Whenever someone says they are going on a new diet and workout regime to lose weight I always ask ...and what are your alternatives if that doesn’t work out for you?” My question is often responded to with a shrug and the response I get is often “I don’t know, I didn’t really think about it.”. When I ask this question though, my intention is not to play devil’s advocate but to highlight the thought that perhaps your success in weight loss is about how well you plan alternatives and not just having a plan. Keeping up the momentum with your program is going to be very important to your overall progress and ultimate success.
Providing yourself with alternatives should your diet or workout not be a realistic option, is just common sense yet many leave that part out. This is why I provided so many alternatives for diet and exercise in my past blogs. We can only be as successful as we allow ourselves to be. So here are some questions to ask yourself.
1- Can I realistically sustain this diet/workout?
2- What are some of the hurdles to my plan?
3- Does this plan require an additional expense or more time than I can afford right now?
4- Do I need more emotional support, time or money to attain this goal than I have right now?
5- Does this plan accomodate my family and my personality?
These are just a few of the things that could go awry.
The first question seems obvious of course you wouldn’t deliberately choose a program that you can’t sustain, yet people do every day. The mistake is a combination of taking someone else’s word that this plan is the best thing for you and your desire to get results quickly makes you buy into something that doesn’t really suit you or your lifestyle.
This is especially true of so many new diets that sound amazing and so easy to do but are ultimately not sustainable because you just have a very different lifestyle than what is necessary for that diet to work. For instance, you may have friends that don’t have kids that love the Keto or Paleo diet but you find yourself struggling because your kids happen to crave everything that isn’t on that diet. Then you find yourself making three different breakfasts, lunches or dinners. Try doing that for six weeks or longer and I can guarantee you, you will abandon the program.
Or you may have bought into a program that you have to buy their food. Predictably you may A)either get tired of their food B)no longer want to have to be a slave to buying their food or C)find that type of program only works when you are on it. Which is the worst case scenario, you should be able to replicate an excellent diet or food plan as I like to call it, that works with your lifestyle and budget and doesn’t keep you dependent on their food products. Otherwise I personally don’t feel that it is worth it.
The other problem may be a workout that is dependent on someone else’s schedule or that requires special equipment that you don’t own. If you’ve just started a membership at a Cross Fit studio, or a bootcamp class at your local gym you may find yourself frustrated when you can get there. If you happen to find a class that works with your schedule that’s great! But what will you do if the gym changes instructors, they close permanently(which has happened) or they take your class off their schedule because of lack of attendance?
I know of people who have joined spin studios or TRX training studios and become bored within a month. Some found their metabolisms no longer responded to that particular workout after three weeks so their weight plateaued and they stop losing. Many had purchased three month memberships or more and had to try to get part of their membership funds back and find some other workout.
Any time you start a new program it is important to review the questions I’ve stated above. Then start thinking about what you can do if you don’t have the perfect set of circumstances available to you. If you are invited out to dinner create your back up plan and use the PROVE acronym from my last blog to help you make appropriate choices from the menu. If you sign up for a membership at a gym make sure you have other workout options should your perfect class or session not be available.
Finally, making changes takes time and conscious effort, don’t give up on your plan if things aren’t working out. The learning curve may take months even a year to find what is right for you. Make a commitment to yourself to find the right food plan and workout so all of your previous experiences won’t be a waste of your efforts. Give yourself the time and attention you need to do the right thing. Being discerning upfront can save you a lot of time and money while getting you results fast. The payoff will be much bigger than weight loss alone.