Being a personal trainer, I have seen clients try a variety of diets, such as keto, paleo and Mediterranean, with varied success. I can tell you with certainty that success had very little to do with what diet they were on. However, I have observed five common behaviors among those who were successful that can applied to any weight-loss regimen. If you are looking to lose weight and keep it off, here are five behaviors you should focus on:
Target consistency over perfection.
If you follow your plan 80% of the time, you will get better, more sustainable results than if you try to be 100% compliant. But be mindful—even if you make good choices throughout the week, you can quickly waste all that effort with weekend splurges. In addition, binging can change your body’s metabolism, forcing it to store extra calories again. So strive to be compliant 80% of the each day rather than 80% of each week.
Find ways to reduce stress.
Life is stressful on your mind and body, and weight loss can add additional stress. You’re asking your body to work hard, and changing your diet takes effort. Stress can lead to poor nutrition choices and low energy. To reduce stress, plan both your workouts and meals for the week in advance. You should also create a list of stress-relieving activities and set aside at least 15 minutes a day to complete them.
Focus on diet first, then exercise.
Weight loss starts in the kitchen. While many would prefer to work out more rather than change the way they eat, you can’t outwork a bad diet. Exercise will help expedite weight loss, as it burns calories and raises your metabolism, but any successful weight loss program needs to focus on nutrition first.
Doing less is better.
Complex diets can be overwhelming and cause additional stress. Focus on a few behaviors that will create a significant impact, such as cutting out late-night snacking, sweets or drinking, and do those well. If you try to do too much, you will end up doing a lot of things sub-optimally. This is a surefire way to waste energy and create more stress. Identify what is truly important and focus your energy on those few behaviors.
If you’re serious about losing weight, you need help. A dietitian or health coach can save you lots of time creating meal plans, and a personal trainer can provide you with the most effective workouts. Getting professional help not only gives you expertise, accountability and support, but they also relieve a lot of stress—all of which greatly increases your chance of success.
Weight loss is hard; you will have setbacks, and that’s ok – don’t expect perfection. By focusing on these five behaviors, weight loss can not only be achievable, but also sustainable in the long term. Take control of your health and your fitness and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Learn more about our “Healthy Lifestyles Program” that will help you create habits around nutrition, exercise and stress relief that will last a lifetime.