The Difficulty of Weight Loss

9 02 2011

At some point in our lives every one of us has gone on a diet.  Some of us are just trying to lose that last 5 pounds that never seems to go away. Others of us have much more weight to lose and are dieting not because we want to look better but because we want to be healthier.  In fact, according to the CDC around 60% of Americans are either overweight or obese.  With that shocking statistic it is no wonder we spend tens of billions of dollars annually on diets and weight loss programs.  Unfortunately, from personal experience, most people fail to reach their weight loss goals. If you do happen to reach your goal, it is likely that you will gain some or all of the weight back once the diet or program ends. 

I think there are two main reasons why so many of us, myself included, fail to achieve our weight loss goals.  First, most diet and weight loss programs lay out a specific plan for you to follow, but they typically do not educate us on what we should be eating or why it is important to eat those things.  So once the program is done we have no idea how to continue on our own. The main reason we fail however, is because losing or just maintaining weight requires a lot of work.  There are tons of excuses we use to justify eating that big fat greasy burger or to skip that workout.  “I’m too tired”, “I’ve had a long day at work”,  “I’ll workout twice as long tomorrow”, “I can’t afford to eat healthy” and “I don’t have the time to cook” are all excuses I have heard and I must admit have used myself.  Once we remove all the excuses what we are actually left with is that we are not yet ready to make our health a priority in our life.  Once we admit this to ourselves we will then be ready to put in the work that is required for us to succeed in reaching our goals. 

To help you get started, I want to share a few tips that may help you reach your goal.  First, it is much easier to add something to your diet then to take something away.  If your water intake is not where it should be, make an effort to drink more water.  After you get used to that addition to your diet add something else that you are lacking.  You may find that as you start to add more and more healthy things to your diet you may also unwittingly start to reduce or remove those unhealthy things from your diet.  Second make small goals.  All to often we get ambitious and set very lofty goals which are difficult to achieve.  When we fail to achieve these goals we get discouraged and when we get discouraged we quit.  Start out by setting very small goals and as you start to hit these goals then you can begin to become more ambitious.  Basically don’t set yourself up for failure from the get go.  Third, find simple ways to add physical activity to your day.  If your used to taking an elevator take the stairs instead.  Park a little further from your office and walk. Instead of emailing the coworker 3 doors down with a question, get up and walk to his office and ask him the question in person.  With a little creativity and a little effort we can find many different ways to add in a little bit of physical activity to our day.  Lastly, I think it is extremely important to reward yourself for hitting your goals.  A little positive re-enforcement can go a long way.  Hopefully, all of us will be able to reach our goals and become healthier individuals.

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