Every year, millions of people make a promise to themselves to lose weight. Yet, if you look back 12 months later, more than 92% fail to make any progress. In fact, people who consider a weight loss journey are more likely to gain weight rather than lose weight after a 24 month period.
Why is that? What is holding everyone back?
That’s a weighty question that certainly isn’t a one size fits all answer. The reasons for failing to reach a goal is different for each person. However, most people can identify at least one of the reasons below that’s holding them back from progress.
Mistake #1: You make things too complex
It’s easy to think of weight loss as a complicated process. We hear things all the time that are supposed to be “the thing” that finally spurs us on closer to our goals. You know… things like:
“Don’t eat carbs.”
“Focus more on cardio.”
“Focus more on strength training.”
And the list of conflicting weight loss advice can go on and on from there.
But here’s the truth…
Weight loss isn’t complex at all. It’s actually incredibly simple.
In fact, making it complex can quickly become the reason for not taking action.
So before you go down the rabbit hole of “should I eat this?” or “should I do this exercise over that one?” or “is this supplement better than this one?”, zoom out and remember the basics.
You know that diet and exercise are the principles that will get you to your goals. You can zoom in on the smaller things later as you progress, but just begin by taking action, even if it’s not perfect.
That means if you aren’t spending time exercising, start spending some time exercising (even if you aren’t fully sure of what to do exactly). Just by changing your state and your routine, you will begin the process of building momentum for your weight loss journey.
Mistake #2: You aren't valuing the small things
This builds on the last concept. Start out by appreciating the small changes you are making. Too often, it’s easy to want to take an all or nothing approach to weight loss.
For example, most people think that if they can’t accomplish all of their goals like drinking a bottle of water every hour, having a well balanced meal every 3 hours and strength training in the morning with cardio in the evening, then they’ve failed their goals outright.
This type of absolute mentality will kill any weight loss progress. For rather than reinforcing the good that you are doing, you’re focusing on failure, ultimately destroying self confidence.
Instead, you should always focus on the small and subtle progress you are making.
Take our example above, if you just began exercising (even if you don’t fully know what you are doing) on a routine basis, then you should focus on telling yourself, “Hey, I am making changes. I am following through on what I said I would do.”
All of a sudden, you begin to build your self-confidence, and with more self-confidence comes the ability to slowly start adding additional responsibilities because you trust that you’ll do them.
So then, you can move from exercising everyday to now adding nutrition. And then in two weeks, you can add a sleep routine, and then in two more weeks you can focus on water consumption, and the progress continues.
Ideal timeline of successful weight loss
Notice how you learn over time how to best approach weight loss. It doesn’t come in the beginning, but it starts by focusing on the small things first to build momentum. You will accumulate the knowledge and the skills required over time.
Mistake #3: You're too focused on what you have to give up
We’ve talked about the best way to start on a weight loss journey. But what causes people to throw in the towel?
The most common reason is too much focus on what you must give up and a lack of focus on why you’re doing it in the first place.
Weight loss requires sacrifice. It’s inevitable. You will have to workout when you don’t feel like it. You will have to say no to foods that you’d love to eat at a social gathering, even when everyone else is eating them.
And while that’s hard, you are making it even harder on yourself when you think that what you are giving up is a sacrifice rather than an investment.
In other words, you should focus on the positive outcomes that will come in the future as a result of being disciplined rather than seeing it as a negative circumstance in the moment.
And this goes back to a focus on why you’re on a weight loss journey in the first place. You should focus on how good you’ll feel, how much energy you’ll have, how well you’ll be able to move, how proud you’ll be of yourself for accomplishing your goals.
When you paint the vision in your head, especially in those difficult moments that require discipline, it makes it all the more easy to set yourself up for continued progress.
Important note: Even when you do fail in the moment (maybe you ate poorly at a social gathering or missed a workout because you were tired), remember all the progress you’ve made since the beginning of your journey. Don’t let one moment completely derail you because, ultimately, you will fail. That is a part of the journey. But rather, learn from the failure, and refocus back on what you’ve been doing right all along.
Mistake #4: You're too impatient
We all want instant gratification, that would make any weight loss journey so much easier!
When you find yourself wanting to quit or give up because you aren’t seeing the results you hoped for, especially when you are doing everything right, think of it this way instead: Habits and routines are needed to create both positive and negative outcomes.
No one becomes overweight overnight. Eating poorly one time or missing a singular workout isn’t what makes people 30, 40, 50 pounds overweight. Rather, they had routines and habits that got them to that place, slowly, over time.
Likewise, it takes routines and habits, slowly, over time to reach your weight loss goals. It’s a matter of trusting that you are doing the right things each day and that eventually it will pay off.
For example, we never question the reverse scenario. We don’t think “hey, I’m in pretty good shape. Let me see what happens if I eat an entire chocolate cake everyday for the next 14 days”.
You know exactly what would happen in that scenario.
So keep sticking with your good habits and routines. Don’t worry if you aren’t seeing results now. They will come. It simply just takes time.
What should I focus on to acclerate weight loss?
Now that it’s clear what not to do, what should you be most focused on to accelerate the weight loss process?
While there are many variables that ultimately lead to success, the biggest key is to keep things simple so you actually take action on a consistent basis. Here are the two biggest concepts to understand that will dramatically impact the speed at which you lose weight.
Concept #1: Calories actually matter
Let’s clear the air on this once and for all. Calories matter!
Being in a caloric deficit is extremely important to aid in your weight loss journey. In fact, it’s actually impossible to lose weight if you are in a caloric surplus.
That being said, there are a lot of ways to create a caloric deficit. You could do cardiovascular training, and therefore burn more calories.
You could sit in an infrared sauna and burn an additional 200-400 calories each session. You could strength train and create more metabolically active tissue that naturally burns more energy each day.
You could also reduce the number of calories you consume. If you are focused on quality nutrition, this happens naturally as healthier foods are generally less calorically dense than their unhealthy counterparts.
Regardless, both sides of the equation are important and a deficit is an absolute must for any weight loss goal.
Practical Takeaway: Remind yourself that portion control matters and that caloric restriction is important. Try to slow down how quickly you eat during each meal time as this will help you feel fuller. However, do NOT count calories. You will quickly resent your weight loss journey. It’s not a practical long term approach to weight loss.
Concept #2: Hormones massively impact weight loss
So you managed to get into a caloric deficit, now what?
The unfortunate truth is that simply getting into a caloric deficit isn’t enough. You must also be mindful of how it impacts your body hormonally.
Can you think of someone who could really eat just about anything and never gain weight?
That’s because, hormonally speaking, their body is very efficient and optimized to burn energy. They naturally have a higher metabolic rate.
Generally speaking, the more balanced your hormones are, the more efficient your body will be at turning fat into energy.
That’s exactly why the type of foods you eat matter. That is why 500 calories of chocolate would have a massively different impact on your body compared to 500 calories of a well balanced nutritious meal. Because of hormones!
So what can you do to impact your hormone levels in a positive way?
Hormones are why you hear people preach diet and exercise when it comes to weight loss. Exercise has a tremendous impact on your hormones; so not only does it help put you in a caloric deficit, but it also puts your hormones in a better place for weight loss.
To paint a bigger picture, while diet and exercise are definitely the most important, many factors have the power to positively impact your hormones such as proper stress management, adequate sleep, increased hydration, cryotherapy, lipotropic shots and more!
Practical Takeaway: Hormones matter, which is why all the little things matter (sleep, stress management, hydration, etc). Remember though, while these small things are important, don’t let the complexity of it stop you from even getting started. Keep things simple in the beginning and you can slowly build upon your initial good habits with even better ones.
Key takeaway for successful weight loss
The biggest thing to understand is that it’s a combination of many healthy activities for your body that fuel the ultimate weight loss plan.
But as you’ve read, it’s not about bringing it all together at once, but rather, progressively introducing more and more good things to your body over time. Remember that a journey of 10,000 steps starts with the first step. So take that step and take action on your goals today!
Important Note: At RISE, we love helping people that are on a weight loss journey. With our approach to modern wellness, every client receives access to the best technology to help them progress faster. For a full list of our weight loss services, click here to discover more!