If you’re in a hurry to lose weight, you’re in a hurry to fail. You’re either going to lose very little, or ride the yo-yo and get it all back and then some. I think the number one barrier to sustainable weight loss is lack of patience. But this isn’t what people want to hear, so they buy quick-fix miracle cures by the boatload.
When it comes to writing about fitness, the only opinions I care about are that of the readers looking for help, my editors, and the scientific community at large. I recently got a really positive response to this piece for Tribune Newspapers which talks about how the tortoise trumps the hare when it comes to sustainable weight loss. The piece talks about how the real focus needs to be on living the process and just letting the outcome happen in its own, good time.
Other popular writers would have you believe you can lose 10 pounds in 10 days, go on a 17-day diet, get a four-hour body, or workout just eight minutes in the morning. False.
Let me ask you a question: What is your big, all-fired hurry to get in shape? Especially when you know it’s a recipe for long-term failure and yo-yo weight loss and gain.
Chances are you didn’t gain weight quickly, and you won’t lose it quickly either. Both the body and your brain need time to adapt to this. Embracing exercise and focusing on buying and preparing healthy food is a major undertaking. It’s a lot of change for most people, and requires gradual pacing to minimize the suckage.
We hate behaviour change so much that it needs to be done in increments so you’ll actually stick with it. I cannot tell you how much I hated running at the start, but I knew how great it would be as a process for achieving my goals, so I started out just one kilometre at a time, adding about a quarter of a kilometre each time I went out. These were distances I could tolerate, and over time I became a person who is a hardcore long distance runner.
It’s not what you achieve next week or next month. It’s what you eventually are able to become. So be a tortoise. A lean, healthy, strong, fun-loving tortoise.
Have you recently lost weight? What method worked best for you?