Why Do We Want Weight Loss to be Difficult?


I have a client, let’s call him the Dude(just rewatched the Big Lebowski, you probably should too. Plus, I hope you now read the rest of this post in the voice of the cowboy narrator). The Dude said he thought he ought to make the next nutrition habit we work on more difficult because he felt like he wasn’t doing anything. But then…wait for it…

“Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you I lost 3 pounds.”*dusts shoulder off*

My jaw hit the floor.

After I retrieved my lax jaw from the scuffed pseudo-hardwood, I congratulated him and said that it wasn’t surprising considering how consistent he had been with his nutrition habits the past few months. Now, the Dude’s feeling in this situation are pretty common and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t something I encounter often.

It’s common to think that things need to be difficult for them to be effective, but with weight loss it’s the opposite. Success=the work you put into it right? #‘Merica!#meritocracy

The easier you can make progress, the more successful you will be in the long term. Consistency always trumps intensity, and the easier something is the more consistent you will be. This is the logic behind habit-based weight loss: make change EASY and incremental, so that your new, healthy behavior becomes a subconscious habit which sticks with you for the rest of life. This makes your weight loss and healthier lifestyle sustainable.


The Dude felt that if we made habit building harder that it would lead to even quicker results. Because he felt like he was leaving a lot of effort in the tank, he felt he wasn’t working to his full potential. If he could make progress quicker, why shouldn’t he? The process didn’t feel like work (which I think is ideal btw) so he felt he wasn’t doing enough. Meanwhile, the fat is dropping off and his strength continues to steadily rise.

The Dude had been working quite hard. He was 100% consistent in building his nutritional habits and hadn’t missed a workout since he started working with me. That is how the Dude made these gains, not by effort for effort’s sake.

Weight loss is never going to feel fast enough, no matter how fast your weight is dropping. Furthermore, there is no required speed for fat loss. It’s easy to think you are losing too slowly when the country has such an intense infatuation with rapid fat loss, but progress is progress.* If what you are doing is working, there’s no need to fix what isn’t broken. Besides, 3 pounds in a month or 2 IS awesome progress!

*Note: If rapid fat loss worked, the infatuation would soon fade because everyone who wanted to be lean would be. Slow weight loss is sustainable weight loss, which means you don’t gain the weight back after you lose it. Just sayin’.

The Dude lost 3 pounds by focusing on the process rather than outcomes. For more on why focusing on the process is important, click here. In fact, the Dude was so focused on the process, he forgot he had lost weight! The Dude felt that going at his own pace was not fast enough. However, I would say that your own pace is the BEST pace.

But, that’s just, like, my opinion, man.


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