Why weight loss maybe shouldn’t be your goal?

Weight loss, much like weight gain, is a sum of the lifestyle habits you create for yourself. True weight loss, true sustainable long-term weight loss, does not occur quickly, the same weight gain does not occur quickly. It occurs over time, at a slow and steady rate.

Now as you read this post, you may think I am against 'weight loss' - far from it. I support weight loss - fully and absolutely. It is the way in which we approach it that I am writing about. But also, in contrast to what I am writing about, I know this is not a 'one size fits all' - I am open minded that we all need different approaches - this is just one approach that I personally consider to be successful as this is where I see my clients succeed. For example, take Pirjo, in her 60's. Pirjo came to me with her daughter - they both wanted to lose weight - Pirjo fell in love with fitness and strengthening her body and yes, she achieved weight loss, completely changed her body shape BUT she can now run, keep up with the grandchildren, can beat us all at push ups - this all was due to changing her goals to prioritising fitness and as a result she lost weight.

Weight loss can happen through a accumulation of positive lifestyle habits and changes, the same way that weight gain is impacted by an accumulation of negative habits. Although many of us think weight loss occurs like the way it does on 'The Biggest Loser' or similar reality TV programmes, that is not the case. Yes, people can lose weight quickly, but when that weight is lost, do they sustain it? Well done to those that do and to those that don't, maybe have another consideration of how you can maintain that weight loss.

If you truly want to lose weight long term, you need to look at the big picture. What am I doing on a day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month basis to help me reach my goal? It is the small day-to-day choices like opting for salad instead of chips, cutting sugar out of your coffee, and taking your lunch to work that add up to big changes to help you lose weight.

Anyone can go on a 3-day juice cleanse or 2-week crash diet, but these efforts are short-lived and don’t focus on long-term health. Though, I completely understand why people do this to give them the 'oomph' off the starting block. It is the maintenance of this quick fix that for me is important.

If you really want to lose weight, long term weight, your goal should be to seek health and create a healthy lifestyle, not solely focus on a number on a scale. The reason this works is because when you focus on making choices that promote health, you WILL lose weight. I have seen this with myself, and time and time again with clients, which is why I know it works.

BUT, and this BUT is the clanger- you may not actually achieve any weight loss - BUT you might go down a dress size, you might be able to run further and faster, you may be able to exercise at a higher intensity and for longer. Not achieving weight loss does NOT mean you are not achieving. If you are following healthy lifestyle habits and you are exercising then you will be changing shape in your body as well as your mind.

For me, it is about resetting ourselves by focusing on our choices to promote our health. Yes, you may lose weight - but this is a product of the lifestyle change - the actual weight loss is not the ultimate goal.

For those clients I meet, I would say that 'weight loss' the most common goal, and I imagine that within the fitness and health industry it is the most common goal too and I would hazard a guess to say it is the least achieved goal as well. Sounds weird, right? If so many people have a goal of losing weight, why is it that so many people aren’t actually achieving it?

Within my business, many of my clients do initially set themselves a weight goal but more times than not by the time it is to review that goal their goal will then change to a fitness based goal with 'weight loss' as a second supporting goal if at all.

As a culture, we are obsessed with weight loss; it’s discussed everywhere - magazines, movies, news, and groups of friends everywhere. Whether it’s just to lose those “last 10 pounds” or a more extreme goal to lose hundreds of pounds, people are constantly creating weight loss goals for themselves. When I work with people individually one of the first things we talk about is their goals, and although different people have different goals, I would argue that more than 90% of people include the goal of weight loss.

The Weight Game. Do your scales tell you if your clothes fit better or if you are feeling more energetic? Do the scales tell you when you can get to the top of the stairs without your knees hurting or getting out of breath. No - so make your goal based on a fitness goal, a lifestyle goal and if you would like it based around on how your body looks then find a piece of clothing that you want to be able to fit into comfortably.

Don't let the scales sabotage your journey.

Yes, they can be part of the journey - but don't make them the be all and end all of your journey. You can achieve more than that.

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