You really want to do this. You’re ready to lose the weight.
You’ve tried times before but this time will be different.
It has to be. You’ve had enough of being stuck where you are.
You’re determined to jump in and make things happen.
This is all awesome, and 100% you can do it.
From helping a lot of clients lose weight, I’ve seen this motivation at the start, and I love it.
It’s a brilliant time at the beginning when everything is fresh and new again, and you’re excited to make change.
You want to go all in, and that can create some fantastic progress in the first few weeks.
In the early stages, it’s easy to forget about the struggles that ALWAYS will come, or think that this time you WILL have the determination to white knuckle your way through.
Here’s what happens to most people on their weight loss journey, and how you can make changes that stick.
Your motivation to lose weight will drop
No matter how enthusiastic you are at the beginning, soon there will be days when it’s pouring with rain and you’re stressed and need wine and the last thing you want to do is go for a walk and cook vegetables for dinner.
Getting a takeaway rather than cooking… eating the donuts sitting on the table at work… snacking on chocolate rather than fruit… relaxing on the sofa rather than going for a walk… all of the less healthy choices will seem incredible tempting at times.
Some days you’ll just feel like it’s all too much effort.
This is completely normal.
Our brains don’t like change. We are programmed to like familiarity, safety, and doing things that require minimal effort.
Change is unpredictable. It brings with it the risk of failure, a perceived loss of safety (through physical ‘pain’ of hunger and exercise, emotional challenge of learning, messing up, possibly not succeeding) and requires considerable effort.
It’s far more comfortable to stay as you are, and your brain will tell you that repeatedly as you embark on your weight loss journey.
What we need to do here is this.
First, expect this to happen, and understand it’s part of the process (not a sign there’s something wrong or that you’re going to fail).
Second, we need to build habits and routines that make it easier to take action whether you feel motivated in the moment or not.
The more you can automate the small daily actions that create results, the easier and more enjoyable the whole process will become.
Weight loss habits that make it easier to stay on track
These are some habits that have worked well for my clients:
- Plan meals in advance each week
- Don’t buy foods that trigger you to snack or overeat. Doesn’t mean you can’t have them – it just means they’re not there tempting you and easy to grab without thinking
- Always keep healthy foods in the house – keep stocking up on fruit, have eggs, oats, protein powder, frozen fruit in stock – easy foods to make a healthy meal or snack.
- Clean your teeth half an hour after dinner so you don’t snack on anything else
- Commit to walking for a certain amount of time or steps each day and build a streak you don’t want to break.
- Commit to walking at a certain time each day – before or after work, on your lunch break, after the school run – so it’s automatic to go at that time
- Book yourself in for regular exercise classes that you enjoy
This phrase is key to remember:
Motivation gets you started, habits keep you going.
When your brain tries to hold you back
When motivation goes AWOL, your brain will start coming up with ‘reasons’ (aka excuses) as to why you can’t do something, and tempt you to stay stuck where you are.
Rain, a bad nights sleep, forgetting your trainers, your partner tempting you, people at work stressing you out, accidentally leaving lunch at home meaning you had to buy junk food instead, arriving home tired leading to ordering an unplanned takeaway, dropping your dinner meaning ordering a pizza was the other only option (I have heard all of these and more over the years).
Excuses will often appear convincing and logical (and we all make them at times), but all they really are is the monkey brain talking – the old part of the brain that just wants to keep you safe where you started.
When you look at the situation with your rational human brain and question whether that ‘reason’ is a good one, often you see things differently.
The key point for your success – take full responsibility for all that you do.
Don’t beat yourself up, but do call yourself out.
Hold yourself to a higher standard and keep looking for how you can build habits that make all of this easier.
Even with some great habits in place – remember that sometimes you still won’t feel motivated to follow them.
This is OK – take action anyway and soon you’ll be motivated by the results that you see.
Life will get in the way of your attempts to lose weight…
Christmas… birthdays… social events… weekends… sweetie Wednesday… cake Fridays… the list goes on.
You’ll just be on a roll and then the kids will be off school or up all night being sick and everything will go out the window.
Life will always throw challenges at you.
This is why the best time to start is always now.
Your monkey brain will tell you to wait for an easier time when you have a clear run to get this right.
But that never really happens right? Life is busy and fun and demanding. Sometimes stressful, often wonderful, rarely quiet with not much going on.
There will ALWAYS be something that crops up. So…
The key to losing weight successfully is losing it in a way you can live it.
And I’m guessing that for you, living in a way you enjoy means being able to attend social events throughout the year. Without spending the days before worrying about it, or the days after feeling like you messed up.
This is where habits and routines are our heroes (again).
Building a structure that allows normal day-to-day life to run as smoothly as possible. So that when you’re faced with cake or wine or really want pizza… it fits, you get to enjoy it, and you can hop straight back onto your healthy routine after.
It will seem like it’s not working
There will be weeks where you’ve done a fantastic job, get on the scales expecting to see them drop… And they’ve gone up.
Remember no matter how great you do, the scales won’t drop every week.
This does not mean it’s not working.
If I had £1 for the number of times I’ve seen clients do really well all week and not lose weight, I would be writing this from my beach villa in the Maldives right now.
Often clients get disheartened and think it’s not working, but (and this is where having a coach helps a lot) I make sure they know this is normal and they just need to keep going.
The next week, 9 times out of 10 change happens and they’re making great progress again.
If you stay stuck for more than a few weeks, this is normal too – it just means you’ve reached a point where you need to make another adjustment to keep seeing more progress.
I would highly encourage you to use a variety of methods to measure progress, and to focus on all the other amazing changes you can create.
Changes such as:
- measurements improving
- clothes fitting better
- gaining energy
- more or better sleep
- feeling more confident
- getting fitter and stronger
- gaining pride and self-belief
- inspiring people around you to be fit and healthy too
Celebrate every single win – they all count.
Weight loss takes time, so it’s crucial to stay patient and keep putting the effort in, even if you don’t see rewards for those efforts straight away.
Above all focus on ENJOYING being healthy and more active.
If it’s a process you enjoy, you will get to where you want to be and make it stick.
The biggest reason people don’t get the results they want is they give up too soon.
And that’s usually because they expect it to be easier or quicker than it is.
Losing weight is not easy, and when you do it in a way that’s actually sustainable, it’s not very quick either.
So expect it to be that way and focus on having as much fun as you possibly can along the way.
Every slip-up or plateau is either chance to give up, or a chance to learn and improve.
Remember it’s not a race, so it doesn’t matter how long it takes.
Do your best. Take imperfect action and learn as you.
Keep going, and you will get there.
If you need any help or have any questions, I’m always happy to hear from you.
Reach out and drop me a message HERE