Why It’s Important to Ignore Others and Focus on You During Weight Loss

Okay, admittedly, trying to drop some extra pounds is a big pain. It’s useless trying to pretend that it doesn’t take some work. If you feel as though you need to lose some weight, it’s important to begin with the understanding that there’s only one surefire way to lose weight and keep it off. It’s no secret, it’s just unpleasant.

In order to lose weight, you need to take control of your diet and get active. That’s it. There’s no healthy shortcut, no holistic remedy, and certainly no secret being peddled by Dr. Oz that will help you shed pounds with no effort. Losing weight and keeping it off takes discipline and determination. What it doesn’t take is someone whispering useless tips and tricks in your ear.

Countless studies have been done on weight loss, and nearly all of them draw the same conclusion. While their individual results or recommendations may vary, the general consensus is that eating right and getting exercise is the best method for losing weight. What several of the studies hint at — but don’t explicitly state — is that weight loss is largely a personal endeavor. Take these conclusions from a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:

“Findings … suggest six key strategies for long-term success at weight loss: 1) engaging in high levels of physical activity; 2) eating a diet that is low in calories and fat; 3) eating breakfast; 4) self-monitoring weight on a regular basis; 5) maintaining a consistent eating pattern; and 6) catching ‘slips’ before they turn into larger regains.”

Notice how none of these strategies involve listening to other people’s input. Unless they’re a waiter or waitress recommending a particular (healthy) breakfast entree, it’s a good idea to largely ignore the outside world when it comes to governing your weight loss. Friends will tell you you look fine and don’t need to exercise or eat right. Dr. Michael LeBlond, Licensed Psychologist, recommends that it’s important not to let others “steal” your motivation. TV personalities will convince you that there’s a shortcut to meeting your weight loss goals. Magazines and commercials will try to convince you there’s an ideal body shape or weight that you should strive for. These people and sources are all wrong. Your weight loss should be about feeling healthier and happier with your appearance, and that satisfaction comes from within. 

One study, conducted in 2008, compared the weight loss between two different groups. One group was heavily governed by regulations, while the other group was allowed to govern their weight loss program autonomously. According to the study, “higher controlled regulation at baseline was associated with less weight loss and that an increase in autonomous regulation and a decrease in controlled regulation over the 6-month period predicted more weight loss.”

In other words, those people who were able to control the terms of their weight loss (as opposed to letting someone else dictate those terms) were ultimately more successful at losing weight and keeping it off. That’s not to say that controlling your diet is easy (it’s anything but). While you’re on a personal crusade to better health, your friends, family and society at large will do their best to try and offer tips or critiques during your quest. It’s important to remember that, while they mean well, their advice is, more often than not, totally useless. Support for a weight loss regimen is great; specific advice can be harmful. Remember, study after study has shown that not only is a controlled diet and exercise program the best way to lose weight, but taking control of your weight loss and deciding how to stick to it yourself is the only way to meet (and maintain) your weight loss goals.