I’ve been in the fitness industry for a long time. In almost 25 years I’ve seen many fads, diets and training methods come and go. For me, the one positive of all those things is that they encouraged people to be healthier. The downside, they didn’t work long term.
So who has been successful over the years? Who has managed to lose or gain weight, stay consistent and maintain what they wanted to accomplish over the long term? The answer may surprise you!
The most successful people started with loving themselves for who they are. They didn’t focus on a number on the scale. They focused on how they felt and appreciated the amazing body that they have and all it was capable of doing. They didn’t compare themselves to anyone else and simply learned to love themselves where they were at the time. Why is this important? Changing your weight won’t change who you are inside. It is, after all, just a number on a scale. Self esteem, self confidence, self love and understanding that their own wellness was pivotal to the wellness of everyone else around them was huge!
People that are successful at maintaining weight loss goals have a plan. Not just an idea like “I’m going to cut carbs out of my diet because they’re bad” or “I’m eating less and exercising more” but an actual plan. I never encourage cutting out any food groups but if there is a medical reason to do so clients need a plan to replace those nutrients. Eating less and exercising more may not be the answer for most people. In fact, most people don’t eat enough or eat too much of the wrong foods. Others over exercise while not taking in enough food to balance the needs of their body. Planning their week including meal prep, meal planning, scheduling in exercise and scheduling in downtime are all part of being successful in a wellness journey.
Success is determined by long term sustainability. We’re an instant gratification society. We want instant meals, instant fitness and instant weight loss. People see before and after pictures and decide they want to look like that. Without questionning what they are putting in their body or whether this is a good step toward a long term goal, they will quickly purchase whatever it is in hopes of getting the same quick fix. If your goal is a quick fix then this is perfect. If your goal is more long term then you run into a problem. Is this “fix” sustainable for life? Is this “fix” safe over the long term? Is the “fix” healthy? Is the “fix” going to work for you the same way as it did for the person in the picture? Diets, powders and pills are not designed to be a long term wellness strategy. They are, however designed to give you hope, blame you when you fail, waste your money and then entice you to try again or try something different. If these programs worked so well then they would have been out of business long ago and no one would need them anymore! Is it any wonder that so many new diets pop up every year when at any given time there are over a million people in North America on a diet! Successful people plan for long term wellness.
Successful people exercise moderately doing something they enjoy. People often tell me that they “need” to run or they “need” to go to the gym. When I ask them why, they have often read it somewhere or heard it from someone else who had some success that way. Successful people have figured out that they need to enjoy the exercise that they are getting. Where’s the inspiration in getting up every day to do something you hate? If you like to walk then do that. If you enjoy yoga or Pilates then do those things. Swim, bike, walk, skate, jog, do videos at home, join a class if you’re social or need guidance, or search out a qualified personal trainer for more help. Whatever you choose to do your long term success truly depends on enjoying it.
Lastly, long term success depends on goal setting. Setting not only a long term goal but also many short term goals in between increases motivation and makes the long term goal much more achievable. Goals should be specific, measureable and realistic. Setting yourself up for success with your goals is a huge factor. For example, if your short term goal is to lose 15 pounds in one week that would be unrealistic and when it doesn’t happen you may feel defeated and give up. If your short term goal is to eat protein at every meal for a week, it would be realistic, measureable and specific and you’d be more likely to succeed and move on to your next short term goal.
Long term success in a wellness journey is critical to quality of life. Helping you create lifelong habits that enhance your life, bring you joy and make you feel energized are truly things we love to do!