Second, you’re not a failure. In fact, your really very normal. It will be easier at times and harder at others. Its important to recognize those times and give yourself a little breathing room. Weight-loss is a journey and if you change your mindset to one of a lifestyle change, then it will make the journey so much more enjoyable.
Third, take a look at your past efforts and learn. Reflecting on the why and how can help you fully understand what worked well and what didn’t work. Once you have this part figured out, its time to get to work.
Consider the following common reasons dieters don’t reach their weight-loss goals and learn how you can overcome these hurdles to be more successful next time:
1. YOU DIDN’T THINK LONG TERM
You may have heard that to lose weight, you need to think about lifestyle changes rather than quick fixes. It’s true. And it requires effort for it to work. Rather than thinking, ‘Can I lose X pounds?’, ask yourself, ‘Can I lose X pounds living a life I enjoy?’”
If you’ve reached your goal weight but staying there means you need to work out six days a week and have salad for dinner every night, chances are you’re going to slip up at one time or another because its not realistic. So, although looking back at past success can help you figure out what worked for you, be sure you like what worked. If you see it as misery, it won’t be sustainable.
2. YOU WERE TOO RIGID
A sliver of cake at a birthday party becomes a beer, too, and then another sliver, and then the next day you decide, ‘Heck, I’m off my diet anyway, might as well go to bottomless brunch with a few friends. Don’t make it so black and white, embrace imperfection. There will be good times and bad times. Don’t throw in the towel. Brush yourself off and get back to it,.
Instead of thinking, something is wrong with you, come up with a safety switch that you can hit to stop yourself from falling even further. Taking a walk, cleaning your messy kitchen or brushing your teeth. Whatever it is, be sure what you choose is something concrete and achievable, that way you’ll have a small victory to build more victories off of.
3. YOUR PLAN WASN’T SMART
We like to use the SMART test with our members eating plans: Is it specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely? To be specific, you can’t just say, “I want to feel better” or “I want my clothes to fit well.” What does that mean? Are you aiming for a specific clothing size or weight? Really define what you are trying to achieve.
Measurable tends to be easy: Keeping a food and exercise log helps you see how you are doing and know whether you are progressing or not.
Achievable means you can realistically overcome the barriers, such as time and resources, to reach your goal weight. Try this- leave your gym shoes and clothes out so you see them when you wake up. Its the little reminders that lead to new behavior.
To be relevant, you want to think about your short- and long-term goals. Can you adopt these behaviors and keep them going for life? Will following your eating and exercise patterns lead to a better quality of life, or could it put you at risk for disease?
Last, timely means is this something you can start today? If not, what can you do today? Or perhaps it’s best to wait to dive into a new weight-loss plan, especially if you’re experiencing stress from other aspects of your life right now.
4. YOU SKIMPED ON YOUR FOOD DIARY
Keeping a food journal is associated with weight loss, with one study finding that women who kept more complete food diaries lost about 4% more weight than those who were less thorough. That means measuring your portions and tracking as you eat rather than waiting until later to document your meals.
Keep in mind that a food diary is a tool, not something to make you feel bad. An accurate diary cultivates behavior changes; it reminds you of the behaviors you are trying to do. What eating pattern helps you stay fuller? Why was it easier to stick to your plan on one day versus another?
5. YOU TRIED TO BE THE NEXT “TOP CHEF”
It’s no surprise, cooking at home is healthier than eating out, even if someone isn’t trying to lose weight. Too often we think we need to make gourmet meals that are beyond healthy and filled with kale and quinoa. This can lead you right back to the drive-thru.
The goal is to get comfortable in the kitchen and learn cooking skills, which doesn’t happen overnight. Cook foods and meals you will like, and as you gain experience, you can start cooking healthier options.
6. YOU WEREN’T READY TO CHANGE
We like the idea of losing weight, who doesn’t! But are you ready to change? Losing weight means new foods, changing how you spend your time, new eating patterns — all kinds of shifts. It’s a lot to ask of yourself. Be sure you’re ready to commit to the hard work involved, not just the idea of being a few pounds lighter.
7. YOU DIDN’T GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME
Too often, we want to see change yesterday and think three days into a diet, where is my new pants size? Be patient and honest with yourself (that food diary can help). If losing weight happened overnight, you wouldn’t even be reading this.