Giving Up on Losing Weight? Here’s How to Stick with It
If you’ve never tried to lose weight, let me fill you in on something: It can be hard if you don’t know what to do. What’s more, though it can be frustrating only losing a few pounds at a time, that’s the healthiest way to do it. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as it you think. I’m here to help you NOT give up on your weight loss goals.
In the United States, 1 in every 3 people are obese, compared to 1 in 5 just 2 decades ago. But unlike in years past, Americans are now less likely to try to lose the extra weight. People surveyed between 2009 and 2014 were 17% less likely overall to say they’d tried to lose weight in the previous year compared to those surveyed between 1988 and 1994. 
It’s a problem when the simply ‘overweight’ have given up on weight-loss the most, putting them at risk of becoming obese.
Senior researcher Dr. Jian Zhang, an associate professor of epidemiology at Georgia Southern University, says:
“This is not good. We are missing the opportunity to stop overweight from becoming obesity.” 
It’s hard to adhere to a healthy eating pattern when you’re not sure what that even means. Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of obesity surgery for Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, says:
“First they were told don’t eat fat, and now we are telling patients to reduce simple carbohydrates. While I believe that reducing carbohydrates is key, what the public hears is, ‘I might as well eat what I like because all this advice has not worked.’” 
It wasn’t long ago that fat was considered a harbinger of stroke and heart disease, and weight gain. People turned to low-fat and fat-free food, believing them to be the healthy alternatives. In reality, these products are loaded with added sugar to improve flavor, which leads to an increase in those health conditions, as well as diabetes and obesity.
The other sad reality is that people are so used to hearing about the obesity epidemic in America, many have come to believe that obesity is the “new normal” and something they must simply accept.
Read: 4 Mantras for Lasting Weight Loss
Overweight is the New Norm
The researchers behind a study published last year point to a 2010 study in the journal Obesity which detailed “a generational shift in social norms related to body weight.” According to that body of research, between 1998 and 2004, both men and women became less likely to classify themselves as overweight, even when their body mass index (BMI) proved otherwise. 
Then there’s the very real frustration of having lost weight only to regain it. It’s easy to feel like a failure when you’ve watched the pounds you’ve shed start to creep back onto your frame. The authors of the new report wrote:
“The longer adults live with obesity, the less they may be willing to attempt weight loss, in particular if they had attempted weight loss multiple times without success.” 
According to a 2011 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, after dieting, the body undergoes a series of changes designed to make sure that all the lost weight is gained back.
Thanks for that slap in the face, nature.
6 Simple Tips to Just ‘Stick with It’
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need a plan. And no matter how often the food and ‘nutrition’ industry shifts, stick to that plan and see if it works. As many people can tell you, simply deciding to “diet” and getting rid of unhealthy food in your home may not be enough to sustain you for the duration of your weight-loss.
Here are a few tips to help you on your journey.
1. Set Reasonable Goals
If you want to lose, say, 100 pounds, then you need to start small. There’s no way you can really lose 100 pounds quickly, so you need to set smaller goals that help you get to your ultimate one.
June Kloubec, Ph.D., a professor in the department of nutrition and exercise science at Bastyr University, explains:
“Most experts agree that losing more than 2 pounds per week is difficult to sustain and an unhealthy way to manage weight loss.” 
Read: Eating These 3 ‘Fatty’ Foods Can Make You Thinner
Instead, try setting a goal of losing just 5 pounds. You could pick a date to achieve that goal by – but I would simply aim to lose 1-2 lbs per week. If you don’t lose that for 2 weeks straight, re-evaluate your lifestyle and think about cutting something else from your normal diet.
The absolutely best thing you can do for yourself, at least for a few weeks or months, is to vehemently track your calorie intake. No one wants to do it, but it may be the key to your weight loss goals.
2. Reward Yourself
When you reach a new goal, don’t just pat yourself on the back, celebrate! Try including a reward for each 5 pounds lost, for example, so that you have further motivation. I would recommend that you stay at that goal for at least 2 weeks, though, before rewarding yourself.
3. Make Yourself Accountable
There’s a reason people have weight loss blogs. It’s easier to stick to something when there are other people holding you accountable. If you mess up and “fall off the wagon,” confess it to someone. Consider some safe-but-annoying repercussions, too, like completing a household chore you’ve been avoiding. Maybe wash the dishes by hand, even if you have a dishwasher. 
4. Invest in Your Health
Got an extra $150 burning a hole in your wallet? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’d only spend that money on something you’re really serious about, because that kind of cold cash doesn’t come around often. If it does, consider joining a gym or athletic club. If you’re not wild about the idea of working out in front of other people, buy a piece of exercise equipment.
One important note here is that you don’t need cardio to lose weight – you simply need to burn more calories than your taking in. So, if you hate cardio, just focus on diet.
5. Make it Sustainable
Don’t make the mistake that I did. About a decade ago, in an attempt to lose weight, I ate mostly salad for lunch every day at work, with things like apples and bananas for snacks. There wasn’t any protein in those salads, either. I didn’t lose any weight, but I was starving and miserable.
The tricky thing about losing weight is that is usually means you need to eat less…but if adopt a diet that is simply unsustainable, you’ll binge and ultimately end up kicking yourself while your down.
Pick something that works for you. There are so many different diets, and 99% of them can work as long as your body is burning more calories than it is taking in. The Mediterranean diet, the Ketogenic diet, the Paleo diet, and many more are tried and true ways to lose weight – if the diet works for you.
Read: Eat More Protein to Lose Weight and Prevent Diabetes
6. When You Mess up, get up, Dust Yourself off, and Keep Going
Accidents happen. Office birthday cakes happen. You get the idea – temptation is everywhere so you might as well accept that you’re going to “mess up” sometimes. It’s OK. In fact, you shouldn’t really deny yourself your favorite foods. It’s more important that you eat them in moderation, and infrequently.
When you do mess up, though, remember that it doesn’t cancel out the great progress you’ve already made. Even if it’s Day 2 and the only victory you have under your belt so far is that you ate more green beans than meat at dinner last night.
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