Stop Falling for These 5 Weight-Loss Traps & Lose Those Pounds for Good
Weight loss is probably the number one thing people talk to me about when it comes to making body changes.
No matter what shape we’re in, we all seem to be chasing a leaner version of ourselves. And whether it’s for health reasons or aesthetics, lowering your body fat to a healthy range can have a huge impact on your quality of life.
But unfortunately, weight loss isn’t always a simple equation. There are lots of factors at play that can mean the difference between reaching your goal or spinning your wheels with little success.
Check out these 5 weight-loss traps that might be holding you back –– and my top tips for what you can do to stay on track and meet your weight-loss goals.
Trap 1: Your goal is too vague.
All too often, I get a vague response when I talk to people about their goals. “Losing weight” is the most common thing I hear –– but what does that even mean?
Do you know what steps are involved? Do you have a plan to make it happen? Do you understand what a realistic picture of success looks like?
When it comes to making real body changes, specifics are king. Instead of planning to “exercise more”, set a goal to spend an hour at the gym, 3 times a week. Instead of “eating better”, plan to include at least 20 grams of protein for every meal you eat. Instead of “get more sleep”, commit to being in bed by a specific time every night.
Not only does setting specific goals help you make real, actionable change, it also helps you to break your broader goal into smaller pieces. With each small victory, you’ll be helping yourself to stay motivated and rolling down the road to success.
Trap 2: Your approach is too restrictive.
When you start a new nutrition program, you might feel empowered by a super strict approach. After all, you’ve got a lot of work to do, right? And those big changes can make you feel like you’re sprinting towards the finish line.
But here’s the truth: that restrictive, early-diet rush might actually be setting you up to crash and burn. When it comes to real, long-term weight loss – instead of the lose 5, gain 10 cycle you’ve seen in the past – sustainability is the name of the game.
When you’re looking at your diet, it’s important to think about what practices you can honestly maintain long-term. Cutting out carbs might seem great for a few weeks, only to have some monster sugar cravings hit your out of nowhere. That huge calorie deficit might seem great, till you find yourself eating an entire pizza on Friday night.
Instead of taking an extreme, short-term approach to weight loss, try focusing on smaller changes that can help you adopt a healthier lifestyle, overall.
Trap 3: You focus on what you can’t do.
It can be really frustrating to go through your day focusing on what you can’t do.
You CAN’T have the donuts from the office break room. You CAN’T skip your workout to sit on the couch all weekend. You CAN’T have that 4th slice of pizza.
No wonder making healthier choices feels like such a chore.
And I would be lying if I told you that you could still do all of those things consistently and meet your goals, because the reality is that change can be uncomfortable sometimes.
But making hard choices doesn’t have to make you miserable. Instead, why not try focusing on what you CAN do?
You CAN eat a healthy breakfast to help you fight off the break-room temptations. You CAN get your workout early on Saturday and still have a relaxing weekend. You CAN fill your plate with veggies, before you grab a slice of pizza.
Empower yourself by focusing on what you CAN do, and how those actions are helping you to reach your goals. Sometimes that simple mindset shift is all you need to make your choices feel like a privilege instead of a punishment.
Trap 4: You don’t have your subs on the bench.
Giving up all the foods you love when starting a new diet can feel like torture. And over time, restricting yourself from all those things can actually backfire and lead to stronger cravings – increasing the likelihood that you abandon your nutrition plan, altogether.
But your success shouldn’t have to hinge on your superhuman willpower.
That’s why it’s important to have a few substitutes in your pocket to help you get a taste of what you love without ruining all your hard work. Making some simple substitutions can help you to feel satisfied and stay on track.
Lighten up that pasta dish by subbing ground turkey for beef or swapping your wheat noodles for a veggie version. Make a low-sugar version of your favorite dessert. Swap out the high-fat creamer in your coffee for a lighter version.
Have a plan for what to do when those cravings strike and keep yourself on track – without feeling like you’re punishing yourself.
Trap 5: You try to make changes before you’re ready.
You know you need to make changes to your lifestyle. You want to make changes to your lifestyle. But it’s one thing to think about setting a goal –– and another thing to be ready to make it happen.
Making a lifestyle change takes commitment and planning. It also takes a lot of self-awareness and stamina (afterall, change doesn’t happen overnight). It also means being willing to get uncomfortable, especially in the early stages of change.
That’s one of the biggest reasons New Year's Resolutions fail so often –– we jump into a “goal” without any of the planning and preparation it really takes to succeed.
Instead of jumping into your weight-loss goal on whim, take some time to plan, prep, and really think about what you want –– and what it’s going to take to get yourself there. By doing some of the work before you get started, you’ll be setting yourself up with all the tools you need for success.
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