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Fat loss is a VERY common goal most people have in our country. The fact is, most people are fairly successful at it. Although the statistics can vary depending on the source, of the people who lose weight (at least 10% of their bodyweight), somewhere between 50-70% regain all of it within a year. Moreover, 85% gain it all back within two years and within three years, 95% percent of people will have gained it all back if not more.(1) Are you starting to see now that we might not have a weight-loss problem so much as a weight-regain problem in our society.
So maybe you’re one of those people in the statistic. You’ve tried every diet under the sun and while you see results in the first 2-8 weeks, they just never seem to stick around on a consistent basis. I get it, it sucks to put in so much work and watch slowly as the results fade over time and this is ultimately why people give up on their health altogether. However, there are still 5% of people who can consistently keep their weight managed and develop a system around their lifestyle to sustain the results they earn. So what makes those people different?
1. Cognitive Restraint
Most commonly, people who lose weight and keep it off practice some form of cognitive restraint. This can come in many forms of limiting food intake from calorie limiting, time-restricted eating (what many call intermittent fasting), low carb or low fat, portion control and tracking macros/calories. While it’s crucial to have a strategy that requires the lowest level of willpower and sacrifice, every diet will require some level of willpower and sacrifice. Now it’s up to you to decide what you want to sacrifice while not making the process more difficult than it has to be.(1)
2. Self Monitoring
Successful dieters across the board practice some type of daily self monitoring. This could be weighing themselves daily, weighing their food (something I do daily), or other forms of measured food-intake. This trait is helpful because it creates a feedback loop that will keep you headed in the right direction more often than not. For example, if you’re watching your weight daily and can see how it changes depending on your behavior, you’re more likely to self-correct your actions. Even weekly weigh-ins help to keep people in-line with their goals better than a “out of sight, out of mind” method.(1)
3. Regular Exercise
Quite simply, exercise increases the total amount of energy you use in day. This is helpful because if you want to lose weight you MUST consume less energy than you use throughout your day. Another big benefit of exercise is that it pushes calories towards being used to power your movement rather than being stored as excess. All this to say, your body adapts to the demands you give it quicker than you think, meaning you must increase or change the intensity you use with your exercise. For example, if you regularly go on walks for 3 miles, you could walk longer OR you could wear a heavy backpack or weighted vest to increase the intensity slightly.(1)
4. Structured Programs
In an age of so much free information, why do people still pay coaches like me for help? It’s because we are humans! Just having information isn’t making a change because humans like structure and want someone to trust for that structure. We all second guess ourselves and tend to do better when we follow a structure to take the guesswork out. This is why I periodically hand my nutrition over to someone else to coach me, even though I know enough to make a change myself. There are no shortage of systems out there, but you MUST find one you trust and can stick to long term.(1)
Success always leaves clue’s! This means that because there are numerous people out there who have successfully lost weight and kept it off in a healthy manner, there are common threads that run through all of their journey’s. While these are only a few of the common traits of successful dieters, they are the reality of the process of transforming your body (and mind) in a very permanent way! As a society, we will benefit from letting go of our old stories and to start writing the new one today. If you need help with your next chapter, don’t hesitate to reach out!