Woody Allen famously said that "80% of success is showing up". And when it comes to losing weight, it's essential for success.
For weight loss, what does "showing up" mean? It means making a commitment to stick to your weight loss programme no matter what.
Weight loss is not a short-term "project". A few weeks on a diet is not going to set you up for a lifetime of healthy weight. For you to maintain your weight for the long-term, you need to change your habits. And this requires commitment to stick with the process, through thick and thin.
But how can you apply this to your weight loss effort?
Here are a four ways you can "show up" and therefore maximise your chances of weight loss success.
Make it as easy as possible to stick with it
Often, people don't stick with their weight loss programme, because it's unpleasant and drastic. If you make changes that are very different to what you normally do, it's really difficult to stick with it.
For instance, if you decide to run four miles a day to help you lose weight (even though you are normally a couch potato) it all sounds great in theory. You might manage it the first day. You might even be able to do it for a week. But this sort of change is very "fragile". It's too drastic, and too different to previous behaviour. Consequently, the smallest thing can derail your efforts. For most people this can be anything from getting busy at work to a few late nights that make waking early to exercise that much more difficult.
And it's no good telling yourself you "should" be doing it. Because as we know, "shoulding" doesn't make you stick to anything.
Allow yourself to have fun
Most people associate losing weight with suffering and deprivation. But the fact is, if your weight loss programme relies on deprivation and a lack of enjoyment, then you will struggle to maintain your efforts.
No one wants to live a life of deprivation. Make sure that you are still able to eat out, travel and have fun while losing weight. Otherwise, the pressure will build up, and you will be looking for reasons to give up.
When the going gets tough, keep going!
This is really the difference between those who succeed and those who fail at weight loss. It is almost impossible to lose weight without going through a rough patch (or few).
1. A "bad" day or week, when you eat more than you planned to
2. A plateau - where you're following your plan, but your weight is not budging.
For most people, either of these two things is enough for them to give up. You can't allow this to happen to you.
Indeed, bad days and plateaus are actually part of the weight loss process. You must expect them, and learn how to cope with them.
Abandon all deadlines and expectations of speed of weight loss.
It can be frustrating for some people when their attempts to lose weight don't follow the pattern they expect. Sadly, their expectations are often shaped by ridiculous fad diet claims like "Lose 30 pounds in 30 days".
It might be hard for you to do, but you need to abandon any preconceptions about how fast you are going to lose weight. You are doing this for life. So take your time and do it right.
It's Too Simple?
We recoil at the idea that something as simple as "showing up" can be so crucial for losing weight, but I can tell you that it's true. When you decide to lose weight, make the commitment that you will "show up" no matter what.
For more about a behavioural approach click here