Many Lose it, Few Keep it Off. Why?

For most, the issue is not losing weight but keeping it off. They are able to lose it because no matter what diet you are on, if it is putting you in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. However, because we usually seek trends and fad diets we are unable to sustain what led us to lose weight and therefore at some point in the future (usually once our goal is hit) we go back to our old ways and over several weeks gain the lost weight back (sometimes more). It is obvious from this that seeking sustainability in all we do is the key. The longer we are able to sustain something the higher the chance it will become a habit (according to a study done by the University of London, the average time it takes for a habit to be formed is 66 days). What we need to do then is take small, reasonable steps towards the below 3 actions (among others) developing them into habits overtime. Another point made in the study was that being consistent with the behavior in the beginning is most crucial in forming habits (i.e consistentcy early on is crucial). So again, if we make a small change we are more likely to continue it long enough to really impact whether it will be formed into a habit. However, if we make drastic changes that we cannot continue without constantly slipping up we will likely not form the habit and go back to our old, more normal way of doing things (as seen anecdotally time and time again). It is taking drastic steps (that we cannot sustain long enough to form into habits) that is one of our main issues.

3 habits to gradually form:
It is taking these and breaking them up into parts that is key. Again, patience is extremely important in change. Many feel the more they do early on the faster they will see results. That is true to some extent however there are 2 issues with that. First, whatever progress made will likely not last and second, the faster you lose weight the more likely it will be from lean mass (everything but fat) and therefore you will be left with a lower scale weight but the same body composition. So what we need to do is take small steps.

1. Eating more fruits & vegetables
(Increasing the amount of whole foods consumed while naturally (hopefully) eating less processed foods)

Small actionable step: Aim to eat more fruit for breakfast (be specific) and more vegetables for dinner. Simply add an apple to your breakfast and a small serving of vegetables to your dinner.

2. Resistance train at least 2 days a week (to increase lean body mass, in turn increasing resting metabolic rate)

Small actionable step: Add a 10-15 minute resistance training session once a week for several weeks then increase to 2 sessions. Once this is feeling normal, increase time to 20-30 minutes each session.

3. Performing at least 3 cardiorespiratory training sessions a week (mainly to further increase energy expenditure)

Small actionable step: pick a time of day (maybe at work lunch break or in the evening when watching tv, reading, etc) and walk around for 5 minutes. Try to do this every other day.

For most, the issue is not losing weight but keeping it off. They are able to lose it because no matter what diet you are on, if it is putting you in a caloric deficit, you will lose weight. We need to be patient! We need to take things slow. We need to focus on adopting healthy habits slowly and strategically. “Slow and steady wins the race”. It is true for many things but it is especially true when losing weight

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