If you’re currently overweight or obese, losing weight is an admirable goal. If you get to a healthier weight, you’ll be at much lower risk for various illnesses, including heart disease and diabetes. You’ll increase your lifespan. You’ll also have an easier time moving around and you’ll feel better about yourself.
The problem is, weight loss shouldn’t be your only goal. Every year, millions of people make a resolution to lose weight, no matter what. They get tunnel vision, and practically become obsessed with this potential achievement.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being passionate about achieving a goal, and losing weight is beneficial for many people, this possessive and exclusive focus can be problematic. Let’s try to figure out why.
The Many Factors That Influence Weight Loss
For starters, losing weight isn’t an activity that you do by itself. Instead, losing weight is a byproduct of many different interacting habits and lifestyle factors. If you’re only focused on dropping the pounds, you’re likely to neglect some of the important factors that cause you to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
These are just some of the categories that you’re going to need to pay attention to if you want to lose weight in a healthy way:
- Diet. For starters, you’ll need to take a critical look at your current diet. Most people who are currently overweight or obese are eating far too much, failing to realize the sheer number of calories in the foods they consume and serving up portion sizes that are far too large. The solution isn’t to cut your eating to the bare minimum, however; instead, you’ll need to cut back on your portion sizes, reassess the foods that you’re eating, and make sure you get the proper balance of the different nutrients you need.
- Exercise. Changing your diet alone can make a big impact on your weight, but if you want to improve your fitness level and change your body composition for the better, you’ll also need to exercise. Ideally, you’ll be able to get a mix of both resistance training and cardiovascular exercise in your routines.
- Stress. Don’t neglect the impact of stress. If you’re chronically stressed, you’re go going to find it much harder to lose the weight. That’s why some of the best weight loss programs also have stress management strategies attached to them.
- Sleep and rest. If you want to control your appetite and make sure your body fully recovers from your new exercise regimen, you’re going to need ample sleep and rest. If you’re chronically sleep deprived, weight loss will be much more difficult for you.
The Psychological Impact of Focusing on Weight
We also need to address the psychological impact of focusing on your weight. If all you care about is weight loss, eventually you’re going to get discouraged. There are going to be days where you gain weight, possibly inexplicably.
There are going to be plateaus where it feels like you can’t lose any more weight. There are going to be setbacks and new challenges that stand in your way. If reaching a goal weight is your only objective, these blows are going to be devastating, and you might lose the motivation to continue.
The Risk of Regaining Weight
Somewhere between 80 and 95 percent of dieters eventually gain back whatever weight they initially lost. Why is this the case?
One explanation is that once people reach a target weight loss goal, they feel like their achievement has been reached and that they no longer need to invest time or effort into the lifestyle habits that got them there. Weight loss has been achieved, so why bother continuing the effort?
Of course, if you want to keep the weight off and sustain the benefits you enjoy at a healthier weight, you need to continue investing in a better diet, more exercise, lower stress, and so on.
Expert Tips for Losing Weight the Right Way
It’s fine to set weight loss goals, but you’ll need to follow these tips if you want to lose weight the “right” way:
- Make weight loss a secondary goal. Learn to see weight loss as a secondary goal. Your primary goals should be things like reducing the amount of food you eat, eating healthier foods on a regular basis, exercising every day, and getting an adequate amount of sleep. If you achieve these goals, weight loss is going to be a natural byproduct.
- Focus on reasonable, achievable objectives. In line with this, you should be focusing on reasonable, achievable goals. Losing 50 pounds in 3 months is doable, but it’s also a lofty and long-term objective. Focus on things that are more in your control, like eliminating soda from your diet.
- Build a sustainable lifestyle. Work on building a lifestyle that you can sustain indefinitely. If you hate the foods you’re eating and you always feel resentful going to the gym, your motivation is eventually going to dissolve to nothing. Try to incorporate more habits that you can see yourself following for many years.
- Hire a personal trainer. Hiring a personal trainer may cost a bit of money, but it’s well worth the investment. Your personal trainer will be able to help you set better goals, they’ll motivate you when you’re feeling down, and they’ll be able to put together an individualized program that can help you achieve all your objectives.
- Be prepared for setbacks. Finally, be prepared for setbacks and challenges. The weight loss journey is rarely a straight, uninterrupted line.
Every year, millions of people throughout the developed world try to lose weight. Many of them either fail to achieve their weight loss goals or end up regaining whatever weight they initially lost. Don’t be one of those people.
If you want to see better weight loss results in the long term, or if you want to build a better path to personal fitness, contact me today for a free consultation and personalized recommendations!
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science.
Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.
To work with Nathan directly on your personal training goals, contact him today!