There are three key “show-stoppers” that prevent the majority of people from sticking to a weight-loss program. Do you know what they are?
My nutrition practice is focused on working with people who are chronically ill. In spite of that, I occasionally have someone approach me about a weight loss program, believing they need nutritional counseling. They really don’t.
I don’t have anything against working with people who are overweight. I use to tip the scale pretty good myself at one time. It comes down to this: losing weight, technically, or “nutritionally”, is pretty easy. Stop eating all the crap that food manufacturers have you believing is nutritious “food” and get your portions under control.
Do you ever wonder what kind of performance would you get out of your car if you filled the gas tank with sugar water? Not too good, right? Trust me, your body is considerably more sensitive and finicky than a car when it comes to what you’re feeding it.
Whether it’s your car, lawn, or beloved pet, you must feed it the proper nutrients if you want it to function optimally. If you don’t, sooner or later something goes haywire.
Losing weight is definitely something most people can do on their own, and those who find their own solution are much more empowered to stick with their plan and achieve success. Why? Because you OWN it. It’s all about you. Literally.
The hard part about losing weight is dealing with the mental gymnastics, the mind games your brain plays, and the false signals it sends in the form of cravings. I know this is true because I experienced it when I began a very intense, restrictive diet to manage symptoms of multiple sclerosis. The only way to get through the months and years on a candida diet, is to have a desperate desire to regain mobility, energy and good health.
So based on my own experience, I have narrowed my theory down to three major show-stoppers, or pitfalls, that derail someone on the road to successful weight loss. Anyone who can get a handle on all three, has terrific odds of achieving success.
Three Show-Stoppers to Weight Loss
Show-stopper #1 — You lack insight about what to expect when you begin a weight loss program.
Successfully completing a weight loss program has a lot to do with how prepared you are mentally for the challenge ahead.
During the first 2-4 weeks of a diet, the cravings most people experience are enough to quickly push them off the wagon if they aren’t expecting them.
If your regular daily diet includes fast-food, junk food, desserts, breads and pasta, then you are likely to have really strong food cravings when you cut back or eliminate those foods.
The cravings are a chemical reaction. You are depriving your body of a substance it has become accustom to and expects, not a lot different from a drug addict who needs more heroine or a cigarette smoker needing nicotine.
If you deprive your body long enough, eventually it will rebalance itself chemically. How long your cravings and imbalances last will depend on your individual internal chemistry. On average, the worst cravings last for 2-3 weeks.
There are things you can do to help minimize cravings, which will be addressed in another blog titled “Four Steps to Weight Loss”.
Show-stopper #2 — You did not educate yourself. I’m not suggesting a course in molecular biology here. As fascinating and inter-connected that topic is to nutrition, that’s not the type of education you need.
You should know a little about what foods are okay for you and which ones are not. For instance, have a basic understanding of how processed foods contribute to weight loss, or why very few people can eat breads, pasta and sweets, and still lose weight.
Do you know how much sugar you consume each day from soda or other sugary beverages?
Do you use margarine, shortening and other vegetable oils in food preparation?
Have you compared how many times a week your meals come from processed, junk or fast foods instead of organic, fresh, whole foods?
These are just a few things off the top of my head that you need to consider.
The process of making food choices needs to be second nature to you, no matter what the circumstances — in a restaurant, at a friend’s house for dinner, stuck at an airport or train station.
Having a better understanding of why some foods are bad for weight loss, can help a great deal when you have to make choices and eliminations.
Show-stopper #3 — You lack perseverance and vision. This is the “Grand Poobah” of weight-loss show-stoppers. You must be prepared for a “long haul” and know the goal you’re shooting for.
Most people experience a healthy weight loss rate of about a pound a week (unless you’re like my husband who shrinks just by concentrating while looking at himself in the mirror). There are exceptions to that statement.
People who are dealing with chronic health issues, those of you who are insulin or leptin resistant, or women over the age of 40-45, to name a few — losing weight can be an even slower process. But let’s face it, you didn’t gain all that weight in a just a few weeks (usually), so you definitely should not expect to lose it that fast.
It’s much easier to persevere through a difficult task and change behaviors if you WANT to change the behaviors. And to have that desire requires a vision, a purpose. Is your goal to lose 40 pounds? Or is your goal to improve your long-term health, have more energy, and live longer?
Instead of your #1 focus being the number of pounds you want to lose, have a vision of yourself living a vibrant, productive, happy, long life. Now THAT’s a goal that will keep you motivated!
Weight-loss doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to spend time at weekly weigh-in meetings, count points, spend hours in the kitchen preparing complicated recipes, or study the newest best-seller book on weight loss.
Some people need a process on which to focus in order to stay motivated. If doing any of those things helps you stick to your goals, then by all means do them. But above all else, your top priorities are to:
- Maintain reasonable expectations and insight into your weight loss program,
- Make fact-based decisions on food choices each and everyday, and
- Have a vision that supersedes counting pounds and calories.
Are you ready? Tackle those show-stoppers! It’s time to get healthy!
* If you are dealing with a serious or chronic health issue, check with your doctor before beginning a weight loss program, discontinuing medications, or eliminating foods from your daily diet. This information is not intended to replace medical advice from your doctor or to diagnose any health condition.