April 15, 2010
Reasons Why your Weight Loss Plan (Nutrition & Exercise) Isn’t Working
Weight loss may be 80%+ nutrition (what you eat) and 20% staying active (exercise), but it is also certainly 110% mental.
I made a statement a couple articles back about it is more dangerous for someone to diet and fall “off the wagon” than to never have dieted at all.
This comes from the emotional and mental state that a person may experience from that point on (sense of failure, self-doubt, depression, etc).
When our heads are not in the game and focused on something positive, our body will suffer as well.
It could lead us down a road of self destructive behavior that will be harder to recover from.
So use this guide as a way to become “aware” of what may be happening in your lifestyle quest to be lean and healthy, and then take the positive steps to make sure you don’t fall off (and get run over) the diet wagon ever again.
Reason #1: You are looking for a quick fix
Don’t believe everything you read in advertising….if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!
It’s advertised everywhere with slogans to let you know how quickly you can lose weight.
People spend money on quick fix solutions year after year, and yet they never can get lasting results. Funny (in a sad way) how all these programs/ books/ supplement companies will also never tell you how many people also gain all the weight right back (as it is a high %).
Remember that ads are created by people who “specialize” in getting you to part with your money….so of course the claims will be exaggerated (or not even true in some cases) just to make a quick buck. If people stopped buying into these gimmicks…guess what would happen?
People would stop writing new fad diet books and promoting quick weight loss supplements! If we want all these quick fix salespeople to go away, we just have to stop buying into them.
Reason #2: You try for perfection and/or make it too complicated
If your diet or fitness plan needs an engineering degree to figure out, then maybe it’s time for something a bit more simple.
Most diets out there probably will work, but how easy are they to really follow for a “lifetime” of results?
This is the modern flaw with most all weight loss approaches out there, making them overly complicated for the real people who have jobs, kids, family and other responsibilities.
You will see Hollywood celebrities promoting these diets….yet with all their free time, access to personal trainers and private chefs, look at how many of them just gain the weight right back!
The same can be said for your fitness/workout program.
Is it requiring charts and 30 different exercises every workout?
Is it something that you could easily do on the road traveling without access to your normal gym?
It doesn’t have to be that complicated, it just needs to have the right exercises done at the right intensity (mainly full body compound movements).
The old rule of 80/20 always comes into play here, stick with the 20% of your eating/fitness and eating that yield 80% of your results and you will be in great shape for life. More is not always better, and always trying to be perfect (all or nothing) is usually the reason people abandon their weight loss efforts after a minor setback (which will happen in life).
Mark over at MDA also has the same mindset towards living a healthy lifestyle…”an overall 80% conformity with the 10 Primal Blueprint rules will yield a solidly healthy result”. So stop beating yourself up if you are not 100% all the time, strive for doing your best daily and then repeat every day.
Reason #3: You think you are being deprived of something
Pizza is something I will probably never give up….yet it is not also something I eat daily.
Here’s your list of approved foods, you can only eat these snacks, you can never have these foods…..sound familiar with any diet approach?
Of course we want people to eat healthy and you really do have to avoid certain foods if you want results….but if you are constantly craving or wanting a piece of pizza (my favorite “bad” food), and your diet says to never have pizza….how long do you think it will be before you cave in and eat a large pie in front of the tv?
What are the chances that after that binge you will go back to the restrictive diet plan again (not high I’ll tell you)?
So while you aim to eat the right healthy foods, you can not have a deep sense of being deprived of something…otherwise you will just drop your eating plan and binge. So have certain days where you allow yourself foods that you really enjoy. Remember that this is not about eating them every single day, but say on a weekend night you allow yourself to enjoy some foods.
As you progress in your lifestyle of healthy eating, your food tastes and desires will also change. So the desserts you used to crave, you come to terms with on your own journey and no longer want them. There is no “conflict” in taking them out of your lifestyle anymore (like with a strict diet plan) but now you just “drop” them on your own….and that is the only way to do it.
Reason #4: The dangers are not real enough for you
You wouldn’t drink from this bottle….yet many of us may be sipping from it daily and not know it until it is too late!
You wouldn’t drink straight bleach or rat poison, right?
We know it would probably make us very sick or kill us quickly.
But each day we may be making choices that slowly lead us down a road of ill-health and increase our chances for most all diseases such as heart disease, cancers, and more.
This is really nothing new of course, as the saying goes “if you throw a frog into a boiling pot of water it will jump right out….but put it in a cold pot and slowly boil, it will stay in and die”.
We all know that we should eat healthier, just ask anyone shoving a donut or hot dog down and they will nod in agreement and laugh about it with you.
We all know the risks, yet if it is not an immediate danger no one really takes it seriously enough.
Most doctors will say you should “eat better and exercise more” yet many patients will never take that into action.
When do people take things seriously?
How about when the danger is present and real, such as your doctor saying “if you don’t lose 20lbs you will be dead in a year”.
So it’s time to start to realize that the long term diseases are something to worry about and try and prevent.
Want a reality slap, go visit people who are dealing with diabetes, cancers, or some other diseases on a daily basis.
Maybe that will make it real enough for you.
Until we can all see the real dangers (as most stuff will not kill us right now….but what about 5 years down the road?) of what we eat/do….we can not be serious enough to stick with a healthy lifestyle.
Once you realize the long term positive benefits of what and why you eat, you will stick with it for a lifetime.
Reason #5: You use food/exercise as a way to escape real issues
Food is just a temporary escape…not a long term solution to your happiness.
Have a bad day at work? Having relationship problems?
Experiencing low self esteem or self doubt?
Well opening up a quart of Ben and Jerry may help you to calm down for the moment and the pain go away, but it’s not solving the root of the problem.
The pain will return, the issue is still there.
Using food (usually ones high in sugar that give off a endorphin rush such as ice cream and desserts) as an escape is dangerous!
The same can also be said for people who workout in a gym for hours a day (just because they have nothing else going on or don’t want to go home to face issues).
Don’t just kill time with a workout to avoid something else.
This is also why many may turn to alcohol and drugs, to just “numb” themselves to issues they may be avoiding in life….and why people also stay addicted in order to not face the source of the pain (inside).
Take time out to actually find the root cause of your unhappiness in life.
Find ways in which to go face to face and conquer your doubts or fears, don’t ignore them….as they never go away until you see them for what they are, and then overcome/detach from them.
* Don’t go for quick fixes….focus on long term solutions (time will pass quickly enough…as look where you were 6 months ago)
* You don’t have to be perfect to get good results, so don’t beat yourself up for going out and eating things you know you shouldn’t have.
Just focus on today and what you need to do….the past is gone, more forward (but don’t give up altogether).
* Keep your approach to eating/fitness simple and fun. Don’t look at is as a complicated task, or you will just resent and eventually give it up.
Try intermittent fasting as a simple way to eat and lose weight.
* Focus on living a healthy life till you are 99 (or something like that).
Diseases are not natural…and are something we can help to prevent.
With that mentality make the right food choices for a long and healthy life.
Then you won’t deprive yourself of any foods…as you choose the ones you want for the right reasons now (and no one else is taking them away from you).
* You can be happy right now, it’s all in your head.
But it’s something you need to face head on….not avoid and cover up with foods, exercise or other distractions.
Once you can master your own happiness, then it’s yours to have every day.
Use these posts to help you out:
How to be Happy Right Now and How to Win the Mental Battle.
* Live to enjoy life…..eat to enjoy good foods….keep things simple and repeat daily.
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Dr. Saman Bakhtiar is a Riverside Personal Trainer and Boot Camp Instructor.
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