Once you’ve resolved to lose weight, that final number can become a fixation-why is that needle not moving?!
Some people can become so discouraged by slow progress that they give up entirely, reverting to old habits.
Reforming old habits is hard, and the process can be very trying if your expectations for progress are unrealistic.
To avoid emotionally sabotaging yourself, consider asking yourself the following questions:
Is my timeline realistic?
It’s natural to hope for fast results; however, a healthy rate of weight loss for most people is around 1-2 lbs per week.
It takes a deficit of 3,500 Calories to lose 1 lb.
So, essentially, to lose 1 lb per week, you need to create a 500 Calorie deficit each day through diet and exercise.
Are my means realistic?
Often, dieters begin a weight loss journey with a general resolution to “eat better and exercise more”- while those intentions are great, weight loss is simple math: if you aren’t tracking your Calories, the process will likely be slower than you’d like.
Even if you are eating better than you were prior to your diet, you may still be eating too many Calories: even healthy foods can contain a high number of Calories.
Measure your food with measuring cups and spoons and food scales, and track the Calories via an online app or old-fashioned journal.
Websites like calorieking.com feature a nearly endless array of food items and brand names that allow you to assess the Nutritional Information of most foods.
When it comes to exercise, don’t trust the readout on your treadmill or elliptical: even when adjusted for height, weight, and age, many of these calculators overestimate by as much as 50 percent!
Exercise instructors also tend to inflate your “expected burn”.
Ever walk by a cycling class and hear an instructor amp everyone up to “burn 1000 Calories per hour?!”
Total lie: for the average woman, running or biking vigorously for an hour burns about 600 Calories.
Am I being too hard on myself?
Are you scrutinizing yourself more scrupulously than you did before you began your journey?
For many people, dieting becomes an all-consuming process: once you’ve decided to lose weight, you put yourself under a microscope, perhaps for the first time in years.
Suddenly, every last pound, every last smidgen of fat- becomes the enemy.
Try to treat yourself with the same kindness you’d show friends or loved ones- remind yourself that you are a work in progress, and that you may not love the way your body currently looks, but that you’re showing yourself a great amount of love and respect by working to improve your health.
Posting positive, inspiring, or otherwise motivational quotes where you see them often can help inspire positive, balanced thinking.
Similarly, pinterest is a wonderful opportunity to motivate or soothe yourself.
For those unfamiliar with Pinterest, the virtual “marketplace” allows you to create a special virtual pinboard for any topic- millions of “pins” (photos, quotes, etc) exist to pin to your virtual board for free, on virtually any topic.
Creating an inspiration board for days of low motivation or moments of frustration can be a hugely helpful tool and use of your time.
Online support groups are also easy to find, and local hospitals can often recommend groups that meet in person to provide a communal atmosphere to discuss goals and hardships.
If you feel that body image issues, low-self-esteem, or other emotional issue related to weight is negatively impacting your life, or if you are more comfortable in a one-on-one setting, a therapist can provide support and engage you in therapy to work through emotional issues and promote your personal growth. .
What have I accomplished?
Accomplishments don’t only register on a scale: if you’ve made it to the gym 7 days in a row, ran your first mile, or committed to weighing and measuring food, celebrate!
Those are valid and praise-worthy accomplishments.
It’s important to celebrate the small victories and the changes that you’ve made to support your healthier lifestyle- those changes are the things that are going to carry you towards your goal.
Keep a running list of accomplishments, big or small, so that you don’t lose track of all the progress you have made- in the moment that you feel like quitting, those accomplishments remind you of how far you’ve come, and inspire thoughts of what you may achieve in the future.
How have I changed emotionally?
Reflect on the ways you’ve changed emotionally since the onset of your journey-do you feel different? More confident? Balanced? Happy? Empowered?
The emotional benefits of a health transformation are just as rewarding and important as the physical benefits.