I’ve heard a lot of women say, “Jill, I am trying so hard! I do everything “right” and I am still NOT seeing results.” Ok, I get it. Fat loss is not always fair, but I find that many times it is not the plan or the training that is the problem. A lot of it has to do with daily practices and mental game. There exist some key consistencies among clients within this mental realm. And here is the culmination of my trouble-shooting adventures.
The 4 most common reasons we don’t see changes, despite our efforts:
1) We are stuck in the all-or-nothing mindset and don’t want to practice the in-between stuff.
You are doing your mind and your body a disservice when you believe that perfect eating is possible for anything longer than a few weeks. Yet, we continue to believe that we must be 100% compliant or else we are a failure. On the contrary, the results are found in the middle, and they are developed over time. A nutrition plan that is consistently 80-90% clean will yield results. What will not yield results is a Monday-thru-Thursday-clean-as-a-whistle approach followed by a Friday-thru-Sunday-binge-fest. The mentality of “starting on Monday” is an all-or-nothing approach, and does not leave room for the practice, learning and adoption of moderate practices that can, in time, yield real, sustainable results effortlessly.
2) We don’t truly believe we can do it long-term, so we continue to seek short-term solutions.
And who could blame us? After dozens of failed attempts at dieting, we simply don’t believe we can ever reach the holy grail of body change (or even body acceptance). And so we set ourselves up for failure before we even begin, many times unknowingly. Here’s what happens when we start a new diet: We say, “This is it! This time I will do it the right way! This will be the one that sticks!” but we put so much mental effort into “sticking to the plan” that we miss out on the part that actually could make it stick: learning and practicing. And so, after 4 to 6 weeks, it starts getting hard. And instead of doubling down and asking ourselves what’s going on and how can I learn here and persist through practice, we simply give up again because, well, “I guess we knew it wouldn’t work anyway. Nothing ever does. There must be something else out there that can help me.” Instead, the key is to introspect at those times of struggle, not abandon the process, because guess what? You will have the exact same challenges in the next plan you try. It is not the plan that needs fixing, it is your approach.
3) We hold onto some randomly selected timetable by which we need to see results, or else we are on to the next thing.
This always makes me laugh—mostly because I have suffered this in the past many times. But the idea is that results can literally never come fast enough. If we lose 5 lbs in the first week, it should have been 8. If we lose 7 inches in a month (incredible results by any standard), it doesn’t seem like all that much. If we need to lose 20 lbs by May and we only lose 17, it’s not good enough. What IS the rush?? WHY does it have to happen so fast?
I will give you this one key insight: the faster it comes off, the faster it goes back on. Truth. And despite what you think, fast fat loss is actually not what you really want. The reason being that sustained fat loss is the result of many, many days, month and years of practicing good behaviors. Fast fat loss as a result of intense, willpower-based practices that, by definition, must return. You literally have not had THE TIME needed to make those practices into habits yet. So, inevitably, once willpower wanes, the old habits are still there, ready to override any ounce of willpower you continue to muster.
Here’s a timetable for you: Today. Focus on that and only that. What will you practice TODAY? Don’t think about tomorrow, next month or your vacation this summer. Today is all you need to effectively practice your healthy habits.
4) We focus on results, instead of behaviors.
The idea that we need to reach a certain weight, dress size of body fat % is a myth. We cannot control outcomes (in fat loss, or anything really), so to assume that we should know exactly how our fat loss will progress, at what rate and to what end is literally insane. We can never know that. But what we can do, and what we do have control over is our actions and our attitude. We get to CHOOSE what to DO everyday. We can control the things we put in our mouths, the way we move and how often and what our attitude will be as we interact with the world. To what end we will arrive is unknown, but we can be sure that so long as we are focusing on the right actions and behaviors, we will be moving in the right direction.
Give up focusing on the end result, and begin focusing on the choice that is right in front of you at this second. Then move to the next choice, and the next with a conscious and consistent effort toward practicing healthy behaviors.