Learning from Failure: 3 Reasons Why You Didn’t Burn Fat & Keep It Off

Learning from Failure: 3 Reasons Why You Didn’t Burn Fat & Keep It Off

By: Caroline Juster | Certified Personal Trainer at FFC Union Station

Over 35% of U.S. adults are obese and more than 34% are overweight, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Looking at these statistics, it’s crucial we take action to lower these numbers. But losing fat is not an easy task. Time and time again, many have tried and failed to lose their excess fat. The fact that lifestyle changes need to be made is overlooked. Individuals are looking for the easiest and quickest solution to losing fat. Whether it’s diet pills or cleanses, there are an abundance of products on the market “proven” to help you lose fat– and fast. But that is not the answer. It takes time, patience and persistence to reach your weight loss goals. Not quite sure as to why you are failing to meet your goals over and over again? Here are 3 reasons as to why you couldn’t burn your fat and keep it off.

Every January, gyms flood with people who tell themselves that somehow their latest diet or exercise routine will be different. They think they know how to burn fat, how much weight they want to lose, etc. and then throw themselves into their efforts.

Unfortunately, most of these people will inevitably fall off of the wagon and return to another year of creeping weight gain…

Chances are good that you or someone you know has tried and failed repeatedly to lose fat over the years.

But why is failure so common when it comes to fat loss? Reason: People fail to plan for and invest in the long haul.

The only way to successfully burn fat and keep it off forever is through permanent lifestyle change. If you don’t take meaningful, realistic steps to permanently change the areas of your life that caused you to gain too much fat, you will simply be spinning your wheels.

Here are three common mistakes that people make when trying to lose fat and some ideas for how to make your next attempt the last one you’ll ever have to make.

1. You Tried To Do Too Much At Once

It’s an awesome feeling to finally decide to attack your fat loss goals. You feel inspired, excited and motivated to do whatever it takes.

In your effort to get the fastest results possible, you decide to buckle down and make sweeping changes to your life. You immediately start a strict diet, exercise every day and sleep for two extra hours each night.

What almost always happens is that after your initial burst of motivation fades, you find yourself overwhelmed and unable to stick with the many changes you have made. Within a month, you fall off your plan altogether and up returning to your old habits and gaining back any weight you lost.

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This is an incredibly frustrating cycle that many people fall into year after year with nothing to show for it. Lack of results leads many people to ultimately decide that it’s impossible for them to lose fat, which (barring legitimate medical conditions) is simply untrue.

Do This Instead:

Rather than trying to change everything at once, focus on making no more than a couple small changes at one time.

For instance, if one of your nutrition goals is to eat more vegetables, begin by eating one fresh vegetable every day. After a week, add a vegetable to at least two meals. Eventually, you will work up to making half of your plate vegetables at every meal.

preparing vegetables to eat

Focusing on a small goal over a longer period of time allows you to work out the kinks without distraction and build confidence.

Hey, it’s easy to say that you want to eat healthier, but actually doing it is harder if you’re not used to grocery shopping, cooking at home and packing your lunches. It takes practice and patience to master these habits, so break your bigger goals down into manageable pieces and master each individually rather than taking on more than you can handle.

The same principle holds for exercise. If you’re currently sedentary or exercise very little, why would you commit to suddenly commit spending an hour every day at the gym?

A better goal would be to go for a 15-minute walk every day. The next week you can walk for longer or do a set of bodyweight squats or pushups at the end of two of your walks. The trick is to find forms of exercise that you enjoy and look for new ways to challenge yourself.

Also, practice arranging your schedule so you have time for exercise, even if it’s just 15 minutes, and then get used to keeping those commitments. Over time, you will learn how to make regular exercise work for you and your lifestyle.

2. You Were More Focused on The Outcome Than The Process

It seems that we’re constantly bombarded with promises of miracle fat loss cures, rapid results and quick fixes that require little effort.

I often meet with clients who expect to lose over ten pounds in a single month. The unfortunate reality is that losing fat and keeping it off for good is a long and often difficult process. Those extra pounds didn’t come on quickly, and, in all likelihood, will take a while to come off again.

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There are no shortcuts and you will have to exert effort in many areas of your life. When you expect dramatic results from the latest 12-week diet or workout program, you miss the point that eating healthy and exercising need to become effortlessly ingrained in your life for years to come. It can also be frustrating to set a specific fat loss goal (such as losing 15 pounds in three months), put forth the effort and feel like you’re moving in the right direction, only to fall short of your desired numbers on your goal date.

Do This Instead:

Think long-term and don’t set ultra-specific goals or deadlines. After all, if you know you’ve been doing the right things and you feel or look noticeably better, why would you let yourself get derailed because it’s taking longer than expected to reach a certain number on the scale?

Although your ultimate fat loss goal is important, focus instead on nailing your daily goals and establishing healthy habits. You’ll have more lasting success if you learn to love the process of getting healthier as opposed to just thinking about the specific outcome, which may end up taking a lot longer to achieve than you planned. Be aware of your numbers and the dates you want to achieve them by, but put most of your focus on whether or not you accomplish the small habit-based goals discussed previously.

Making these habits a non-negotiable part of your life will help you lose more fat and keep it off in the long run. Additionally, pay attention to other signs of progress besides the scale. Your energy levels, sleep quality, mood, and the way your clothes fit can all indicate that you’re making progress – even if that number on the scale isn’t decreasing.

small fitness goals loose pants

3. You Had Nothing To Hold You Accountable

Many people simply lack the tools or knowledge to be successful with their fat loss goals. It doesn’t help that there’s a lot of conflicting information readily available on the internet, and reading just a few different blogs or magazines is enough to confuse and discourage any person new to exercise.

However, even people who are very knowledgeable about nutrition and fitness often fail to see progress towards their goals.

How can this be? Sometimes, without something to hold us accountable, we’re unwilling or unable to keep our commitments. It’s very easy to make excuses to ourselves and when things in our life get stressful; our health often takes a back seat.

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But it’s more difficult, however, to make excuses to a friend that took time out of their day to work out with you, or to a trainer that you paid to help get you in shape.

Do This Instead:

When embarking on your fat loss journey, make a commitment that will help keep you accountable. Tell your spouse, best friend or parents about your plans and invite them to join you! This can provide you with motivation and help with adherence.

If you’re trying to change the way you eat but your partner isn’t on board, it can be almost impossible to make the necessary changes over the long term. Additionally, many people find it’s much easier to go to the gym when they know a workout buddy is going to be there waiting for them.

Chances are good that someone else in your life is looking to make changes or accomplish a similar goal. Invite them along and make the experience easier and more enjoyable for both of you.

Another excellent way to hold yourself accountable is to work with a personal trainer or licensed dietitian. Investing in yourself demonstrates that you’re serious and ready to put in the necessary time and effort to lose fat or achieve any other fitness goals. A trainer or dietitian will create a personalized plan based on your individual goals, exercise and eating history, removing all of the guess work and making the entire process more manageable for you.

Additionally, many people simply don’t know the best way to go about losing fat. If you have absolutely no idea how to begin, sitting down with an expert will help you get started on the right foot. After all, that’s what we’re here for!

Caroline Juster is a Certified Personal Trainer at FFC Union Station and can be reached via email at cjuster@ffc.com.

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Fitness Formula Club

Fitness Formula Club

Fitness Formula Clubs are premier health club facilities offering the best fitness & wellness services in Chicago and the Chicagoland area. Our mission is to enhance the lives of our members and guests by improving their overall health and well-being. We offer a customized fitness and wellness experience through a number of programs, including signature group exercise classes, individual and group training initiatives, health and nutrition education, and corporate wellness.
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