I want to lose 20lbs in the next 3 months.
This kind of thinking, where you decide how much weight you want (think you need) to lose by a specific date, is flawed and tends to result in no weight loss at all. Here’s why…
Your weight loss expectations have a big impact on your behaviors. Start falling behind your target pace and you tend to use compensatory behaviors to get you back on track.
You cut more calories than necessary due to panic that you might not be beach ready, or you start increasing your exercise intensity or duration to burn some extra calories so you aren’t embarrassed to wear shorts this summer.
But these behaviors create a vicious negative feedback cycle. Calories get cut to the point that you’re hungry all the time, and unbearable cravings start popping up more frequently. You give in and have a little too much of a “forbidden food”.
You feel guilty and upset when you weigh yourself the next day. You fall even further behind your pace. And the cycle continues until you give up again until next year
Trying to Control an Outcome
Weight loss is an outcome. And despite your best intentions, how fast you lose weight isn’t really in your control.
You can very easily plot out your weight loss on paper so that it is a nice pretty mathematical calculation, but weight loss isn’t math – it’s the side effect of complex psychology and behaviors.
That’s why I don’t like seeing clients have end dates or specific weight loss goals. Instead, our goals tend to be process oriented.
In other words, we focus on the behaviors in our control that lead to the side effect of weight loss. We get right to the root of the issue instead of trying to control the outcome.
When you incorporate enough of the right behaviors and you do it consistently over a long period of time, you experience transformation.
Weight Loss Isn’t a Lottery
The weight loss success stories we tend to hear are dramatic – people losing hundreds of pounds in a short period of time. It happens. But people win the lottery sometimes too.
However, the majority of people lose no weight at all. Studies have shown that no more than 20% of people who attempt to lose weight actually lose it and maintain that weight loss .
There’s a good chance that if you’re reading this that you fall into the majority who are still struggling to lose weight.
So stop trying to lose weight. Start changing your behaviors.
That’s your goal – to work on new mental and physical behaviors that make you healthy and happy. The side effect, one of which is weight loss, will happen naturally.
That’s all transformation is. It’s a series of behavioral changes done consistently over a long period of time. It is not an event that just happens to you. It’s the side effect of getting in touch with and enjoying the process.
So get rid of the numbers and end dates. This is a rest-of-your-life journey. You can’t see the end. All you can see is what’s in front of you.
Work on making the next decision a healthy one. And then the next and the next. Be present in the process and the outcome will take care of itself.