The concept of losing weight is simple in theory, but once you combine fitness with the everyday events of our lives—it becomes difficult. Achieving your fitness goals doesn’t require you to abide by a laundry list of rules, but there are a few key principles that serve as the pulse to your success. Before we carry on, remove the typical reasons that many fitness articles and gurus will tell you why you’re not succeeding such as “you’re not working hard enough”, “you need to eat less and move more”, or “you need to try The Blood Type Diet.”
None of these reasons is the solution to your struggles. There are a million fitness articles in existence on the internet–most of them unfortunately, cause more confusion than clarity. Instead of trying to fit yourself into some cookie cutter plan or something that isn’t conducive to your desired lifestyle—take a step back and assess what plan actually works for you in the long term. Here’s the secret that marketers don’t want you to know—most fitness plans work and will lead you to the same destination.
It’s not your genetics, effort, nor knowledge that is holding you back from accomplishing your fitness goals—it’s the lack of attention to the small details. Here are 4 of the most common reasons why you’re falling short with your weight loss goals and what you should do instead.
1. Lack of Preparation
Problem: It’s not sexy and it can’t be decorated to make it more appealing, but preparation is an absolute must. Preparation equals you being organized, under control and helps you to potentially forecast unforeseen obstacles down the road. You schedule in doctor appointments, Friday night Tinder dates, important business lunch meetings, early morning work meetings, and your kids’ baseball games—so why not fitness?
When it comes to succeeding in fitness, at the beginning, your main objective is to knock down the big dominoes. What actions and decisions can make the biggest impact to succeeding with your weight loss goals?
Solution: Front load your work.
Here is a scenario: Your financial advisor advises you to set aside accounts for your retirement, unforeseen accidents, and dumb mistakes (ok maybe that’s just me). Your advisor is helping you to front-load your work. When you front-load your work, you’re attempting to predict future events that could prevent you from accomplishing your goals. While you can’t predict all future events, you can forecast a couple of scenarios that could derail your fitness goals.
If healthy eating with your busy schedule is a problem, then by front-loading your work, you’re able to effectively prepare for this problem. Knowing this problem, you can have a meal replacement shake or prepared meals in advance so you aren’t tempted to binge eat on the office snacks. Before setting foot in the gym, purging your fridge, or declaring a commitment to “clean eating”—pause and take a step back and front load your work.
2. You’re following someone else’s diet
Problem: Your co-worker lost weight by following the Paleo diet and going to CrossFit multiple times a week. Naturally, you’re inclined to think this is what you must do to lose weight.
However, the beautiful and comforting fact about weight loss is that there are multiple routes to reaching the same destination.
Solution: Choose a path that specifically works for you
To get from New York City to LA, there are multiple options to get us to our desired destination.
We have trains, cars, planes, helicopters, bikes, and even walking (for the extreme hardcore individual). Besides the different methods of transportation, you have a plethora of routes that can get you there. Some may take longer and won’t be as ideal, but nevertheless you still have the option to do so.
Your methods and routes to losing weight operate under the same philosophy. To lose weight, the most important goal is to be in a caloric deficit (i.e. expend more calories than you consume). After that fundamental concept is established, you have a plethora of options to reach that goal.
Paleo is effective, but so is a Mediterranean diet or even an island style diet that is more carbohydrate dominant. If you love bread and dairy, then a Paleo diet isn’t the best choice of diet for you. Choose a diet that supports your fitness goals and more importantly, choose a diet that complements your preferred lifestyle.
3. Program hopping (impatient)
Problem: Start…start over…start again…and start back over once again. Unfortunately, this is how many people treat their health and fitness.
If I was a doctor, I would diagnose this syndrome as someone suffering from “shiny object syndrome”. You start things but never finish them. Something new appears and grabs your attention with the promise of quicker results or less effort required. Being impatient and not sticking with a plan prevents you from establishing what’s working and what isn’t. Being impatient can cause you to make decisions based purely on emotions instead of logic and reasoning.
Solution: Give your program time to blossom.
A caterpillar doesn’t morph into a butterfly instantaneously. Rome wasn’t built with a swift flick of the wrist. Marvin Gaye didn’t record ‘Let’s Get It On’ in three hours. Academy award films aren’t shot in three days.
Accomplishing feats requires more than an overnight commitment. Results come down to a simple math equation.
Consistency + repetition + patience (i.e. time) = long term and sustainable results
Let your program runs its course before making a sudden and rash decision.
4. Over-reliant on tactics
Problem: Meal timing. Obsessing over the optimal ratio for protein synthesis. Should I eat brown rice or jasmine rice? Sweet potatoes or red potatoes? Three meals a day or five meals a day? What’s the best specific time to workout? These are just a few examples of what I like to call minor tactics. These minor tactics are the icing on the cake. But, what’s the point of worrying about the icing if your cake isn’t looking good or falling apart?
Solution: Foundation comes first.
This is how your fitness should be viewed. Before you worry about meal timing and protein synthesis or any other nutritional minutiae—focus on mastering the fundamentals of nutrition. If you’re not eating healthy meals consistently day in and day out, then that’s where your focus needs to be at. At the beginning, you want to knock down the big dominoes that will have the biggest impact on your weight loss goals. Don’t major in the minutiae.