We all make mistakes. And when it comes to losing weight, some of us are the worst offenders. It’s no mystery that many women lose weight, only to regain it all (or more) back, and stories abound with tales of celebrity misfortunes (think Oprah). We seem to start strong, so what happens? Losing weight can be tough, there is no doubt about that. But it is not impossible. Here are just a few of the mistakes we make in the battle of the weight loss war and some things to consider the next time you want to get serious about losing weight.
Mistake #1 We grow impatient and set unreasonable expectations
“I want it and I want it now!” said Veruca Salt in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Like it or not, losing weight successfully forces us to slow down, take a deep breath and be patient. This includes taking the time to plan out your week and even day, taking the time to track your food and exercise (see what I wrote about that here) and being realistic about your goals and any obstacles you might come across. Like any solid relationship, if you want to do this for good then losing weight takes a long term commitment – for life. If you are on a fancy detox losing 10 pounds in three days I guarantee it will be back on you as fast as you can say the words “fad diet”. Or if you have a goal to lose twenty pounds and you only lose one pound in a week you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Slow and steady wins the race in the weight loss arena. Learning new habits and being totally realistic about the pace at which to lose weight is the best course of action.
Mistake #2 You make exercise the priority, not the food
Here is a popular misconception: if I do nothing else but exercise, I will surely lose weight. A lot of women truly believe that weight loss is all about the exercising. Let’s clear this one up: I am not dismissing exercise as a KEY to weight loss (along with the enormous amount of other benefits, so let’s get that out of the way right now). But a classic scenario I hear from a lot of women goes something like this: you go to the gym (did you skip breakfast? Another no no), and work out really hard with your personal trainer (or boot camp class or the treadmill). You’re not only hungry now, you’re starving! I was so good at the gym, you think. I definitely deserve that giant blueberry muffin and frozen cappuccino latte. We women typically like to use food as a reward. Now, I am not saying that we shouldn’t be nourishing ourselves, especially after exercising hard. But exercise does not give you a hall pass to eat whatever you want. Weight loss is a numbers game and we women are notorious for overestimating how much we exercise and underestimating how much we eat. It takes a lot of time on the treadmill, more than you think, to burn off the two glasses of wine that you had last night. Her’s the takeaway: you need to know what you are eating, know how many calories you are taking in and balance it with exercise. And you are worth more than that giant chocolate chip muffin.
Mistake #3 You expect others to do it for you
That fancy detox diet – did you just pay someone way too much money for them to make you juice for five days? Did you try to lose weight one time eating prepared diet food that came out of a box? I understand. We are all really busy with our lives, and the thought of having someone take care of us and our weight loss efforts is straight out of an Oprah magazine. But let’s get back to reality. Losing weight means taking responsibility and becoming one with your kitchen. It takes cleaning out your pantry of unhealthy foods and replacing them with nutrient dense ones. It means getting the right equipment and appliances that make healthy cooking easy for you. And it means being comfortable enough in the kitchen to prepare your new healthy foods. When it comes to losing weight, for better or for worse, the responsibility ultimately falls to you. Even Oprah knows that. I can promise you this: taking charge of your food and cooking is one of the most empowering things you can do on your weight loss quest. Don’t overlook this one.
Now let me know what you think. Have you learned anything from your weight loss efforts? Is there anything you do now that keeps you a successful weight loss maintainer? Let me know in the comments below.
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