The average person loses over 1,000 pounds in their lifetime. Read on to find out how that’s true and how you can avoid that very common problem.
How Is That Even Possible?
If you were able to solve the riddle, congrats! If not, the explanation for losing 1,000 pounds is simple – yo-yo dieting. By losing 20 lbs each year and then gaining it all back, you essentially lose 1,000 pounds in a lifetime.
Pretty crazy, right? Most people obviously know how to lose weight, it’s just keeping it off that seems to be the problem. We tend to lose 5, 10, or 20 pounds and then hit a sticking point. Sheer frustration gets the best of us, and one by one our unhealthy habits and old lifestyle return. That is the true definition of yo-yo dieting.
So then, how do you prevent yo-yo dieting from happening? Here are 5 core concepts you need to implement into your lifestyle if you want to see lasting weight loss results.
Create New Habits
This is where dieting fails. Dieting doesn’t really teach you how to create healthy habits. Following an eating blueprint or meal plan can get you results, but it won’t instill the habits necessary for sustainable weight loss.
Think about your current lifestyle and what your habits are. What are the things you do without even thinking about it? Specifically think about the way you eat, what you eat, and the activities you do that are second nature.
These are the things we want to change. We want to create healthy habits so that they are as second nature as your current “unhealthy” habits are.
Make Changes Slowly
Healthy habits are more easily formed slowly over a period of time. While complete submersion and chaos can definitely create fast change, most people don’t have the luxury of transplanting themselves into a completely different lifestyle and surroundings.
Instead, work at one change at a time. Anyone can do that. You can move forward at your own pace, but don’t move forward until you’ve solidified that new healthy habit. It might take you a week, or it might take you longer, but these habits will start to culminate into a new lifestyle.
Get Rid of All-Or-Nothing Attitude
Are you guilty of this? You likely won’t even attempt to lose weight until you know that your diet and exercise program are perfect. It’s difficult for you to do something knowing that a part of your fitness program could be better. Sound familiar?
Weight loss is about living in the middle, not at the extremes. An all-or-nothing attitude, while commendable, sets you up for failure. No one is perfect. Get started and adapt as you learn new things about yourself. Be comfortable with not being perfect.
Manage the Setbacks
There’s likely one thing that’s guaranteed during your weight loss journey, and that is you’re going to have a setback. You’re going to regain a little bit of weight somewhere along the way. You’re going to miss a workout or two. You’re going to eat something you weren’t supposed to. That’s OK.
The key is to keep a solid head on your shoulders and get right back on track. You have to understand that the number you see on the scale the next morning after a night of free eating is misleading. You did not gain 5 pounds of fat overnight.
Water retention is not fat. It will be re-lost after a day or two of healthy eating. Understand that you don’t lose fat with a single meal, and you don’t gain it with one either.
Workouts are also going to be missed due to unforeseen circumstances. Missing 1 workout isn’t going to make you fat, just as having a single great workout isn’t going to transform your body.
If you keep your mind right and manage the setbacks, your weight loss progress should resemble a big zig-zag with a downward trend instead of the complete regaining of weight that yo-yo dieting represents.
This is probably the most difficult concept to master. When we want the the weight gone, we want it gone – like yesterday. When we don’t lose weight as fast as we’d like we begin to question and doubt that we’re doing the right things to lose weight.
This uncertainty, paired with lack of progress, almost always leads to a reversion of old lifestyle habits. The dramatic body transformations constantly portrayed in the media and the unrealistic weight loss TV shows don’t make us feel any better about the situation either.
Go into your weight loss journey with realistic expectations. Aim for the stars, but set a realistic time frame to do it. Losing .5-1% of your body mass each week is about what you can expect if your goal is to also retain as much muscle as possible, which it should be.
Be aware that sometimes weeks will go by without the scale budging. However, the number on the scale is not the be-all-end-all of progress. You are still creating healthy habits – habits that are slowly changing your body from the inside out. Be patient and your physical appearance will soon reflect the lifestyle you are living.