Somewhere between 95% and 97% of people fail to maintain their weight loss long term. Our goal at AFS is to make long term weight loss much more attainable and greatly reduce these depressing weight loss statistics — to help you lose weight, and keep that weight off for good.
While there are indeed hundreds of different reasons people fail to lose or keep off their weight, in my experiences as a fitness coach there are 3 major mistakes people make that, if you can avoid, will greatly increase your chances of success.
First, most people tend to focus on exercise before looking at their diet. This is a major mistake as even the most “hard-core” exercisers cannot possibly out-exercise a poor diet.
Now, don’t get me wrong… The benefits of exercise are nearly endless and reach far beyond just losing weight. However, one thing exercise does not do as well as many believe is promote weight loss.
Think about it this way… In the amount of time it takes you to burn a few hundred calories, you could easily put down a thousand or more calories at a large calorie dense meal. The ease at which we take in calories is absurdly disproportionate with the difficulty at which we burn them. The deck is simply not stacked in our favor if we try to lose weight through exercise alone.
I urge all readers to think of their exercise as a means to feel stronger, “better”, more self-confident, and more energetic. Do not think of your exercise solely as a “calorie burner”. Constantly glancing down at the treadmill or activity tracker striving to meet a calorie burning goal is not only a sad way to experience exercise, but is also a flat-out ineffective way to lose weight, leading to exercise-resentment and diminishing the enjoyment you can get out of your exercise routine.
Exercise is immensely important, but consider it a supplement to a weight loss plan centered on establishing better nutritional habits.
Second, even when most people decide to change their diet they do not do so in the right way.
“Diets”, as we know them, simply do not work. There is a reason why between 95% and 97% of people either fail to lose weight or fail to keep it off long term, and that is because they did not lose it in a way that promotes long term behavior change.
Most diets sell you on one or both of two things: speed ( ie. “lose 20 lbs in 20 days, guaranteed!”), and/or a strict set of rules to follow. This is appealing because everyone wants results NOW, and strict rules take the thinking out of the process. This works in the short term, however in the long term results never last. The speed at which weight is lost in many of these diets does not allow true behavior change to occur (behavior change takes time; faster is not better), and the strict set of rules you have to follow in most diets is rarely ever a sustainable way to live the rest of your life.
No cookie cutter diet or set of rules that apply to everyone in the same exact way will ever be a long term solution for you, the individual. I wish I could give you the answer for what type of diet will work for you in the long run, but that is simply not possible for me to tell you without getting to know you, your habits, and your lifestyle first. However, through proper coaching and progression within the AFS nutrition system with an AFS fitness coach, long term weight loss is possible. Just do not expect any promises of losing “20 lbs in 20 days” or a strict set of rules. That would not be fair to you, and is absolutely not what we are about.
Lastly, in order to make lasting change you need people in your corner to support you. Social support has been repeatedly identified in research as one of the absolutely most important elements for successful and lasting weight loss.
Sustainable weight loss is hard. Losing a substantial amount of weight really fast on a “diet” is actually not hard for most people; following very strict set of rules is actually quite easy…for a while…but it never lasts. However, losing weight in a way that focuses on true behavior change and adoption of new healthy habits is much harder–though well worth the long term benefit. To help you make these changes, you will need people to help you get up when you get knocked down, who sincerely care and are willing to work hard with you towards your success.
The social support provided through AFS, both from your personal fitness coach and our community of members who are truly the biggest contributors to our supportive culture, is maybe the most valuable part of a membership. With the broad network of social support provided through AFS membership, you will have checked one of the largest and most important boxes for weight loss success.
Do not fall victim to these 3 common weight loss mistakes. Click below to learn more about AFS, and how our habit-focused systems, coaches, and community can help you achieve and sustain your weight loss goals.