A little less than half of the world’s population is overweight and working on dropping pounds.
So, with forks down and trainers laced, what are your odds of lasting weight loss?
Success can be affected by many variables but the determining factor is all in your head. Anything below a commitment rating of nine (out of 10) gives you an out. Frankly, the number for success is closer to 10 but I don’t want to be a downer.
Technically, a rating scale of 10 points is misleading because there are too many meaningless numbers between zero and nine. Enduring weight loss is pretty cut and dry, 10 indicates ‘I’m in all the way’ while nine and under represents everything else from ‘let’s give it a shot’ to ‘not interested.’ Frankly, the scale should be limited to two options — yes or no.
Good intentions have little to do with results. ‘Almost’ is a hop, skip and a jump from ‘didn’t.’ You can’t ‘kind of’ jump off the high diving platform.
Sure you can drop 10 or 20 pounds for your trip south, but statistics say the yo-yo bounces back once the threat of summer clothing disappears.
A great piece of wisdom came from a client who said something clicked in her brain after losing 70 pounds. “I came to the realization that I had to stop living with an escape route. I had to change the way I was living — forever. I used to live one way, now I live another.”
Weight gain is a slippery slope. Case and point: Thanksgiving may be a distant memory but Christmas is right around the corner. If you gained weight during the few days that make up Thanksgiving, image the gains you will make while harvesting the chocolate advent calendar.
Three pounds up, followed by three pounds down, makes sense over the holidays. At least you’ve held the line. Problem is, three pounds up added to three pounds up (multiplied by 30 years) is a recipe for better insulation.
Notice I haven’t tied goal attainment to athletic ability? Lamenting that you’ve never been sporty is a poor excuse for inactivity and an unhealthy diet. Most of us have never been athletes. Health isn’t about athletic prowess, it’s about saying yes to movement and no to junk food.
So, with ‘yes’ ticked on the commitment scale, what’s next?
First, look for holes in your ‘healthy living commitment contract.’ Remember, you checked ‘yes’ to health — not maybe. Take the chips and hotdogs out of your shopping cart and hand in your Chubby Burger Club Card. The slippery road to weight gain is paved with French fries and gravy.
Second, extreme exercise and complicated nutrition formulas are best reserved for athletes — and you said you weren’t one.
Ignore supplements, calorie counters and diets. Stick to healthy whole foods. Yes, that means skipping the protein smoothie in the food court, because shopping isn’t an endurance sport that demands supplementation. Unless you’ve just run a 10K smoothies are unnecessary, high-calorie milkshakes with misleading names.
Speaking of protein, get over it! Too many Costco shoppers sampling the chocolate egg-white protein bar were throwing a box in their cart (none who looked like they required added protein in their diet). “Look Ed, it’s made with egg whites!” People, it’s a chocolate bar without yolks!
Next, avoid eating in the evening. Your body isn’t looking for nutrition as it shuts down — it’s preparing for sleep. Night snacks get stored as your body switches to hibernation mode. If possible, try to consume your big meal earlier in the day and then stop.
Finally, not all exercise is created equal. Don’t confuse aesthetics, athletics and health. Each has a different formula. Regular walking, swimming, gardening, snow shovelling and taking the stairs is a great start if your goal is to improve health — not so much if you were hoping to enhance muscle strength and shape muscle.
Once a pattern of regular movement has been established, consider adding weights two or three times per week to shape muscle, enhance metabolism, maintain strong bones and improve ailing joints.
Planning on embracing a healthier lifestyle? Consider going all-in. Leaving room for an exit strategy is a recipe for failure.
Remember, commitment is doing the thing you said you would do long after the mood passes.