You’ve been going to the gym for a few months now but something’s not right.
Things are pretty good; you’ve gotten stronger on a few exercises, you feel healthier, you’re making some changes to your diet that give you more energy. You’re not perfect but you’ve made a good start.
There’s only one annoying part:
No one’s noticed.
No passing comments at work, no words of praise from loved ones, nothing. Worse yet, maybe a friend has asked you why you’re wasting your time, energy, and money if “nothing’s changing.”
I once had a client mention to me that training was like replacing the faulty furnace in your basement. It’s an important, expensive thing that you really should do but no one’s going to see it.
Sometimes it certainly feels that way but before you despair, quit the gym, and head out for an all-you-can-eat sushi bender, consider a few things…
A fat-loss timeline: It takes as long as it takes
You’ve seen the ads. They’re everywhere. “Lose 15lbs in 15 days,” “lose the belly fat for good by summer!” and it’s always accompanied by some smiling before and after pictures that look out of this world.
And even if you don’t believe the ads, everyone has a friend of a friend who “lost 50lbs in 2 months” or something equally outlandish.
Most of these claims are exaggerated or straight-out false. But regardless, let’s say they’re all 100% true claims. The only reason you’re hearing about them is that they are exceptional.
There are always outliers. Whether they’re outliers because of their genetics, their determination, their lifestyle, or anything else, they’re still outliers.
Most fat loss doesn’t happen that fast and usually if it does (like on shows like The Biggest Loser), people gain the weight back (and sometimes more).
This is gonna sound facetious but when you ask me “how long will this take?”, the best, most honest answer I can give you is “as long as it takes.”
That might be 3 months, it might be 3 years. As long as you stay consistent, you’ll get better. And if you can truly fall in love with the process, eventually that goal won’t matter. You’ll cruise past your goal one day without even thinking about it and think “Hey, that’s neat! What’s the next fun thing to shoot for?”
Habits are way more important than immediate results
Results are sexy.
And they’re motivating.
If you can hop on the scale or look in the mirror and notice changes after one week, that’s
a) pretty sweet, and
b) motivating to keep doing what you’re doing.
On the other hand. If you don’t notice any change in scale weight in the first week, or even in the first month, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong. It just means you haven’t seen those changes yet.
For many people, fat loss is kind of like a boiling pot of water; You fill up the pot and put it on the burner to heat up. While it’s heating up, you don’t notice visual changes. In fact you don’t notice any changes for quite a while. But just because you don’t see anything, doesn’t mean nothing’s happening. Molecules are getting excited and bouncing into each other, the temperature is rising, stuff’s changing!
The same goes for fat loss. Even though you might not see visual changes for the first little while, your blood profiles will be changing, your muscles will be getting stronger, your lung capacity is improving, your mood may even be improving. This might not show up as a visual change but if you keep doing all the good things you’re doing, eventually you too will bubble over like a pot of boiling water and start to see the fat fall off.
The bottom line is that the good habits you create and maintain are more important than the results you see right off the bat.
Healthy habits like eating your vegetables, getting enough protein, sleeping well, and keeping active are habits that will keep you healthy and happy for life and, when you do lose all the fat, help you to keep it off.
The reason that 65% of people who go on crash diets gain all the weight back is that they don’t create an enjoyable lifestyle based on healthy habits. They just buckle down for 6-8 weeks, go all-out, and then expect things to take care of themselves after that.
That’s not how it works.
You need a fall back.
You need healthy habits.
Other people have absurd expectations (and it’s all based on their own fears)
It’s all well and good to do things for yourself but when it comes down to it, we’re social creatures. We like getting feedback that says we’re doing well. If we don’t get that, most us will eventually give up.
So when you don’t get the feedback you’re looking for on your fat-loss journey, consider a couple of things.
First, take a look at the people you’re hanging around. Do the people around you encourage you and inspire you to do better? Or do they put you down, drag you down, and subject you to their own negativity. Give that some serious thought. You might need to hang out with a different crowd, or at least find a community you where you can get support and encouragement.
That’s one of the things we’re most proud of at Thrive. We’re always striving to create a community that gives support and encouragement to all our members. And the coolest part is it doesn’t all come from the coaches. In fact, I’d say most of it is from our own clients. They all support each other and that way they all win together.
Second, understand that 99% of hurtful criticism that people dole out comes from their own fears and insecurities.
When someone says they think you should have lost more weight by now, it’s usually because they’re afraid of their own ability to achieve results on a quick timeline. Criticizing others is easier than stepping up and doing it themselves.
When someone comments that a certain part of your body looks “fat” or “disproportioned,” you can bet your bottom dollar that comment came straight from their insecurities about their own bodies; their own “fat” parts and “weird proportions.”
Criticism can hurt no matter where it comes from but if you find a community of support and remember that most insulting criticisms come from a place of fear and insecurity, you become more confident, more open, and more empathetic. And when you do that, nothing can bring you down.
Journal your wins
Seriously, just forget it.
We live our lives focusing on negatives. Our “lacks,” our “love handles,” our “weaknesses,” our “disproportions.”
But these are the things that make us human. We can’t snap our fingers and make them go away.
If, instead, you accept yourself as you are right now and start counting the things you do well, and the things you do right, you’ll feel a lot better.
At Thrive, we’re fans of crowding out the “bad” with the good. If you just try to eliminate “bad” things in your life all the time, you feel deprived. But if you focus on the good and build up good habit on top of good habit, you create this giant snowball of health and abundance and confidence that knocks bad habits, toxic relationships, and all the rest of that negative self-talk out of its path.
Fat loss is hard and I guarantee your journey will hurt at some point – whether its from hunger, the negativity of others, your own self-deprecating thoughts, or all three.
But understand that you aren’t alone. There are literally millions of other people around the world fighting the same battle you are. If you can build a long-term mindset, focus on habits more than results, find a community of support, and focus on the things you do well, you’ll be armed to tackle any problem that comes across your path.