What is the difference between success and failure in weight loss?
There are of course lots of factors. Choosing the right way of losing weight is important: a safe, realistic and effective programme. And getting support from the right people.
But one of the biggest obstacles to losing weight relates to mindset. In my experience, anyone who tries to lose weight has to contend with the “bad week”.
Many people, when they try and lose weight aim for perfection. They have a strict diet regime that they have to stick to. If they stray away from it, then it’s considered a “bad” week.
When I see clients at Harley Street, I am very clear on the fact that when it comes to weight loss, I believe in progress not perfection.
But even then, occasionally, my clients will have a difficult week, mostly related to external circumstances which means that their eating goes out the window and they end up eating much more than usual.
What is the usual response to this? With most people, a bad week on a diet usually results in giving up. The belief here is that, since the person couldn’t maintain the perfect eating plan, they might as well give up. This is called “all or nothing” thinking and is the hallmark of the failed weight loss programme.
The people who succeed in losing weight, have a different attitude. They realise that bad weeks are a part of life. And they deal with them.
Let me give you an example. I had one client who had already lost about 1/2 stone (about 7 pounds or 3 kg) working with me. And then she had a particularly bad week. She ate much more than she usually would due to a combination of travel and business dinners. Now, I am pretty sure that if this client had not had the benefit of someone to support her during this week (i.e. me), then this one bad week would usually have derailed her weight loss efforts, as it does with most people. Her progress in losing 1/2 stone would have been thrown away. She would have thought “what’s the point? I can’t stick to this” and then responded to this with over-eating even further.
Instead, because she had support, she was able to maintain her perspective. She realised that one bad week wasn’t the end of the world. She knew that she wanted to develop habits that lasted the rest of her life. And she accepted that in a regular busy life, bad weeks will happen and she needed to have better ways of dealing with them. The bad week was a spur to keep going, not to give up.
And happily that client continued to lose more weight after that, so far reaching 1 stone of weight loss, and still going strong.
And so this is the difference between success and failure in weight loss. Failures means giving up after the first bad week. Success means keeping on going.