Have you ever tried to lose weight? If you've just come off a diet, trying to lose a few pounds, or just thinking about it, keep this thought handy: weight loss is a complex issue and going on a diet to drop 10 pounds fast isn't always the best idea. In fact, research shows that you have the greatest success at losing weight long term after one bout of dieting. Yes, you heard that right, one bout. That means if you've tried lots of diets over the last 10+ years, your results aren't going to be as dramatic as the first time. In your 20s you can drop 10 pounds in a flash but in your 40s those 10 pounds take forever to lose. I work with countless women who are frustrated with their weight loss efforts. Instead of talking about all the things to add to your weight loss strategy like eating better, exercising more and all the other stuff you already know, let's talk about what not to do.
Worst Way #1: Comparing yourself to others. You know the drill. You get on FB to catch up and land on a picture of your friend who has just lost all her baby weight and the baby is just six weeks old! It's tough to get through the stories of how easy it was (it's not), or how the weight just falls off (it doesn't), or some other miracle weight loss feat. Comparing yourself to others just makes you feel bad, guilty, or both. Instead, focus on what you're doing today to make the difference in your health. Cut back on sugar in your coffee? Great. Logged more steps on your fitness tracker? Fantastic! Keep up the great work and remind yourself how everyday decisions you make matter.
Worst Way #2: Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Getting the body you want takes hard work, I get it. However, aiming to lose more than 10% of your bodyweight can sabotage you as well. If you've got 100+ pounds to lose the weight will come off faster but if you're down to the last 10-20 pounds it gets harder. The last 5-10 pounds can feel impossible. That's why I like to encourage my clients to set small goals. Aim to lose 5 pounds first. Once you lose that amount your confidence soars and you're likely to step up your game to keep things moving in the right direction. Don't believe me? If the scale moves from 152 to 148 pounds, you're more likely to celebrate especially if you've been stuck at the same weight for awhile.
Worst Way #3: Doing the same workouts. If you run everyday, try something new. Walk a hill, ride a bike, or go for a swim. As we age our bodies get more efficient so if you're trying to achieve weight loss, you'll need to change it up often. If you have a favorite teacher try the same class on a different day. Instructors will vary their routines based on the fitness level and atmosphere in each class. You'll be able to change things up without completely giving up your favorite class. If you strength train (please tell me you do!) it's important to change your lifting routines as well. Instead of front lunges, do step-back lunges. Although you work the same muscle group, you'll approach the movement differently which makes your body work a little harder. Below are my recommendations for how often to change your fitness program:
- Every 4-6 weeks in your 20s
- Every 3-5 weeks in your 30s
- Every 2-4 weeks in your 40s
- Every 1-2 weeks in your 50s
- Every 1-4 weeks in your 60s
There you have it, my three worst ways to lose weight. As the holidays approach it's tempting to try some quick fixes but I assure you that those solutions don't last. It's important to stay balanced and avoid extremes when it comes to you health. Next month I'll talk about the lifestyle traps, how they affect your health, and what to do about them.
Answer this question busy woman: What are your top 3 health and fitness frustrations? Please share.