The most common (and unsuccessful) New Year resolutions are the ones that have something to do with weight-loss. While the goal is always hovering in the periphery of our mind, many fall short when it comes to maintaining momentum. Chances are, it’s an unrealistic training programme that are keeping you from long-term success and not a lack of motivation or effort.
Blaming your inability to maintain your health goals when you're adhering to unsuitable training programs isn’t the same as making excuses for yourself. Body transformation programmes that promise you quick results sound too good to be true, because they often are – they don’t do you much good in the long run, and here’s why you should leave them out of your fitness goals.
Results that just don’t last
Quick weight-loss programs falsely lead you to believe they’re beneficial because they often do produce results in a matter of weeks. But just like how romantic relationships have a “honeymoon phase” where all is perfect until the magic fizzles out, the momentum in fast-results fitness programmes fizzles out after a month or so. They are designed to only get you to a midway mark, which is why after some time you find yourself stagnating, your body drained, your motivation lost… and then you start to fall back into the same old patterns and it’s back to square one. Effective? Doesn’t seem so.
Losing sight of the bigger picture
When numeral indicators become the evidence of our success, we start obsessing over them. We throw more time into our exercise regimes and cut down on our meals, but the rate of initial progress doesn’t stay constant. Why? Because most of the weight you lose initially comes from water, and then gradually you lose not only fat but also lean muscle mass. A certain weight of muscle takes up only a quarter of the space that the same weight of fat takes up in your body, so just because you weigh less doesn’t necessarily mean you’re actually getting healthier!
Unhappy body, unhappy mind
Forcing yourself to eat healthy food like chicken breast or boiled veggies and cutting down on energy-giving carbohydrates is bound to make any ordinary person pretty miserable. Combine that with the intense workouts you put your body through and you end up with depleted energy, motivation and happiness. Maybe you can maintain such a lifestyle for the first few weeks, but it gets exponentially harder and is it really worth it? Research has shown that most people can’t make it past the 12-week mark, so it’s safe to say extreme dieting isn’t only unsuitable for the weak – it’s unsuitable for the majority.
Don’t “just do it”, think ahead
Too often, we embark on weight-loss programmes to get yourselves ready for a special event like a wedding or beach holiday. After these events are over, what’s next? Without any goal to work towards, one cheat day becomes several, which then becomes a week, and then exercise all but ends until the next big event that finds you having to get yourself “in shape” again. Every time you start from ground zero, it gets harder and harder to get to your desired result.
Successful marathon runners never sprint in short bursts and then walk a long distance before sprinting again. They keep to a slow and steady pace, take intelligent breaks, and then resume a regular pace that their body doesn’t have to fight to maintain. The same goes for sustainable weight-loss, where a comfortable pace will take you further than any intense 4-week program. You’ll see more results in the long run and feel much happier too!