Time and time again I’ve seen clients at Motivation win the weight loss challenge and it’s immensely satisfying. They come into our clinics often feeling down, negative and hopeless. They’ve tried every ‘diet’ under the sun but, even after the initial euphoric weight-loss, the weight just goes back on.
Our programme is different. This time, if you stick to the programme, you’ll keep the weight off. Our clients don’t complain about hunger, yet we restrict their calories and they do lose weight. But not all clients are the same in their approach, their attitude and their ability to stick to the programme.
Here I’d like to give a rundown of what tends to make the most successful weight losers. It really is just a matter of adopting the right attitude and habits and soon, you’ll be joining them!
- They don’t look too far ahead: successful weight losers, I’ve noticed, tend to take each week (or even each day) at a time. They have an overall, long-term goal, but they focus their attention on the short-term goals. They also tend to keep their goals habits-focused (with associated ‘actions’), such as ‘I’m going to have green beans or broccoli with lunch every day so I’ll pop fresh and frozen on my shopping list’, or ‘I need to pull back on my carbs this week so I’m going to make cauliflour rice for dinner’. These people tend to take one or two habits at a time (rarely more). Then they get to enjoy the feelgood factor of achieving each small goal. Or, if they don’t manage it this week, then they try again – crucially, they are flexible, yet determined, with their goals.
- They choose an exercise they actually enjoy: I’m blue in the face saying this one, but really, do you have any chance of keeping going with a particular exercise if you don’t actually enjoy it? It sounds so simplistic but it’s true. If you hate cardio, don’t do it. Instead, lift weights, do pilates or yoga and walk briskly. If you hate that type of exercise, then pound it out with cardio. If you detest most forms of exercise, then choose something fun – try dance classes or aquaaerobics. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something regularly enough and you’ll see the results mount up.
- They don’t beat themselves up if they miss a session: there will be times when life is too busy, you’re down with a bad cold or you have other commitments. Successful weight losers know that their exercise might take the hit, but they compensate by dialing down their calorie intake over that period. Alternatively, they simply accept that their weight loss will be slower until they can ramp it up again. The key attitude? Self-confidence. You can do this. You are allowed to dial things down. Don’t panic. Be flexible and then commit to get back on track – but only when you can.
- They don’t make excuses: successful weight losers know that they haven’t had a great week, but they don’t make excuses for it. They just accept the fact, and move on. Life is busy and sometimes stressful, but they know they still owe it to themselves to prioritise themselves. There’s a big difference between excuses (‘I was too busy at work this week to stick to the programme’) versus an understanding of where you went wrong and what to do next time (‘I was too busy and didn’t prep my food so next time I’ll prep on Sunday and Wednesday evening so that I can stay on track without too much effort’). Those who succeed are also more likely to take responsibility for their choices. They don’t blame outside circumstances because they know choice ultimately comes from within (not saying it’s easy, just that it is a choice).
- They regularly consume protein: clients who stick to consuming some form of protein every three to four hours always tend to do best. Why? Because they never let their blood sugars drop too low, which could easily lead to them making the wrong food choice in order to quickly ‘correct’ that low. Our clients have access to daily, healthy ‘treats’ in the form of protein bars, crisps and other snacks. The bonus is that these snacks not only balance blood sugar levels, but they also give a much-needed hit of protein and, best yet, satisfy those cravings with a guilt-free snack. Clients love how they don’t have to sit and watch their partner or friend munch on a bar or crisps – they have their own, healthier version all to themselves.
- They don’t beat themselves up (too much) after a slip: we’ve noticed some clients who, at the beginning of their programme, tended to see it as a disaster if they slip but, thankfully over time (by using the tools they are given) things change. They learn to react in new, more helpful ways. That means brushing themselves off, showing some self-compassion (trying to understand WHY they slipped) and learning how to avoid it next time. These people abide by the motto, ‘You’re either winning (at weight loss) or you’re learning’. In other words, you’re never losing (the only thing you’re losing is the weight, but you’re wining the challenge!).
- They see the importance of monitoring: the most successful weight losers ALWAYS fill out their daily diary. Okay, there may be a holiday or two where they let it slip but, on the whole, they come in each week with a completed diary. They know that this strategy keeps them more mindful of how they’re doing overall. It’s this ‘self-reporting’ that really makes the difference to success (in fact, research shows that those who keep a diary lose twice as much weight as those who don’t). Also, when it comes to measuring their food, measuring their waist and detecting their body fat, these people tend to be up for all forms of keeping track. They know that they’ll get results by keeping an eye on the figures yet, at the same time, they’re not obsessed with the scales (read next point).
- They don’t freak out if the scale shows a disappointing result: in my experience, the clients who step onto the scales and are confident that, no matter what it shows, they still have had a good week, are much more likely to succeed in the long run. In other words, they don’t live or die by the scales. They judge their performance in any given week on HABITS and tend not to be too bothered if the scale stays the same or even goes up the odd time (it happens – it’s normal!). If someone’s eating has been on track, there are always other explanations for this, such as the fact that they are building muscle (which weighs, but eventually speeds up the metabolism and leads to weight loss), the fact that they have their period or are retaining water or perhaps it’s due to the fact that they are stressed or sleep-deprived on any particular week. It doesn’t matter – they know they’re getting there.
So what do these people not do? Panic. Or doubt themselves (I don’t mean ever – I mean in general). They take it in their stride because they’re confident in themselves and in the programme. They achieve this by noting their small successes (helped by their very attuned personal weight loss coach).
Last but not least, I’d say don’t fall into the trap of thinking that they have all the answers. They take the expert advice they’re given. They trust the programme because it’s based on sound, scientific, proven research. And they don’t see obstacles. They see opportunities in front of them. Even if they were pessimists beforehand, they learn to become optimists. They focus on what’s working for them and they keep growing and learning.
So why procrastinate any longer?
Let 2020 be YOUR YEAR.