When it comes to weight loss, commitment and precision matter. A lot. I try to explain this to people when they ask questions like these…
“Well, can I still keep drinking diet soda?” … Yes, but you’re not going to lose weight as fast.
“Do I have to workout?” … No, but you won’t lose weight as fast.
“Can I occasionally cheat a little?” … Yes, but you won’t lose weight as fast.
“Do I really need to track everything I eat?” … No, but you won’t lose weight as fast.
And by the time you make enough exceptions to the well-understood rules for weight loss, you’re no longer actually doing anything that will cause you to lose weight.
To help illustrate the point, I created the following chart.
To be clear, in the FIRST part of my journey, I was probably somewhere near the “Works Pretty Good” category. Now I’m somewhere JUST shy of “Extreme Results”. (I need to be doing a little more lifting, and I DO occasionally fit in some unclean foods, and the occasional diet soda).
As you look at the first two or three columns, this is where the majority of people who claim to be “dieting” or “trying to lose weight” fit in. They believe that by making the occasional healthy choices, combined with a little cheating here and there, and doing no real workouts, they can lose a meaningful amount of weight. (I wish the math worked that way, but it just doesn’t).
If you talk to anyone who’s lost (and kept off) a meaningful amount of weight, you’ll discover that A) they didn’t take any magic pills, powders, or potions, and B) their efforts land them somewhere on the right-side of the chart.
This isn’t meant to be discouraging so much as it’s meant to illustrate a key component in success: DEDICATION, COMMITMENT, and to some extent, SACRIFICE. (Yeah, if you want to look healthy and fit, you actually have to do the things that healthy and fit people do).
Are you a terrible person if you don’t land on the far-right of this chart? Absolutely NOT! (See above where I confess that I definitely don’t land in that category).
I believe weight-loss needs to be SUSTAINABLE FOR THE LONG-TERM, which means you’ve got to find a column that YOU can be happy in. But if you discover that you can only be “happy” on the left-side of the chart, it’s either time to admit that you’re probably not going to be successful in losing weight (and stop making excuses for why you’re fat and just admit that you’re lazy and lack the dedication needed to pull it off), or you need to re-think what happiness means.
(How’s that for a little tough love?)