When you look at the state of health in the United States, the statistics are quite alarming: 63.9% of Americans are overweight. 34.2% are considered obese. That means that one out of every 3 people in America is considered obese. With such a focus in this country on weight loss, how is this possible? We’re dieting more, we’re exercising more, so what gives? I’ve outlined 5 things that I believe are detrimental to anyone’s long term weight loss success.
You’re not consistent
Consistency is defined as “steadfast adherence to the same principles or practice.” When you’re following a workout plan, you must adhere to the same principles week in and week out. You can’t workout one time in a week, then try and make up for it with five the next. You will burn yourself out. The people that I work with who have the most success train two to three days weekly, usually around the same time, and then stay active (walking, biking, hiking) the rest of the week. This is even more important for nutrition. Having a consistent plan lets you enjoy things, while being inconsistent leads to binging one day and starving yourself the next. The fluctuations in your weight that you’ll see from this are enough to cause even the most dedicated individual to quit.
Too much focus on supplements
Ladies are always looking for the next diet pill or cleanse drink, while men are looking for some anabolic deer antler spray that will add a quick 10 pounds of muscle. If this same focus was applied to consistent training and nutrition, the results they want would come to them. We must teach our clients that this is a long term game, and supplements are just that, a supplement to go along with training and improved nutrition. There is no magic fix. The magic cleanse that claims to drop 10 pounds in just 2 weeks might do just that, but once you stop the cleanse the weight comes back.
Not tracking your food
You may not actively count calories, but your body sure does. If you are eating over your maintenance calories, you will gain weight. I don’t care how “clean” your diet is, it still comes down to calories in, calories out for weight loss. I recommend a three day food log (two weekdays, one weekend day) for all my clients when getting started.
Your diet is too rigid
When you think weight loss, there is always a “diet” attached to it. It is usually something that restricts certain foods, whether it is grains, carbs, or fat. You will also be told to avoid sweets, different sweeteners, and alcohol. What happens if some of those things are you favorite foods? You’ll probably be able to make it for a couple weeks, maybe even a month, but eventually you’ll break down and binge on your favorite foods. We help people to learn how to eat for weight loss while still enjoying their favorite foods. We focus on getting a certain amount of each macronutrient (proteins, carbs, fat) while keeping the total calories at a level to facilitate weight loss. This typically involves an 80/20 split. 80% nutrient dense foods (lean proteins, fruits and veggies), 20% whatever fits. For example, if you’re eating 2000 calories for weight loss, 1600 should be from nutrient dense sources, while the other 400 can be whatever you want.
You try to make too many changes at once
You decide you’re tired of the way you look and feel, so you’re going to get to work and change all that. You start eating better, start working out five days a week, cut out all fast food, cut out alcohol, don’t allow yourself any sweets, quit smoking, get up every day at 6 a.m. etc, etc. You quickly burn out mentally and within a week are right back where you started. How did this happen? You tried to change too much at once. Our brains need time to build new habits, and changing them all at once is the wrong way to go about it. Start with one small habit. Eat fast food five days a week? Cut it down to once. Never eat breakfast? Make it a habit to have a protein shake every morning. I have my clients focus on one habit, one day at a time. Once they are good at that, we’ll add another. Studies have shown that people who work on habit change long term see more results than those that try to change everything at once.
Focusing on these 5 things has impacted my life greatly and guided me toward what is important. Hard work and dedication are still the catalyst behind any sort of change. The sooner we can realize this and stop searching for the “magic bean”, the more results that will come to us. Check out tripillarfitness.com and sign up for my newsletter, where I give weekly tips on how to make changes that actually stick.