This is the time of year many people are planning to lose weight. Their plan often includes a complete restructuring of their diet, along with hitting exercising multiple times per week. There is nothing wrong with this plan in theory, but executing it successfully is usually close to impossible. There is proof of this with a casual look at gym attendance in January compared to March.
Why do people fail? It is too much change, so it becomes burdensome and people inevitably say “screw it”. Restructuring your entire diet is a huge task in itself. Tons of planning…the one thing most people fail to do anyway. After the planning, there is the time needed for shopping and cooking. Yes, you have to cook if you really want to control your weight. Because you are now cooking and not going out to lunch, you have to pack your lunch to work, including some healthy snacks. When you get home, you might be cooking again, and because you already planned this meal, all of the ingredients are in your fridge.
Your free time has now taken a huge hit, with all the time dedicated to healthy eating, but you still have to find time to exercise. If you go to a gym, you have drive time, plus 45-60 minutes in the gym…another 1.5 hours of your day at minimum.
It is very hard to change a lifestyle and attempting an all-or-nothing plan, is not always the best option. I suggest a more modest plan of attack, that has a much higher rate of success. Let’s look at your diet and find one thing that needs improved. Maybe it is eating before bed, for example. Let’s attack this habit and once it is conquered, move onto another. Too many people want the instant gratification of 15 pounds lost in 30 days, but these are the people that now weigh 5 pounds more than a year ago. A classic rabbit and the turtle story. If you take my advice, in one year you will have hugely transformed your habits (lifestyle) and you will rocking the swimsuit.
Exercise is somewhat different, as we all have a lazy component to us, so finding a way to increase accountability and commitment is the key factor here. A reliable training partner is a great option, as is a personal trainer. 99% of my clients are with me for the accountability that an appointment gives them. Most have access to gym equipment somewhere, or have a treadmill with clothes hanging on it at home. It is simply hard to make yourself do it. But the same rules apply with a gradual start to more easily develop a habit. Those that add 3X a week strength training and 3X a week doing cardio find this to be too much change to their schedule.
So here is my advice. Take a long and honest look at your schedule, your habits, and your level of motivation. If a slower start would prove to be more successful, then by all means do it. And stay off the scale damn it! Changing your habits is the focus, not what number you see on a scale. Change your habits and the scale takes care of itself.