Starting a new diet or fitness plan can be hard. There are many physical, emotional, and psychological obstacles that pop up to prevent you from following through to your goals, and the most difficult barriers to overcome tend to be the mental ones. As I’ve said before, your body doesn’t want to lose weight, and it throws all kinds of mental tricks in your way to keep you from shedding pounds.
Knowing what the upcoming obstacles are and having a plan to deal with them will greatly improve your odds of success. That’s why I’m starting a series of articles to address some of the most common hurdles to success that pop up in the early days of a new fitness plan and some tips to help you overcome them.
For the first article, I wanted to address a common myth that I feel was meant to spare people’s feelings, but in actuality, it saps people’s motivation and convinces them they shouldn’t even try to lose weight. It is a common myth that overweight and obese people suffer from a slower metabolism. While there are syndromes like Hypothyroidism that can slow down a person’s metabolism, these conditions are actually quite rare. You can get a simple test for Hypothyroidism from your doctor if you need proof your metabolic rate is normal, but don’t worry, it most likely is fine. When studies have looked into the metabolisms of overweight people, they have found that they actually burn more calories on a daily basis than skinnier people.
It makes sense of course because more tissue means a higher metabolic load and a heavier frame requires more effort (calories burned) to move it around. This myth started as a way to make people feel better about becoming overweight. “It’s not your fault, you have a slow metabolism.” It’s a case of good intentions leading to bad consequences. I absolutely hate this myth because it instills people with a sense of hopelessness. If you have a slow metabolism then you’re doomed to be overweight and nothing you do can change it.
Good news, you’re not cursed
Losing weight is hard, but it’s not impossible. Removing this sense of hopelessness is the first step to really taking control of your weight. If you’re not cursed with a slow metabolism, then it is possible for you to reach your goal. Progress may be slow at times but progress will lead to even greater success.
It’s all about momentum.
I think momentum is one of those things that perpetuates the slow metabolism myth. As you fall into habit, you create this momentum to stay at your current weight, and it can take a lot of effort to break those habits and get the scale moving. This difficulty in getting early results reinforces the illusion of a slow metabolism, but as progress starts to mount and the pounds begin coming off, your success will create a new kind of momentum and future success will be easier to achieve. When people hit their weight loss goal yet they still have momentum on their side, I always tell them to set a new goal and keep going. It takes a lot of hard work to get momentum working for you, so don’t ever squander momentum when it’s finally on your side.
Don’t let myths feed inaction. Start taking positive steps to change the momentum of your life and you will see successes steadily mount as you make your way towards your goal.