We’ve all been there. We take aggressive action toward a goal, thinking we’ve got it in the bag this time, only to end up shy of the accomplishment. We certainly made progress. We just couldn’t cinch the deal.
And so it is with weight loss. We drop a few pounds, we see some new muscles peaking through, we feel good about changes. But, sure enough, the weight loss plateaus–or, worse, we watch the pounds come back on, one at a time, creeping ever so slowly to cover the muscles that were just getting exposed.
We make all the changes we are supposed to make.
We ask ourselves a million times a day (including while snacking on celery while our co-workers gorge themselves on enchiladas), “How am I still not losing weight?!”
Identifying the reason for failure is the first step. Or is it denial that’s the first step?
Ah, yes, that’s right. Denial.
I’m only being a little bit facetious here.
In all honesty, I do believe that it’s human nature to go through a period of denial before being able to again amble toward success.
Sometimes the denial period is short. It looks like spending a few weeks treading water before finally swimming to shore, reassessing, and setting off again on a different route.
Sometimes it’s longer. It looks like making excuses year after year, making minor changes, and/or sporadic, intensive interventions, all the while remaining mostly the same.
The latter is truly painful to see. Especially as someone who witnesses the repeated defeat, feels fully empowered to help, but is 99% sure the “victim” has not yet admitted to themselves that they are…shall we say…not making progress. (I know failing sounds harsh, but–hey–we are trying to push past denial here.)
Honestly, we have to accept defeat before we can identify the reason for defeat, and we certainly have to identify the reason before we can escape the cycle and burst forth toward our potential.
Possible reasons for failure:
- You didn’t have a plan.
- You didn’t follow the plan.
- You didn’t have a plan you could follow.
Are there other reasons? If so, please enlighten me. For now, I think that covers it. (Unless you want to include having a terrible plan. But, let’s face it: if your plan is even remotely based on science, it’s probably not that.)
For today, let’s look at Reason #1.
Kudos to the person who can reflect on their efforts and conclude that they did not truly have a plan. I think this one is most difficult to accept. Rather than being defensive–the first resort of many in this situation–be gracious to yourself.
Admit that you had a “rough idea,” that you had “some things you were doing,” that you had “something you were gonna try.” Admit that what you had was NOT a thoughtfully-constructed, well-documented, detailed, and concise plan. It didn’t have steps and milestones. It didn’t have clear-cut actions that you would perform consistently.
Guess what? That’s okay! It’s okay to fall short. It’s okay to fail.
In fact, I rather recommend to say it aloud, take ownership of it, and, despite it all, to keep your sense of pride in tact. (Bonus: Others will see this quality in you and respect you because of it.) There’s no shame in failing and even less in recognizing its occurrence. (Should I ruin that previous “bonus” by pointing out that your failures probably have already been noticed by others anyway, and thus, you might as well bring it out into the open?)
Once you admit that you aren’t losing weight because you of one of the reasons above,
the next step is to face it head-on.
Didn’t have a plan? Make one now. OR, just get one now from someone who specializes in such things. <–This link will take you right to Pat’s newsletter, which is a great place to start when looking for plan.
It’s likely that you already have the tools to make yourself a plan. However, if you think your problem stems from a lack of knowledge rather than a lack of disciplined planning–or if you are wondering what a good plan should look like–let me know. I’m TheIntern@ChroniclesofStrength.com.
Didn’t follow your plan? Figure out why. Then, fix it. (More on this down the road.)
Didn’t have a plan you could follow? Reconsider your expectations. Rewrite your plan. (More on this down the road.)
Maybe you aren’t losing weight because you aren’t training properly–like with bursted workouts that are high-intensity and short-duration. Try out this 4.5-minute bodyweight workout, and let me know what you think of it!
Hit this sequence twice, 30-seconds per movement:
Plank mountain climbers,
Bear-crawl in a square [such that you go forward, sideways, backward, sideways, forward, etc.];
With full confidence that you are capable of reaching your weight-loss goals,