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The REAL secret to losing weight and keeping it off for good!

How many of you are reading this because of the title? The big secret is – drumroll -  there isn’t a secret!  Just a lot of hard, sweaty, uncomfortable, inconvenient, work on your part combined with careful eating and changing bad habits, for a long, long time. Like, forever long.  Are you disappointed?  Gonna stop reading?  Even though we know better we still want the easy way out, the quick fix, the secret formula. We just don’t want to hear that losing weight really is a hell of a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

As a personal trainer, I get hired all the time by people whose goal is to lose weight. Some are under the impression that we trainers have magic wands; sign the contract and poof! You’re almost in those skinny jeans! The client starts off enthusiastic and energetic, works hard in the training sessions, ready to do anything I say, change their diet, start taking the stairs, leave the car at home, add extra activities like cycling, running, zumba-ing, yoga-lates-ing and pretty much you-name-it-ing. 

Then, as time goes by, the client starts to realize……this isn’t ever going to end. This is their new life, their new habits, day in and day out. When they get better at their program, I’m going to make it harder. When they reach their goals, we’re going to set new ones. There isn’t any going back.  Eating an entire bag of chips every night and calling the walk from the couch to the kitchen ‘exercise’ is a thing of the past. This is the turning point for most people: this new reality can be empowering and exciting or it can be utterly depressing and daunting. Chips are yummy after all. Hey, where’d you stash that magic wand?

I don’t care if you have the flashiest, fittest, most renowned trainer in the city who gave you the best training program & diet – you are going to have to WORK HARD to get what you want.  And since when did working hard become a bad thing anyway? Don’t we champion people who’ve worked hard in their lives to get somewhere? Isn’t it what we try to teach our kids? Don’t we applaud people whose success is directly proportional to their output of blood, sweat and tears?

So, why can’t we apply the same principles to losing weight? We like to blame info-mercials that have taught us we can lose all the weight we want for 5 easy payments of $19.95 and in only 30 mins per week.  I think we’re smarter than that though – we know better. I think we are, for the most part, generally pretty lazy. Yep, I said it – lazy. Let’s face it, working out is hard – you’re going to get sweaty and out of breath, you’ll be tired and sore. There will be days when you’d rather just stay in bed and times you’d kill for some fried chicken and a bag of M & M’s.  This is the work that’s involved; this is the job description. You don’t have a magic wand and neither do I. Anyone who tells you differently is lying just to sell you stuff. There’s no way around it – one way or another, you’re going to have to work for what you want.

Before you come up with a list of reasons why you CAN”T work hard to reach your goals (no time, too expensive, work, kids, family obligations, old injuries, etc.,) take a gander at the profile of one of my current clients:

Female, 42. Pain in hips, knees, ankles/feet.  Doctor recommended she lose weight. Started working with a dietician in late February.  Began kick-boxing 2x/week in March. Added training with me 2x/week in early April. Starting weight: 225lbs. Works in the family business, a bakery (hello, temptation!) 5 days/week. Lives on the opposite side of town and fights traffic 4 mornings per week to train after getting her children off to school. She has SEVEN kids, 6 of whom still live at home. Her current weight (end of July) is 185 lbs. That’s 40lbs in 5 months.

This client is definitely on track to reaching her goal weight of 160lbs by the end of the year.  What’s the difference between you and her? How is she managing to do this with seven kids, a job, and aching hips? Because she’s no stranger to hard work and she understands this is the path to  reach her goal, plain and simple.

So, if your goal is to lose weight, instead of coming up with excuses why you can’t do this, why it’s too hard for you, or hoping that someone else will do it for you (with a wave of a magic wand!), accept that it’s going to be rough-going and then…….just roll up your sleeves and GET TO WORK!