The one thing that has been consistent in my practice as a dietician is watching how my clients start out with the best of intentions only to give up 3 weeks into the process. Why is giving up so common so soon after trying to lose weight? I am not a professional psychologist, but this is my opinion on the subject:
I think the reason for this is that people become obsessed with looking at how much the scale says. Not only do they become obsessed, but they determine their moods based on the number they see when they weigh themselves. So, when they see that the scale has only moved minimally in 3 weeks (as it does for most people), they feel like they are in an uphill battle with themselves and give up. THIS is the major flaw in trying to lose weight. Focusing too much on the number!
What is more important, I believe, is to focus on what you are doing everyday and to NOT weigh yourself more than 1 time per month. If you think about it, the ultimate goal is to completely revamp the way you deal with food day in and day out (as well as finding an enjoyable way to stay active). Think about it, you can’t write a best-selling book in 2 weeks or direct a smash hit motion picture in 1 month. Projects that are awesome take time and dedicated work on a daily basis in order to come into fruition. So, the obvious question then becomes, why should weight loss or trying to completely change the way you think about, choose, cook, eat food be any different? The reality is, it takes time and hard work and not all people that want to lose weight decide to make this commitment.
The reality of weight loss is that it is a journey. There will be times when you feel triumphant and feel like you can take on anything and there will be times when you want to eat the contents of your refrigerator (and sometimes you just might do it!) But don’t despair, contrary to what the weight loss industry would like you to believe, this is completely normal! Indulging every now and again or “cheating” sometimes is to be expected. If you realize that this can happen, you won’t quit when you do, you will just keep going and do the best that you can on a daily basis to change the way you eat.
Here is my advice: Don’t put a goal of 2 weeks or even a month to lose weight. Try to think further and bigger than that. A weight loss goals should be something like, “By this time next year, I would like to achieve my goal.” Then, there should be smaller goals that focus on your behavior and how you deal with food. For example, “This week, I will eat 3 different fruits every day”. This way, your focus becomes about what you are doing and NOT what the scale will say at the end of the week.
Look, I realize that the temptation out there is huge, but take comfort in the fact that you are a human being and can give in to that temptation sometimes. BUT, the fact that you are a human being also gives you great strength and power to change the way you do things. I mean, look at what amazing things we have achieved over time; we have built skyscrapers, gone to the moon, touched millions of others with songs and poems, defeated deadly illnesses, etc, etc, etc. This is why I am confident that if all of you who want to lose weight put your minds to losing weight, not only will you do it, you may just become the person that people turn to to get advice from about how to lose weight. You can become the inspiration that people need to get healthy. So, as the famous advert of Nike says, just do it, and don’t look back!