Top 3 Mistakes Made When Creating a Weight Loss Plan

In sharing my 5-step process for having the health and body you want, I suspect step 4 might be your favorite. Chances are, you’ve dedicated considerable effort to it. However, if you’re not seeing the desired outcomes, it’s time for refinement. Time to make it uniquely yours. I’m talking about creating a weight loss plan.

This is where people are most at ease, deciphering the what and the how. But enduring habits come from doing the deep work, which is why we laid the groundwork with Steps 1, 2, and 3. Once that foundation is laid (imperfect, but in motion), devising a weight loss plan and staying the course becomes significantly easier.

To start, let’s sidestep these 3 common mistakes people make with their plans:

  1. Neglecting to tailor the plan to their current life stage.
  2. Constantly tweaking the plan, keeping habits from taking root and yielding results.
  3. Too much reliance on external sources for solutions, overlooking inherent wisdom.

The antidote to these missteps lies in introspection. Set aside the apps, the calorie counters, the fitness gadgets—for now. 

creating a weight loss plan
Photo by Moe Magners

Think about the healthy lifestyle you want to live. Go back to what you clarified in step 2. With that in mind, make a list of all the things you would need to start doing and stop doing. Add to it what you need to do more of and less of. And then recognize what you need to continue doing. In asking yourself these questions, you’ll realize you possess more insight than you give yourself credit for. (P.S. I’ve got a nifty tool to aid your brainstorming—drop me an email and I’ll send it your way.)

Next, practice patience. Imagine it’ll take a year or two to seamlessly integrate these changes into your life. Where would you begin? Reflect on your current routines and what resonates with you. Leverage past experiences to propel you forward, methodically introducing changes month by month, focusing on small steps, big results. And when it’s time, reintroduce the apps and trackers, if they align with your goals and progress.

Then, decide what makes sense for you to implement right now. Get good at it. Move on to the next. With a well-crafted, personalized plan, results will come. Yes, it may require tweaks along the way. But only because you’re being deliberate, not rushing from one tactic to the next in pursuit of quick fixes.

Need support tailoring a plan to fit your unique needs? Let’s carve out some time to chat.

Does an Apple Watch help you lose weight?

What do devices, like Apple Watch and FitBit actually do? Will they give you motivation to lose weight? Will they help you keep it off?

Let’s start with what they can track. The list is pretty impressive:

  • Activity (calories burned, steps taken)
  • Heart rate (intensity of exercise, resting heart rate, HRV)
  • Sleep (deep, REM, light, wake time, blood oxygen levels)
  • Personal metrics (resting metabolic rate, skin temperature, blood glucose levels, levels of strain and recovery)

But how does all of this affect your results? And how can you use it for motivation to lose weight?

Wearables are helpful for setting up your plan. Tracking your progress. Making decisions about when to change your plan. Let you know when you can push harder. Or when you need to pull back.

Sounds great. What’s the drawback?

They don’t make you follow through. And depending on how you interpret the data, can demotivate you and set the stage for a backslide.

You might selectively track data that doesn’t challenge you or move you forward. The numbers can become meaningless. Or a constant reminder that you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do.  

So what’s the difference between your Apple Watch or Fitbit helping you with the motivation to lose weight versus feeling like a nagging mother-in-law who thinks you’ll never be good enough for her baby?

The difference is your mindset. Why you decide to wear it. How you choose to think about the numbers. Intentionally viewing the data to motivate you. To provide the feedback you need to keep going. 

Another important note: The calorie burning info from wearables is inaccurate and incomplete. Even so, they provide a consistent measurement to use as a barometer for improvement. But don’t expect to measure calories in and calories out with any degree of success – I actually recommend NOT counting calories.

motivation to lose weight
Photo by Blocks Fletcher on Unsplash

Which wearable you use is less important than using it the right way. As data to inform your future decisions. Not to lament what you didn’t do.

Set yourself up for success. When you create your plan, use your wearable to get a baseline (i.e., look at what you want to track and then measure where you are right now). Don’t make the mistake of jumping right into setting goals and tracking info without a true look at your current habits. That can lead to your desire outstripping your capacity.

Then set your goal and track the info. If you use the data correctly, it can help you follow through consistently. That’s how your wearable becomes motivation to lose weight.

The Best Way to Lose Weight is a No-Brainer

Search for the best way to lose weight and you’ll find almost 900 million results in a nanosecond. The sheer volume is dizzying. Combine that with conflicting theories and promises, it’s no mystery why we’re confused. So I thought, what if I could make weight loss a no-brainer?

I got the idea when I discovered No Brainer Day, a holiday encouraging people to stop over analyzing things and second-guessing themselves. Perfect! I coach clients all the time who tell me they don’t know what to eat or what exercise to do. There’s some niggling thought that there’s a right way to lose weight and keep it off that they just haven’t found yet.

Search for "the best way to lose weight" and you’ll find almost 900 million results. So I thought, what if I could make weight loss a no-brainer?
Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

But here’s the truth: they know more than they think they do. (And so do you!) But all the “expert” advice has convinced them they don’t. From media blurbs on today’s superfood to a co-worker’s latest detox that she swears by, filtering through what actually works can be painful.

So, I’ve put together these three tips on how to make weight loss a no-brainer:

1. Outline your own healthy eating plan: Forget cleansing and dieting, and focus on what you know. Make a list of all the foods that benefit your health, help you lose weight and (bonus) you like. If you took five minutes to write it down, you’d come up with dozens of foods. Don’t complicate this. If you keep in mind whole foods (versus overly processed foods that come in a box), you’ll do just fine. Blueberries, salmon, spinach, plain Greek yogurt, ground turkey, steel cut oatmeal, black beans, flax seeds, avocado…this is a tiny fraction of my list. And while I lean plant-based, you can see my list is not “pure.” That’s okay. Next, brainstorm all the ways these foods can combine to create meals, and make your plan from there.

2. Ask “Why am I eating?”: Is it physical hunger? Then eat. If not, ask why you want to eat: boredom, stress, procrastination…sometimes just because it’s “there” and “looks good.” But non-hunger eating will sabotage your weight loss plan every time. See if you can sit with the feeling and identify its source. If it’s boredom, can you be bored for a few minutes? Or do you need more excitement overall? If it’s procrastination, why are you avoiding the project, conversation, etc.? Remind yourself that eating only delays the inevitable, and wouldn’t it be better to just get it done? Whatever the non-hunger reason, stop, dig in and decide what you will do instead of eat.

3. Move your body: Exercise is more important to health than weight loss. Yes, it can greatly transform your body, but if you’re inconsistent, starting from scratch or don’t traditionally like exercise, focus on being active instead. What activities do you like? How can you make movement enjoyable? Thinking you have to run or take a HIIT class because they burn the most calories only helps if you like those exercises or are motivated and committed to do them consistently. Select an activity and start small. Even 5-10 minutes three days a week. It gets you in the habit which is most important. Without the habit, there is no movement.

See? No-brainer! 😊 You’ve got the wisdom and knowledge for healthy weight loss. Implement what you know and stick with it. Get support and additional information as needed. But start with trusting yourself.

You know more than you think you do.

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