When it comes to lasting weight loss, slow and steady wins the race.
Although many people take on the latest diet program, quick fix or promise of immediate results, most only find themselves right back where they started in a relatively short period of time. In fact, most people who take drastic measures to lose weight not only gain back what they lost, but gain even more leaving them more discouraged and frustrated with each attempt.
Why do we continue to put our time, effort and energy into the “quick fix” and why doesn’t it work?
Dieting doesn’t work for many reasons. The first reason is that drastic steps are temporary…at best. It isn’t realistic to commit into a 7-day-a-week exercise program if we haven’t been exercising at all or to think that we can drastically reduce our calories for the long term if we have many eating behaviors that caused the weight gain in the first place. If the changes we make can’t comfortably be worked into our day, our routine, our lifestyles and our lives, whatever we take on isn’t likely to continue. We may be able to commit to an overhaul in food choices or eating behaviors for a short while but when confronted with something that triggers us to overeat or abandon our best efforts, we will immediately go back to what is familiar and comfortable.
What is familiar and comfortable? Our habits. Whether they’re good or bad they’re what we’re comfortable with. That’s why when we want to lose weight those habits which originally caused the weight gain must be changed. We’ve all heard the saying “habits are hard to break” and because that’s true, a slow and steady approach needs to be used to develop new, healthier habits to replace the old, unhealthy ones.
So how do we break the habits which lead us to gain weight?
One thing we need to look at is our “diet mentality.” For many moms, we’re either on or off a diet at any given time. If we have that “all or nothing” or “black or white” extreme behavior when it comes to weight loss, there’s no room for error and no way to recover from any mistakes made along the way. If the road to weight loss doesn’t allow for some imperfection, it is unrealistic to think that we can stick it out for the long haul.
Life throws us some curveballs from time to time, that’s a given. How we handle those curveballs may require some adjustments to our eating plan. If our eating plan doesn’t allow for those adjustments, where does that leave us?
It leaves us right off our diet. Angry, frustrated and discouraged, we revert right back to what is so deeply ingrained within us. Any progress made is abandoned and for many moms, here’s where the negative self talk takes us even further away from believing weight loss success is possible as we berate ourselves with every bite of foods we’ve sworn off for good. So, if this sounds so familiar and you’ve had enough of “yo-yo dieting”, weight cycling and diet behavior, what can you do?
1) Understand that each time you start an unrealistic diet, you chip away at your confidence and belief in your ability that you can lose weight. The more you chip away at that confidence, the less you trust yourself and the more powerless you become.
2) Understand that although it doesn’t sound as appealing as a “miracle cure” or “immediate solution”, weight loss is a journey. The more you discover why you gained the weight and understand that your habits can and need to be changed, the more weight loss success you’ll have.
3) Focus on the fact that each habit you change serves as a stepping stone to greater confidence, trust and belief in yourself. When we isolate a habit we want to change, put our efforts into finding a solution to turn that habit into one that better suits us, we feel proud and happy with our ability to take control of our eating and our behavior. That simply feels good and enables us to see that our choices and decisions are within our control. It brings about a feeling of strength and empowerment as well as increases our confidence and self esteem.
When we feel confident, strong and empowered, we’re proud of ourselves and realize that anything is within our grasp. While it may be more exciting to believe that drastic efforts bring huge results, when it comes to weight loss, the greatest results are found by making the most minimal…but consistent changes.
Do you have any tips or tricks that have worked for you to stay motivated on a slow, steady course toward a healthier lifestyle? Share them here in the comments or drop me a note!
Debi Silber, “The Mojo Coach”
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