Hint: It's not the weekly 7 - 20 pound loss you see on reality television!
We tend to see the same thing over and over at PEERtrainer: people can actually be on a successful weight loss track, but because they don't KNOW what a successful track looks like, they think they are failing.
Once they believe they have screwed up, then they say "screw it" and really screw up. If only they knew how well they were doing! While success does depend on your specific goals, starting point, body type and regimen, there are a few things that are consistent across the board. Once you measure your weekly weigh in against this checklist, you'll know if you're on the right track.
1. Weight loss does NOT come in the form of losing 2 pounds every week until you reach your goal, no matter how well you've stuck to your food and exercise plan.
When you were gaining, you didn't gain 2 pounds every single week in a measured fashion. You're not going to lose it in a measured fashion no matter how well you stick to your plan. You might lose 2 pounds one week. You might even lose three pounds in a week. Then, you might lose 1 pound the next week.
Some weeks you might lose zero and there are weeks you even gain. These weeks are the most frustrating and we all have these kinds of weeks where we feel like we're doing everything right and the scale doesn't give us what we want.
Keep track of the weekly weigh-ins but take a look at the month and see the overall trend. You might have gained a 1/2 pound one of the weeks but take note if you lost 4 pounds overall for the month. If the month is trending downwards, you are in the right place.
2. Nobody is perfect 100% of the time.
Sure, there are a few people that are perfect. I haven't seen them but I'm sure they're out there. There are also a few people who can eat 3000 calories a day and have a perfect figure and that's just the way it goes. Just because you went out drinking and ate all the bread, stuffed your face with pasta, and had 2 desserts, and then woke up and had a cheese omelet the next day does not mean you have failed.
Everyone does this.
We all make a committment and we all slip up. Just like Vince Lombardi says, it's not if you fall, it's if you get back up. You fell. So what? Learn what will work for you to get back on track. You can fall and still be on a successful weight loss track by simply making the decision to get back there.
3. You've been doing everything right and you're not losing anything. (aka The Dreaded Plateau)
We rarely see members who don't hit a plateau in the weight loss process. Some can last for a few weeks. I was on one for an entire year!
It's so easy to say to yourself, "I'm doing everything right so this is where my weight should be." That might be true, but it might not be true. It wasn't for me. Once I changed my approach and made the decision to be thinner, no matter how long that would take, I dropped the weight. I increased the nutrients. I changed my exercise approach. I kept the principles of optimism by Martin Seligman in mind. Plateaus do not mean you are done. They are usually a sign that you need to make a change. Do you have the courage to figure it out and keep on going?
Keep in mind that a real weight loss track of ordinary fluctuations are boring to watch. The double digit weekly losses you see have to be created somehow, which is why it's television. Sometimes the loss is real and lasting. Many times, the weight loss results are usually over once the 6 week "sprint" has come to an end.
Real life is more like a marathon, some miles are effortless, some are excruciating and the only way you really fail is if you quit.