discipline, emotional pain or a food addiction. “Nothing works” is generally a more subtle way of saying “I continued to give up.”
The answer isn’t finding the right diet book or exercise program.
The answer can’t be found on a Saturday morning infomercial or the newest ab machine. The reality is that most any program will work if you stay consistent. The “secret” isn’t in finding the one that is most effective or dramatic, but the one that you can follow consistently and maintain.
With that in mind, let me offer an approach that incorporates a very simple premise. For those enmeshed in the present weight loss culture, it will likely sound absurd. An MTV’s “I Used to be Fat” as well as “The Biggest Loser” have helped create an environment where anything short of dramatic and immediate change is seen as a failure. The premise is simply that extremely small gains that become habitual are far more effective long term than a cycle of dramatic weight loss followed by dramatic weight gain.
Exercise: Start by walking for one minute three times a week. (Yes, you read that correctly) Each week, add one minute. When you’ve reached 30 minutes, incorporate one minute of jogging during the half-hour walk. Each week increase your running time by one minute. When you are comfortably running 30 minutes, add one minute each week.
Apply the same to lifting weights. Start with one weight lifting session a week and complete one set. Each week, add one set and slowly build to a couple of sessions a week and at least two sets for each body part.
Dietary Intake: Start by eliminating one snack, extra helping, or committing to a serving size reduction for one meal. Continue this for one week and continue to make one small change a week. Each day, incorporate one healthy food you wouldn’t typically eat and continue to build from there. If you presently drink no water, commit to one cup a day. If you typically drink three cups daily, drink four.
The reality is that this is a painfully boring approach with no attached promises of dramatic weight loss, or a ripped physique by summer. Think back to when your weight loss battle began though. Was it two years ago? Five years ago? Even if you had lost one pound every other week starting two years ago, you would be 52 pounds lighter presently. Had you followed the above suggestions, you would potentially be running 5-10 miles quite comfortably.
The end goal isn’t weight loss. The end goal is the maintenance of weight loss and life style change. What is imperative is the creation of sustainable habits. The January 1st gym membership that starts with a vigorous two hours of exercise a day coupled with a starvation diet generally gives way to disillusionment, frustration, and burnout. And years later you are reading this in a potentially worse place than when you began.
Start small, move slowly, but move forward.
This forward progress won’t get you ripped by summer, but a consistent approach that creates healthy habits and changes will mean that one of these coming summers, you will thank me. I believe that all mentioned above gave you clear understanding why your weight loss plan has failed.