Have you ever wondered why you struggle with the yo-yo of weight loss and weight gain? The diet industry brings in roughly 60 billion dollars per year in revenue. They LITERALLY bank on you not making weight loss successful long-term. Commercial diets are really not sustainable for long. That means that you stop using them, gain weight back and then use the products again. Explore the following diet don’ts that keep you stuck in the weight loss yo-yo:
1. Don’t make drastic changes. Most diets tell you that you have to cut out entire groups of foods. Ahem, carbs anyone? The truth is, we need a variety of foods to maintain our health. We need carbs for a variety of physical processes including brain function. Steer clear of any diet that is telling you not to eat certain foods. If you are like me, the reality of this is that as soon as you are told not to eat something, it will be the only thing you want!
2. Don’t think of this as short-term. Often when looking at weight loss goals, people have an end in mind. They want to drop 20 pounds for a high school reunion, wedding or upcoming trip to the beach. This becomes problematic for a few reasons. People tend to make drastic changes….refer back to Diet Don’t 1! The other issue is that they make choices that they can’t sustain which leads to patterns of weight loss and weight gain. When we lose and gain weight over and over again, it is hard on our bodies. There is also some evidence that chronic patterns of this can damage our metabolism long-term.
3. Don’t focus on weight loss as the goal. This seems a bit counter-intuitive because the title of this article is Diet Don’ts for Weight Loss, but consider this, weight loss is not a goal. Weight loss is an outcome of meeting other behavioral goals. What I mean by that is, you can be more effective in losing weight if you focus on other behavioral changes. Then the weight loss will naturally follow. Our weight can fluctuate up to 5 pounds every day particularly depending on hormone changes during the menstrual cycle. Focusing on weight loss leads people to be discouraged when this happens and leads them to give up prematurely.
4. Don’t lose weight for anyone else. Many people embark on the journey of weight loss because of someone else. I can’t state this clearly enough…..THIS WON’T WORK! It will probably only lead to resentment. If you do want to lose weight, examine your reasons. If they have anything to do with someone else, you may want to reconsider because you will likely sabotage your efforts out of resentment toward the pressure or perceived pressure to make changes.
5. Don’t expect overnight results. I have worked with many people who have tried over and over again to lose weight, but haven’t seen any results. Part of this is what they are doing to lose weight, but another part is that they try to make changes for a couple of weeks, don’t see any results and give up. You did not gain weight overnight and you certainly won’t lose it as quickly as you gained it. That is a sad truth. It is MUCH easier to gain weight than lose it. If it weren’t, the diet industry would fail miserably. You must be patient with this process. It is kind of like college. Will college, you have to go in knowing that you will be committed to the process of finishing for four years to be able to make it through. If not, you get impatient and drop out. If you start the weight loss process committed to seeing it through, you will be much more likely to accomplish your goals.
6. Don’t exercise for weight loss. I know that seems like a weird statement. What I mean is that you can’t choose to do activities you despise because they burn calories and that is what you need to do to lose weight. You won’t stick with something you hate. Instead, choose activities that you like doing, but make you move your body. That might mean a dance party with your kids instead of going to the gym. Still active, but a lot more fun! Find something that you can look forward to. It will be much easier to keep it up.
7. Don’t beat yourself up. You will not be perfect in this process. Let me say that again, YOU WILL NOT BE PERFECT IN THIS PROCESS! How do I know that? It isn’t possible to do anything perfectly, much less make changes. Many many times, people give up their goals as soon as they aren’t perfect. Every time you struggle with your weight loss journey, take it as an opportunity to learn why you might be having difficulty. This is an opportunity to grow and learn about what works and what doesn’t. It might be that your strategy doesn’t work for you and you can find something that works better. It is impossible to do that if you are beating yourself up. Calling yourself names will never help you be successful.