Did you know I never guarantee weight loss to clients? Weight loss is such a complicated issue and requires stamina, perseverance, and most of all, a willingness to be curious and explore. I co-create a plan for clients to address the lifestyle and other issues that are keeping them stuck, but it is up to the client to implement the plan. I call it co-create because it really has to be action steps the client proposes and is motivated to implement. In doing this work, I see the same roadblocks pop up again and again in the desire to achieve a happier, healthier you.
So here they are, in countdown order, the top 5 ways people sabotage their weight loss efforts:
5. Thinking that weight loss is the magic pill to solve all their problems. I see this one over and over again with clients. They want to lose weight because they think they'll be happier. They want to weigh what they did in high school. They'll date more if they lose weight. They put off living until the weight is gone. They don't buy the new dress. They don't try new things because they haven't reached their goal weight. The paradox is that they are causing themselves stress by putting so much pressure on weight loss to be their magic pill. Stress causes the body to produce cortisol which hinders metabolism and weight loss. If you want to lose weight, stop thinking about losing weight and start living and doing all the things you say you'll do when the weight comes off. Seek ways to have fun that excite you! Celebrate all the ways you are an awesome human being, just as you are right now! Love yourself as much as you love your children (and/or your pets) so your body will feel cherished and safe. A safe body is a relaxed body creating one of the ideal conditions for losing weight.
4. Believing that weight loss can and should be done as quickly as possible. I blame this one on the marketing of 21-day cleanses and 10-day detox programs that guarantee weight loss. It's not sustainable and does not address the underlying emotional and lifestyle factors that contributed to the weight gain in the first place. It is why after so many diets that promise fast results people gain back the weight they lost plus additional weight. It took a long time to create the health challenges and weight loss challenges you may be currently facing so why do you think they can be solved in 30 days or less? Achieving a healthy self that feels good, no matter what weight you are, is a marathon, not a sprint.
3. Keeping temptation in the house. "The gummy worms are for the kids." "My husband likes ice cream." Ok, so then why are you eating the majority of the ice cream, sweets, and other tempting goodies in the house? When I realized that one of the easiest ways to curb my sugar addiction was to remove temptation from my home, I was overjoyed! One key to weight loss is to figure out if you are an abstainer or a moderator. A moderator can walk by a bowl of candy, have a piece, and leave it alone. An abstainer, the all-or-nothing person, either will eat the whole bowl of candy, albeit sometimes over the course of many hours, or will leave it alone entirely. Figuring out which one you are, can you help you determine whether temptation can stay in the house or has to go. Plus, no need to justify keeping sugar in the house for the sake of your kids. Studies show that kids who regularly consume large amounts of sugar as a child are more prone to aggressive behavior as a kid and violent behavior as an adult.
2. Deeming sleep unimportant to reaching your weight loss goals. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that sleep is more important to weight loss than what is on your plate. When you don't consistently get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, at around the same time, you become sleep deprived. When you are sleep deprived during the day, your body will seek any source of energy to make it feel more awake, and usually the easiest source is sugar. It's also the start of a horribly unhealthy cycle:
Sleep deprivation --> feeling tired --> seeking quick hit of energy --> sugar consumption -->
temporary energy boost --> sugar coma --> feeling hungry and tired --> seeking quick hit of energy -->
more sugar consumption -- > overeating --> trouble sleeping at night and more sleep deprivation.
If you want to lose weight, make sleep a priority and help end the cycle of sugar addiction and overeating.
1. Ignoring the emotional reasons underlying the need for weight loss in the first place. In other words, successful, sustainable weight loss is achievable when you are willing to address the emotional factors that led to the weight gain in the first place. A recent poll of psychologists said the biggest hindrance to weight loss was emotions. Even if your weight gain was due to a medical condition, as mine was, there are always emotional factors contributing to it. This is why, if after creating a plan for a client to achieve the change they desire, the client then self-sabotages, it becomes clear the underlying emotional reasons are hindering their progress. It also is why it can be helpful for clients to see a psychotherapist while also working with a health coach.
Are you trying to lose weight? Did any of these weight loss sabotages resonate? What's one thing you can do now to stop sabotaging yourself?