1. Failure is an essential part of the process
One of the most common reasons weight loss fails is because it’s seen as a rigid thing which will either succeed or fail. In reality, it’s a process which will both fail and succeed simultaneously, and that’s an essential thing to come to terms with. Whether you decide to dive head-first into fasting or eating at a severe caloric deficit or you take a slow steady approach of eating just 200 calories less for a few months you’re still probably going to fail, and often. Whether that’s failing to record your calories one day or binge eating at the weekend you still have plenty room for error if your goals aren’t too rigid and from those errors and mistakes you realise what you’re good at and what you’re bad at, you come to terms with and get to discover the reasons you binge eat or forget to track because those failures shine a spotlight on your thoughts and choices and actions. Over time as you’ve failed more and more times, you’ll begin to fail less and less often because you’ve found ways to manage those weaknesses or situations.
2. Patience isn’t necessarily a requirement, but consistency is
Most popular weight-loss diets, websites and celebrities will tell you about patience and how you need to slow down to get things right. Others will recommend things like prolonged fasting and tell you that losing weight is healthier or more natural when it’s quicker and that by shortening the time you spend being uncomfortable you’ll maximise your results. The key thing here is that different things work for different people and taking 2 years or 2 weeks to lose the weight you need to are both absolutely fine so long as you reach your result, ultimately only consistency matters- whether you stick to your diet or not depends on the balance of discomfort you’re able to tolerate and the effort you’re willing to put in and finding that balance is a matter of trial and error but you will eventually find the level that lets you remain consistent, and once you’re there you’re set for almost inevitable success.
3. Follow the many AND the few
Facebook groups and Instagram channels are a particularly conflicting and sore point for me- I find them fantastic for finding people who are like me- trying to lose or gain weight and others who have already lost weight and overcome significant challenges, but at the same time they’re full of people following trends, fads and pseudoscience of all sorts from Alkaline/Acid balancing diets to ingesting dangerous chemicals and everything in between. So it’s very important to find people who have succeeded and to listen to their advice because it’s what has worked- but since weight-loss is a multi billion dollar industry and many successful people are willing to distort the truth to sell a product, it’s also important not to trust a damn word they say and check everything.
Similarly, pools of large numbers of people interested in the same outcome are an incredible resource because they can collect and collate relevant information and share their results which can benefit everyone else, but again the herd-mentality is a very real thing and marketing has a big interest here.
So joining and following the masses does offer practicality and benefit, and finding and following those few successful people who have taken the time to document what worked for them can put you on the fast-track and save you from making many mistakes, but for the best results you want to follow both but do plenty of research and make your own best choices.
4. Learn from people doing the complete opposite
Some of the best tips and tools I’ve come to utilise have come directly from people trying to gain weight. Bodybuilders in particular are a group who have spent years honing and crafting their diet and ways of eating to consume anything up to and over 10,000 calories per day. These are people at the uppermost level of ability when it comes to eating and gaining weight and the vast majority of techniques they use can easily be reversed and applied to weight loss.
Adding calorie dense foods like peanut butter to meals can be reversed into sticking towards calorie sparse foods like leafy greens and soups.
Eating more quickly so as not to get full can be changed to eating more slowly and chewing your food for longer so the stomach has time to send signals to the brain letting you feel fuller quicker.
Bonus Point I Forgot to Add: 5. Learn to think long term
Weight gain and loss are a lot like income and finance in that they become more behemoth over time and require more or less effort depending on time scale. The richest people in the world consistently attribute long term thinking and planning as the primary factor to their wealth and that by saving small amounts over time and starting businesses and launching before the products or services become mainstream puts them ahead of the flow and makes it easier to capitalise. Similarly with weight loss, losing a little weight every month involves far less effort than losing the same amount in a week and is usually the better approach. Small consistent changes to diet add up over time and often eating just a few hundred calories below maintenance is enough to get you where you want within a year. While I don’t expect anyone to become the Bill Gates or Warren Buffett of weight loss, I think adapting a longer term attitude and planning for the future as well as the present vastly increases the odds of success.