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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 To Lead 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 July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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