Updated: Oct 30, 2022
* A quick note: Although this article deals with the concept of weight loss, I want to start by making sure that I am very clear on my views on the topic. We unfortunately live in a time and culture (I am writing from Massachusetts, United States, in October 2022, for perspective) that ties a lot to our weight and body size. We live in a society where diet-culture is rampant. Many women have felt judged by the size of their body (large or small) at some point in their life. We see children at younger and younger ages restricting eating to fit what they feel society thinks that they should look like. As a mother of a young daughter and a trainer who works with some pretty amazing women, this breaks my heart. I hope through my work to be another voice in the choir of people supporting the body positivity movement and spreading the message that bodies are beautiful no matter their shape or size. With that being said, in my coaching practice I do work with women for whom weight loss is a goal. For many of these women, their excess weight is limiting their lives in ways that they are not happy about. They are becoming fatigued easily, they are experiencing joint pain, their size is limiting what they are physically able to do, or they just feel that they have an overall unhealthy relationship with food and they are looking to make a change. In these instances, weight loss is addressed alongside doing the mental/emotional work to love themselves as they are while also working to be the healthiest versions of themselves. Onto the article...
What Would Warren Do?
This past week, I watched the Netflix documentary “Get Smart With Money.” The film follows a handful of people as they work with various financial advisors to either get out of debt or learn how to grow their money through investing in the stock market. While watching this film, I was struck by the realization that money management and weight management are very similar and that by applying one simple piece of advice from Warren Buffett you can experience success in both arenas.
Don’t Be a Day Trader
I know a number of people who manage their stocks with the mindset of a day trader. They check in on their stocks multiple times a day and are always looking for that next big win. They attempt to outsmart the market by buying a stock at just the right moment before the price increases and selling it at its peak, thus hoping to make a substantial profit. Sometimes they win, but other times they lose big. When evaluating the long-term success of most day traders, the sad reality is that, over a 10-year period, had they chosen a more pragmatic approach they most often would have been far better off financially.
According to Warren Buffett, one of the most iconic and successful investors of our time, the average investor is far better off choosing a sensible and diversified investment, such as an index fund, and holding onto it for the long term. This approach, Buffett explains, often allows the “know-nothing investor” to outperform most investment professionals.
What does this mean for weight loss?
When working on weight loss, you need to view it from the perspective of a long-term investor and not a day trader. Checking your stocks daily and making multiple moves and changes (buying and selling) is equivalent to weighing yourself daily and changing the plan based on the number that pops up on the scale. Ex: “I am up 2 pounds, I am going to add extra exercise today” or “I am up 2 pounds, I am going to restrict my eating today to ‘make up for it.’” These are NOT GOOD IDEAS. Read that again…. Don’t do it. Just like the day trader, making quick and rash decisions to change course based on small fluctuations will lead to both high anxiety and low long-term results. Stocks fluctuate daily and so does your weight- this is all normal and expected. (To learn more about why your weight can fluctuate up to 5-6 pounds per day, check out this article from VerywellFit)
So, what IS the solution?
Find a reasonable and sustainable plan and stick to it for the long term. (If you are sitting here reading this going, “Yeah, but what IS a reasonable and sustainable plan? Reach out to me.) This plan should ideally be customized to fit your goals and your lifestyle. It should take into account that weight loss does not occur in a vacuum. The health of your mind, emotions, relationships, sleep habits, as well as the food you eat and how much you move all play important roles. And most importantly, it must be a plan that you enjoy sticking to. If it feels like a struggle and that you have to “white knuckle it,” using all of your willpower to keep moving forward, it IS NOT the plan for you. If you have started and stopped nearly every diet out there in the last 10-20 years, you know exactly what I am talking about!
In my coaching practice, I work with clients to identify small goals that they can work towards daily that move them in the direction of their long-term desired results. We talk a lot about the ideas of “consistency over intensity” and “minimum effective dose.” We are all far better off consistently doing a small workout or making a small dietary change every day that feels enjoyable and manageable rather than pushing ourselves to the maximum and burning out days or weeks later. (This is the main reason that most people do not stick to their New Year’s Resolutions!)
If you are ready to learn how to get long-lasting results doing a process that is enjoyable and is tailored to you, I would love to have you join me in my coaching program. To learn more, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a message through the contact page of this website.