Thinking about a weight loss goal for 2016? As we approach New Year’s resolutions, it is important to identify all of the ways we sabotage our efforts before we even begin. First, I have to say that I discourage New Year’s resolutions because they are rarely successful because we generally set ourselves up for failure. Weight loss resolutions are particularly at risk for this. So, to avoid sinking your battleship before it leaves the marina, think about the following pitfalls….
- Rigidity. We tend to think in very black and white terms when it comes to goal setting. For weight loss goals, people often think they need to eat 1200-1500 calories and workout 6-7 days per week for an hour. Setting lofty goals initially is a recipe for disaster because it is difficult to go from overeating and channel surfing as the main physical activity of the day to a highly disciplined (and overly restrictive) regimen. Instead, focus on small steps to get to your ultimate goal. That will lead to more confidence and even more success!
- Perfectionism. Along the lines of rigidity, we tend to feel like a failure as soon as we don’t follow the plan to a T. The reality is that life rarely goes according to plan, so we need to rely on some flexibility. All is not lost if you had to cut your workout from an hour to 30 minutes. If you occasionally need to eat convenience foods, it isn’t the end of the world. If you view it as a huge setback and beat yourself up, what is the likelihood you will continue to try? Probably slim to none until next Monday….because all weight loss programs tend to start and restart then, right?!
- Unrealistic. If you want to lose 10 pounds in 10 days, that isn’t likely to happen unless you are having a body part amputated. For the rest of us, we need to recognize that rapid weight loss usually leads to rapid regain. Our bodies function more effectively when we lose 1-2 pounds per week. It allows our hormones to recalibrate and if we lose more quickly, our body assumes we are starving and our metabolism shuts down. Instead, recognize that this is a slow process and it doesn’t always have an upward trajectory. You will plateau and because of life circumstances, metabolism and water weight, you may even gain a bit before losing again. Keeping this in mind helps you to realize that weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on the journey, not just the destination.
- Emotional. Most diets fail because they don’t take our emotional state into account. Losing weight is much more than calories in and calories out. Our emotions play a big part in our successes and struggles with weight loss. The majority of people struggle with emotional eating and self-sabotage. If you don’t address these two players, your success with weight loss is unlikely.
In addition, if you are seeking changes in your weight, think about weight loss as the outcome instead of the goal itself. You will be much more successful if you focus on the behavior changes (eating and physical activity) that will lead to weight loss instead of weight loss in and of itself. If you see yourself in any of these pitfalls and want to do something different this year, call us. We have the tools to help you get out of your own way and achieve long term success with weight loss!