We all know someone who's tried to lose weight countless times, while seeing very little success for their efforts. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily.
But ...this isn't an article to condone excuses, and it may even seem a little blunt. But if you haven't lost the weight you want to, especially if it's been over many years, there's a reason(s).
The power of failure
Failure in itself isn't a bad thing. The greatest sporting heroes never achieved their heights of success through talent and good fortune alone - they did it by failing ...again, and again, and again. Through failure, we're taught valuable lessons. The key is learning from those lessons and taking the key points into your next attempt.
Where does failure become a bad thing? When we don't learn from it.
If you accept failure as it is, without taking anything useful from that experience, then the attempt itself was utterly pointless. Let's turn this to the topic of weight loss. If you decide within a year (which is a good amount of time) you're going to lose 20lbs, and when that year ends you've only lost 2lbs, you've hit some serious roadblocks along the way.
When you take into account that a reasonable weight-loss target is 1-2lbs per week, you could have actually lost anything from 52-104lbs (in theory but of course, everyone's different). If you only lost 5% of what you could have lost, that's a real problem. Did you ask yourself where it went wrong? Most people don't. They just try again with another fad diet or at a new gym because the last one didn't work.
Failure is success if we learn from it.
Why did you fail?
Now it's time for the question that nobody wants to ask themselves, because it means hard truths. Why did you fail?
There are an infinite number of excuses people speak to make themselves feel better about why it didn't work, in addition to feel-good internal monologues about how it will work next time. It won't, because you're not learning from your mistakes.
A fair question may be, I don't know what I did wrong, in which case you definitely won't succeed next time because you don't have the necessary knowledge (after all, knowledge is power). My answer to that is, go and find a teacher, or if it's weight-loss related, a good coach.
I don't need a coach
If you don't need a coach, then we're assuming you have all the knowledge, but you're not applying it properly. We're back to why, and it's possible we're delving into some deep-seated issues. Nutrition is the most important part of any weight-loss plan and there isn't a single workout program that can outrun a bad diet.
So why does your diet suck?
It depends on what's going on inside your head. Often, it's the unseen issues causing weight gain in the first place which are what you need to tackle.
- Do you have emotional problems that cause you to eat when you're unhappy?
- Are you constantly stressed about life and eating is your escape?
There are a vast number of possible psychological issues that could create major roadblocks preventing you from reaching your goals. It's your job to find out what they are, either through self-reflection or more likely, by seeing a professional who can help.
Failure is not a crime. Failure to learn from failure, is.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness
Needing help is often viewed as a bad thing. We should be strong, be bold, show no weakness. But in reality, asking for helping is incredibly empowering and a sign of strength.
If there is something stopping you from reaching your goal (let's assume it's losing weight) then ask for help from either:
- A good teacher/coach
- A medical professional who can shine light on the deeper issues and help you overcome them, for good.
5 tips to help you succeed
- You don't need cutting edge workout plans or diets to succeed. There are core principles you must adhere to if you want to lose weight:
- Use strength training as your main form of exercise
- Consistently maintain a caloric deficit
- Track your progress
- Create winning habits. Habits make or break us. Good habits lead to better things, and bad habits can spiral out of control.
- Get enough sleep. Good quality sleep is vital for everything in your life and there's no two ways about it. Yes, some people can survive on slightly less sleep than others, but in general, 6-8 hours should be your target.
- Please note: Alcohol does not help you sleep better.
- Don't worry about the short-term, aim to get make long-term changes.
- A classic example would be getting in shape for a wedding, often a very short-term goal. What happens straight after the wedding? That's right, all of the weight you lost piles straight back on. Make the change to your entire life, and the rest will take care of itself.
- Get a coach. We're not very good at holding ourselves accountable for missing sessions or working at 60% or eating lots of cake. Any good coach will, and they'll be on you like a rash if you're sabotaging your own progress.