Did you know that over two thirds of America is overweight?
According to the CDC, the percent of all adults 20 years and older who are overweight (including those considered obese) is a startling 69.2%.
That is just shy of 70%.
That’s a whole lot of people, folks.
Now, I’m not going to claim I have the magic weight loss secret. I don’t know the magic gym formula. And I can admit that I’m overweight myself. I don’t have magic beans that will whisk the excess pounds away overnight.
But I do know the main reason that most people can’t lose the weight, and why the majority of those who do gain it all back.
I can’t promise that anything I write here will make you lose weight.
But I can promise that if you keep making these mistakes, you’ll never lose the weight— at least not for very long.
So what is the problem?
The problem is you haven’t done your homework.
And no, I don’t mean researching the best moves or how much to lift or what to eat (Though it wouldn’t hurt to do a little bit of that).
What you need to research is yourself.
I know it’s hard. And it might hurt— a lot. You might have to face a few personal demons you’d rather not face.
But if you skip this step, you’re no different than a hamster running in its wheel: You’re doing a hell of lot of work and getting absolutely nowhere.
It’s time to stop wasting your time.
It’s time to figure out what is holding you back.
Mistake #1: You want to lose weight for the wrong reasons
“How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most.” ~Stephen Covey
While there is no universal “right” reason to lose weight, there is a right reason for you.
You can’t borrow someone else’s reason for losing weight and be successful at it.
I see so many people fall into the trap of believing that getting healthy is the only acceptable reason to lose weight.
Every reason is the right reason. They’re just not all your reasons.
You want to be able to run a marathon? Great.
You want to look like sex goddess? Fantastic.
You want to fit in skinny jeans and knee-high boots? Awesome.
You want to get big pair of arm guns? Go for it.
It doesn’t matter what your reason is. It matters that you know what it is, that you embrace it, and you milk it for all that it’s worth.
And when you find and accept the true reason you want to lose weight, you’ll find that it come with it’s own set of motivational tools. And you can’t access these tools if you’re working with a borrowed reason.
Mistake #2: You don’t know why you gained weight.
To get the weight off, you have to know why you gained it in the first place.
First, rule out medical issues. Some people have a honest to goodness medical reason for their weight gain. And if left undiagnosed, no amount of effort on their part will change things.
But that’s not the case for the majority of us.
So we have to go digging around our minds and our pasts to find culprit. This is the hard part. This is the painful part. But this is, and I can’t stress this enough, one of the most important things we must do.
Do you overeat or binge? Do you crave that rush of pleasure at the first bite of your favorite dish? If so, why? Are you lacking in pleasure in the rest of your life? Does your life feel out of control and the only place you can find control is choosing what to put in your mouth?
Are you scared that exercise will hurt? Have you had bad experiences with exercise or trainers? If so, do some research, start easy, and don’t jump in thinking that you have to be able to do 100 squats on the first day. What other ways can you overcome your fears?
Do you think it’s all or nothing? That one bite of candy means your day is ruined. Not true. Think of your effort like a bank. Exercise puts money in, food takes money out. If you put in $300 dollars and splurge on a purse for $50, is your bank account automatically useless? No, you still have $250 to spend. I’m not saying to spend all your money. I’m saying that one little snack will never cash out all the effort you put in. But multiple daily snacks will. Keep your perspective!
Are your parents overweight? Were you taught healthy habits growing up? It’s never to late to learn.
Were you bullied? Do you have zero self-esteem? Do you feel you really can’t do this? You can. You absolutely can. You just have to want it bad enough and find what truly motivates you. Even proving others wrong is a dandy reason if it gets you off the couch! (Although secretly, the only one you’ll truly be proving wrong is yourself. Which is way better.)
Do you ever get off the couch? Do you get enough sleep? Are you drinking too many sugary drinks? Are you letting your environment aid you in playing the victim?
I can keep going all day with questions. And so should you. Keep asking. Keep looking.
Mistake #3: Weight loss isn’t a priority.
“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” ~Stephen R. Covey
When the topic of weight loss comes up, what is your automatic response?
“I don’t have time. I’m too busy.”
“I don’t have the money for healthy food.”
“I don’t have access to equipment.”
Blah. Blah. Blah. Pardon my language, but I’m calling bullshit.
Those are excuses.
You might be busy, but you are not too busy. Dont you make the time to brush your teeth so your teeth don’t rot out? Don’t you make the time to eat, so you aren’t sick from hunger? You make the time for what is important to you.
You don’t have money for healthy food? Fine. Define “healthy food”. You don’t need to eat only salads and salmon. You don’t need to buy expensive organic produce. All you need to do is cook 90% of your meals at home. Buy less prepackaged food. Make sure you’re getting enough fiber (it helps keep you feeling full). Don’t drink your calories. If you’re eating out 3 or more days a week, you can afford to eat healthy, you’re just choosing not to.
You don’t have access to equipment? Who cares? You don’t need equipment. Your body is all you need. You don’t need a treadmill, go for a walk. Cold? Wear a jacket. Rainy? Bring an umbrella. You don’t need weights, your own body weight is all most of us will need. We’re trying to lose weight here, not become Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Bored with walking and squats? Fine. The internet is filled with free resources. Want to change up your workout? Find a new video on youtube. Check out Sparkpeople — They’ll tailor-make a program for you, including meal plans, articles, videos and forums absolutely free. You really don’t need money to lose weight.
So the next time weight loss comes up in conversation and you find yourself wanting to throw out your usual excuse— don’t.
Instead, I want you to tell the truth.
“Weight loss is not a priority for me right now.”
Because that is the truth.
It all boils down to you.
Every single one of these mistakes are connected by the same thread— They’re all about knowing who you are, why you do what you do, and what you really want for yourself. And if you don’t know, you won’t get far.
Please make sure you’ve taken the time to answer the questions I’ve suggested here and really think about what they all mean to you. And don’t be afraid to ask your own questions. Always ask questions.
Note: The topic of weightloss is one I haven’t really covered on Un-Copied Life before and I want to know if you’d like to read more in this area. Your likes, tweets, +1′s and comments are a fantastic way of letting me know you want more of something. And of course, if you know someone who could use this information, please consider sharing this post with them.
Image courtesy of Alan Cleaver