Updated: Mar 17
There’s very little out there that talks about how tough the weight loss process can be and how to deal with it. Both physically and mentally, the whole process can be incredibly tiring– especially if you’re not naturally inclined to it.
To begin with, it’s hard to get into the mindset and get started.
Then it’s easy to fall off the wagon and just convince yourself ‘Oh I’ll start again tomorrow’ before then falling again.
It becomes mentally draining to fail over and over and then convince yourself that you’ll succeed the next time.
In some cases, it wears you down to the extent that you eventually throw in the towel and just give up all together.
This probably sounds familiar to a lot of you and I want you to know you’re not alone.
A lot of people have been through it before, myself included – but the bit to remember is that a lot of people have made it through and achieved success as well.
So what I’m going to do now, is set out a few tips and factors to consider, that’ll help you be successful in your own journeys. And make no mistake, that’s what weight loss is – a journey.
1. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING
Understand that this journey isn’t simply about weight loss. It’s about reaching a point where you can be healthy and comfortable with life.
A common misconception with diets involves giving up foods, being over restrictive, eating in timed windows etc. That’s not what it should be about. Accept that the point of this process is to build habits that are long term, sustainable and physically & mentally healthy. You want to lose that weight sure, but you also want to make sure you’re happy whilst doing it and that you don’t backslide.
Think about how to hold your deficit in a sustainable way (there’s that word again).
Get your mindset right before starting. This isn’t a short sprint, it’s a lifelong journey and so you want to make sure you model it in a way that isn’t overly taxing or stressful.
2. Manage your expectations
The journey won’t be fast, it won’t be easy going, won’t be smooth, won’t be linear etc. You don’t simply lose weight because you want to. There’s going to be a lot of effort and it’s not a direct A to B path.
Think of it like your education/career. The path is there, you can see it, but once you get started on it, there’s a bunch of different factors that impact your trip down that path. You might get given a crappy teacher, you might find yourself in a company with no progression prospect. Eventually you pass the year of the crappy teacher and you move on to a better company right?
The same applies with your weight loss. There will be hiccups, there will be plateaus, there will be times where you’ll progress quickly and times where you feel you’re not progressing at all. All of these come and go – accept that simple fact before starting on this journey.
3. Don’t try to be perfect
There’s no such thing as perfection here. Perfect people don’t exist.
As I said above you’ll have your ups and downs. Allow yourself the room to go over or under your calorie target every now and then. Being overly strict with these targets isn’t sustainable if you want to live a happy, social and healthy life.
Don’t let the lack of perfection make you feel bad about yourself either. Celebrate the fact that you’re taking this journey step by step and that you’re headed in the right direction.
Give yourself freedom and forgiveness. Throughout all of this, the key is not to let your downs go too far down and to jump straight back on that wagon.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater – and by that I mean, don’t let a single slip make you think ‘oh well I’ve been a little bad, might as well go all out now and start again later’. It’s easier to recover from a small slip than a giant fall.
4. Consistency is Key
Consistency is the most important thing here. What’s sustainable long term is the implementation of consistent habits, not short sprints of extreme dieting every now and then.
I know I’m re-stating what I said above, but that’s how important this point is.
The key to consistency though (there are many) is ownership. Take ownership of this process.. Be the main driver on your journey. Don’t constantly rely on others to pick you back up if you’re not going to put in the effort to pick yourself back up as well.
Small gradual changes are easier to apply consistently than grand sweeping gestures. Think about it – would it be easier to cut 100kcal a day or to fast for a day a week?
5. Don’t beat yourself up forever.
Don’t give up just because you messed up once. Don’t beat yourself up over and over. Move on.
You can’t un-eat a meal. You can’t turn back time. You can’t take the decision to slip up, back.
So instead of digging yourself deeper and deeper into that pit of despair, recognise the mistake, accept it happened and move on.
It’s normal for motivation to slip when you slip, but don’t let it drag you down. Take back control of everything you can and move on.
6. Plan for failure.
Don’t wait until you fail to think about how to fix it. Instead, plan for all scenarios.
Make sure you have a plan, no matter how simple, for how to get back on track before you even get close to failing.
Having that framework in place will make this whole process a lot easier and hugely boost your chances of adherence. It’ll stop you from straying too far off of your path and help you make sure you’re in a strong mental state when you do stray.
7. Have a Support Network
You already know that a good support network will help keep you motivated and pick you up when you fall. They’ll help keep you back on track and won’t stand in the way of your goals
But they’ll also give you a sense of accountability. Checking in with people, letting people know what your goals are and what help you need – its all important for accountability. And it’s this accountability that will greatly boost your chances of making it through this process, the right way.
The last one – totally optional. Get a coach that can help you out with this. Coaches like myself can be the start of your support network and can guide you on your journey.
So if you do want that help - contact me via email on Dinesh@dljfitness.com or through the site and we can have a talk about how I can help you.
And for all of us on this journey, I think we can support each other and make it through, the right way.