Whether it’s a diet, an exercise regime, or a combination of both, the majority of weight loss plans fail. It might take a few weeks or a few months, but studies show a staggering 95% of weight loss plans fail, with a large majority of those gaining back MORE weight than they lost. Why? We’ve seen it all over the last two decades in business, here are the 7 most common mistakes our Trainers see…with past programs clients have tried, not ours of course!
1. No plan
By failing to plan you plan to fail – any time you have a goal in life, whether it’s a big trip, studying, changing careers, getting married, having a baby… you need to plan. You need to figure out the details of how, what, why, where and who. The same is true for weight loss. If you don’t have a plan of attack for your nutrition and exercise, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Plans need to be goal-oriented. Not just a vague goal of ‘I want to lose weight’, but a SMART goal: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound.
2. Doing it for the wrong reasons
Many people start a weight loss plan for extrinsic reasons. This means they are driven by external motivation, maybe their doctor told them they should lose weight, their partner or family want them too, maybe they just want to impress someone. But if the motivation isn’t intrinsic (coming from inside), it’s much less likely to keep you motivated through the tough days. Intrinsic motivation includes things like exercising for enjoyment and happiness, wanting to feel better about yourself, challenging yourself to complete a new skill or a performance goal. In order to stay motivated for the long run, you need to find something that drives YOU instead of trying to please someone else.
3. Focus on the scale
Most weight loss plans are solely focussed on the number on the scale. Losing weight is certainly helpful in a lot of cases, but if you really want to become healthier, the focus should be on reducing body fat and gaining lean muscle, rather than just losing weight. If you are incorporating an exercise regime that builds muscle, this will actually boost your metabolism so you burn more calories even at rest. However, muscle weighs more than fat so you might be losing fat, losing cms off your waist, but gaining muscle, so the scale doesn’t move as much as you think you want. Unfortunately, if the scale doesn’t move, people tend to get discouraged and quit. If you stay focused on your pants size, waist measurement, and % body fat, these are much better indicators of a positive body composition change than weight alone.
4. Losing muscle
If the weight loss regime does NOT include resistance exercise to help build muscle and relies on calorie restriction, it will result in a weight loss that is partly fat and partly muscle. Losing muscle actually slows down the metabolism and this makes it easier to gain fat if the diet doesn’t stick, and harder to lose weight in the future. Yo-yo dieting is a classic example of what can happen when this happens over and over again, there is an initial weight loss, followed by a large weight gain, leaving the person heavier than when they started.
5. Temporary change, not a lifestyle change
When most people begin a weight loss plan, they say they are ‘going on a diet’ or ‘getting on a program’. These statements immediately conjure up images of an unpleasant short-term situation like feeling deprived, eating tiny portions, training extremely hard, only until the result has been achieved. Once the result has been achieved then you can ‘get off the diet’ and ‘get back to normal’. If a weight loss program is going to last forever, it needs to be part of your lifestyle, not a temporary fix.
6. Not building in exercise
So many weight loss plans focus solely on nutrition. While it is true that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, it’s also just as crucial to make sure you incorporate exercise for all the other benefits. Diet without exercise will fail to build muscle and boost metabolism, but you will also miss out on all the other health benefits including increased strength and endurance, improved posture, reduced chronic pain, improved cardiovascular health, reduced risk of many chronic diseases, improved self-confidence and better sleeping patterns to name a few!
7. No motivation or accountability
It’s pretty easy to start a weight loss plan. It’s just as easy to stop a weight loss plan as soon as you get bored, get tired, have a bad day, or just feel like a cheeseburger. Without having anyone that you are accountable to, to push you, motivate you and make sure you make good choices, it’s far too easy to slip back into old habits. Having your partner, best friend or family on board is an important step, and having a workout buddy or Personal Trainer to hold you accountable greatly increases chances of long term success.
Need more help?
If you can solve these 7 points by yourself then odds are you’ll succeed long term. But if you find yourself starting over again and again, then it’s time to find a different solution. That’s where our Personal Trainers come in. Since 1999 we’ve specialised in getting people long term results that have failed on past programs. Contact us or give us a call on 1800 PT for U, that’s 1800 783 678 to chat to one of our friendly Trainers about how we can help you.