The majority of my work with clients is focused on weight loss. Most come in with an overweight or obese BMI, and my job is to help guide them towards sustainable weight loss. Over the past year, I’ve helped dozens of people lose a significant amount of their body weight (many between 20 and 50 lbs), but invariably there are some that make little to no progress. In fact, in some group weight loss classes, there may be small handful that even gain weight. Why? There’s one top reason people don’t lose weight.
The Number One Reason You Aren’t Losing Weight
The number one reason people fail to lose weight (who would benefit from weight loss) is because they aren’t ready for behavior change. Regardless of having the knowledge of what to do, or even access to professional help, if it is not important to you it will never change. If you are not important to you, you will never change.The number one reason for #weightloss failure is not being #ready for #behavior #change. Click To Tweet
Why is Behavior Change Hard?
Behavior change is hard. But why?! It doesn’t seem like it should be. Your mind is made up!…. right? Maybe.
Behavior change is hard because:
- You’ve been living how you’ve been living for a long time. That means: you’ve been eating how you’ve been eating, and exercising (or not exercising, most commonly) how you’ve been exercising for years. You didn’t get to where you are overnight, and your new resolve doesn’t mean you suddenly hate fried chicken, love kale salad and enjoy long runs on your weekends off.
- Accepting responsibility is difficult. That means: you are responsible for where you’ve been and you are completely responsible for where you go from here. Yes, of course, there are environmental factors that play a role in your past. Maybe you grew up in a home where fast-food was normal so you never learned to cook. Maybe you had fish sticks and corn dogs on the reg and you can’t tell the difference between cilantro and parsley if your life depended on it. That’s okay, but you do have to accept the reality that your future decisions need to be different from your past and that depends solely on you.
When you accept responsibility for where you’ve been and place priority on where you want to go, you can then establish what small changes you’re willing to make and set a plan to overcome everyday barriers.
Weight Loss Using Stages of Change
I love the Transtheoretical Model or “Stages of Change” model as it’s usually called, because it’s spot on time and time again. You can use this to identify what stage of change you’re in for certain behaviors. If you aren’t ready to change one behavior, work on another one that seems meaningful to you. If you aren’t sure where to even start, ask yourself this: if there were one thing you could do today that would improve your health, what would it be?
Pre-contemplation is when you aren’t even thinking about behavior change. Life is good and you’re cool with where you are and what you’re doing. Contemplation is when you recognize something should probably change (e.g. “hey I should bring my lunch instead of eating out every day”). Preparation is when you start making a plan for action (e.g. “I made a grocery list of what I’m going to pack for my lunches”). Action is when you start doing something (e.g. “I brought my lunch today”). Maintenance is when you keep up with your new lifestyle change. If you relapse… time to start over!Not ready to change one #unhealthy habit? Focus on one that seems #doable! Click To Tweet
I’m Ready… What’s Next?
If you’ve identified a behavior you’re willing to change and how you’re going to change it, all that’s left is keeping yourself accountable! If you’re just getting started with a weight loss journey, I’d suggest writing down your goals (you can use my Goal Setter Go-Getter Guide or write it in your planner – keep it some place you’ll see it every day), and start planning out your meals (you can use my Ultimate Meal Planning Guide). You can use a free meal tracker like the MyFitnessPal app to start tracking what you’ve been eating. If seeing numbers is overwhelming for you (or you have a tendency to get obsessive or have a history of disordered eating), you can just write down what you eat by hand in a little notebook. You may not need to use a meal tracker forever, but it can be especially eye-opening as you get started.
You’ve got this! Remember, the number one reason people fail at losing weight is because they aren’t ready for behavior change. You can be successful by accepting responsibility, identifying what you’re ready to change and how you plan to change it.
I hope this has been helpful! Let me know what you hope to learn from me next. Leave a comment down below or shoot me a message here.
Disclosures: None. This post was not produced in partnership with any product or brand.