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Almost every one of us, whether or not we’ve actually lost weight, has made a New Years Resolution to lose weight. In fact, it seems to be one of the most popular resolutions, with only exercise and “eating healthier” beating it.
According to the New York Post, you’ll quit before the end of the month, if you make it even halfway through.
Why is this? Well, there are actually a lot of reasons:
- Making too many changes at once
- Having vague resolutions without a plan
- Not being serious about losing weight
- Food addiction
Those aren’t what I’m talking about though. In fact, I think the biggest issue that causes people to fail with weight loss resolutions is: weight loss slows the fuck down.
This is the Weight Loss Speed Bump
When people start losing weight, they generally do this by reducing carbs. Most attempts at eating healthy will reduce carbs in the form of treats/sugar, which will lead to a reduction in calories, which leads to weight loss. But is that weight loss all fat? No.
Let’s talk about glycogen for a moment. It is a form of energy from carbohydrates that is stored in the body; it exists in our muscles and liver, and is used by the body when energy is needed. If you go for a run, for instance, your body may need more energy than you’ve given it, so it’ll start metabolizing glycogen.
When you reduce carbs, your body has to dig into its energy stores. Once it starts metabolizing glycogen, the water that’s bound to it goes too. This is what happens when you lose water weight, initially.
So, you’ve changed how you eat, cut carbs, and you’ve lost 3 pounds in the last 3 days! That’s awesome, because it indicates that your body is responding to how you eat. However, you’re gonna run out of extra water sooner rather than later.
You’ve hit a speed bump.
Day 7? You may start noticing things slow down, and by day 14, you see little to no movement by the day. You go from the initial high of losing a pound a day, to losing a pound or two a week, if that. Some weeks you’ll gain, even.
That’s where many (most?) people fail. Right there.
The moment you can no longer ride the high of rapid weight loss, it becomes harder to maintain your habits. You don’t see an immediate reward, and you aren’t ready for slogging through the boring parts.
Don’t worry! None of this means you’re doomed to fail. You just have to be smart, and realize that the dopamine rush of better numbers will be spaced out from now on.
Weight loss is, and always will be, a waiting game.
So what do you do? Stop focusing primarily on weight loss. Weight loss is a secondary effect of fixing how you eat, and should be treated as such.
What is your goal? Not to lose weight, but to fix how you eat, and wait for the weight to come off. This means you can focus on your habits, and your success there, to build on. Each day you stick to your habits is a successful one. Mark each day on a calendar, and soon you’ll have weeks of marks that turn into months of marks.
If you don’t follow them one day? Don’t put a mark down. That will happen sometimes, and is perfectly fine. Failure today isn’t failure tomorrow. As long as you get back into forming those habits, you’ll succeed.