It is mid-December and I can already see the gym getting busier as people try to get a head start on New Year’s resolutions. I LOVE it, and I hope that it stays packed all year long. However, I know that the chances are unlikely… It will be packed for a few months and then it will dwindle back down.
WHY? Why do so many people start only to stop a few months in?
What separates the people who work out all year long from the people who go hard for two months and then quit?
I have a few theories.
Expectations are the biggest thief of joy that there will ever be. People EXPECT to lose 20 pounds in two months when it took YEARS to gain weight. CRUSH that expectation with knowledge.
Consistency is better than speed in this instance. HEALTHY weight loss happens slowly. 1/2 pound-2 pounds a week. Can you lose it faster? Yes. You can do a fad juice cleanse and maybe lose three to five pounds in one week but would you actually lose fat? The scale will trick you into THINKING that you did.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, No.
You may lose 3-5 pounds of water weight because no carbs equals no retaining water. Now you are starving and will probably gain more weight back in the next few weeks. You could cut your calories down to an unhealthy level and lose weight which is basically STARVING yourself but you’ll end up binge eating from deprivation or even worse, crashing your metabolism and hitting a plateau that you can’t seem to get away from. Do not expect fast results. If you focus on something other than the scale it will be easier to do this.
Can you run faster? Can you do more push-ups than you could on day one? Focus on getting stronger and healthier with each workout and the results will follow. Work out because you love your body and want to take care of it.
If you are tempted to cut calories or do a three-day juice cleanse, remind yourself that not fueling your body and not nourishing your body is not healthy. Do it the healthy way this time.
#2 Your Mind
Your mind will tell you to quit every time. ESPECIALLY when you’ve been working so hard for 4-5 weeks and you haven’t seen the scale move. Your mind will always take the path of least resistance and it will eventually remind you that it is easier to not lose weight sitting while you are sleeping in or laying on the couch than to not lose weight working hard at the gym.
CRUSH IT with knowledge.
A- Use a better way to measure your progress. Take before pictures and take body measurements. It is possible to lose inches while the scale doesn’t move at all. You are still losing fat, you are just also gaining lean muscle and it is more dense than fat, meaning it takes up less space so the scale may not move even though you went down an entire pants size.
B- Remember that weight loss comes in waves sometimes. You may not lose weight for 2-3 weeks and then you could lose 3 pounds in one week.
C- Do not forget that even though the scale may not be moving, LOTS of amazing things are happening inside of your body that will literally add YEARS to your life.
D- Instead of quitting, use it as motivation to find out why you are not losing weight. Could you have a thyroid issue? Maybe its time for a physical to check hormones and vitamin deficiencies that could cause you to have a more difficult time losing weight.
E-When you want to quit- Remind yourself that quitting is from MENTAL fatigue. Train your mind and do not listen when it tries to take you down the path of least resistance. Instead, EXPECT it to try to take you down the path of least resistance so that you will be aware of what is happening.
When you want to quit, remind yourself that there is a 100% chance that it will not get you any closer to your goals. So, what separates the people who persevere from the people who quit? The people who do not quit do not have expectations of losing 20 pounds in two weeks. They do not ruminate on the scale. They focus on other things like how good they FEEL when they workout.
How much energy they have and how they are setting a healthy example for their children. They focus on the inside of their body as much as the outside and on getting stronger with each workout vs weighing themselves every morning and letting the scale rule their life. The people who do not quite realize that every workout does not have to be 110% and that sometimes 20 minutes of anything is better than nothing at all. They give themselves GRACE on their bad weeks and pick themselves back up each time that they fall. They realize that everyone falls and that as long as they don’t stay there, everything will be fine. CONSISTENCY is what matters.
The people who do not quit train their minds as hard as they train their bodies. This does not mean that they, too do not still hear the limiting beliefs that their mind uses to try to talk them into being comfortable and skipping their workouts. It means that they ignore it. It does not mean that they, too do not fail. Because they do. It means that they are back in the gym the day after they fail and they do not let guilt consume them. They realize that in order to really change, you must get uncomfortable.
The people who persevere did not learn to persevere overnight. They are quitters who learned that quitting did not work, expectations did not work and mastering their mind was the most important tool to any goal in life, including weight loss.
Which person will you choose to be this year? Comment below!
Stacey Culpepper is a Fitness and Nutrition Specialist who loves helping people lose weight and get in shape!
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