Why Do Weight Loss Programs Succeed or Fail?

Oooh boy, that’s certainly a million dollar question. Literally, more than 100 million Americans try at least one diet each year and fewer than 20% have any type of success.1Success is defined as losing 10% of your body weight and keeping it off for at least a year.2Given the stats, it’s clear that there is no easy, one-size-fits-all answer and there’s definitely no magic pill.

A successful weight loss program should help you do the following:

Set a SMART goal. You need a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based.  And, your goal need not be pounds lost, although that is a common measure. Regardless, if you have a lot of weight to lose, it’s always a good idea to break it into stages.

Understand and embrace that you need to make changes.
 You can’t expect different results by doing what you’ve always done. This one was big for me. I remember being on a diet and out for coffee with my mom. As I was about to pour half-and-half into my cup, she remarked, “if you want this to work, you can’t keep using cream”.  It was such a simple statement that went to the heart of why I hadn’t been successful. I wanted to lose weight, but I didn’t want to alter my lifestyle.

Be accountable.
 You can’t change until you’re ready to take responsibility for your actions. Most importantly, you have to be honest with yourself. Recognize your unhealthy behaviors and take steps to change them. Use a journal to record everything you eat, everyday. Include bites, tastes etc. It all adds up and it is important for you to know your patterns. Consider getting a weight loss coach. Some people do better when they know someone else is counting on them to do well.

Find your motivation. 
When you decide to change, there is always a reason why. Your true motivation is very personal, specific and essential. There is usually a decisive moment when you know you are ready to do whatever it takes. Determine your motivation and keep it at the forefront of your mind. It will give you the strength to keep going when you may no longer feel like it. 

Change your lifestyle (don’t go on a diet.) The word diet suggests short-term. Something you’re on, then off. For true success, you have to make changes that you can maintain for the rest of your life. 

Gain knowledge. 
You can lose weight following almost any weight loss plan (I know this first-hand). But, to keep weight off, you need to learn how to eat healthy in real-life circumstances. You need to know what to eat, when to eat and how to maintain your focus on health when life gets in the way. 

To summarize, a successful weight loss program is one that is realistic and sustainable, it relies on real food and teaches you how to eat no matter what life throws your way. You have to bring action, motivation and readiness to change.  Put all those components together and, maybe, it really is that simple.

Are you struggling with weight loss?
 Have you tried diet programs that just don't work in the long run? Would you like to learn how to loose that "craving", learn how to accomplish what it takes to be "successful"?

Request a Free Nutrition & Weight Loss Consultation by clicking book online in the upper right hand corner. 

1. ABC News/Marketdata.
2. National Library of Medicine - National Institute of Health.

Dr. Lori Nuzzi

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