2 Weeks to Health recently surveyed 226 people who have attempted to lose weight. Of the 226 people, 38% claimed they reached their weight goal and were able to keep the weight off for at least a year. The other 62% were unable to reach their goals and keep the weight off. 2 Weeks to Health analyzed the differences between those who were and were not successful and found 5 surprising methods that actually hurt your chances of reaching your weight loss goals. All of these methods have worked for many people under certain conditions, but based on our survey doing any one of these make you at least 10% less likely to achieve your weight loss goals.
1. Signing up for a gym membership
We all know that there are tremendous benefits to buying a gym membership. However, our survey showed that you are 10% less likely to reach your weight loss goal if you have a gym membership. Only 29% of people who achieved their weight loss goals had a gym membership. Why is this? Usually one of the first things people will do when they decide to lose weight is to purchase a gym membership. Whether or not the gym membership is used is a different story. By just owning a gym membership, statistically you are less likely to lose weight, but consistently using what the gym has to offer will inevitably help your weight loss goals.
2. Going on a low-carb diet
Besides purchasing a gym membership, when someone decides to lose weight they usually choose 1 of 2 diets, the low-carb diet or the low-calorie diet. The low-carb diet has become popularized by diets such as the Adkins diet, and are also on par with most ketogenic diets. While low-carb diets have been proven to help people lose weight, a crash low-carb diet is never sustainable. Our bodies and minds need energy from carbohydrates to function normally, which means people who lose weight on a low-carb diet are usually unable to keep it off for a full year. While many people would benefit from a reduction in how many carbs they eat, a strict low or no carb diet is usually unnecessary.
3. Going on a low-calorie diet
This is the one that surprised me the most. Out of everyone who attempted a low-calorie diet to lose weight, a higher percentage of the unsuccessful people tried this diet than the successful people. Overall, roughly half of people on a weight loss mission try this, but out of everyone who was successful, only 44% of the success stories incorporated a low-calorie diet. But how? Calories in, calories out, right? Well, yes, the basics of weight loss are that you must use more calories per day than you consume to lose weight, but you don’t particularly need to go on a strict low-calorie diet to achieve this. Instead of going on a low-calorie diet, you can try exercising more often and promising yourself that you remove soda and/or dessert from your diet. You can set a standard for yourself to eat only whole foods with plenty of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. It appears that most people who successfully lose weight and keep it off for a year don’t specify a low-calorie diet, but focus on eating good foods and exercising, which in return leads to a calorie deficit that leads to weight loss.
4. Being a woman
Almost 2 out of every 3 men who attempted to lose weight reported they were able to achieve their weight goal and keep their weight off for a year. Meanwhile, only 1 in every 3 women reported they were able to do the same. Unfortunately for women, human physiology makes it easier for men to lose weight than women. The average man has less body fat and more muscle that the average woman. This means the man’s metabolism is going to run faster than the woman’s, and the man will burn more calories. Men can naturally eat more and burn more calories than women, which means if you are a woman, you are automatically 33% less likely to reach your weight goals as compared to men.
5. Adopting a diet that requires a strict program such as Weight Watchers
Compared to the successful group, the unsuccessful group was 10% more likely to attempt Weight Watchers to lose weight. Of those who tried Weight Watchers, only 19% were successful. Taking on a strict and quantitative meal and exercise plan like weight watchers may work for some, but the majority were unable to reach their weight loss goals using this plan.
These 5 reasons that may prevent you from losing weight can all be very useful for certain people in certain conditions and when used correctly. Next time you set a weight loss goal, ask yourself “does this work for me”. If the answer is no, then you have 2 options, change yourself or change your methods. While changing yourself by increasing your discipline and motivation is always a good option, it is even better to look at your methods for losing weight and ensure they are sustainable. Just because you bought a gym membership and put yourself on a diet does not mean you will see results, and based on statistics you are less likely to reach your goals. You must always put in the work and adapt your strategies to fit your needs.