Expectations vs. Reality of Weight Loss

 

In October, I ran my first marathon (26.2 miles). While I EXPECTED the race to be a challenge, I expected to finish and feel amazing. What I DIDN’T expect was the reality of those last 6 miles.

The first 20 miles I felt strong and quick. The last 6 were a completely different story. They were the HARDEST 6 miles I have ever run in my life. My legs were screaming at me in pain. I was physically and emotionally drained. I cried at Mile 22, where I called myself stupid and wanted to quit. Needless to say, my expectations of running a marathon and the reality of running a marathon were VERY DIFFERENT.

 
 How I expected to cross the finish line…   Versus the reality of how I felt at Mile 25.

How I expected to cross the finish line…

Versus the reality of how I felt at Mile 25.

 

In a similar way, almost every woman I work with must come to terms with the reality of weight loss, versus her own expectations.

After helping hundreds of women lose weight throughout the course of my career, I’ve learned many things about the expectations of weight loss, versus what REALLY happens. Be sure to set yourself up for weight loss success by using these tips to help you become realistic about your goals.

EXPECTATION #1: Losing weight will make you happier.

  • REALITY: Current research suggests that while losing weight can lead to feelings of satisfaction and will make you temporarily happier, your overall happiness depends on MANY other factors in your life. As you lose weight and become healthier, focus on creating healthy work relationships, personal relationships, and hobbies too.

EXPECTATION #2: The scale will immediately start to change the second you begin implementing new habits into your routine.

  • REALITY: It probably comes as no surprise that changing your daily habits is one of the biggest determinants of long-term weight loss success. However, because habit change often starts off slowly, it takes TIME for results to happen. Expect that it might take weeks or months for the scale to change, and that’s NORMAL. Instead of focusing on instant results, focus on consistency and patience.

EXPECTATION #3: Weight loss will be perfect & linear.

  • Reality: Once you start seeing results, many of us expect the scale to change every single week. In reality, it’s NORMAL for results to vary! Some weeks, depending on the types of foods we eat, the last time we used the restroom, or even our hormones, the scale might go up before it drops more. Expect the scale to sometimes go up and other times go down... Daily fluctuations are healthy and normal.

EXPECTATION #4: THE NUMBER ON THE SCALE IS THE ONLY WAY TO MEASURE PROGRESS.

  • REALITY: There are literally hundreds of ways to measure progress as you begin to eat healthier and exercise. Are you more energized? How are you sleeping? How are your clothes fitting? How are your workouts feeling? Do you get tired and “crash” in the afternoon? How is your skin looking? There are just SOME of the questions you need to ask yourself as you strive to lose weight. Remember the scale is only ONE way to measure progress.

These examples I give are only the tip of the iceberg. As you begin your journey to lose weight, give yourself some extra love when reality differs from your expectations. And whatever happens, DO NOT give up on yourself. Now that I know the reality of running a marathon, instead of giving up on running completely, I can better prepare myself for the next one!

Share in the comments below… Have you ever experienced something where your expectations differ from reality? What was it, and how did you react?