For many, the weight loss journey is a roller-coaster of ups and downs, successes and seeming failures. Once the initial flurry of enthusiasm wanes and real-life problems and issues start to seep in, staying committed to your weight loss becomes incredibly tricky. Sadly starting out is the easy bit. Consistency really does win the weight loss race which is why you need to find a pace that is sustainable for you- it’s why so many of us are attracted to fad diets and quick-fixes that promise results in record-breaking time .
In this post, we take a look at why people struggle to stick to their fad diets and present you with some science-backed solutions to staying committed to your lifestyle, no matter what life throws at you.
The Myth of Willpower
Many of our clients come to us desperately declaring that they’ve struggled to stick to their weight loss goals because of a lack of willpower. Our clients say “I’m guilty of overindulging” or “I haven’t got the strength to stick with it”. In their minds, their inability to lose weight is their fault; they can’t get that elusive willpower they need to push them through a restrictive diet or insane workout routine. As a result, they ride on a merry-go-round of yo-yo dieting and constantly cycle through damaging feelings of self-doubt and guilt.
At Louise Parker, we cringe at the emotional wielding of willpower — in reality, weight loss actually has very little to do with willpower, weakness and guilt. Of course, grit and perseverance in healthy doses can be useful tools to draw upon, especially when making significant lifestyle changes. But blaming and demeaning yourself is emotionally damaging and completely unproductive for your weight loss goals.
The brain is complex. There’s no simple way to trick it or force it into staying committed to new regimes. Relying purely on willpower is taxing and takes for granted the many other aspects that could be contributing to your inability to stick with a programme. Research suggests that there are many things that lead to weight gain and, conversely, weight loss, including loneliness, stress and even hunger. To tie the success of weight loss with such an abstract concept as willpower is unrealistic, damaging, and only ever going to set you up for failure.
We know that the body doesn’t like extreme diets, as a recent study on The Biggest Loser discovered. The study found that most of the contestants who lost 100-200 pounds gained it back in the following six years, while their metabolism slowed — their bodies literally fought back against the extreme weight loss in ways that had nothing to do with willpower.
Louise Parker’s Four-Pillar Method for Sustainable and Long-Lasting Weight Loss
At Louise Parker, we’re proud to be a fad-free zone. Our programmes are designed to get you the results you want by helping you build the habits, lifestyle, mindset and knowledge you need to maintain your results in the long term. There are a million different reasons why you may not stay committed to a diet or health programme, but more often than not, diets fail because they don’t take into account your daily life and needs. Eating 100% clean food, giving three hours to the gym every day and getting ten hours of sleep every night may be easy enough to achieve when you have the time and energy to pour into your new lifestyle, but as soon as things become stressful at work or a family emergency throws a spanner in the works, sticking to it with the same tenacity can become an impossible feat.
Our approach is radically different from diets and health regimens that set those restrictive, impractical and sometimes dangerous “rules”, which are often too inflexible to fit into your life. We plan for the unexpected because our expert dieticians and personal trainers know that life isn’t always simple and that your new healthy routine can’t always be your top priority. Perhaps that’s why our clients lose, on average, 1% of their body weight each week while on our programmes.
Rewire Your Thought Processes
Have you ever considered how important your mind is to your weight loss goals? Whilst 70-80% of the weight you lose will be driven by the food you eat (only about 20% is down to the exercise you do), it’s underpinned by your mindset and lifestyle to help you consistently eat beautifully. So much of the time, it’s our mental processes that can block our success. How many times have you said to yourself “I can’t run that 5K”, “I won’t be able to avoid all my favourite sweets’ or “I don’t know how to get to sleep at night”? Can’t, won’t and don’t are powerful mental signals that affect the way we approach our lives and establish the limits and boundaries we set for our successes. To stay committed to your weight loss goals, it’s essential to rewire the way you think about your body, your health and your lifestyle. Thinking successfully is one of the four pillars that makes up the Louise Parker Method: change how you think and you will experience long-lasting and incredible results.
It sounds good, but how do you change your mindset in meaningful and tangible ways? Psychological change is certainly a more daunting prospect for many than simply swapping in some vegetables and getting a bit more active. With our method, changing the way you think is at the heart of our process. Our medically registered dieticians are trained in neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive behavioural therapy and motivational interviewing, which means they’re armed with the skills necessary to rewire your thoughts and your actual behavioural patterns.
Develop Healthy Habits
The more research and studies conducted, the more we begin to understand the role lifestyle habits play in the weight loss journey. A recent study from Australia’s Bond University revealed the extent to which creating habits — such as eating well and getting active — aids weight loss. In the survey, 75 overweight and obese people were split into three groups; the first followed a programme that encouraged participants to break old habits, where they were sent daily messages asking them to stop their usual routine. Among other things, they were told to take a different route to work or spend their lunchtime outside instead of inside. The second group was instructed to take up ten new health habits, which they were required to monitor and record the progress of. The third group made no changes at all to their lifestyle and were not required to either break or set new habits.
At the end of the twelve-week project, the results spoke for themselves. The participants in the first and second groups reported an average loss of 3.1kg, but, crucially, they also stuck with these habits long after the experiment was over and began to forgo unhealthy foods and behavioural patterns in favour of eating fruits and vegetables. Tellingly, the third group reported no changes to weight or lifestyle.
The good news is habits don’t require self-control and once formed new habits become self-perpetuating. When something becomes a habit, we do it without even realising. Our method is built on beautifully balanced food plans with intelligently targeted workouts that you can easily fit into your life — no matter how busy you are. Our experts will work with you to develop healthy habits to keep you focused and continually working towards your goals. Each lifestyle habit formed through the Louise Parker TRANSFORM programme has a scientific foundation and feel-good purpose. Our experts will show you how to sleep better, be more mindful of the food you eat, manage stress, move your body and live your happiest, most healthy, life.