After many years of working in the field of weight management, I have developed a packaged designed to meet the complex needs of women who want to lose weight. Weight loss is not a linear process and is not as simple as following a diet plan. There is alot more to it than this and the only way to learn the secret to long term weight loss success is to build your knowledge and weight loss toolkit to ensure that you are able to make diet changes forever.
The first week of my women's wellness & weight loss program covers the common question- why haven't I already lost weight? This is closely followed by comments such as "I should already know how to lose weight"... "I shouldn't still be trying to lose weight after all this time"... or "I just need more willpower!".
Here are some of the main reasons around why you haven't been able to lose weight already ...
The wrong plan - or no plan
I talk to alot of people who want to lose weight and have tried almost every diet in the book- but nothing seems to be working for them. I have also worked with people who have been wanting to lose the same 5-10kg for years but haven’t had a plan to do this- just know that they want to.
The wrong plan includes ones that you may have been following or trying for a long time and not seeing results with, or one that doesn’t give you guidance and flexibility for social situations, holidays, and environments when your eating will be different to usual. The wrong plan also includes one where you successfully lose weight, but then gain it all back because there was no advice given to you around maintenance of weight loss, or the plan was unsustainable.
Successful weight loss doesn't have to look like a strict, calorie restricted meal plan which doesn't allow for socialising. It is possible to lose weight while still enjoying social events and treat foods that you love, and while feeling energized and relaxed- not tired and hangry! Getting the right plan for you and the right advice is of total importance when embarking on a weight loss journey!
Relying on willpower
If a plan isn’t working for you and you aren't achieving your goals then it’s not because of your lack of willpower- it's because you need a new plan. Relying on willpower is setting ourselves up for failure. This is because we aren’t going to feel motivated at all times. If we tell ourselves that we can’t eat the chips in the pantry then this might be easy when our goals are front of mind- but its easy to forget things pretty easily too when we are hungry, tired, stressed etc.
We are never going to be 100% motivated so we just need to be as consistent as possible and always have a plan or adjust our plan to overcome barriers and challenges that we find along the way. When I work with clients I make sure that they not only have guidance around meal and snack ideas, but also know how to navigate food environments and stress or emotional eating. Eating is a behaviour and therefore the behaviour needs to be focused on too- not just the food!
All or nothing approach
Diet culture has engrained this "all or nothing" approach into us. The all or nothing approach is where you set yourself strict, unsustainable rules and guidelines only to be followed for a short period until you reach your weight loss goals. During the process of trying to stick to your strict plan you will feel deprived, miss out on social events or activities, and struggle to adapt when put in an environment or situation that limits your ability to control your food intake. The all or nothing approach is completely unhelpful for achieving long term weight loss goals and needs to be addressed early in your weight loss journey as part of mindset change.
Mindset is an incredibly powerful part of weight loss success and what we do is only 20% action, but 80% mindset. Working on mindset is a big part of the work that I do with women and a kay component of my womens weight loss package.
Lack of monitoring and support
One of the biggest predictors of weight loss is our self-efficacy and ability to reflect and change as required. We need to have plans in place to monitor ourselves and make changes- otherwise we will probably forget what our goals were or struggle to stick to things long term. Without monitoring, there is no way of knowing if we are getting close to achieving our goals, or if we are maintaining the positive outcomes that we previously achieved.