When any of us start a weight loss journey, we set out with high expectations of what we're going to achieve.
But often times, along the way, things don't always go according to plan.
You find yourself giving up.
Probably heading back to square one.
Feeling frustrated and annoyed.... waiting for the next shiny diet to come along with big promises.
The weight loss goals can fail for a number of reasons. Here are 5 possible causes for you to consider.
I see it a lot in fitness groups where it's so common to be told something like "cut out all carbs".
There is such a misconception around carbs. They're not evil at all.
And this goes for any food groups like fats, protein and even alcohol.
I know that the media, diet culture and clueless celebrity “trainers” have done a bang up job of trying to make a particular food group the enemy.
Yes, it can be easy to eat too many carbs. But it can also be easy to eat too many fats or too much protein and drink too much alcohol.
Once you start to demonise a food group you build up a level of avoidance and guilt when you are so much as left in the same room as a plate of pasta.
Which isn’t a healthy way to be with food.
So here’s the flip side of trying to demonise food groups and trying to eliminate them…
Why cut them out completely when you can instead learn things like:
- dealing with cravings around them
- remove the stigma you have with those foods
I say this because food groups like carbs are never going away and it's very, very, very likely that if you've cut them all out... that you will go back to eating them at some point.
And when you do, you’ll feel all kinds of guilt because you associate them with being “banned” or “bad foods”. BTW – nothing is banned or bad (unless there’s an intolerance or allergy), it can all have its place in your eating.
If you take time to learn how to eat them and how much of them to eat you become educated and empowered when you want them in a meal or snack.
You'll soon find that they're not scary, they're not to be feared, they're just a food group and that's it.
Wouldn't you rather learn to eat them in a way which can still work for you and your goals?
It is true that to lose weight you do need to be in a calorie deficit - this is where your body and your daily activities burns more calories than you consume through all the foods and drinks.
Going on a very low calorie crash diet may work in the very short term as you see some results and motivation will be high.
However, sticking to a very low calorie diet will also quickly wear you out. You'll soon feel run down and like shit.
When you get to that stage, everything becomes harder such as going to the gym, going for a walk, moving around and dealing with the hunger pains.
And that is how you start to let things slip and gradually return to your old ways and your old weight. Leaving you more miserable than before.
I’m choosing my words carefully here because I want to be clear and I know people have a habit of only reading the parts they want – I know these diets can work for people for a short time period but I’m not advocating or promoting them at all. It’s something that is best done under medical supervision if you’re going to do it. Plus, in my experience people want to hold onto doing them way longer than they should do and it’s not sustainable due to the earlier reasons given.
If you’re going to do it anyway, regardless of what I say, there are two options for you:
1) Do the diet for a short period of time and once you start to feel rubbish, switch to a more moderate calorie deficit rather than giving up and eating how you were before.
2) Use a more moderate calorie deficit approach.... yes the weight will come off slower.... but you'll be able to sustain that weight loss for a longer period of time.
Ultimately, looking at playing the long game will produce better results for you.
First off, I’m not saying cardio is bad or that it shouldn’t be done. I often like to go for walks, bike rides, use the rower and do some circuits – all of which are cardio.
However, another common weight loss strategy is to do more and more and more and more and more and more cardio as a means to burning calories for weight loss.
Cardio does burn a lot of calories. However, similar to a crash diet, you'll start to overdo it and not know when to pull back until it’s too late.
If you keep doing too much you’ll either feel burned out and start to give up or you start to do too much and pick up a few nagging injuries here and there which then put you off.
Speaking of crash diets. It's also really common to see someone go on a crash diet AND go overboard on the cardio.
This is a bad idea.
Anything beyond the very, very short term - you'll feel really shit really quickly and not be able to sustain this. It is a recipe for disaster.
Cardio is a useful tool to help with weight loss but:
- it shouldn't be your only tool
- should be kept in check so it's not over done. i.e. mix up low intensity with high intensity with very low intensity
- you shouldn’t neglect your eating to help support your goals as well
You've set yourself a goal to lose the weight and get in shape....
-crickets are chirping-
It's great you want to lose weight or want to improve how you feel, but you need to set up a plan on how to achieve this.
It doesn't have to be some super detailed plan… unless that works for you
You just need to have some sort of plan or idea of how you’re going to do it.
Because unless you actually DO something to move yourself towards your goals, it won't happen by magic.
You need something that helps you to figure out how you will get from where you are now, today. To where you want to get to, what you want to achieve.
It would be like waking up one morning and deciding you want to travel to ….. somewhere.
You don’t know where the place is.
What it’s like.
Or how you’re even going to get there.
But you decide you are going there and so you set off.
As you can imagine it would be one big hap-hazard journey and full of frustrations.
Compare that to waking up and knowing where you are. The place you want to get to. Then mapping out a general plan of how to get there.
For weight loss clients, I like to use my 4 pillars approach to figuring this out - 1) Working out & being active; 2) Nutrition & Eating Skills; 3) Mindset & Accountability; 4) Rest, Recovery & Lifestyle
Map out a general plan of how those 4 areas can help my clients to reach their goals and work that plan.
Have a think about those 4 areas and what you could do to move towards your goal.
Then write the ideas down and make a commitment to following them.
You've worked hard, stuck to your plan and achieved your goals!
That is incredible work and you should be super proud of what you have done!
And now what?
Will you go back to your old lifestyle?
Will you continue to maintain doing what you're doing?
This is an important and often over-looked area.
So many times I've seen something along the lines of "I did the XYZ diet and lost 20 lbs. Then I stopped and it all came back."
There is this idea that if you work super hard to achieve your goal you can then stop and just go back to doing what you were doing before.
Often times, this is because you’ve forced yourself to follow a diet or training plan you didn’t like and couldn’t wait to finish. Rather than focus on sustainable habits and eating.
As you get close to achieving your goal, think about how you will work on sustaining all that progress, hard work and effort.
Don't do yourself an injustice by stopping everything you've done to reach that point and going back to what you were doing.
If you do just go back to your old lifestyle, old habits, old way of doing things, I promise you that you will likely gain it all back, maybe more and I would truly hate that to happen for you.
That's 5 signs which could strongly indicate that your weight loss goal will fail.
If any of these resonated with you and you want to learn how to break that cycle and how to deal with each of these areas then get in touch today and I'll see if I can help you.
Go to this link, fill out the form and book in your free consult call
This is my, mostly, Personal Trainer musings and information which I hope you'll find helpful!