Having said all that, often the greatest barrier that’s stopping you from losing weight is you.
If you’ve ever tried and failed at dieting, it was probably for a combination of reasons. Yes, you might have been following dodgy advice, but there’s a good chance your own approach and expectations were at least partly to blame, too.
Your own worst enemy
If you can identify and take responsibility for your own shortcomings, it becomes much easier to fix them. To help you out, here are some of the ways you might be sabotaging your own weight loss efforts — see if any of them ring a bell with you:
- You wanted a quick-fix. Your expectations were unreasonably ambitious for the short amount of time and negligible effort you were willing to put in. You should’ve been thinking long-term, lasting weight loss.
- You took the extreme approach and went on a starvation diet and/or masochistic exercise program. 10/10 for effort and enthusiasm, but slow and steady wins the race.
- You tried to do too much, too soon. Complex diet plans with too many details and new behaviours to cope with are doomed to failure. Keep it simple, and focus on changing one thing at a time.
- You abandoned ship because the “next big thing” came along… again. Things were going well, but that new detox plan in Cosmo was just too spectacular to pass up. Congratulations, you’re back to square one.
- You decided that life is too short, and you want to enjoy its little pleasures. Okay, an overly restrictive diet plan is probably to blame for this one. But ironically, your life will be that much shorter now that you’re wolfing down fast food and ice-cream again.
If you feel like you’ve just been slapped in the face, don’t worry — I say these things for your own good. Identifying the hallmarks of self-sabotage is the first critical step in changing your attitude for the better.
The next is to acknowledge that your motivation for wanting to lose weight might not be up to the task:
A better approach
It’s well-known that even a small reduction in body fat can significantly improve your health, so surely that’s a good enough reason to clean up your diet and jump on the treadmill once in a while?
Not a chance — ask most people why they’re dieting and, if they’re honest, they’ll tell you it’s to look good in the mirror or to emulate [insert celebrity role model].
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel attractive and confident, it’s not sufficient reason for action — these are “nice-to-have” goals, not “must-haves.”
Instead, you should simply eat for life and longevity, and make your precious health your most prized asset. The worst thing you can do is accept the proposition that you’ll always be fat and sick, and that losing weight and eating well is impossible.
Life doesn’t have to be a constant battle between our anxiety to be healthy and our desire to indulge. There’s a happy middle ground, you just have to find it.