Of the many factors that influence how long an individual will stick to a particular diet regimen, a lack of results may be the biggest. The fact is most diets simply don’t yield the results that people are looking for to warrant the sacrifice. In the initial stages a typical dieter will give it everything that they’ve got for a few weeks or so.
Maybe the first week goes well, second week is a little bit slower and by the third week they didn’t lose anything. The forth week they continue to diet and exercise and they still didn’t lose anything. At this point the person is likely to be thinking –
“Screw this! I’ve only lost two pounds so far and I have to keep this up until I lose another 50 pounds? “It’s just completely unrealistic; I guess I’m meant to be fat”.
I’m sure many of you can can relate to this scenario. Have you ever abruptly ended a diet because you’re results didn’t match your expectation or because the return on your investment just wasn’t worth the sacrifice?
It is paramount to take stock of your results by asking yourself some basic questions. Is there any change when you look in the mirror? Are your clothes get any looser? Is there a change when you step on the scale? Is there a change when you wrap that measuring tape around your waist? If there’s not, it’s disheartening, it’s discouraging and people simply aren’t going to follow through with a program that is not getting them the results that they’re after. Who can blame them for giving up the fight?
If I was spending 12 hours a day on my business and I never made a dime, then I probably wouldn’t continue in that line of business or with whatever I was doing for very long. Dieting is no different. It’s not that you “just don’t have what it takes”, it’s that NO ONE is going to continue to work hard with no pay off.
For for 99% of dieters, the type of programs that they’re doing are ones that will cause them to lose weight fast initially followed by a halting plateau after a very short period of time. These include diets that exclusively restrict or recommend excess consumption of a particular nutrient ( carbohydrate, fats or protein). Although these approaches can work well short term if done correctly ( and under expert supervision), most will receive little benefit and may likely damage their metabolism in the long run.
In light of this, many people still want the quick fix and unwittingly adopt the fad diet approach as the only way to eat. The initial weight loss is very motivating, but then quit the diet because it’s not sustainable, put the weight back on (and then some), go back on the diet and the merry-go-round continues. This is the plight of the modern dieter.
The main reason this happens is because most people try to change too much of their lifestyle and eating habits at once. This approach, also known as “all or nothing disease”, seldom brings success for anyone. Building new positive habits is no different than learning a new language or skill. You have to have the patience to master the basics first and at a pace that is suitable for your stage of development.
Racing to end will ensure that you’ve learned nothing along the way. By focusing on small, daily actions and not obsessing over outcomes will bring you results from a weight loss program faster than any other method you can find.
All of this said, you still need to track your progress. Like any pursuit in life, you need to prepare thoroughly for the challenges ahead if you are to reach your goals on schedule. This means establishing baselines, reasonable timelines, measurement tracking systems, identifying behavioral limitations, food preparation strategies and a host of other criteria to determine the right path for you. You can’t expect results if you don’t.
Don’t expect optimal results from a weight loss program unless you:
- Have clearly established a specific goal (the exact amount of weight you want to lose by the end of the program)? Did you write your goal down to review daily.
- Have calculated your calorie and macronutrient needs for each day based on the specific recommendations from your trainer and activity levels.
- Decided how often you will prepare your meals in advance (daily, biweekly, or weekly)? Twice weekly is recommended.
- Planned out the entire first weeks menu. It is best to do this meal by meal and then make any adjustments or substitutions as you see fit during the week. Having a plan in place is fundamental to success. Be prepared.
- Gone grocery shopping for all the food items needed to prepare your first week of meals.
- You set-up an optimal meal-time schedule based on your daily availability? For example, 7am breakfast, 10am mid-morning snack, 12:30pm lunch, 3pm mid-afternoon snack, 6pm dinner. Meals should be spaced 2-3 hours apart.
- Have a method implemented for logging and tracking your actual daily food intake for future reference.
Most people may not realize that this much thought and preparation is necessary and those that do, seldom fulfill the obligation. Most take a haphazard approach to attaining their fitness goals, or worse perform completely random workouts and expect consistent and measurable results.
That leaves only the small minority of people that understand that if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail . . . . Get things right from the start and set the bar high for yourself. Track and measure your progress every step of the way. Set realistic deadlines but be flexible enough to change them as your body changes. Implement strategies for overcoming plateaus you face along the way and begin realizing the lean and toned body you had envisioned to keep you motivated for now and forever.