Here comes a New Year and with it a lot of new weight loss attempts.
Some people will try the same plan they’ve tried over and over again. The results will be the same as every other try. It ends in failure. Others will try, and fail, at yet the latest weight loss fad.
We are always searching for the perfect way to lose weight. We want:
- to eat enough food to avoid feeling hungry
- to be able to eat what we enjoy
- to be able to resist temptations
- to lose weight very quickly
- to get back to “normal” after reaching our goal
- to stay at our goal weight
The list of 6 things we want, or more accurately expect, is why so few people achieve their goal and even fewer stay at goal once they get there. Here is how they undermine success.
1. to eat enough food to avoid feeling hungry
“Hungry” isn’t just a physical need. We need food to supply energy to our body so that it can do its work. Energy comes from the calories in the food we eat. When too much time goes by since we last ate, our body starts to send us signals that it is running out of fuel. That is how it’s supposed to work, but that’s not always why our body tells us it is in need of fuel. Our minds respond to the proximity of highly palatable food and our bodies send the same “it’s time to eat” signals we feel when we’re in a physical need for food. This makes avoiding hunger while losing weight challenging.
2. To be able to eat what we enjoy.
Many overweight people have a very complicated relationship with food. We are conditioned to think that our food choices display our moral character or lack of discipline. We feel guilty about some of our food choices which happen to be the foods we love the most. We believe we can’t “control” these foods and that one bite will “blow our diet” because it will trigger a feeding frenzy so big that we can’t recover from it. This makes eating what we enjoy challenging.
3. To be able to resist temptation.
The temptations we face when losing weight are many. It’s not just avoiding eating delicious foods full or fat and calories. It’s also the temptation of staying in our comfy chairs instead of getting out of the chair to be active. We expect ourselves to always make the choice that supports our diet and helps us lose weight the fastest, but we often fall short of our expectations and give into temptation. Then we feel angry with ourselves. This makes resisting temptation challenging.
4. To lose weight quickly.
Often the first few weeks of a diet are extremely rewarding. We lose fast and we love it. We think, “at this rate I’ll be in goal in a matter of months.” Then our weight loss starts to slow down. It may be a combination of our getting lax in our efforts, but it’s also because burning stored fat (which happens after a few weeks of a diet) is slower than burning glycogen (which happens immediately when we start a weight loss plan.) When we don’t lose weight quickly, we tell ourselves “we’re failing and we will never reach our goal.” Not losing weight as fast as we want makes weight loss challenging.
5. To get back to “normal” after reaching our goal.
Normal makes us fat. We have to stop thinking of goal as a destination where we will remain while doing the things that caused us to get fat in the first place. Our diet or weight loss plan (two words to describe the same thing) need to become our new normal. Thinking we can return to our old “normal” makes weight loss challenging.
6. To stay at goal weight.
Staying at goal weight means the weight loss plan you used to get to goal, is what you must keep doing to stay at goal with just a few adjustments. If you can’t see yourself living your diet or weight loss plan, then your hopes of remaining at goal forever is a dream and will never be a reality. Staying at goal without making lifestyle changes is challenging.
When you consider a diet or weight loss plan, consider those 6 points and pick the diet or plan that aren’t an example of those common traps.
What to look for in a Diet or Weight Loss Plan
- Guidance making satisfying and nutritious food choices
- All foods are on the menu. No restrictive menus.
- Teaches balance and moderation
- Teaches us to understand what drives the urge to eat and how to manage it.
- Puts emphasis on physical activity in a user-friendly context.
- Makes you feel happy and empowered rather than punished and deprived
- Help making changes in a community of support