Helping people live healthier lives is my thing. I rounded up the obstacles to weight loss I hear about most often and share my solutions for each below. But let me start with this: You are not fighting this weight loss battle alone. Lots of people share similar struggles, and I am here for you! Here are 11 solutions for the most common weight loss challenges.
1. Nothing is working. You've tried it all. You improved your eating habits, and you exercise regularly. The only thing that won't cooperate is your scale. You are stuck in a weight loss plateau, and you aren't convinced the scale will ever descend again. If you are tired of seeing the same three numbers on the scale, try this:
SOLUTION: If what you are doing isn't working, change what you are doing. Okay, I know that's Captain Obvious, but sometimes a reminder is helpful. Change your workout. Change the type, intensity and duration. If all you are doing is cardio, add some strength training. Add more movement to your day on top of regular exercise. Stand more. Move more. Walk more steps. Remember that you can't just exercise your way to your ideal weight -- you have to marry it with healthy eating. Move away from fast food, processed food and eat clean. And watch those portions. Portion control is so important.
2. I don't like to exercise. I always giggle a little bit when I hear this because there are so many forms of exercise... are you really saying you like NONE of them? Really? The good news is you don't have to spend your life exercising; you just need to devote about 4 percent of your 24-hour day to the cause.
SOLUTION: There has to be something you like. Dance? Swimming? Walking? Nia? A workout DVD? The treadmill? A group fitness class? Cycling? Devote a month to trying all forms of exercise as an experiment until you land on one you love. Bonus tip: Sometimes a music playlist you love can be just what you need to love your workout.
3. I don't have time. Who does? First, let me give you a big hug. Now for the tough love: "I don't have time" is just an excuse and an obstacle. By using this popular excuse, you can always justify not exercising. And it's a tough one to overcome unless you let go of it entirely because when do you just wake up and have the whole day free? First, commit to never saying this again, and then do this...
SOLUTION: Two words. Schedule it. Yep. You know how you schedule your appointment at the dentist? Or an appointment to get your hair done? Schedule your exercise just like that -- make it an appointment. Just make sure you do it more often than once every six months. Seriously though, scheduling it is the only way to make it happen. You are the CEO of your life, so direct your day to make exercise happen. And here's the thing, once you get the momentum of exercise going and into a regular rhythm, it will be hard for you NOT to exercise.
4. I have an injury that prevents me from doing certain kinds of exercise. Lots of people have knee problems and back problems and other issues that can prevent them from doing certain exercises, like the jumping found with plyometric exercises or the pounding from running. But there are so many ways to still get movement into your day.
SOLUTION: First, check with your doctor for approved exercises. Your injury type will determine what you can or can't do, but walking is often an exercise that most people can still do. Many people with knee problems can benefit from a stationary bike and I love doing yoga and plank exercises to help with my back issues. Just remember there's always a workaround, so don't give up on exercise because you have an injury.
5. I can't afford a gym membership right now. Not all gyms are inexpensive, and I totally get that, but this is the age of all things digital, and workouts are free at your fingertips. You just have to know where to look.
SOLUTION: If the gym near you seems like the cost of a country club membership, remember that you can get workouts for free from me! Yep, check out my exercise library. Lots of moves you can do without even leaving the house. Plus, I create mini workouts too that I share weekly. You can access those workouts here. If you'd like longer workouts without the monthly membership dues, check out my DVDs. Keep in mind that fitness chains like Snap Fitness and Planet Fitness offer bare bones pricing.
6. I overeat at parties. When people tell me they overeat at parties because of the tempting parade of food before their very eyes, I ask them what they ate before the party. Most often, people go on a mini starvation diet prior leading up to the party thinking they are saving calories for later. That's probably the worst thing you can do because you are going to a party with a ravenous stomach. Do this instead...
SOLUTION: Eat a protein snack before the party. Going to a party hungry scrambles your good judgment. If you have a handful of nuts before a party, your appetite will be satiated to the point where you can make smart choices about sampling your favorites and not devouring two platefuls of party foods.
7. I feel pressured to eat from my family. Whether it's your mom, your grandmother or the favorite baker in your family, there's always someone who is trying to show their love by feeding you. It's sweet, but it can be difficult to navigate politely if you are trying to control how much you eat.
SOLUTION: If you are gifted with sweet treats, share the love with other family members and friends. If you are at a dinner party and you don't want seconds, just be kind and direct. Try an "Oh, it was so good and I'm so full, I just couldn't have another bite." Try and remember most people have good intentions and are only trying to make you happy with food. They aren't trying to sabotage your weight. If you do think someone is trying to interfere with all of your hard work, read my article about food pushers.
8. I just don't have motivation. You just don't wake up with a spark or desire to tear up the gym. You see other people really into it but it's just not you. You even wish you were full of motivation to torch the calories, but nothing really does it for you. What do you do?
SOLUTION: If you don't have the motivation, but you want to find the motivation, that's a good start. Identify your biggest WHY. What's the one reason you want to live a healthy life? Is it for quality of life? To live as long as possible? To be more self-confident? To like clothes again? To have more energy? Get clear on your number one reason to get healthy and then plaster it on a piece of paper where you can read it daily. My next best motivation tip is this: Just fake it 'til you make it. Sometimes, it's the getting started that keeps us stuck. Once you start, it's much easier to keep that mojo going!
9. I eat great all day and then ruin my great decisions at night with snacking. Nighttime comes with a few challenges for most people. Sometimes it's the time of the day when you relieve stress. Sometimes, it's when the TV comes on and your butt gets on the couch. Let's face it, it's fun to snack and if we eat dinner at 6, we can get hungry again at 9 p.m. So how do we stay out of the pantry?
SOLUTION: Eat a healthy snack that fills you up. Don't think you have to stop eating for four hours before you go to bed. Just choose a snack wisely. One of my favorites is creamy Greek yogurt with some frozen berries and some nuts like walnuts or almonds. It's delicious and can totally curb my appetite from snacking or revisiting the pantry multiple times. Another one of my go-to snacks is healthy air-popped popcorn (not the microwave in a bag stuff). Popcorn is full of fiber and fulfills the need to munch along with your favorite show, and it won't set you back in calories.
10. I just like sugar too much. Ahhhh, the sweet tooth. I have one too. It can really sabotage your efforts if you have trouble controlling your portions. My first bit of advice is to stop thinking you have to cut out all sugar in order to hit your goal weight. You don't have to go cold on sugar. Just do this instead...
SOLUTION: Of course, you have to watch portions if you want to lose weight, but you don't have to give up sugar or totally ignore your sweet tooth. Make healthier desserts instead. I have loads of healthier desserts on my website Get Healthy U for free. Learn how to make all of your favorites a little bit healthier.
11. Eating healthy is expensive. Yes, it can be but it doesn't have to be. There are lots of workarounds!
SOLUTION: Eat foods that are in season. When certain fruits and veggies are in season, they are less expensive. If some fresh produce is still too pricey, (like berries) opt for frozen produce. It's less expensive and still healthy. Lots of foods you can buy at the store are less expensive if you make them yourself like kale chips or energy bars.
What's your biggest challenge to weight loss? Let's keep the conversation going! Your solution
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