3 Things Women Get Wrong About Weight LossJul 01, 2021
You’re about to learn the top 3 things I help my members unlearn in order to live the type of lifestyle required to help them reach their goals.
Notice I said lifestyle. Losing weight is not just about what you eat, it’s about so much more than that. So if you feel like you’ve tried every diet on the market, I want you to listen closely and see if you’ve fallen into one of these weight loss pitfalls.
Your Weight Loss Foundation
This episode has nothing to do with weight loss strategy, it’s all about mindset. Because mindset is your foundation. If you don’t have your mindset dialed in, whatever habits you try to build on top of it will crumble when you get stressed, busy, or stall.
I don’t want this episode to discourage you, but rather shine a light on false beliefs about yourself and weight loss. This is going to help you reframe your expectations and see better, long-term results.
As you listen to this episode, I want you to focus on remaining coachable and open-minded. It’s human nature to disregard or discredit information that’s new, or doesn’t fit into our current belief system. But remember what got you here, won’t get you there.
The thoughts, beliefs, and actions that got you to your current health status won’t get you to the next level.
To reduce overwhelm, which is so common in weight loss, try to listen with an open mind and heart, and see which one resonates with you the most.
Weight Loss Mistake #1: Going on a Diet
The first mistake women make when losing weight is going on a diet. I know what you may be thinking, how am I supposed to lose weight if I don’t diet. I understand your concern but want to challenge your interpretation of the word diet.
A quick Google search will pull up two definitions of diet.
The first is the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. In other words...the food you normally eat.
The second definition of diet is a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.
What if we could get rid of that second definition all together? What if you could change the way you habitually eat to lose weight or for a medical condition?
Think about your diet as part of your overall lifestyle, not a period of restriction to lose weight. I encourage you to lose weight the way you want to live the rest of your life, otherwise when you “diet” is over, you’ll regain the weight. 95% of diets fail for a reason and I want you to be in the 5% of people who lose weight and keep it off.
That’s going to start with ditching the traditional weight loss diet mentality. But how? How do you ditch a diet mentality that you’ve maybe carried around for decades? Going on a diet may be the only way you know to lose weight.
But I promise you, there is a better way. Mistakes two and three are going to help you learn how you can ditch the diet mentality and learn to have a diet, not be on a diet. That brings us to mistake number two.
Weight Loss Mistake #2: Having an All-or-Nothing Mindset
The second mistake women make when losing weight is having an all-or-nothing mindset. This is the other side of the diet coin. They are either on or off their diet. They either swear off sugar or go wild in the ice cream. They struggle to find that balance and have a hard time accepting that unhealthy food can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
I’m going to say that one again.
Unhealthy food can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
Research has shown that a key to long-term weight maintenance is not having an all-or-nothing mindset. And losing weight just to regain it doesn’t make a lot of sense and can be very frustrating.
As Steven Covey says in his book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we want to begin with the end in mind. The end in mind is long-term weight loss. So we must begin with a mindset and plan that facilitates our long-term objective.
There are a few problems with the all-or-nothing mindset. The first is that it automatically leads us to have a black and white, good food bad food mentality. The word bad is automatically associated with guilt and shame.
The word bad should be saved for violations of your values, not your diet. Often I’ll hear the phrase “cheat meal” being thrown around and this is a similar situation. Growing up, we learned that cheating on a test is bad. There’s that bad word again.
So cheating ignites guilt or shame, and those are unproductive emotions that are not helpful when losing weight.
Why are guilt and shame so unproductive? Because those negative emotions lead to negative actions. Who wants to eat healthy and exercise and destress when they are spiraling in guilt and shame? No one.
They want to do unhealthy things like emotionally eat, stay up late numbing their brain with TV, or skipping their workouts because the negativity has sucked the life out of their motivation and energy to do anything.
Weight Loss Mistake #3: Expecting Fast Weight Loss
Mistake number three women tend to make when losing weight is thinking that it should happen fast. Let me explain a little more why this instant gratification can back-fire in weight loss.
There are perks to technology. All I have to do to turn my mom’s sink on is tap it. Faucets are automatic. You may have forgotten how to flush a toilet that’s not automatic. But when it comes to weight loss, we need to be counter-cultural here and recognize that faster is not better.
Adopting a slow and steady approach relieves some of the pressure you’re naturally going to be putting on yourself. It relieves the pressure to be all or nothing. It allows you to be more graceful and patient with yourself if the scale doesn’t move right away.
It lets you focus on what’s actually important - changing your habits for the long-term, instead of what’s going to get you quick results that won’t last.
When you start changing your lifestyle, expect it to be slow. Think about your weight loss or health journey like you think about your career, or relationships, or retirement account. They were not made overnight. They take time, attention, and consistent focus to reap the long-term benefits.
Doing a quick Google search of top weight loss companies, it’s no wonder that you’re expecting to lose weight fast. On the homescreen of Jenny Craig the headline is to lose up to 17 pounds in your first 4 weeks! That’s over 4 pounds a week and that’s completely unhealthy and not sustainable.
Nutrisystem’s homepage says to lose up to 18 pounds fast! What this type of marketing does is make you think that if you’re not seeing fast weight loss, you’re doing something wrong, or there is something wrong with you or your plan.
This type of pessimistic, negative thinking is again not helpful to lose weight. It’s going to make you want to quit and return to your old habits. That’s why I encourage you to go into weight loss with that long-term, moderate mindset so that you expect weight loss to be slow.
When you expect it, while it can still be frustrating, you know that you’re far more likely to keep your new healthy habits so the weight stays off.
So as you research different weight loss programs, if their marketing has anything about losing weight fast, that should be a red flag for you to run.
Some big programs are getting better about not creating these unrealistic expectations, and focusing more on overall wellness, but they are still based on outdated science.
Further, diets that make you lose weight fast will crash your metabolism. Fast weight loss is a shock to your body and as I’ve covered in previous episodes, severe chronic calorie restriction diets will cause your hormones to compensate and make you regain the weight. I’m not going to get into all those hormonal mechanisms but I’m guessing that if you’ve ever lost weight fast and regained it, you don’t need further explanation.
Bonus Weight Loss Mistake #4: Failing to Create Intentional Margin in Your Life
My bonus tip for you is that women often fail to plan ahead and create intentional margin in their lives. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Intentional margin is space on your calendar for you. For you to focus on your growth and personal development. When your margin happens, and what you do in your margin, is your business.
Many women find that getting up a little earlier works well because no one needs them yet. Really committing to your health may mean other burners of your life need to be turned down so you have the space and energy to do so.
I’d love to see you, and your health, in your top 5 priorities at all times. Because you can’t pour from an empty cup. And you’ll show up in other areas of your life better if you take care of your mental and physical health. Self care is not selfish. I feel like this is so hard for women because it requires them to say no.
Say no to their spouse when he wants an evening snack. Say no to their kids for full-time babysitting. Say no to their friends when they peer pressure you to eat foods that you don’t actually want to eat. Say no to extra activities that you don’t really enjoy, and are taking your time and energy away from your exercise or meal prepping.
Saying no to hours of TV or social media. Saying no to your boss when they ask you to stay late or pick up another shift. You’ve got to learn to say no to other people and things so that you can say yes to yourself.
To your goals. To your potential. To your best future. No one else is going to fill your cup for you. That’s not anyone else’s job. That’s your job. So my challenge for you is to find a way to create intentional margin in your life.
If you don’t know where that time is going to come from, do a time audit. And write down what you do in a day and how much time it takes you. Then create stronger boundaries around the things that are sucking your time and are totally unproductive like excessive TV or social media.
Think about how you can batch activities during the week like meal prepping, packing all your workout clothes at once, setting a recurring reminder on your phone to go to bed on time. Create the margin. Your health and loved ones will thank you for it.
When I say you have to get outside of your comfort zone to lose weight, I mean your emotional comfort zone. Changing how you think, what you believe, is uncomfortable. But, you can absolutely learn how to do this!