One of the most common requests that all fitness professionals whether exercise or nutrition experts, receive from clients is to help them accomplish their goal of weight loss. The problem with this request is that weight loss is an outcome, not a goal. In fact, what may appear at first to be a semantic detail is actually one of the problems that our nation faces in understanding how to change our cultural approach to overweight, obesity, fitness and health.
Most likely, if you think that weight loss is the goal and you’re doing everything right with your daily changes, you may feel like a failure if you step on the scale at the end of a week or two and you discover that you haven’t lost the amount of weight that you expected. Secondly, if you follow a diet that achieves short-term weight loss, it typically doesn’t make you feel good and/or it usually does not provide the “fuel” you need for the rigorous training you’re doing. When that happens, you may end up going off the “diet” to feel better, and even gaining back the weight that you had lost.
So think of weight loss as the long-term outcome of setting short-term changes in lifestyle goals such as:
• I’m going to exercise 5 times/week
• I’m going to eat breakfast every day
• I’m going to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night
• I’m going to eat 2 different vegetables at lunch and dinner
• I’m going to go for a walk after dinner
These are goals that you can check off on a daily basis. By doing this, you’ll not only have a sense of accomplishment, you’ll be able to connect how you feel with the choices you make on a daily basis. And over time, as you stick with your short-term lifestyle changes, if you need to lose weight, you will and with a much higher likelihood that the weight will stay off for good.
So think of weight loss as an outcome, not a goal. It’s an outcome of changing the lifestyle habits that led you to be overweight in the first place. Only the combination of an active life with a healthy nutrition plan can support long-term health goals.