Why is weight loss so hard?

Let’s talk about losing weight and why so many people struggle to lose weight even with the best intentions.

Having worked in fitness for some time and trained many women, I have had the benefit of being part of many weight loss journeys. What I have learnt from those experiences is that there is only one thing that separates those that succeed and those that fail and you will be surprised to hear what that difference is because when I tell people this they usually are genuinely surprised.

What most people expect me to talk about is how much food people consumed, how much money they spent on coaching or how much exercise they did to attain their weight loss goal. However, the measure of success for weight loss, while it can be impacted greatly by those things is not determined by that.

The most important sign of success at a weight loss goal or any other goal for that matter is consistency.

Consistency is the single most important factor that determines whether you will be able to lose weight and also maintain that weight loss over a long period of time and the reason why weight loss is actually more difficult than if feels it should be is because the act of being consistent at anything is not easy.

When we look at weight loss of itself and when I speak to prospective clients, it is clear most people are aware fundamentally of what they need to do, which is to eat less, make better food choices i.e. choose less processed and healthier meals, and move more. However, despite knowing what they should do, most people struggle to do it.

Usually, we will feel that motivation is what we need, We need to be motivated to eat properly, to do more exercise and so on but motivation in itself is a difficult thing to manage and the truth is that motivation is not always going to show up when we require it to.

Let’s say you’ve decided to lose weight, you work with a trainer or a coach who has given you the information you need. You know how much food you should be eating, what type of food, you have an exercise plan and so on. Therefore in theory, you have everything you need to achieve your goal. All you need to do is to want to do it.

For many of us motivation is not something we can demand on order, it isn’t something that can be called upon when we like and a lot of the time, it doesn’t show up when we need it the most. You may be motivated in the beginning to start the weight loss because you want to look good, be a smaller size or look better in clothes or have more confidence and so on and this may spur you on the first week and even the first month or two.

However, there will come a day when you wake up and you do not feel like getting up early to go and exercise or when you feel like eating a Pizza even though you food plan says you are only allowed a salad. You may be out with friends and your willpower slips, you order one drink, then another and before you know it, you’ve drunk your calories for one day in just one sitting. On these sort of days, what happens is that motivation is lacking or absent and this is a reality for everyone, that motivation is not always going to be there every time we need it. There will be days when you are feeling off, or have had a bad day at work, an argument with a friend or have to take work home and you just will not feel up to sticking to your diet or exercise plan.

It is for this reason, that I always advise clients to remember that motivation will not always be there and this is why the act of consistency and having a routine and sticking to it will serve you better in the long run.

Even though I am a fitness addict and I love exercising, there are days I definitely do not feel like it but because I have a routine, I do not allow myself too much time to think about it. I just override the negative voice and I get on with my routine. A routine will serve you well in the long run. Once you have a routine, stick to it like glue. Yes there will be days when this will be harder than normal, but remember that the roadmap of your success is paved by the act of you showing up day after day, week after week, month after month and for life.

In saying this, I want you to accept that some days you will fail at it and won’t do it, there are days when you feel unwell, mentally or physically or when life throws you other problems that take priority over exercise. If that happens, please do not become discouraged or lose heart, just jump back into it when you are ready. Many clients get thrown off when they have had a few bad days of eating and feel like this will totally ruin everything. Remember just as eating a salad for one day will not make you healthy, eating pizza, cake, biscuits etc etc for one day or more will not make you fat. Even if you fall off the wagon for more than one day, never give up, always keep trying, keep showing up.

This is why weight loss must be viewed as a lifestyle change. It is not something you do for a few months then return to your normal habits. If you do that, you are right back where you started very quickly. You have to make the decision that this goal is something you want to achieve not just in the short term but for the long term too. Once you have this mindset, it is easier to overlook any setbacks especially when you know you are in this for the long run.

So if consistency is the key, how can we improve our consistency?

Here are some ideas below but if you need that additional push then a coach or a trainer might be able to give you the extra kick that you need on those days when you do not feel particularly motivated.

If you need some encouragement or just want to chat, feel free to get in touch.

Tayo xoxo

improving consistency:

-What is your motivation? try to identify a great reason for doing this e.g. being healthier, able to play with my kids, run a marathon etc..

Find activities you enjoy to help you get to your weight loss goal quicker

-Find a weight loss buddy, doing it with someone means you have someone in your corner when the going gets tough

Have a routine and stick to it

-Pay for it, we are more likely to show up when we have invested in something

Have small milestones along the way so you can measure how far you’ve come.

-Regularly check your progress and give yourself a pat on the back and a small reward when you hit milestones

Tackling Weight Gain during Menopause

Weight gain is one of the unfortunate challenges during perimenopause/menopause. It is particularly baffling for women who have been generally fit and exercising when they find they are gaining weight despite keeping up their normal levels of exercise and eating as they have normally done. I was exactly the same. While I didn’t put on a huge amount of weight, I found that I struggled to get into my jeans and regular clothes and yet, I was training as well and as regularly and pretty much eating the same meals I had always eaten.

What I and countless women had not realised that when perimenopause/menopause hits, the fluctuating hormones, bloating and the slowing down of our metabolism can actually cause most women to gain up to a stone over a period of a year perhaps more, what this means literally is a change in dress size for most women and unfortunately for us, the weight is all in the same area, around the belly, around the thighs or on the face and neck.

While weight gain by itself is not the end all or be all, for most women the weight gain coupled with various other symptoms and alien feelings in one’s body can cause one to feel pretty fed up.

So what can we do? How do we beat this and can it be combated with exercise alone?

First of all, let me say we can definitely work with exercise to help us mitigate the weight gain but we also need another weapon in this fight and that is our diet. Without looking at what you eat and how much you are eating, this fight is going to be so much harder. It is hard to put all of the suggestions in one article, so I am going to list a few pointers down below; Remember this is targeted at those who are tackling weight gain, if you just want to maintain or you want to gain then the points listed below won’t be relevant

Remember your body has slowed down its metabolism and therefore you don’t need the same amount of food that you have been eating. So e.g. if you have been taking in 2000 calories as your daily intake, your body probably needs a little less than that now, you can check your current TDEE (your total daily energy expenditure) on a number of online websites ( e.g. bodybuilding.com) but I have to say these numbers are rarely accurate and generally just good as a guideline as the only way we can measure your body’s metabolic needs is on very expensive machines.

I found that my TDEE dropped by about 400 calories, from 2000 to 1600. Now that may not sound a lot but if I am still eating 2000 calories daily as I used to then of course over time, I will put on weight which is exactly what happened. When I adjusted my calories to around 1600 I stopped gaining but to maintain I also still need to exercise regularly.

Exercise will stoke your metabolism so you need to exercise regularly, I try to do 10,000 steps 5 days a week and have 3 hourly sessions of resistance training,

This combination will help to keep your weight in check. There are also some other points to note;

  • Reduce stress
  • Get good quality sleep
  • Drink enough water, at least 2 litres daily
  • Avoid processed foods and trans fats
  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Eat plenty of and a mixture of fruits and vegetables