Why is it so many people can’t follow through with their 2020 weight loss resolution?
There are many reasons why people fail to stick to their weight loss resolution, but I want to expand on a common reason I see as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. I’d also like to offer a 6 step-by-step solution to help you find success this new year!
A common pitfall I see are people being too general with their weight loss goals.
Simply saying, “I will eat better and exercise more so I can lose weight” is great, but what does this actually mean?
Simply deciding to ‘eat better’ so you can ‘lose weight’ won’t get you from point A to B because there is too much room for interpretation and no clear direction.
If you’re guilty of being too broad, you need to:
- Clarify what weight loss means to you
- Get real about your current lifestyle habits keeping you from reaching this goal
- Narrow down the biggest barriers & commit to overcoming them one by one
- Plan for success
- Take action!
Overwhelmed? Don’t be! Here’s how to start:
Step 1: Set a Specific Goal
You should think of this as the ideal outcome, and you need to get crystal clear on what this looks like.
Instead saying, “I will lose weight,” nail down what losing weight means for you. Is there a timeline? Are there certain body composition or blood lab parameters you’d like to change? Is there a dress or pant size you want to reach?
I will lose 10-15 pounds within 6 months.
I will decrease my body fat by 2-3% by May 2020.
I will improve my Hgb A1c by at least 1% by my next check up.
You’re more likely to achieve an outcome when you fully understand why it’s important. Answer these questions to build clarity:
🌱What am I hoping will happen once I reach this goal?
🌱How will my life change or improve once I reach this goal?
🌱Will it improve or change my loved ones’ lives?
🌱What will it cost me not to achieve this goal?
🌱What will it cost my loved ones?
Step 2: Brain Dump
Take out a pen & paper and brain dump all of your current eating or lifestyle habits keeping you from reaching your ideal outcome.
Here are a few common examples to get you started:
🌱Eating too large portions at meals
🌱Dining out too often
🌱Mindless eating and snacking throughout the day
🌱Drinking too many calories (I see you, Starbucks)
🌱Failure to plan workouts or meals ahead of time
🌱Too many indulgences (alcohol, snack foods, sweets)
🌱Busy schedule getting in the way of meal prep
🌱Chronic sleep deprivation
🌱Not moving or exercising enough
You know yourself better than anyone, so be honest about what needs to change. No one else has to read your answers, so there there is no reason to lie!
Step 3: Be Selective
Take a hard look at your brain dump and circle the ONE or TWO habits that will yield the biggest results if eliminated or replaced.
In other words, which action step is going to move the needle the most for you?
Newsflash: It probably isn’t something simple & easy like adding collagen powder to your protein shake or wasting money on a fat burner. In fact, it’s probably the habit you perceive as the hardest thing to change.
Once you identify the 1-2 barriers keeping your from you goal, toss out the rest for now. Stretching yourself too thin by committing to 10 changes at once is a sure fire way to fail.
Focus on mastering one thing at a time.
Step 4: Plan for Success
Once you’ve settled on which 1-2 habits need some TLC, plan on how you’re going to integrate healthy behaviors into you life. This blueprint needs to specific and realistic.
Let’s use “failure to plan meals ahead of time” as an example.
Start by reframing into an action step: As part of my goal to lose 2-3% of body fat by May 2020, I will plan my lunch and dinners Monday-Friday ahead of time as a means to eat out less during the work week.
Answer the following questions about your desired habit:
🌱What are some potential obstacles to me creating this habit?
🌱How can I overcome these obstacles?
🌱Where can I make time in my schedule to plan and prep my meals?
🌱What may I have to give up in order to do so?
🌱How can I make meal prepping and planning more enjoyable?
🌱How will this get me closer to my ultimate goal?
Predicting and preparing for potential obstacles is a great way to eliminate excuses that may keep you from accomplishing your goal. Finding ways to make a new habit an enjoyable part of your day to day is motivating in itself!
Step 5: Commit & Take Action!
You can day dream and write about about reaching your goals all day long but nothing will change unless you commit to taking action. It may be difficult at times, but it’ll only get easier if you stay consistent.
Remember, we are a product of our daily habits and choices. Habits take time to cultivate but positives ones reap the best rewards. So get off your butt and do what you said you’d do!
Step 6: Repeat!
Once one healthy habit becomes an automatic part of your routine, you can build on it by digging out your list from Step 2 and integrating a new habit in your plan by repeating steps 3, 4, & 5.
Overtime, these healthy habits will stack on each other and help you not only achieve your weight loss resolution but also sustain it for years to follow!
If you need help or don’t know where to start when it comes to your weight loss goals or healthy eating resolutions, book a consultation of our registered dietitians.
We’ll help you set break down the specific steps to achieving your goals and hold you accountable & motivated.
Kait Richardson is a registered dietitian nutritionist in Orlando, FL. She is a partner at a private practice, Nutrition Awareness, where she helps frustrated yo-yo dieters reach their health goals using 1:1 nutrition coaching. She is the co-host of the Nutrition Awareness Podcast.