When you want to lose weight, you want to know what you should do, right?
But do you ever stop to think that there may be some things you need to stop doing as well?
When it comes to weight loss, what you DON’T do can be just as powerful as what you can do.
One of the first things people do when they want to lose weight is to increase their exercise. It’s actually quite common for people to go from sitting on the couch, to exercising every day, often for long periods of time. But this is totally unnecessary, and will usually lead to burnout, injury and giving up completely.
Regular exercise is important for your overall health as well as to help you lose weight. But in order for this to become consistent, your exercise routine needs to be sustainable. Scheduling long workouts every day of the week is not sustainable in the long term.
The other problem about long workouts, or overtraining is that your body doesn’t have enough time to recover, which means your whole workout routine for the week isn’t as effective as it could be. Too much exercise is also a stress on your body, which will actually slow your results.
At Imani Tribe, our clients only spend 3% of their week exercising. And this program is structured, progressive and personalised so our clients know that the exercise they are doing will get them the results they want, without risk of injury, excessive stress, and burnout.
Avoid the trap of adding in extra workouts, extra intensity to your sessions and longer workouts, simply because you want to burn calories.
2. Stop…trying to change too much
Another mistake most people make when they decide to lose weight is trying to change too much at once. Expecting to eat a ‘clean’ diet when you’ve been eating junk food everyday isn’t realistic. But that’s what a lot of people try to do.
As well as trying to eat the right foods to lose weight, many people attempt to overhaul their entire lives. For example, they’ll give up alcohol, give up chocolate, stop socialising, add in exercise, try to do food prep, try to get more sleep, etc. etc.
Permanent weight loss requires you to change your lifestyle, and you can’t do this in five minutes. It’s great to have these goals, but you need to be patient and work on one thing at a time in order for this new routine to stick. For example, if you drink alcohol most days, one of the first things you might want to do is to limit it to the weekends. Or, if you haven’t exercised in a while, plan just two walks for your week, instead of trying to establish a regular, strenuous workout routine straight away.
When you try to change too much at once, you’ll become overwhelmed and stressed. And then you’ll end up giving up, because everything seems too hard. But if you focus on changing one thing at a time, not only will you be able to successfully design a lifestyle that will help you lose weight, you’ll also be able to work on your habits which have led you to being overweight in the first place. And as we know, habits are powerful things that determine whether you’ll succeed in losing weight in the long term.
Avoid the trap of trying to change your entire lifestyle in one go. Small changes that you can implement and make a part of your lifestyle will have more impact, than big changes that last only a few weeks.
3. Stop…trying to do too much
When you first decide to lose weight, you feel highly motivated, and ready to make some BIG changes. You’re absolutely committed to ‘doing whatever it takes’, so you try to do as many things as you can in the hope that it will speed up your results — getting up early to get your exercise in, cutting back food, doing food prep, making your exercise sessions longer and longer, counting calories, weighing yourself, measuring yourself. On and on it goes.
We get it! You want to lose weight and you want to lose it now! But trying to do too many things will only cause your stress levels to sky-rocket.
Stress affects your weight in a number of ways. Firstly, it causes the release of chemicals that increase your appetite, increase your cravings for junk food, and make it easier to accumulate fat on your belly. It also interferes with your sleep, and poor sleep lowers your metabolism.
In addition, when you’re stressed, you’ll usually turn to food. And it won’t be steamed chicken and broccoli that you crave! It will be junk food, or alcohol, which are both laden with calories. Before you know it, you’re in the familiar place of being angry at yourself for bingeing. And you’ll do one of two things — ‘get back on track’ more determined than ever that this time ‘you’ll get it right’ and you’ll make plans to do even more to make up for your slip-up, or you’ll give up because it’s all too hard.
The truth is, successful weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. Long-term, sustainable weight loss happens when you create the right environment for your body to burn fat. A big part of that is reducing the levels of stress in your life.
Avoid the trap of trying to do too much. You’re far better off focusing on one thing at a time, and making consistent progress than trying to do too much and becoming overwhelmed.
4. Stop…trying to be perfect
You can be forgiven for thinking that you have to be perfect to lose weight. After all, it’s what the diet industry has been telling us for years. But trying to be perfect will actually make it harder for you to succeed.
Focusing on getting your eating right 100% of the time will increase your stress levels and increase the likelihood that you’ll end up having a binge. And as we’ve just seen, stress is one of the worst things for weight loss.
Instead of trying to be more compliant, or more ‘perfect’ with your eating, give yourself a break. Let yourself have some of your favourite foods from time to time. By all means, eat food that will nourish your body, help you burn fat, and help you recover from your training, but stop aiming for perfection. Being less compliant will most likely give you a better result.
The same goes for your workouts. If you can’t get to a session because you’re sick, or you need to rest, don’t beat yourself up. What counts is what you do consistently in the long-term, not one week. It’s okay not to get everything right all of the time.
Avoid the trap of feeling you need to be perfect. Take the pressure off, and aim to do your best on any given day.
Less is more
Have you noticed the common theme here? It’s about doing less.
That’s right, to achieve more, you often have to do less.
Less exercise, fewer changes, less busyness, less compliancy, less stress.
This goes against what most people will tell you when it comes to weight loss. But in order to succeed in losing weight and keeping it off, you need to be consistent in all that you do.
Anyone can go hard in the beginning — restricting food, doing long workouts, changing your routine — but over time this is not sustainable.
Consistency always trumps intensity. The best results aren’t achieved by doing more, changing more, or being more. They happen when you do less, consistently, over and over again.
At Imani Tribe we show our clients the power of less, and we help them get out of the cycle of doing too much. We empower our clients to embrace the concept of ‘less is more’ by giving them tools and strategies so they can start implementing it into their weekly routine. And when our clients do less, they achieve more.