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4 Common Reasons Why You Fall Short With Your Weight Loss Goals (And What You Should Do Instead)

4 Common Reasons Why You Fall Short With Your Weight Loss Goals (And What You Should Do Instead)

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

More by this author

Julian Hayes II

Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

18 Basic Rules for Leading a Fulfilling Life Starting Today, Stop These 6 Things to Become the Best Version of Yourself 5 Fun Ways to Transform Your Body And Health When You Don’t Feel Like Going to the Gym 4 Common Reasons Why You Fall Short With Your Weight Loss Goals (And What You Should Do Instead) 7 (Surprising) Actions to Take For Guaranteed Fat Loss

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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