For a long time, all my weight-loss efforts failed and I spent over two decades on what I call the diet-go-round: jumping from one diet to the next to the next, hoping that this next one would be the answer. It never was though because diets have a failure rate of anywhere from 40-99% after two years depending on which study you read. But I kept myself going in circles anyway until, at my heaviest, I weighed 304 pounds.
As of this writing, I weigh 128 pounds. I didn’t starve, take pills, or have surgery to get there. I eat what I want as long as I’m not allergic to it. I don’t exercise like a maniac. I don’t weigh and measure what I’m going to eat, count calories, keep a food journal, or anything else that many diets tell you to do. I do not diet anymore. Period.
I’ve kept the weight off for eight years by simply listening to my body, eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m comfortably full. I have no fear about the weight coming back and not knowing what to do about it. I got free. You can too.
Here’s what I’ve learned about why weight-loss efforts fail:
1. Weight-loss efforts fail because your motivation is someone else
When you’re trying to lose weight (or do anything else, I would argue) you need to check your motivation, first and foremost.
- Who are you doing all this work for?
- Who are you sacrificing your time, money, energy, focus, etc. for?
- Who are you living your life for?
The answer matters. The answer is likely the reason that you find yourself unable to keep the weight off afterward and/or jumping from one diet to the next to the next, trying to find something that works.
If anyone else is your motivation, all your efforts won’t work in the end. Why? Because people are fallible. They push your most painful buttons, leave your life when you least expect, don’t do things they said they would, and on the list goes. At some point, you’re going to hit a rough patch, and you need a rock solid foundation you can count on.
You are the rock solid foundation you need (oh yes, you are).
So always (always, always) check your motivation before you embark on a weight-loss program (or anything else for that matter). You are doing it for you and you alone.
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2. Weight-loss efforts fail because you don’t know your reason why
Take the time to find the reason behind why you do what you do. Your reason why is that strong foundation on which to build your life.
Many times when you give up or back down or keep yourself tucked inside your comfort zone, the reason why behind your actions has something to do with that particular event/activity/person/goal/etc. not mattering deeply to you. And whenever you’re doing something that doesn’t matter deeply to you, you don’t have a vested interest in seeing it all the way through to the end.
Define your reason why as clearly as possible.
When the temptation to quit comes (which it will, that’s not a matter of if but of when), you need that reason why to hang on to. You need to let it be what pulls you along and keeps you going and gives you a light in the darkness that shows you the way out.
Knowing your reason why will give you something to come back to, a soft comforting place to land, whenever you have challenges, setbacks, doubts, and the like. Your reason why will keep you going because it gives meaning to the things that you do.
And it’s meaning, I would always argue, that you need to make yourself content and your life fulfilling.
3. Weight-loss efforts fail because you’re not dealing with the root cause of abusing food
There’s a reason behind why you’re abusing food (overeating, bingeing, purging, starving, etc.), and I can pretty much guarantee that it has nothing to do with food. I know that because food is fuel, and that’s all it is. Any other connotation or emotional attachment or power that food has in your life, I say kindly, is because that’s what you gave it.
Because I abused food for a long time, my guess is the raging and insatiable hunger you feel is caused by the hole (or wound) inside you that you’re trying to fill with food. The wound is the something (or somethings) that you feel/think/believe is (or are) lacking in you.
Food will never heal that wound. Never. Taking the time to answer this question honestly—What is that wound for me?—starts you on the path to figuring out what will.
Taking action to address that wound and heal it is the first step on a way to creating a life and a body you love: a life that matters to you and a body that feels like home to you.
Have you fallen into one or more of these traps? If so, will you free yourself from them today?
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My weight loss transformation & how it can help you succeed at your weight-loss efforts
You absolutely can break the diet cycle. I got free. Your life can be that way too.
I made my own path because I needed to get myself out of the crazy-making behavior I was having around food. I needed:
- no more dieting.
- no more restrictive eating.
- no weighing and measuring food.
- no off-limit foods.
- no more judgment around food.
- no more trying to figure out healthy eating or just what healthy foods to eat.
- no more judging my self-worth based on the scale.
- no more you’re-not-doing-it-perfectly diet rules that were only fueling my constant thinking about and obsession with food.
I needed to stop: searching for weight loss tips, wondering how to lose belly fat fast or how to lose weight fast, worrying about how to eat healthy or finding healthy snacks for weight loss, coming up with yet another healthy eating plan, trying to have quick weight loss, or forcing myself onto yet another weight loss diet. What I needed instead was to find, out of all the weight loss programs out there, the best weight loss program for me. Turns out, the best way to lose weight was to find out what works for me and do that.
- I’ve lost 160+ pounds naturally by simply trusting myself and listening to my intuition (mindful eating and eating intuitively).
- I have maintained that weight loss for 9 years and counting by trusting myself and listening to my intuition (mindful eating and intuitive eating).
- I no longer have any eating disorders, including bulimia (bulimia nervosa) and binge eating disorder (compulsive overeating).
- I no longer have a fear of food.
Just imagine what you could be doing with your life if you’d just commit to having your own before and after weight loss success story. You could be: following your own dreams and reaching your own goals, cultivating your own passions, and making both your inner and outer worlds a more blissful and peaceful place.
I got that for my life. I want it for yours. I will teach you how.
Let today be the day you make peace with your body and with food.
For more information, check out the Start Where You Are Weight Loss® page.