Updated: Nov 11, 2020
After counseling hundreds of clients, I’ve come up with 6 pillars that are crucial for success in your weight loss and health goals.
A client recently asked me what I think are the keys to weight loss success. His goal is to lose weight for health and mobility reasons, he doesn’t want to relapse and he only wants to do this once. It made me think about what it is that my most successful clients do that can be replicated. Below are 6 attributes that can set you up for weight loss success.
1. Anything worth your time takes time
Weight loss is a slow and steady kinda game. If you’re looking to keep weight off and prevent relapse of weight re-gain, you have to make it a lifestyle. As one of my clients says, she has made a, “commitment to her sobriety”, in a sense.
Crash diets, crazy diets, let’s-eliminate-whole-food-group diets have been shown to have a greater increase in weight re-gain at 12 months than a slower, more stable weight loss. This is because slow loss gives our bodies time to develop and cement new habits. In this way, we’re also allowing our body’s natural physiology to keep the weight off and not rebound.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to put in all the work of making healthy changes, I only want to do it once! I don’t want to go through the trouble of falling off the wagon, just to get back on again. It’s a lot easier to keep going.
2. Small Steps
“Every journey begins with a single step” (Confucius, philosopher).
If you want to accomplish your weight loss goals, or any goal for that matter, it would be in your best interest to tackle one thing at a time. Stop the overwhelm by breaking up a long journey into small strides.
The most successful people pick one thing and do it well.
Every small step you take gives you the momentum and proven success mindset to propel you forward. I recommend that my clients use some sort of visual to accomplish this...maybe adding coffee beans to a jar with every step made, or keeping a list of accomplishments. This will help productivity because motivation alone is often not enough to get us through tough changes to ingrained habits.
It’s also a good idea to write your goals down. Break down your goals into monthly and weekly acts.
3. There is No Perfect
You may want to throw in the towel every time you take a step backward or fail at making another stride, but if you want weight loss success, you’ll have to go with the ebb and flow of life.
Accepting and sitting with the uncomfortable gray areas will take practice. It will require you to be gentle and compassionate with yourself.
In addition, every time you fall off the proverbial wagon and are able to get right back on, it teaches an important lesson. Firstly, you learn from your mistakes. Secondly, every time you get back up, you train your brain to make this connection next time, instead of giving up.
4. Set up Your Environment for Success
According to Clear in “Transform Your Habits”, (Clear, 2015; Duhigg, 2012), “If your environment doesn’t change, you probably won’t either.”
Increase the ease to get and eat healthy food at home. Conversely, make it harder to get to the unhealthy food. If it’s possible, don’t keep unhealthy, or trigger, foods in the house at all. If snack foods or candy are around in your home, make it physically hard to get. Keep it in the basement, or up high in the back of a cupboard. By nature, we are programmed to do what is easiest.
Also, making a plan ahead of time is crucial. It will always be easier to make a choice based on a decision you’ve already planned out than attempting to come up with a new plan on the fly.
If cookies with that 3 pm coffee in the break room is a trigger for you, make a plan (and write it down) at the beginning of the week. Maybe this week you’ll bring a healthy snack to work instead. If that’s not enough for you to resist the cookies in the breakroom, maybe you can go out for a walk and get a cup of coffee where there aren’t cookies staring right at you.
This can work with exercise routines as well. Make a plan for the week for your physical activity. Then do everything to make it work. Tell your family that you’ll be running out right before breakfast for a walk, set out your clothes the night before, or invest in the right equipment and clothes that you might need.
Once you take responsibility for your actions and your goals, you are putting yourself in the driver's seat. Your goals are within your control and every step you take will be in the direction of that goal.
To whom should you be accountable? Well, you could join a mastermind group or use an individualized coach. You could find either one of these in various Facebook groups, blogs, Reddit, or MyFitnessPal. You could start with a Registered Dietitian for your nutrition goals or a personal trainer for your physical activity goals.
Can you hold yourself accountable to family or friends? Of course! There are pros and cons to whether you should invite someone you know or invite an unbiased person to hold you accountable. You have to do what’s right for you.
But, no matter who you choose to hold you accountable, informing the people with whom you live is a good idea as well-meaning family can undermine your health goals if they’re not aware of them.
6. It Has to be a Lifestyle
Like I mentioned earlier, most quick fixes won’t amount to long-lasting change. To get to the root cause of your eating or health issues, you really need to identify the weaknesses and make a plan to change those habits.
With a plan, an accountability partner, and the right mindset, you can accomplish your health goals before you know it!
If you’ve been thinking about getting more serious about your weight loss or health goals, email me in the contact box below, so we can discuss if I can help meet your needs.