Diets don't work: Be prepared for failure to succeed

Our Diets don't work blog is by Ascot-based personal trainer Adam Atkinson. He offers health and fitness advice on our websites on a regular basis.

Diets Don't Work: Five classic weight loss blunders

Losing weight is difficult. If it was easy, a £586billion global industry (2014 figures) selling you things to help you lose weight couldn’t exist.

However, it is certainly achievable, regardless of how many times you may have tried and failed. It is also within reach of anyone, even if you feel you are too far gone. At Diets Don’t Work PT we have had cases of clients who were hardly able to walk they were so heavy. Not only did they successfully lose weight but they also ended up enjoying sport and exercise as a way of life.

People talk about eating less than you need to in order to lose weight. This is of course a pre-requisite of success. But they seldom talk about failure.

Weight loss is never linear. That is to say, even if you consistently eat the correct amount of calories to lose 2lb a week, you still won’t lose 2lbs a week, every week. Some weeks it may be more; some weeks it may be less. Some weeks you may even put on weight! Why?

The reason for weight loss being so seemingly random is us. We are humans. Not machines. So there are many other factors that can influence weight loss (or lack or it).  Hormones – influenced by stress – are one factor. The menstrual cycle is another. Insulin deficiency. Medication. Lack of sleep. These can all hinder losing weight regardless of calorific intake.

Those who are unaware of these factors are more likely to view a poor weigh in as failure. They are then likely to give up.

“I don’t believe I’ve put on weight this week…I’ve been so good."

"Im giving up. It must be my genetics”.

So the cycle goes. A small failure leads to a big one.

 Instead, we teach clients to be prepared for small failures, regardless of perceived effort. One or even two weeks without seeing progress on the scales is just a blip. It might be a reminder to think about your calorific input vs your activity (output), but chances are keep going at you will soon see success.

Managing expectations is also important. If you have a holiday or really busy week at work, don’t expect to lose weight in that week. Adjust expectations to weight maintenance. Then identify a clear week when things will be more under your control and go for it. These small failures are part of any weight loss and fitness quest. Once you are ready for them they are no big deal.

Here’s your checklist:

  • Only weigh once a week – more often makes a small, perceived failure likely.
  • Pick your battles – adjust expectations and targets to suit upcoming difficult weeks. Identify periods of opportunity.
  • Differentiate between a blip and a trend.
  • Heath and fitness is a war – you won’t win all of the battles, but win most of them and you’ll succeed.
  • Expect and be prepared for some short-term failures – don’t let them be long term!

Adam Atkinson 

07830 148300/0800 0407526