If you pay attention to the national media, you’d think weight loss is near impossible to achieve. And finding someone who has lost a lot of weight and kept it off… good luck, right? Luckily, these are basic misconceptions. In fact, weight loss is achievable and there are plenty of people who have conquered their weight loss demons.
So if this is true, why do we always hear about people struggling with weight? The answer is pretty simple. We all know someone, and probably several people, who have tried to lose weight and failed. Let’s explore this phenomenon a little further.
Too Many Reasons, Too Little Time
There are a number of reasons that diet plans fail. Maybe there was an important life event that derailed your efforts or maybe you simply decided it would be too challenging and not worth the effort in the first place. Whatever the situation, we know that weight loss failures are common. Despite the myriad of potential reasons, I think we can safely sum up diet failures into three problematic scenarios.
Reason #1: Your diet plan is too restrictive
Either there are not enough calories, too few carbohydrates, or very little solid food, which ends up leaving people feeling unsatisfied and yearning for more of what their plans are missing. Plus, if you’re getting too little of one thing, you’re probably getting too much of another. Clearly, this is not the way to achieve variety, balance, and moderation in your eating plan.
Reason #2: You aren’t tracking
If you’re not paying attention to how much you’re eating, exercising, sleeping, and working, it’s going to become increasingly difficult to be successful. Research has proven this time and time again! But tracking your progress, food intake, and workouts takes extra work, and many never commit the time and energy needed to keep track of their habits.
Reason #3: You’re looking for a quick fix.
You aren’t that interested or haven’t fully committed to changing your behaviors long-term. Any changes made are generally short-lived, which means you’ll probably be back in the same boat in the very near future.
Most diets are simply short-term solutions to a long-term problem. Weight problems don’t happen overnight and because of this, they take some serious planning and hard work to overcome.
Now what should you do?
If you want to model yourself after some really successful weight losers, look no further than the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). The NWCR is a collaborative study between Brown Medical School and the University of Colorado and is designed to identify the behaviors and habits of people who have successfully lost weight and kept it off.
The researchers are tracking over 5,000 individuals who, on average, have lost 66 pounds and kept it off for 5.5 years. These folks have clearly mastered weight loss, but what are some common threads that have contributed to their success?
- They track their weight and food intake.
- They eat breakfast every day.
- They exercise often, about 1-hour everyday.
These are just some basic, common sense guidelines that almost everyone can follow. They’re a great starting point, so if you’ve been struggling with your weight, try incorporating these recommendations over time.
How did you lose weight?
Was it through a diet program or eating healthy?
Let us know in the comments below!
Photo credit: Robert Benner Sr.