Losing weight and keeping it off is not an easy thing to do. For over 15 years, I’ve been studying weight loss both academically, in graduate school and clinically, working with weight loss clients. In that time I’ve found that successful losers tend to share common traits. Conversely, these traits are lacking in those that are not successful. I thought I’d use this post to list the top 5 traits and explain a bit why they are so important.
Trait #5 Ability to do cardio at home
If you are serious about losing weight, cardiovascular exercise needs to be a just about daily activity for you. The research literature is beginning to paint a very clear picture of this fact. If you need to go to the gym to do your cardio, it just doesn’t happen with enough consistency. I always strongly recommend that my clients have a piece of cardio at home to help them get their minutes. If you missed my previous post on the Gazelle Edge, here is the link. This provides a low impact, portable, inexpensive solution to this problem.
Trait #4 Resiliency
Just about every aspect of our lives now distracts us from a healthy lifestyle. The wrong food is just about everywhere, our schedules are getting busier and busier and physical activity is no longer built into our day. You will get off track from time to time with your diet and exercise habits. Count on it. It happens to all of us. Holidays, vacations, birthdays, stressful periods at work/home all contribute to this. The key is to get back as soon as possible. Some people let a bad meal choice become a bad day, then a bad weekend, then a bad week and then a bad month. Those who are successful don’t think like that. They get back right away, I mean the next day! I played a lot of hockey growing up and the best goalies had a very short memory. In other words, they may let in a really bad goal but they quickly forgot about it. They focus on the next shot like the last one never happened. Have a short memory when it comes to your dietary and exercise indiscretions.
Trait #3 Plans ahead
My clients that are most likely to hit their weight loss goals are quite organized and plan ahead. Here are some examples: 1) Doing grocery shopping early in the week and making sure they have what they need to prepare healthy meals when they are home. 2) When going out to eat, suggesting restaurants where they know they can make good choices. 3) When traveling, making sure that they will have access to the type of foods they need to stay on plan even if it means bringing non-perishable food items with them on their trip. We all run into trouble when we find ourselves in situations with tempting foods and no healthy alternatives. Minimize these situations by planning ahead whenever possible.
Trait #2 A realistic attitude about what it will take to lose weight.
Lose 30 pounds in one month eating your favorite foods and doing no exercise! Claims like these sell a ton of books and supplements but what they don’t do is help you lose weight. One of my old professors you to say “The only way to lose 20 lbs instantly is to cut off a leg!”. My most successful clients don’t fall for these claims. They know that weight loss will take a lot of effort. They know they need to eat right, they know they need to do just about daily cardio and they know they have to hit the weights at least twice a week. They accept the facts and go about making their changes. They know there will be struggles but they accept them and work to overcome them.
Trait #1 They seek out the research based science of weight loss.
The individuals I work with who do the best with their weight loss realize that there is a science to it all. They don’t care to learn about how to eat from a famous celebrity or actress who never even cracked a book on nutrition. More than half of the weight loss best sellers on Amazon.com are written by authors that have literally never even studied college level nutrition. They are either actors, look really good or are amazing marketers fooling consumers. The people who buy these books would never go to a doctor that didn’t go to med school or go to a tax accountant that had never studied accounting. People that are truly successful losing weight get the facts from the experts and are immune to all the nonsense.
Happy Holidays to you all and best wishes for a healthy and fit New Year!