Overcome these 3 Pitfalls to achieve your Weight Loss Goals
As 2014 ends and 2015 begins, many look for a chance to start fresh. The idea of the New Year’s Resolution is a cultural norm with the greatest intentions. Now more than ever, these resolutions involve changes in lifestyle, most specifically weight loss. An attempt to be resolute is synonymous with being purposefully driven, determined, and unwavering. With such a bold and confident title, it seems contradicting to realize a majority of people fail at their resolutions within the first 4 weeks of the year. What does it take to be resolute? What is the difference between those who succeed and those who fail? When it comes to weight loss, there are 3 major pitfalls:
- Nutrition Protocol: The diet is most often a huge barrier to success. After the holidays, many decide to embark on a restrictive diet that will encourage weight loss and help curb the guilt of the holiday indulgences. The average diet lasts 3 weeks in the United States before failing. The most common reasons for failure is excessive restriction of favorite foods, obstacles with planning, and preconceived notions about what “healthy” eating truly is. A diet that fuels weight loss and withstands the test of time is one that uses the Lifestyle Triad and makes planned and gradual changes that accumulate over time. The use of accountability measures such as meeting with a Dietitian, making changes with a friend or partner, or joining a weight loss group can enhance the longevity of a plan as well as encourage a healthy relationship with food.
- Exercise Attitude: Every New Year’s my gym crowds full of new members decked out in their Christmas gifts, creating a line for the cardio equipment and ab machines. By February 1st, with the exception of a few new faces, the gym returns to its original group of routine visitors. This happens in gyms across the United States, for a reason I will share with you exclusively on this blog: gyms are not for everyone; Cardio equipment is not for everyone; and most importantly consistent attendance that resembles a hobby is not for everyone. The secret to cracking the code for exercise involves reframing what it is. Exercise is simply activity. Activity is literally just movement. Engaging muscles, increasing heart rate, increasing respiration, preferably sweating. There are thousands of things you can do to accomplish this. The gym is a type of formal exercise you must set aside time in your day for. While this can be great, it is not the only solution. That said, for those who stick with a gym routine, they succeed because it becomes a hobby. Like any hobby, there is an initial learning curve to understand the goal and process. I encourage anyone considering committing time or money to a gym to hire a personal trainer for at least a couple sessions. Even if you only use their expertise to learn to exercise properly, or help navigate your options to find what you might enjoy, it will be money well spent. Additionally, open your mind to activity. I encourage new fitness enthusiasts to try classes, training, at home exercises, informal activities, and anything else they find access to. If you like it, it will be more likely to stick.
- Lifestyle Management: The final and arguably most traumatic obstacle is the prioritizing your resolution amidst the variety and stress of your day to day. The ability to manage stress and maintain a balanced life is what drives planning meals and paying attention to intake, as well as committing time to activity. The most common problem I come across is individuals get stressed from work, get mentally burnout, then proceed to skip the gym, and opt out of their dietary goals for something more convenient or comforting. Ironically, in these instances, a workout used to outlet stress followed by a nutritious meal to fuel the mind, body, and sense of accomplishment would likely leave you feeling much better, but sometimes old habits die hard. I encourage my clients to adopt a nutrition and exercise regimen that they can commit to. Most importantly, both items need to be maintainable during times of stress, and are ideally a tool used to better navigate the tough times. When accomplished, the change in lifestyle habits is what will drive success and encourage maintenance.
Happy New Year!
Andrew M. Wade, RDN, LDN