1. I Want it Now!

Our society is used to instant gratification – think of the growing prominence of stomach surgeries and liposuction procedures. We want to eat dessert with every meal and eat whatever we want, but also have superhero metabolism. But this is faulty thinking. Like anything worthwhile, it is achieved by being consistent, committed, and persistent. So refocus and don’t give up!

2. Vague Goals.

Perhaps your 2012 goal was to lose weight this year. But this goal lacks details. For example, a more effective goal would be “to lose 2 pounds per month by exercising 30 minutes each day, and eating 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.” This revised goal has a built-in plan, specificity, and something realistic to aim for. So, review and revise your goals, even on a monthly basis.

3. Good Job, You’re Going in the Right Direction.

Perhaps you didn’t need to lose much weight; and you may already be showing other related improvements, just not on the scale. Or, your body composition may have shifted more than you realize: you may have gained muscle, which is heavier than fat, so whatever fat-weight you lost was overshadowed by the muscle-weight you gained…believe me, you want more muscle than fat, as it bodes well for good health in the future (it burns more calories, is associated with stronger bones, and better balance). Other signs you are on the right track: you are feeling more energy and confidence, your clothes are fitting easier and are looser. Keep it up.

4. Find the time.

Using the time in our day effectively is like juggling, but it’s not just two balls, it’s at least five: work, family, sleep, recreation, food preparation, exercise, volunteering, etc. In order to be successful in any goal, things have to change. This means you have to juggle your life differently to accommodate what is required to succeed in your weight loss goal. It may mean some family time is through exercise, or planning and cooking meals together. It may be shifting your volunteering into roles where you are more active in how you help others.

5. Don’t do it Alone.

If your goals are realistic and you don’t see any signs of success, then seek out extra help before giving up. Seek out external motivation. Just like having a study buddy; in your school days, get an exercise buddy to help motivate each other for success. Sharing your goal will also make you more accountable to achieve it.

6. Unaddressed Underlying Habits and Mental or Emotional Self-Sabotage.

Perhaps you are not losing the weight you want if you have not changed your mindset, or you haven’t changed your stress-eating habit, or other factors that hold you back from success. These are fundamental to address in order to ensure any progressive and lasting change. Counseling can help you, or joining a support-group with people with similar problems, so you can develop better coping strategies, and learn that success is really possible by seeing it happen in others who are in your situation.

7. Get Professional Help.

You may very well be trying your hardest, but there may be underlying factors holding you back. As a naturopathic doctor, I often find many patients have sub-optimal thyroid function, and signs their metabolism is not functioning well. It may not be at a level where your medical doctor mentions it, but it may very well be sub-optimal and holding you back from success. Usually people facing these underlying issues have a difficulty losing weight. Get screened for your thyroid function, pre-diabetes, toxicity, liver function, and level of nutrients in your body.

8. Get a Personal Trainer.

This is part of getting professional help. It is the job of personal fitness trainers to figure out how to get you success in your workouts. Perhaps your exercise routine is just that, routine. It may not be challenging enough to burn the calories and stimulate your metabolism enough to change your weight effectively. Let them inspire your exercise routine and push you in the right ways for better success.

9. Record and Track Your Progress.

Maybe two or three of the weeks in the New Year have been spent traveling for work, or have been very disruptive with unexpected stressors. You can have better perspective and understand your progress better if you track your progress on paper or on your smart phone, with descriptions of your day and week to go along with it, like a health diary.

10. Unrealistic Expectations.

This is one of the most common problems with any goal. Remember, you are not working 24-hours a day on your weight and health like on The Biggest Loser TV show, so your progress will be slower – it’s unlikely you will drop 10 pounds in one week, or even in one month. Again, revise your goal and make it achievable, and you can succeed.

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