How many times have you tried to lose weight? I don’t know the exact percentage, I’ve read anywhere from 65% up to 97% of the men and women who lost weight gain it all back. And that the average person, by the age of 45 has tried 61 diets! This according to an article in the Huffington Post A new program becomes popular and everyone flocks to the stores, or Internet, to grab a copy of the book, DVD, or new fangled exercise equipment because THIS time, it’s going to work. Because THIS is what I really need to lose weight.
Unfortunately, most will fail at losing weight. Even more unfortunate, it will be the consumer who blames him or herself for the failure. We tell ourselves over and over again, it would have worked but… I didn’t try hard enough, I just don’t have the will power, I’m weak. Very rarely do we blame the diet or the exercise program.
First I want to be very clear that I am not saying every diet and exercise program out there doesn’t work. I’d go so far as to say, most of them do; for a limited time. The problem is that they either restrict too many foods, or calories, or have you doing crazy high intensity workouts that you can’t keep up with. Well it’s actually a bit more complicated than that. Suffice it to say, most of these programs have 2 main problems
So you see, you are set up right from the beginning to fail. If you don't know where you are starting from, nutritionally, there is no way of knowing what changes YOU personally should be making.
Most diets either go too low in calories or omit an entire food group making it impossible to sustain the diet for a long period of time. What you are left with is: do exactly what the diet tells you do to, or you will gain weight or stop the diet and you will gain weight. Not only that, you will most likely be at a higher percent body fat than when you started.
When you lose weight, especially if you lose it quickly, some of that weight comes from your lean tissue (muscle!). When you regain the weight, you are gaining back body fat, not muscle. Now instead of being 30% body fat, you're at 34% body fat. This means a slower metabolism making it harder to lose weight.
Ugh! How depressing. Let’s get on to the good stuff! There is a way to lose weight and keep it off. But before you even go there. What can you do to summon up the energy to try it again? After all, you’ve been there before, it didn’t work! Sure, you lost some weight, but now it’s back; and even more! Why should I bother trying again when I know my body is just not capable of losing weight?
Yes. It. Is. I wish I could tell you some magical secret to losing 20 lbs in 20 days, or to eat a special food and you’ll never have to worry about weight gain, again. Or to tell you it’s simply a matter of calories in and calories out. Well it isn’t, it’s more complicated than that. So what the heck is the good news?
Today, you don’t need to worry about that. Today let’s just get you in the right mindset to try this again, because I can guarantee you this is where it all starts.
Taking time for these first steps are crucial in your ability to lose weight and keep it off
weight loss begins with mindset
First you need to accept the fact that there is no magic bullet answer to weight loss. Diets do not work, changing your lifestyle does. It’s not glamorous or exciting, but it’s the truth. One thing I can guarantee you, as a health & fitness coach, personal trainer and nutritionist, I will always tell you the truth.
Next you need to think about WHY losing weight is important to you. I’m not talking about wanting to look good in a bikini, but a deeper more compelling reason. Some of the more effective reasons I have heard in the past:
For me, I want to be healthy and able to care for myself well into my 90’s, and truth be told, I do want to look good in a bikini ;-)
Having a connection to this deeper meaning will help you to take that first step again. I know starting over is very difficult, and yes it can even be scary! Yes, scary. Who reading this article is afraid of failing again? I bet you’re not alone. But you can set yourself up for success by taking the time to put aside dreams of a magic bullet, connecting to your “why” and know that THIS time, it’s about lifestyle not diet. Start your program with the idea that you are developing new lifestyle habits, not going through a temporary fix.
To learn more about creating good habits, read my blog post: Making the Shift from Bad to Good Habits
10/16/2019 12:50:43 pm
I'm turning 53 in Feb 2020. I want to be in the best shape I have ever been. Not just a number on the scale but 💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽
10/16/2019 03:19:29 pm
I know I can help you get there Shelley! I'll send you a PM via Facebook to schedule a strategy coaching session with you.
4/27/2021 01:06:41 am
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10/10/2021 04:32:51 am
I would like to know the details about the coaching sessions. Thank you!
12/3/2021 06:08:45 pm
Thanks for pointing out that when we lose weight quickly, some of the weight comes from our lean tissue. My husband and I want to have a healthier lifestyle for our five kids so this is helpful. With this, we will look for a weight loss program on Monday that can help us control our hunger and burn fat faster so we can lose weight within two weeks.
4/11/2022 03:59:11 am
Losing weight is a psychological practice, too; you need to motivate yourself every day, so having an impactful reason is perfect. What do you mean by changing your lifestyle? Does that include getting a proper diet?
4/11/2022 05:36:00 am
Changing your lifestyle could mean a lot of things. What you want to create is a lifestyle the supports your weight loss efforts and can maintain your weight once you get there.
8/17/2022 12:53:27 pm
It stood out to me when you mentioned that changing your lifestyle is what works when it comes to losing weight. I would imagine that it would be important to make sure that you lose weight safely so that you don't hurt yourself. Working with a medical professional seems like a good way to lose weight safely.
8/17/2022 01:01:01 pm
Yes, very true to make sure that you lose weight safely, The medical profession doesn't have a lot of nutrition education. I've seen a lot of women go on very drastic diets that were "medically supervised" and they were honestly some of the worst programs I've seen - extreme low calorie and packaged foods. Don't fall for that. Choose balanced, whole food nutrition plans always!
2/22/2023 12:29:25 pm
I really liked what you explained about the importance of having the right mindset when deciding to lose weight. I spoke with my older sister recently, and she sounded tired and confused about how every diet she tries doesn't work out, so I think she must read your article before losing all hope. I appreciate your information about understanding that we need to change our lifestyle to lose weight successfully.
2/22/2023 12:48:39 pm
So many women feel the same way your sister feels. Definitely direct her to this article and she may like this one too:
3/11/2023 12:40:05 pm
As a physician, I couldn't agree more with this article. The truth is, diets don't work in the long term because they don't take into account each individual's unique nutritional needs and lifestyle. What works for one person may not work for another, and restrictive diets often lead to weight gain in the long run.
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Lisa Swanson is an ACE Certified Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Orthopedic Exercise Specialist as well as a certified AASDN and PN level 1 nutritionist. With over 35 years experience helping people turn their lives around, she is on a mission to provide relevant and useful knowledge to help women in midlife reach their goals.
Check out my interview with the Magnificent Midlife podcast on staying fit and healthy long-term.