My Stanford participants are working hard…creating behavior change, learning how to eat differently, taking care of themselves and getting healthier…progress!
But, it occurred to me a few weeks ago that many of the participants are struggling more than I realized and I couldn’t figure out why…and then it hit me. They are losing .5-2 pounds a week and think it is not enough. They are beating themselves up assuming they should be doing more or doing “better” at this whole weight loss thing and more pounds should come off per week.
I was heartbroken for them. Here I am feeling proud and excited for them and they are not feeling much pride or excitement at all.
So, lets start with a major clarification – A pound a week of consistent weight loss is GREAT! A pound a week is a sign of success. If you keep going at that rate and consistently lose, you have high chances of losing all the weight you want, keeping it off and feeling fantastic.
I know one pound seems like nothing, but there are a lot of things to remember when it comes to the game of weight loss.
It is portrayed in the media that you can drop a ton of weight fast and all your problems will be fixed in a matter of days. Sorry folks, that is not how it works. Rarely can you safely lose a lot of weight quickly and if you do…it almost always is going to come back on. To be even more of a “Debbie Downer” here, when you lose weight that fast it is likely not fat but rather muscle and water.So, if you actually want to lose fat, I am assuming you do (?), you need to slowly and consistently take it off.
Weight is only a number. Often times we have this goal in our head of what we want to weigh. So you focus on that number, do everything you can to lose the weight…and you hit your goal..yay! But then you stand buck naked in the front of a mirror at your goal weight and it doesn’t look quite like what you imagined. That is because strength training, aerobic exercise and proper posture are part of looking your best. And when you work out, you may gain weight. So, again,focusing on just that number on the scale is likely not the whole picture.
Stop the yo-yo! We go on cleanses, starve ourselves, cut out food groups and do all sorts of crazy things to get the weight off and then it just comes back. What the heck is the point? Why feel miserable and lose weight, just to put it all back on? To make it worse, when you yo-yo, the weight that comes back on usually is even harder to get off because it triggers a stress response in the body. The body thought it was starving and in trouble…then you gain the weight back…the body will hold onto those extra pounds with all of its might because it is worried you are going to starve again.
Here is a crazy thought – ENJOY the process of weight loss. Imagine that? BE GOOD TO YOURSELF. Be patient…it is a virtue for a reason.
Take it slow, be consistent, develop sustainable habits and watch those pounds slowly but surely melt away. You will feel better than ever, physically and mentally.
Stand in front of that mirror buck naked with pride at your smokin hot bod and healthy life!