scale-and-tape-measureThere are dozens or even hundreds of different diets and exercise programs all promising weight loss, and yet most people fail to lose weight time and again. Learning these three universal truths can help you cut through the hype, separate yourself from the pack, and finally achieve lasting weight loss success.


Truth #1: You Can Do It
No matter how many times you’ve tried (and failed) to lose weight before, it IS possible, and you CAN do it! The first and most important step is to believe that this is true. Latching onto fad diets or putting yourself through punishing workouts in the hopes that this time “something will stick” and you’ll lose the weight and keep it off is sure to lead to disappointment. However, if you are willing to believe in yourself and commit to the actions illuminated in the next two truths, success is not only possible, but highly likely.

Truth #2: It Will Take Longer Than You Think
Probably the biggest reason why most people fail to lose weight and keep it off  is that they are too impatient at the outset. By aiming to drop a large amount of weight over a short amount of time, you set the stage for a dangerous bargaining process: “I’ll give up foods A, B and C for X number of weeks so I can lose Y number of pounds.” This kind of miserable dieting is all too familiar and dangerous for two reasons. First, by setting unrealistic expectations at the outset and putting yourself on a short timeline, you increase your risk for failure. This is bad enough in itself, but studies have shown that the biggest factor in self efficacy (confidence in your ability to do a certain thing) is your past history of success or failure in similar endeavors. By repeatedly failing at weight loss, you decrease your chance of future success a little bit every single time. The second way this kind of dieting can be dangerous is that losing and gaining weight over and over again takes a toll on the body. It can mess up your metabolism, which is bad for future weight loss efforts, but it can also increase your risk for diabetes, hypertension and gall stones, and can even speed up the aging process!

You can avoid all of that unpleasant stuff by setting realistic goals and committing to a real lifestyle change over a long timeline. Don’t be impatient – it will only hurt your progress. Ask yourself, “Where would I be today if I had adopted this kind of attitude a year ago?” Why not adopt that attitude today and see what happens over the next year?

Truth #3: Why Is More Important Than How
Everyone who wants to lose weight spends a lot of time and energy searching for the best possible diet and exercise program, when actually, most of them are pretty similar. You already know which things you eat or drink aren’t doing your waistline any favors, and you know whether you move enough or too little. As long as you adopt a few simple, common sense habits, the exact program you follow is not critically important. Much more important is the reason or reasons why you are trying to lose weight in the first place. That’s because behavior change – even the slow, small-step kind – is hard. If you don’t go into this thing for the right reasons, then you won’t stick with it when times get tough. There are lots of reasons why people quit practicing good habits – stress, depression, a change in work or family situation, illness, injury, you get the idea –  but if your motivation is strong, you’ll be much more likely to push through these common life events, stick with your healthy habits, and transform your body.

It’s hard for me to tell you what your exact motivations should be, but generally speaking, your reasons for wanting to lose weight need to be about you, and not about anyone else. If looking and feeling better is important to you, then you’ll be more likely to stay on the wagon. If you’re trying to get more dates, or impress your friends, or be a better role model for your kids, but you would otherwise feel just fine about being overweight, then that might not be important enough to get you past the bumpy spots in the road.

If you’d like some specific advice on how to put together a winning weight loss program with help at every step of the way, you can read my book, or contact me about private weight loss coaching services. Find out more about the book and my services here.

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